We’re a nation obsessed with baking but while the artisans - and perhaps our grandmothers - still love to do things by hand, modern living means most people just do not have the time or inclination, let alone the knowledge.
To prove this, the Leeds-based M&S Archive has gone back through its records to examine national baking trends and is publicising the results as part of its sponsorship and support of the Macmillan Coffee Morning on September 30, which raises money to pay for Macmillan nurses to help terminally ill people.
A spokeswoman said: “Hosting your own coffee morning doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen creating a baked masterpiece. Whether you’re a star home baker or seasoned shop-bought faker, you can contribute towards a coffee morning near you and make a real difference. Home baking recipes may well have been passed on through generations but it seems that people have also been faking it for decades too. We’ve dug deep into our Archives to see just how home baking trends have changed over the years.”
In the 1920s and 1930s, M&S sold a range of cookware for home-baking so people could create their own bakes at home. For those that didn’t have the time, M&S also supplied ready-made confectionery foods such as biscuits, slab cakes and fudge. By the 1930s, pre-made cakes were sold at all stores in the newly introduced ‘food departments’.
In the late 40s and 50s, the M&S food technology department thoroughly tested all cake recipes to ensure optimum taste, freshness and appearance, with the aim of creating cakes that could pass as ‘homemade’, while the 1980s saw the introduction of frozen cakes. During September M&S will be donating 10 per cent of sales from classic cakes to Macmillan Cancer Support.