Blog

Baking can relieve stress and boost mental well-being

6 Easy Baking Recipes to Try at Home

Written by on 30th April 2020
Category: Business Travel

From acting as a creative outlet to relieve stress, to becoming a form of mindfulness, baking is good for the soul. Much like meditation and exercise, baking becomes a time for you to switch off from the stresses of everyday life or work and put your complete focus into something different. The process of measuring out your ingredients, mixing them, rolling your dough and watching your creation transform in the oven can be extremely therapeutic, and eating the end result is bound to make you feel good, too. Baking is something you can do by yourself for yourself, by yourself for a loved one, or together with friends and family to enjoy collectively, but, however you chose to bake, you’re guaranteed to reap the rewards of relaxation, fun and good food. If you need a sweet treat to refuel after an at-home workout, are in need of a pick-me-up after a busy day, or just want to try something new, explore our list of some of the tastiest and easiest things to bake at home or in your serviced apartment.

1. Flap Jack

Flap jack is one of the easiest things to bake at home
Flap jack only needs four ingredients but gives a well-needed energy boost

A firm family favourite, flap jack is your typical ‘chuck it all in, mix and bake’ kind of fool proof recipe. Oats act as a slow releasing energy source meaning this is a great snack to enjoy during work or before exercising, and they keep well allowing you to enjoy them for a good couple of weeks. This recipe will make quite a large batch of flap jack so is one of the best things to bake at home to feed a big family or to bring into the office for your colleagues.

Ingredients:

  • 425 g butter
  • 255 g demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 680 g porridge oats

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
  2. Grease and line a large, shallow tin with baking paper
  3. Melt together butter, sugar and syrup together in a large pan over a low-medium heat
  4. Mix in the oats until fully coated
  5. Here you can add in anything you like: try raisins, chocolate chips or grated coconut to give the flap jack some extra flavour
  6. Pour the mixture into your lined tin and put in the oven for around 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean – you want your final result to be firm but crumbly to bite
  7. Allow plenty of time to cool then cut into cubes and enjoy!

2. Fruit Loaf

Enjoy a fruity slice to satisfy your sugar craving
Fruit loaf isn’t just for Christmas – it’s a tasty treat all year round

When it comes to easy things to bake at home, fruit loaf is a great option. This is a tried and tested recipe passed down from my grandma and has stood the test of time just because it’s so simple, yet so tasty. Many may think of a fruit cake as quite a seasonal, festive dessert, but this recipe isn’t spiced so works year round.

Ingredients:

  • 115 g butter/margarine
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 140 g raisins
  • 140 g sultanas
  • 60 g cherries
  • 285 g self-raising flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 75 ml water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 110°C/gas mark ¼
  2. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper
  3. Boil together the butter, sugar, raisins, sultanas and water in a pan over a medium heat until mixed
  4. Let the mixture cool then mix in the flour, beaten egg and cherries
  5. Put mixture in the lined loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until the loaf is firm but soft to bite
  6. Allow time to cool then slice and enjoy!

3. Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate brownies always go down a treat
Chocolate brownies never disappoint and are a tasty hit in any office

Who doesn’t love a chocolate brownie? These are always a welcome treat in any office, meeting or evening with friends and this recipe might just be the best you’ve ever tried. Rich and gooey with a crispy top is always how homemade brownies should be and with this recipe you are guaranteed success.

Ingredients:

  • 185 g plain chocolate (broken into small pieces)
  • 185 g unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275 g golden caster sugar
  • 85 g plain flour
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 50 g white chocolate (roughly chopped)
  • 50 g milk chocolate (roughly chopped)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
  2. Grease and line a shallow baking tin (approx. 25×20 cm) with baking paper
  3. Melt the plain chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
  4. Whisk eggs and sugar until thick, pale and quadrupled in volume
  5. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and sift in the cocoa powder. Fold gently so you don’t lose any tiny air bubbles
  6. Fold in the chopped white and milk chocolate and pour into your tin
  7. Bake for around 35 minutes (check after 25) until it doesn’t wobble when shaken and the top is dark and shiny – the last thing you want to do is overcook your brownies and lose their softness
  8. Allow plenty of time to cool then chop into cubes and enjoy!

4. Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread cake is one of the best things to bake at home when you need a pick me up
Ginger has many proven health benefits making it a ‘healthier’ sweet alternative

Ginger is a flavour you either love or hate, but it offers a wealth of health benefits making it a popular addition to many morning routines. With anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and pro-digestion properties, it is no surprise that many breakfast spots offer ginger shots to accompany your food. Gingerbread cake is another family favourite of mine, and is the perfect dessert option if you don’t have too much of a sweet tooth as this pudding satisfies a sugar craving without being richly sweet. When you need a pick me up, gingerbread cake is one of the best things to bake at home.

Ingredients:

  • 142 g butter or margarine
  • 115 g brown sugar
  • 227 g black treacle or golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 200 g flour (if using plain flour, add 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
  2. Grease and line a tin (approx. 6 by 9 inches) with baking paper
  3. Mix butter, sugar, treacle and water in a pan over heat until the butter has melted
  4. Sieve all dry ingredients into a bowl and beat the melted mixture in until thoroughly mixed
  5. Add the grated lemon and eggs
  6. Beat again, then pour into the lined tin
  7. Bake for around 1 hour 15 minutes until when you press on top, no impression is given
  8. Cool and enjoy! Some like to spread a small amount of butter on top of their slice, but add anything you fancy

5. Lemon Drizzle Cake

If you're craving sugar, a lemon drizzle is one of the best things to bake at home
Fresh citrus flavours are perfect for those who love a strong and very sweet taste

Lemon drizzle cake is a fresh and light dessert or snack perfect for indulging a sugar craving. If you need a distraction from a looming deadline, or think a sweet treat would be a great meeting snack to celebrate the closure of a business deal, baking is the ideal stress relief and lemon drizzle is something a bit different from your average chocolate cake. Read on to find out how to bake an easy lemon drizzle cake at home.

Ingredients:

  • 175 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3 lemons
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 75 g sugar cubes

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
  2. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy (you can either use an electric whisk or spoon)
  4. Gradually beat in the eggs then the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of ½ a lemon
  5. Fold in the flour and ground almonds (optional)
  6. Pour mixture into the tin, bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  7. For the icing, mix the sugar cubes with the juice of 1 ½ lemons and the zest of 1 lemon – you will have 1 zested but un-juiced lemon left over
  8. Soak for around five minutes then gently break up some of the sugar cubes
  9. Poke holes in the top of the part-cooled cake and drizzle the icing

6. Banana Bread

Banana bread is the perfect recipe to use up overripe bananas - things to bake at home
Banana bread is perfect for breakfast or as a tasty snack

It wouldn’t be a baking blog without a banana bread recipe, but it’s a classic for a reason. If you have some overripe bananas in the fruit bowl, this is the perfect thing to bake at home to use them up and can be adapted to suit any household.

Ingredients:

  • 175 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 very ripe bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
  2. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt well
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar, beating until blended
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract
  6. Here you can add 60 g of anything extra like chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, or even sliced banana – tag us in your baking photos and let us know what you chose to add!
  7. Add the flour mixture a third at a time, stirring well
  8. Pour the combined mixture into a loaf tin and bake for around 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  9. Allow time to cool or eat warm on its own or with ice cream, fruit compote, or anything else you fancy

The many mental health and well-being benefits of baking should inspire you to add it straight to your list of ways to positively navigate working from home. Providing a fun activity to do with family, for friends or colleagues or some alone time to unwind and switch off from everything else, baking is just as effective at enhancing mindfulness as running, painting or listening to music. Of all our recommended things to bake at home, what is your favourite?