Baking and the PhD

There appears to be something about doing a PhD that makes people bake.

I’ve been ‘warned’ by several current and ex-PhD students that there will be a baking phase of my PhD. Perhaps it’s something about being constructive outside the lab, relaxing and getting that feel good feeling, or maybe it’s just the need for sugar and home comforts to get us through the week.

Even as the annual #GBBO frenzy dies down it feels like pretty much everyone in the nation is obsessed with baking. Cake appears to be a staple of many a work environment, and for good reason. In academia it can hold an even more important place.


At my new workplace a cake competition brought the whole building together.

While completing my MRes and working as a technician, Monday afternoon cake club was a staple of the office. It provided a delicious homemade cake each week, but also the opportunity to catch up in a relaxed way. Often I wouldn’t get the chance to properly speak to the people in different groups between each cake club. It helped unite the (open plan) office and combat loneliness, a tough part of the PhD.

In true PhD student style, a big part of attending conferences can be the food with pastries in the morning, biscuits with coffee and perhaps a cake with lunch. We become connoisseurs of the conference circuit, knowing which caters provide the best selection and which societies invest in the best spread.


Until perhaps one day, we become refined enough to not need to fill up on these sugar and fat loaded morsels…one day.

A desert highlight of this years symposia

A dessert highlight of this years symposia

Cake can even be an educational tool – The Physiological Societies annual BioBakes competition has just closed it’s entries so I look forward to seeing the short-list online. Plus check out these brilliant cakes of science collated by @garwboy!

If you really want to get into your baking science BBC Focus Magazine have produced a ‘Bake Off’ special with Q&As ranging from how to avoid a soggy bottom to the effect of baking on mental health.

Anyhow I think I’ve already reached my baking stage…just need to put that crumble in the oven. After all it is autumn now and I’ve only got that first year report to finish…

Have you noticed this phenomenon? How has baking worked it’s way into your PhD?

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2 Responses to Baking and the PhD

  1. SKitchenS says:

    I can give faith! There is a baking phase in (almost) every Ph.D. Actually in my case, the phase became a complete addiction when I went on to my post-doc 😉

  2. schrokit says:

    I baked during mine AND during my undergrad in pharmacology. It’s kitchen chemistry, and just so satisfying innit? 😀

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