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For the seventh successive year The Great British Bake Off  is returning to our screens!

After opening the first ever Stir Crazy Cup Cake Bakery in South Yorkshire, I've been spending most of my internet times on keeping the company site up to date, but I thought that - given the return of one of my favourite shows - it would be a good idea to get back to personal blogging. It may seem a little redundant stating it here, but I absolutely adore this show. Over the years, its given us so many wonderful memories both heart warming and hilarious - providing us with wonderful water-cooler moments to discuss with friends and colleagues. Indeed, much like traditional offices running sweep stakes at the beginning of the English Football Premier League, we've got a £50 prize waiting for the winner of our little competition here at the bakery. My money's on Candice, the peppy P.E. teacher from Bedfordshire hopes to live up to the example that her Mother set her as a child. candiceThere's nothing quite like a heart-warming story to pique my interest. Candice's childhood growing up in the pubs that her parents managed sounded perfectly idyllic, add to that a charming Mother-Daughter baking relationship and she had me from hello! I've got all my fingers and toes crossed for her and hope she can hold on right til the end! We're hoping to capitalise on the popularity of the show here in the bakery, by selling baking goods and preparation tools. It may seem counter-productive for a bakery to be selling the means for customers to make their own cakes with, but its really all about fostering an enthusiasm and passion for baking. cupcakesWe're confident enough, in our skills as a team, to feel like we can hand our customers the knowledge and tools to make their own cakes, and still have them coming back to us for our cupcakes. Our secret ingredients and expert decoration techniques have been worked on collectively for over a decade; and you certainly can't buy that in any shop!    
I know I've been away for a while. Apologies. But I'm back baby!! Baking for a living usually means that your kitchen is a mess – all the bloody time! The counter tops are covered in icing sugar and icing, you’ve got bits of eggshell seemingly floating around, and no matter what I do I can never bloody find my spatula even though I put it down like two minutes ago and it was totally just there. It means that while I hate it, and don’t always do it, I have to clean up in my kitchen loads. Well last week I felt like making a change. It was my birthday, and instead of making myself a cake like I do every year, I invited loads of my friends over for a big barbecue in the garden. I made up my famous jerk sauce and grilled chicken and vegetable kebabs – it was great. Obviously I had some cupcakes there, but they were mostly left over from some work I did earlier in the week so they were first-come-first-served, and went really quickly. Did you hear about the BBC Good Food site being taken down? I’m absolutely gutted because I only just found this really good recipe for a rub for barbecued corn on the cob and now I might have it all ripped away from me. Obviously I don’t use it for baking (amateur hour, hello!) but for cooking, which isn’t really my strong suit, I absolutely love it. Although now I look at it, this video assures me that they will be kept online after all! So I’m desperate to have another barbecue while the sun is still good, but the combination of meat fat and jerk sauce have cooked onto the grill and it’s proving near-impossible to clean effectively. What really worries me is that I have some vegetarian and vegan friends coming over next weekend and I need to make sure it’s clean enough that I can do a barbecue for them, so I’m gonna call the BBQ Cleaner post-haste to come sort this out. I know it’s really lazy but he’ll do a way better job than I could, and with a lot less effort thanks to his fancy cleaning machine. So wish me luck for a second barbecue next weekend!
Some days I'm just like "Oh my god! I just don't want to do anything ever again! Least of all clean the oven!" I can just get so crazy lazy! You know what I mean? I have to clean my oven or something and I just feel like 'I cannot be bothered!' Like, to do anything. I just can't drag myself to my feet and tell myself that there is any point in me getting out of bed. I mean, why would there be? What do I contribute? The world doesn't need me. It doesn't need me to drag my useless corpse in and out of doors and meetings and in front of people and away from them again. It doesn't need me to get up and 'speak my mind' or 'be myself' or ' be the best me I can be'. It doesn't need me at all. The only reason to any of that is to keep myself going, how futile and circular is that?! You may as well just lie down and wait for your body to give up. You know what I mean? Some days you just want to lie around in your PJ's! lazy

Silly kitten! You've got kitten stuff to do! Get up!

