Most people who know me can tell you that baking is one of my favourite go-tos: it picks me up when I feel down, it keeps my energy high when I need a creative outlet, it fuels me to delight those I care about. What’s not to love about freshly baked goods made with love for someone you love by someone you love?
I live in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, surrounded by fantastic bakeries, cafés, restaurants, and bars that can meet any taste. Inspiration is definitely not hard to come by, which is very handy if you’re a self-taught baker open to new ideas (like me!).
I’m always looking for blogs, bakers, chefs, or other food-obsessed people for inspiration. Some of my recent favourites include Molly Yeh, Probably This, Tasting Table, Lukas Volger, Jarry, Smitten Kitchen, and Food52, just to name a few!
Why “Bottomless Baker”?
Because who doesn’t love butts? Also, I’m constantly eating or am thinking of what to eat next. I’m basically a bottomless pit – hence my bottomless need for baking!
What’s up with the Format of Your Recipes?
You may notice I don’t include the approximate prep time for recipes, as I find them to rarely be accurate. Maybe I’m a slow baker, maybe I savour every moment in the kitchen, maybe my oven isn’t the best – whatever it is, I always try to allot more time than I think I’ll need when baking. Often this doesn’t work out, and I end up icing Pistachio Cardamom Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache while they’re both still warm, only to have the ganache melt off of them in the car ride over to your friend’s baby shower. My motto: don’t rush it (unless you have to – even then, try a less fussy recipe)!
You may also notice it looks like my recipes have more steps than you’re used to. This is intentional! I like to separate small steps in recipes onto separate, numbered lines – I find it much easier to follow if you’re going back and forth from a tablet or phone, rather than re-reading an entire paragraph to find where you were.
I’ve decided to keep teaspoons and tablespoons in their abbreviated form (tsp and Tbsp, respectively), and to always capitalize the “T” in Tbsp. I find it easier to differentiate at a glance!
Most people I know don’t like bloggers’ life stories before each recipe, so I’ve tried to keep my recipe intros short. I promise you won’t have to scroll for long to get to the recipe!
Some Baking Essentials
There are a few items I’ve come to always have on-hand for when the urge to bake creeps up on me, or if I’m invited for dinner on short notice and want to bring dessert! This list is far from exhaustive, but a good start nonetheless.
Butter – this is an essential ingredient. I always have one unsalted and one salted butter in the fridge, and at least one backup of each (especially unsalted) in the freezer. I don’t leave my butter out as I find it goes bad too quickly. This can make it difficult to spontaneously bake certain recipes, so save some that can be used with cold butter, like these whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.
Parchment Paper – this really should speak for itself, but it’s such a versatile baking tool! It makes cleanup a cinch, prevents cookies and bread from sticking, prolongs the shine of your baking pans, can be used to sift dry ingredients onto (â la Rosie Daykin of Butter, and various other bakers, I’m sure), and can even be used to make cool hats. How’s your back-up stock doing?
Chocolate Chips – I normally have at least one 1kg bag of Chipits Pure Semisweet chocolate chips in the freezer – they are very versatile for most baking needs, and also satisfy those late-night chocolate cravings when all of your Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups have disappeared.
Flour – The most common brand where I normally shop is Robin Hood. I usually have plenty of Original All Purpose Flour on hand, and smaller bags of bread flour, cake flour, and whole wheat flour. I usually buy whole wheat flour as needed because it does not have as long a shelf life.
Sugar – Three types to always have on-hand: regular (fine white) sugar, brown sugar, and icing (confectioners) sugar. I also keep plenty of raw (Turbinado) sugar as an alternative, as it makes for a nice finishing touch (like on these Chai Cupcakes) and often tastes better if you’re incorporating it into drinks.
Eggs – Eeeeeggs! Always have eggs.
Oil – Keep something on hand without a strong flavour, like Canola or Grapeseed. Make sure you get rid of it if it starts smelling like crayons – that means it’s rancid!
Vanilla Extract – This is used in so many recipes, so make sure you have a big bottle. If you’re a casual baker, a big bottle will last a long time, so invest in some higher quality, non-imitation stuff. Some recipes (like white cake) specify imitation vanilla extract to maintain a lighter colour, but I rarely use it. If you’re really looking to splurge, buy some vanilla beans and use the caviar from the pod instead. Decent deals on vanilla over at beanilla.com.
Peanut Butter – I don’t often use this in baking, it’s more just one of my favourite things. Hands-down best PB: Adam’s Creamy Unsalted.
Stand Mixer – I know this is a more expensive kitchen purchase, is bulky and hard to store, and takes up a load of space. Many also argue it takes away from the physical connection and feeling of baking, which I totally get. It also, however, is a wonderful time and personal energy saver! It took me a long time to warm up to my KitchenAid, but now I couldn’t be happier with it. When you want to make pizza dough in a few minutes, or cream butter for frosting while sifting your confectioners sugar, it’s just what you need. Purchase tip: wait for a Boxing Day (or Black Friday?) sale.
Apron(s) – This is a new essential tool in my kitchen. For obvious reasons (like protecting your clothing / body from messes and splashes, providing a pocket for your phone and important baking tools, etc.), and also to just feel good. A well-made, good-looking apron has added a new level of enjoyment to my time in the kitchen. When bottomless baking, the protection factor is definitely amped up! Tread carefully when looking at aprons – it’s too easy to get lost in the internet of aprons and spend a lot more time (and money) on them than you ever imagined. A couple standout brands: Hedley & Bennet, Cargo Crew.