How to Find Your Own Baking Style
A few weeks ago I did a poll on my Instagram stories and 99% of you said you’d LOVE to know how to find/discover/develop your own, unique baking style!
🌟 This is incredibly exciting because it means that deep down inside of you, you know there’s MORE to you than just copying other bakers’ cakes.
You know you’ve got creativity hiding inside of you and you’re longing to unleash it!
And if you’re here reading this post you’ve probably had ENOUGH of replicating Pinterest cakes that your clients email you, right?
It’s the best feeling when people can see a picture of a cake you made and KNOW instantly that it’s YOUR work.
But now the only question that remains is HOW do you find your own baking style?
I sincerely wish I could tell you to just clap your hands 3 times, twirl around twice and then your style will come to you… Sadly, it’s not that quick or simple!
👉 If you REALLY want to find your baking style, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper here into yourself. You’ll need to access parts of yourself you’ve been steered away from your whole life.
But it’s TOTALLY worth it!
Here are my 5 Secrets for Finding your Baking Style…
1. Stop Policing Your Creativity
When’s the last time you saw young kids paint?
Do you ever see them run out of ideas?
I recently babysat our friends’ kids; a boy and a girl aged 3 and 4. Adorable munchkins, but after 2 hours of trampoline jumping I was EXHAUSTED!! Yet they still wanted to keep going!
It’s hard to remember a time that I EVER had that much energy…
I was desperate for a more relaxing activity; one where I got to SIT down for a few hours!
And then it came to me – let’s draw!! That’ll be fun!
But when we sat down to start drawing I had zero ideas.
By the time I’d sifted through my “bad, horrible and stupid ideas”, the kids had already drawn 4 or 5 pictures each!! And they were having a BLAST! Not for a second did they consider to care whether they were “doing it right” or not. They never stopped and freaked out because they made a mistake.
To them, there were no mistakes.
They haven’t learned that lingo yet. They were bottomless pits of creativity and originality.
I know I was like that once upon a time and I’m SURE you were too! We were ALL born with a bottomless supply of creativity and originality. If we’re not sure, we’ll take a chance!
Sir Ken Robinson is the speaker at one of my Top 5 Favourite TED Talks EVER. He’s an advocate for change in the global education system – AND he happens to be quite hilarious too!
His ground-breaking Ted Talk that I was referring to is entitled: “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”. Here’s one of my favourite snippets in that Presentation…
So clearly, as we get older, school teaches us that things get done a certain way. Anything beyond that is a mistake and “mistakes are unacceptable and even punishable”.
And so we eventually BELIEVE with our entire being that we must avoid mistakes at any cost…
I once saw this quote by James Wedmore that just changed my entire understanding of mistakes and failure:
“There is no such thing as failure. Either you succeed OR you learn what you needed to learn.”
I feel that one of the huge lies we believe today is that success is an EVENT.
🌟 While the truth is that mistakes are 100% PART OF success.
Thomas Edison said “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.”
The very notion that ANY type of learning or growth needs to happen without mistakes is ridiculous and FALSE.
Mistakes form a VITAL PART of your creative process! You NEED to go through them to get to the good stuff.
So stop avoiding mistakes & failure!
We’re not in school anymore. Go for it! Try things, make mistakes and improve. It’s ESSENTIAL for your growth and the process of discovering and cultivating your baking style.
2. 100% Embrace Who YOU Really Are
WHEN exactly do we suddenly start becoming self-aware and comparing ourselves to others?
When do the lies about our unique creativity start creeping in and make us sensor and compromise our TRUE style?
It should come as no surprise that SCHOOL is where all this drama starts.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m a HUGE fan of learning and growing!! The problem with school though is that the learning is overshadowed by ACHIEVING and being better than everyone else.
And if your art isn’t the “best” or at least “better than” Sally, Michael and Joe’s – then you suck. We’ve been conditioned to believe that if our creativity isn’t being praised by certain people, our uniqueness is embarrassing and not “good enough”.
THAT’S where we start to SUPPRESS or ALTER our true self.
We push down any parts of our creativity that isn’t what people are looking for.
And the rest of our creativity we BEND to suit people’s requirements.
And if you do this long enough, you’ll entirely forget how to express YOUR creativity.
It’s not because of learning and receiving an education. It’s just the fruit of being educated within a system that’s BASED on comparison, achievements and approval.
And at such impressionable ages we become addicted to achievements, comparison and approval from superiors!
Why do you think we all want our cakes to be “perfect”? Because we were taught that mistakes are bad and embarrassing.
Why do you think we want 1000 Facebook & Instagram followers? Because school made us addicted to approval from others.
So finding your baking style is not so much about learning NEW strategies or steps as it is about UNLEARNING everything false that we learned about ourselves as kids.
Through our years at school, our minds come to fully BELIEVE that our purest creativity is unwanted, unnecessary and often even embarrassing.
Hans Zimmer is one of the best examples here…
He’s a LEGENDARY score composer, meaning he composes music for movies.
He’s created music for hundreds of films and is arguably the BEST score composer of this age! Think of him as the Mozart of today.
Some of his film scores include; The Lion King, Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of the Caribbean, Interstellar, Inception, The Prince of Egypt – just to name a few!
(I cry every single time I hear the score music from The Prince of Egypt! Give it a listen. It’s incredibly moving and beautiful.)
What most people don’t know is that Hans was kicked out of Piano class after just 2 weeks. He was an impossible child that got kicked out of 8 schools as well!
“I grew up modifying the piano, shall we say, which made my mother gasp in horror.”
Lucky for Hans he WAS incredibly stubborn and difficult! Because that helped him to stick to his process and not compromise his creativity!
But bakers like you and me on the other hand have soft hearts, am I right?
