What is it about millennials and retro? In a move away from fast fashion, fast food and life in the fast lane, the generation we assume resides on social media is actually in the kitchen, baking. Well, they’re on social media too — blogging and Instagraming oven-fresh sweetness. These 20-somethings enjoy the process and the passion of it, along with the loveliness of the way it all looks. They’re not quite frazzled mums juggling school drops and soccer pick-ups with a profitable home-baking business. Instead, they’re baking for the experience of it, to get a little more out of life itself.
“It’s relaxing and fulfils you creatively, freeing you from the daily pressures of life. It’s a getaway, an escape. You’re in that moment and nothing else can give you the satisfaction that baking does. You can take your time and enjoy what you’re doing,” says Delhi-based Radhika Malhotra Arora, who runs a B2B business developing recipes for brands.
Sugarnspicebyradhika on Instagram has 14.9k followers. Now 26, she started when she was 23, following international bloggers, mainly from the US and UK. And while she, like many of her generation, started baking with her mum, she feels the whole revival began in the West. Here, other reasons why the young aren’t restless anymore, and how they’re having their cake and eating it too.
Baking develops patience
Five years ago, Priya Vijan, then 23, from Bengaluru, was encouraged by a friend in Moscow to look back to the rich home-cooking heritage that India had to offer. Over time, she says, it helped her evolve as a person. “I don’t jump into things anymore, and take my time to make decisions,” she says. “Baking is a process of trial and error and it helps to slow you down.” She’s also built her business from a time before pretty cake pictures were popular, so Vijan worked hard at fusing her training in fashion with her baking business, Melt it Down.
Room for experimentation
Cupcakes and muffins, those any-occasion (or no-occasion) treats are what Paridhi Jain, from Visakhapatnam, loves best.
Jain, who is 22 now, started baking at 10, to earn a little money. She feels cupcakes give her room to try many different things, before she expands it to a larger version. Her recent experiments with healthy cupcakes: wholegrains with beetroot and bottle gourd sans fat (she uses milk and milk powder to hold it together), have worked well, she says.
You sharpen multiple skills
Bloggers are the mainstay of food pictures online. Gayatri Sakhuja, 24, who launched thedessertproject.in in 2015, bakes just for the joy of it. She worked in digital marketing, and both her hobby and her job fed into each other.
“I enjoy the entire creative process of baking, photography and writing. There is also technology to learn about, whether operating a DSLR or putting up a website,” she says.
It’s about spreading happiness
While Jain loves the feeling of feeding people, Arora says the spurt in baked desserts is because they make for a pretty picture. Perhaps that’s what the world needs right now: a hobby or a passion that brings a smile to people’s faces.
Relationships are renewed
“Through my childhood, my nani always had a chocolate and vanilla cake waiting on the table each time we visited,” says Shivesh Bhatia, 20, whose Instagram account has 88.7k followers, and who blogs at bakewithshivesh.com.
Five years ago, she fell sick and wasn’t able to bake anymore. Sitting around her bed, Bhatia says a bunch of cousins decided to recreate some of that joy. They rushed out and bought a whole bunch of pre-mixes and readymade icing and baked a bunch of cupcakes. Today, Bhatia loves the magic of seeing the simplest ingredients being transformed into pure joy. He plans to do a course in the art and craft of pastry making, at Ferrandi in Paris, and hopes some day to open his own place. He enjoys making choux pastry and eating chocolate cookies — a midnight snack he whips up himself.