Society in the spotlight: Baking

Everyone loves watching Bake Off, right? The mouth-watering bakes, Paul’s witty comments, the build-up of drama…And the entire country was outraged when it was announced that the programme was moving to Channel Four after a dispute between the BBC and Love Productions. Will it still be worth watching without Mel, Sue and Mary, plagued with adverts at strategic points too? Of that, we’re not sure. To continue getting your weekly fix of tasty treats however, Baking Society offers the opportunity for Newcastle students to become star bakers themselves….

Baking Society has continued to grow every year since its ratification in 2013, and now is one of the largest recreational societies on campus with nearly 300 members. But what does the society actually do?

Compared to the Baking Societies at many other universities across the country, the Newcastle one has a massive USP – access to the NU Food Kitchens in the Agriculture Building. Whereas most societies operate solely on bake-at-home ‘Bring & Share’ sessions, NUBS holds two baking sessions on Wednesday afternoons, in which members are equipped with a recipe, ingredients and good company; all they have to do is bring Tupperware and then they can bake.

“White chocolate and raspberry eclairs, cookies + cream fudge and toffee apples with popcorn coating”

Whereas the average student may struggle to buy specialist ingredients and equipment just for one bake, being a large society means that Baking Society is able to fund a range of unusual and delicious recipes. Past bakes so far this year have included white chocolate and raspberry eclairs, cookies and cream fudge and toffee apples with a popcorn coating, catering for every sweet tooth. Enthusiastic member Jack Green said, “Baking Society is a fun way to meet people while learning how to bake. Baking Soc has everything, all you have to do is show up and bake. It’s great!”

The Society additionally offers masterclass events, allowing members to benefit from the expertise of external ‘star bakers’. The first one of the year took place in November, with ten members attending a vegan cupcake masterclass hosted by the Jesmond Cake Company. Keep your eyes peeled for next year’s Easter Egg masterclass with Davenports too!

The Society is about more than just baking and eating cake for the sake of your own sweet tooth; this year they hope to place a bigger focus on how baking can used to benefit wider society. Traditional bake sales, while a popular and delicious fundraising choice, can become boring and outdated; Baking Society, instead, are thinking of original ideas to raise money for charity. Their first event of the year was a collaboration with Film Society, orchestrated by Alex Logan and Sam Midwood, in which around 40 members of both societies were treated to a free screening of the Pixar classic Ratatouille.

Through the sales of, among others, Pudsey-shaped biscuits, marzipan cake and a variety of flavoured popcorns, the two societies were able to raise £90 for Children In Need; not bad from just watching a film and eating cake, eh? And the Society has further charity events in the pipeline, notably the upcoming soiree A Night Before Christmas raising money for Shelter, with a range of festive afternoon tea-inspired nibbles and entertainment from some of Newcastle University’s finest music societies on offer.

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