We LOVE making people happy! And if it means we need to compromise our true self and true creativity, so be it.
Now we are adults though and NO ONE’S happiness is your responsibility anymore.
You don’t need to please your parents or teachers or peers anymore.
And you definitely don’t need their stamp of approval anymore either! (In fact, you never actually did…)
Just look at Hans’s creativity, style and success! And he NEVER had his teachers or parents’ approval. He TRUSTED in the talents, perspectives and creativity God gave him. He never restricted it to please anyone.
So you’ll need to make an intentional CHOICE to encourage your mind that it’s TOTALLY SAFE, GOOD and NECESSARY to unleash its creativity.
The ONLY way for your creativity to come out of hiding is to TOTALLY accept yourself and PRACTICE your creativity.
Regularly give yourself permission to go wild!
Whether it’s with drawing, dancing, painting – ANYTHING creative. Not just baking. When you learn to let loose in these areas you’ll start to get new ideas for your baking too.
And this is not a once-off thing!
You need to KEEP ON accepting and EMBRACING all that you are for your creativity to reveal itself – layer by layer.
Your style is exactly that; YOUR style. YOU are the center of it. So, the better you know, discover and embrace who you’ve been made to be, the clearer your style will become.
An Important Side Note:
👉 Honestly, it’s entirely possible and probable that your creativity/style won’t IMPRESS you!
You may think it’s a bit boring compared to other bakers’ work. Or that it needs to be FANCIER!
On top of that there will be thousands of people out there who won’t be impressed by your style either.
You know you’re onto something if some people love it and others don’t.
And truth be told, my baking style really doesn’t impress me. To me it feels quite “basic”. Sometimes I wish I enjoyed making more elaborate, decorative cakes that get shared on Wilton’s Instagram feed!
But here’s what’s important; my style may not impress me, BUT it feels 100% COMFORTABLE and RIGHT.
All my most loyal clients love my style and to THEM it’s impressive 🙂 And there will be a heap of clients who feel the same way about YOUR style my friend!
3. Spark & Chase Your Curiosity
I recently heard a fantastic tip for overcoming writers block. Cool thing is that this tip actually works for pretty much ANY creative who feels stuck in their creative process!
Here’s what you do… Just ask yourself the question “what if?”
What if a wolf jumped out behind the tree?
What if the rudder of the ship broke?
Or what if the Villain is actually the hero’s father?
The phrase “what if” sparks our curiosity and opens up worlds of possibilities we haven’t considered before!
When I think about it, most of my baking philosophies, recipes and style come from asking myself this very question – even though I might have been unaware of it at the time.
Super sweet Fondant cakes with dry cake layers were EVERYWHERE when I started out.
I HATED their flavour (or lack thereof!)…
But WHAT IF cake could actually taste freakin delicious? Moist, soft and yummy in its own right – without drenching the cake layers in sugar syrup.
WHAT IF I could develop a different frosting that wasn’t just a paste of fat and sugar, but actually had FLAVOUR?
WHAT IF I garnished my cupcakes like the flower crown I wore this past weekend?
Or what if I just used recognizable, delicious ingredients to garnish my cakes?
The question “what if” helps us to get out of our current, plain point of view and see things from an entirely new perspective 🙂
Creating curiosity for yourself is like an invitation to take a boat ride around the island you’re living on.
And once that curiosity boat pulls up, get in it! Embrace it, chase it and see how far it will take you.
This exercise may be a bit outside your comfort zone, but that’s where the magic happens! And I promise, after you’ve done it 3 times you’ll LOVE it! It makes you feel ALIVE again.
4. Time and Persistence Bring Growth
It’s so easy for us to look at creative, successful bakers and assume that they had their awesome style right from the start.
But what we don’t see is that it took hundreds and often even thousands of attempts to get to their style.
It’ll take time, repetition and persistence to uncover all the layers of protection you’ve built around your creativity.
We all tend to focus on Thomas Edison’s most amazing invention – the light bulb. But did you have any clue that he actually created 1093 patents of which less than 5 were triumphs??
Everyone adores Mozart’s famous compositions and yes he was a prodigy, but EVEN HE had to create 600 pieces of which only 6 are included in the 50 Greatest Compositions of All Time!
“If you want to be original, the most important possible thing you could do is to do a huge volume of work.” – Ira Glass
It takes patience, repetition and persistence to strike gold because our first ideas are usually the most conventional ones.
But the more we produce, the higher our chance of originality becomes!
In my case it took about 2 years of baking the same 8 layer cakes over and over and over again to START developing my own style.
What’s now known as my “iconic swirl” to my Instagram followers only came about after 4 years of baking full-time!
5. Don’t Let Your Style Search Hold You Back
Now you may be thinking: “4 Years?! I can’t wait that long to become a successful baker!”
But you don’t need your style to be 100% figured out before you can start selling your baking. Your baking doesn’t have to be “perfect” before it will mean something to people.
So many bakers get stuck on having everything perfectly in place before they dare to sell any of their bakes. Don’t do that to yourself!
🌟 The most important thing is to keep moving in the right direction. START baking things you want to EAT! Be honest in your baking.
Customers know instinctively when you’re pretending to be someone you’re not in your baking. And that’s when they’ll want discounts because why would you pay full price for a fake Prada handbag?
As I’ve said, I baked FULL-TIME from Home for 6 years (making a full salary) before my style really came to life. All that time I was baking thousands of treats every month and earning good money for them.
The point of this post is this: if you want your Home Bakery to stand out and attract customers, then you’ll need to base your menu on what’s unique (that’s YOU) and not what’s popular (trends).
If you keep baking what everyone else is baking, your Home Bakery will disappear in the ocean of other bakeries who’s baking looks exactly like yours.
Does all this make sense?