I’ve spent a lot of time in recent weeks exploring the topic of “Bonding Through Baking.” I devoted a whole post to Baking with Kids, one of my favorite things to do.
I’m of the firm opinion that we should have mentors and mentees in our lives at all times. Mentors can train us and mentees are those we train. This is particularly helpful when it comes to baking.
So, grab that elderly friend and glean all you can from her. Then invite a younger woman over to share your knowledge with her. You will form bonds that last for years to come.
The Friends that Bake Together…
I’m crazy about baking with friends and loved ones. Whether it’s a daughter, mother, sister, or friend, baking is always more fun with someone else in the kitchen, particularly when it’s someone you love.
Over the past ten years I have hosted many, many baking gatherings that have meant so much to me.
Like the time my sister-in-law came to my house when I was caregiving my mother and joined me in the kitchen for a bake-a-thon.
Or the time my daughter came and stayed all night helping me paint hundreds of Valentine’s cookies for customers.
Or the time several of the women in my family gathered around me to help me pull off a princess-themed birthday cake for my granddaughter when I was facing a stressful personal situation.
Many Hands Make Light Work
If I’ve got a big baking project I’ll often invite my daughter Megan or my friend April to my house to help. (It’s not as overwhelming when someone is with me.)
I once agreed to take 150 cupcakes to my church’s Community Thanksgiving event and having my loved ones available to help was a huge blessing!
And then there was that time I decided to host a cookie fundraiser. My daughter and I baked a l-o-t of cookies that day! I could never have done it on my own!
Bonding Through Baking
Bake-Dates provide the perfect opportunity to bond with your friends and family. Truly, the stories that get swapped while you’re baking together are priceless! You’ll laugh, you’ll reminisce, and you’ll learn new things–about each other and about baking.
I devoted an entire post to the tea party I attended at my friend Anita’s house. We baked Buttermilk Scones together, then sat at a fancy table and listened to Vivaldi as we sipped our Earl Grey tea and nibbled on those tasty scones.
I invited loved ones to help me with a huge Christmas project this past holiday season. We worked for hours (and were pretty tired by the end of it) but I definitely wouldn’t have traded our time together for anything!
Decorating Parties with Friends
I should probably start by admitting that I’m pretty A.D.D. and often get distracted when I have a friend in my kitchen baking with me. I recently skipped an important step while making Cream Puffs with my friend April. No worries! We remade the batch and they turned out just fine!
In my Baking with Kids post I mentioned my cake decorating parties I’ve hosted with kiddos. I’ve done the same thing with grown-ups! It’s fun to show up at a friend’s house with freshly baked cakes, frosting, coloring gels, piping bags, sprinkles, and all sorts of décor to add to the cakes.
I was invited to a new friend’s beautiful home awhile back to teach several of her friends how to decorate cakes. We messed up her kitchen but pulled off some lovely cakes. (And I made some new friends!)
I once baked for a women’s retreat, one with a tea party theme. My good friend came over the night before and spent the night helping me make cookies.
I even taught a women’s Bible study once on the four seasons (spiritual seasons) we go through. As part of the teaching I had the ladies decorate cookies—one for summer, one for autumn, one for winter, and one for spring. It went perfectly with the teaching and the ladies learned some cool techniques.
Holiday Baking with Others
Over Christmas I also hosted a DIY cupcake trifle party. I had all of the goodies prepared in advance and the participants built their trifles according to my directions. (So fun!)
This past Valentine’s day I hosted a Valentine Cookie Decorating class at a friend’s house. The ladies were awesome! (We had such a good time!) Check out what our table looked like before we began. And look at those darling Valentines cookies we decorated!
I was invited to host a cupcake craft at a women’s Christmas event once, where we pinned tiny cupcakes on a Styrofoam tree to make edible Christmas trees. Fun!
(And check out those tiny cupcake Christmas trees in the second photo! They were made by flipping an ice cream cone upside-down over a cupcake and then piping on the greenery.)
April and Megan helped me prep Edible Christmas Trees for our church’s annual Christmas party. (That was a blast!)
Oh, and I worked a holiday market with friends at my church, where we baked and sold cupcakes that were holiday-themed.
Here’s my point: women love to bake and decorate during the holidays. Some men do, too! So, don’t rule out the possibility of baking with your loved ones.
Baking Party Suggestions
1. Host a recipe swap.
Have each woman in your group submit one recipe to try. Then choose 2-3 of them to bake together. Or meet periodically until you’ve baked all of them, one at a time.
2. Host a themed baking party.
For instance, you might do a “Recipes Grandma Baked” party, where you only bake things that women baked during the depression era. Or maybe you could host a Parisian baking party, where you bake eclairs, scones, cream puffs, and so on.
3. Host a community outreach.
Get together with your friends to bake for a local fire station or EMS station. (They will love you for it.) It’s also fun to bake for church and ministry events! (I can’t tell you how many community outreaches I’ve baked for, and always with the help of a good friend!)
Here’s the point: friends that bake together stay together. I firmly believe that! Just as you add the various ingredients to your cookies or cupcakes, that baking experience will add love to your already-blossoming relationships.
4. Host a cupcake trifle party.
I did a full post on this one. This was truly a blast! Just prepare your cupcakes and other ingredients in advance and let the ladies build their own DIY trifles.
5. Do your holiday baking with loved ones.
Don’t go it alone! Make your holiday cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, trifles, and pastries with friends and family gathered around you!
Top Ten Recipes for Group Baking
Here are the Top Ten recipes I use when baking with others:
- Cut-Out Sugar Cookies: This is my go-to, no matter what holiday I’m baking for.
- Easy Royal Icing Recipe: The perfect recipe to use on cut-out sugar cookies
- Cookie Decorating with Royal Icing: Everything you need to get those cookies decorated!
- Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies: Every Valentine’s Day, rain or shine!
- Best Holiday Sugar Cookies: This great post will help you with your holiday baking.
- Heavenly Snickerdoodles: We add these to every cookie tray!
- Easy Mexican Wedding Cookies: These have a place of honor on my cookie trays, as well.
- How to Doctor a Boxed Cake Mix: My go-to for cakes. You’ll find most anything you need here.
- 20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix: There are a ton of great ideas here!
- Ultimate Chocolate Cake: You can bet this one gets baked. . .a lot!
I’m also looking at these Caramel Cheesecake Bars with Praline Pecan Topping from Back to my Southern Roots. They would be so fun to bake at our next bake-date!
I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite friendship verses, found in Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT):
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.