If you had asked me pre-March 2020 to bake you something, you would have been given a rice crispy cake at best. Famously, during the first COVID-19 pandemic, everyone went mad for banana bread- a very strange and bland choice in my opinion but each to their own. Personally, banana bread isn’t for me, so I found happiness in baking something a little more indulgent- brownies.

My history of baking

As we’ve established, baking has never been my passion. In fact, it would bring me nothing but stress. I have always been better at writing than maths, which means working out the correct measurement of ingredients has always challenged me. I have never been an artist, so decorating bakes always irritated me. Above all, the sheer thought of burning whatever I am baking and then serving it to anyone bought me nothing short of dread and fear. In conclusion, baking was never something I would consider a relaxing past time. I would rather sit back, with a cup of tea and shop-bought cake, and watch others bake on The Great British Bake Off, then participate myself. 

So, what changed? When the UK went into the first lockdown, I left my house in London, which I share with my closest friends, and, temporarily, moved in with my mum and sister. It was the first time since I had left home, at the age of 18, that I had spent more than a couple of weeks with them. Couple that with the fact that I was working, sleeping, and relaxing in my mum’s living room, and trying to navigate the pandemic, there was a bit of friction and adjustment that had to happen. Not to bore you all with the details, but I needed to find a way to relax. 

The turning point

One day, I was scrolling through BBC Good Food, don’t ask me why because I don’t know, and I came across a recipe for the “Best Ever Chocolate Brownies”. It seemed simple enough. No blind baking, fermentation, or laminating. Just straight forward, simple baking. So, with a sense of nervous anticipation, I baked my first batch of brownies. 

I watched closely as my mum and sister took their first bites. As I watched them chew, my heart rate soared. After what felt like hours, they both smiled and expressed their love for my bake. I don’t think I have ever been happier.

As they say, the rest is history. I started baking brownies once a week and experimenting with my flavours. Chocolate orange brownies, peanut butter brownies, and, as you can see over on my Instagram page, salted caramel brownies. 

Welcome to my new venture, Baking with Isla. A place where I can share my latest bakes and the stories behind them. Head over to my Instagram page to see how I make my bakes.