Society of the Week: Durham University Baking Society

Nobody can have enough cake and if you’re the kind of person who likes to relax with a chocolate bar, who would choose a brownie over a banana any day, and who gets more Sweet Tooth deliveries than Dominos, you should be Durham University Baking Society’s newest member.

We interviewed the DUBS team to find out exactly what goes on in this especially sweet society.

When was DUBS established?

At the beginning of 2014, a group of us got together with the fantastic idea of a Baking Society. We registered as an official DSU society in March 2014, so we’re still a new society learning to find our feet. We’re thrilled that DUBS is so popular already!

What was the inspiration behind it?

Honestly, just our shared love of cake!

Do you make your own recipes or copy others?

Both. We love using our favourite recipe books and blogs, like Mary Berry’s Baking Bible or Joy The Baker’s amazing blog. However, once we’ve tried a recipe for the first time, we often tweak it or change ingredients. Some of the exec love to invent new recipes too – today we invented Caramel Cookie Sandwiches.

What’s your favourite recipe? Rachel (Treasurer) loves her mum’s Banana Cake recipe, and Harriet (Social Secretary) adores any kind of refrigerator cake.

What’s the worst baking disaster that’s ever happened?

Tabitha (Review Editor) tried to make Butternut Squash cupcakes once – they were disgusting!

What kind of things do you bake? All kinds of things! Cupcakes, brownies, biscuits, cookies, truffles, flapjack, traybakes…

Where do you bake?

Generally in college kitchens, although sometimes we hire out larger venues so that more people can bake at the same time.

How often are your meetings and what are they like?

We meet roughly once a fortnight, and every time is different. For instance, we do cake crawls (like a bar crawl but visiting several different cafes to sample their baked goods), Bring-Your-Own-Bakes, competitions, skills workshops (e.g. learning more advanced skills like caramel making) and blind tasting sessions. We’re also running masterclasses this term during which small groups get to make something more complex, like Black Forest Gateau.

Who is your favourite celeb baker and why?

Jessica (our Publicity Officer) thinks that Mary Berry is the best celeb baker – cliched, but she’s awesome! Jess wants to be her best friend.

If you could only eat one cake for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Siobhan (President) would go for Black Forest Gateau, because the cherries must make it healthy and all the chocolate is so delicious!

Where’s your favourite place to eat cake in Durham?

Cynthia (Social Secretary) thinks that Flat White is the best place in Durham. She loves the homemade cakes, awesome atmosphere, consistently friendly staff and good coffee!

What’s the ultimate baking playlist?

Jess (Publicity Officer) has a whole range of baking playlists, varying from cheesy Taylor Swift to Busted to Foo Fighters. Anything that keeps you upbeat is good!

How did you all learn to bake? Or did you just give it a go yourselves?

We’re all still learning to bake, honestly. Some of us were taught by parents and grandparents, and some of us have picked it up much more recently. It’s great getting back to basics when we’re teaching baking skills, and we love to learn tips from our amazing members too.

Describe your society with a song title.

‘I Love Rocky Road’ by Weird Al Yankovic

Last but not least, why should we join?

Because we love baking and so should you!

So…get your apron on and join DUBS!

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