I don't want to clean the oven! On days like that I'm just all fed up, moody moody! Daddy used to call me 'moody moron' when I got like that. He used to say I was having 'one of my moods'. He used to say 'You completely lost it! You and your moods!' He never actually tried to ask me how I felt and find out why I felt that way though did he? Did he even once? Did he ever actually talk to me like I could say something which would change how he thought of me? No! Ha! Crazy guy. It's like: Did you ever think that maybe a child who is screaming and crying is doing so because they are in distress? And that as the parent you may be almost totally responsible for that distress? No no, of course not, the 9 year old has just 'decided' to get upset. Yeah, that sounds great.


I had to clean the oven though and I didn't want to do it. But then I found these guys: They came round and did the whole thing for me, isn't that great! Yay! So I could stay in bed and stare at the ceiling. Or scream into my pillow! Sometimes, if I scream really hard, I can scream louder than the feelings I'm trying not to feel. jack   Yeah!

I like the phrase stir crazy. I used to imagine that it was the craziness you felt after stiring for too long whilst cooking. Or it would conjure up images of someone rolling their head around their neck, stirring their mind, going insane. Or the craziness you can get from routines that are just a bit to all consuming, when you feel like you have no control, you’re just being stirred around the pot of your life by a spoon you never wanted. Theres something inherently a little crazy about stirring, it’s just a little to repetitive, you can’t help but stare into what it is you’re stirring, and then you can’t help but mutter under your breath about how once complete, the contents of your pot will help you wreak great evil.

Shakespeare's Hags, giving stirring a bad name since 1606.

But it transpires that stir-crazy has nothing to do with any of this. In fact, Stir-crazy takes pride of place as one of the longest running pieces of prison slang in the English language.   The phrase dates back as far as 1925 and is one of a host of sayings that link to the term ‘stir’ as a slang name for prison. ‘Stir’ itself originates from to old Romany words staripen meaning to imprison and sturiben meaning a prison. So Prison was the stir, and prison was a hard place to be. A place that pushed its inhabitance mental states all the way to the edge. So a phrase grew of ‘stir-bugs’ as those inmates who mental health deteriorated because of the mind-numbing boredom of incarceration. This phrase was not meant to refer to mental instability brought on by the shocking and brutal aspects of prison life, but the problems brought on by its shear depressing maddening boredom.


Well, shear depressing maddening boredom is what we want to fight against here. Though we must confess that it is not on the quite so important scale as the issue of prison reform. No, what we want to get rid of is the depressingly, maddeningly boring state of modern cooking. Even the renegades seem to follow the same pattern at the moment, they have some tattoo’s, dress like they’re from the 50’s, and are vegan. That pretty much sums them up, which is weird? Why do they all look like that? It would be an interesting investigation in itself. I suspect that it’s something to do with a feminist inspired reclaiming of the old image of the traditional housewife. They wear these 50’s clothes that may be associated with the old ‘dinner on the table’ housewife of Norman Rockwell and the first American sitcoms...

The Little Lady.

but the hair is died black, the tattoo’s are showing, there’s a punk aesthetic front and centre.

Natalie Slater

I’m not meaning to patronise or insult. I’m saying nothing negative here. It’s just a fascinating image. It’s very conscious of the expectations on a woman who bakes, and of a woman with tattoo’s, and it attempts to subvert both expectations, and does so successfully I would say. All I’m saying though is that this is not a novel thing anymore, and novelty is key, it’s what moves things forward.

Good for them though, for moving things forward. Now we’re going to have a go.

Hey! Welcome to the new internet centre for cakes and food that think outside the box.

Here at stir crazy we’ve grown bored of the same old ideas and recipies coming back again and again. The same combinations. The same flavors.

Even self proclaimed ‘innovative’ and ‘interesting’ food seems to play to a known tune. We know what can be done but we still do it and call it madness. It’s not madness, it’s recycled originality, and it’s got to stop.

This is where it stops. Right here at Stir Crazy Cup Cakery.

Let’s do this!