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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

From peanut butter to exploding cakes, Katy Dykstra loves all aspects of baking

Katy Dykstra
Senior Katy Dykstra standing by a river on a sunny day.

Senior Katy Dykstra doesn’t just bake, she creates.

From the intricate, painstakingly ornate details of her cakes to the rich flavor, she bakes each one with love. She doesn’t see baking as just a way of making food (with a delicious outcome), but rather as a form of art and self-expression. 

“[Baking] is a good stress reliever because it allows me to be artistic and experiment without having to worry about anything going wrong because, if it goes wrong, you can just start over,” Katy said. “And it’s usually delicious in the end. It’s just a big stress relief to just be able to be in your own world, listen to music, and mix things together that in the beginning always look like a hot mess, and by the end, you realize, ‘Oh, this is so pretty.’”

For Katy, baking isn’t just a hobby; it’s a way to connect with her family, a loving present for friends, and a way to balance the stress of school and life. Katy didn’t one day just unceremoniously decide she was going to become a great baker, it happened gradually and over the years when she got to help in the kitchen.

One of the amazingly detailed cakes that Katy has made. (Katy Dykstra)

“It was around six years ago when I first really got into baking when I was about ten,” Katy said. “It just kind of gradually happened because my stepmom also loves to bake, and so does my dad. I would just be in the kitchen when they were there baking. So I would just watch, and then every now and then, they started asking if I could help, like, ‘Can you do this?’ or I’d ask to be involved more, ‘Can I help? Can I pour, or can I help frost it?’ So, I started inserting myself more and more into what they were doing. Eventually, it just became something where ‘I’m stressed? I’m going to go make some cookies.’”

Of course, when you first begin, you don’t start with years worth of talent; you have to work hard and practice, just as Katy did. It takes one thing to bake well and make mouth-watering cakes, but making them look as good as they taste can be a daunting task. 

Although decorating and intricate design aren’t for everyone, Katy decided to take a leap and try it.

“I took a class [on decorative baking] with my stepmom at Michaels,” Katy said. “It was just a fun ‘Come here and play with icing and like see how to use some tips and whatnot.’ And I realized it was really fun. My first one was basically me just drawing like a three-year-old. And we just kept doing that. My stepmom would watch The Great British Baking Show, and I would see these amazing showstoppers they have those giant grand cakes and the realistic looking elements and the beautiful frosting and flowers and everything, and I wanted to do that.”

Just deciding you want to become good at something doesn’t simply make you a prodigy, so when Katy decided she wanted to become better at the decorative aspect of baking, she put work into it. Her first few attempts weren’t perfect, but with time, her skills grew.

“I tried the first one, which wasn’t great, but I got better. The major [cake design] we did was a hedgehog cake,” Katy said. “I had a big hedgehog at the time. And it was really fun. So then we just started getting more and more intricate with it, and I kept pushing the limits. So we did a baseball, and I would say our craziest one was when we made my grandmother a flower basket for her birthday.”

The flower basket cake that Katy made for her grandmother.

Although everyone knows that baking can take hours, Katy’s process of making her grandmother’s flower basket cake took days. Each flower had to be made with lots of detail, frozen for several hours, and then finally placed on the cake, where Katy had to put more frosting and piping to get the flowers to lay just right. But the effort pays off when you’re baking for the people you love.

Having the skill, time, and effort that is required in baking is an achievement in itself, but making that skill marketable is a whole different level.

“There’s been a couple of times where I’ve had people purchase a cake. Sometimes, if my friends have birthday parties, I’ll make macarons and cakes, and people will ask, ‘Hey, can you make this for me?’ So I would definitely consider it as a side job in the future.”

When making cakes for people, you’re bound to get at least one strange request; for Katy, this request was different than anything she’d ever made before.

“I made a wedding anniversary cake for one of my dad’s colleagues, which was special,” Katy said. “It was a request for the most peanut buttery cake imaginable. He just wanted everything peanut butter. He asked for chocolate peanut butter cake, peanut butter filling, and Reese’s on top of it the entire thing was covered in peanut butter, and peanut butter got everywhere.”

Even though Katy is experienced at baking, she is by no means perfect and slips up like everyone else, but most mistakes don’t lead to the inside of your oven being covered in cake mix.

“I’ve never been able to read well, and I was reading this recipe for a cake, and I read the instructions as add a tablespoon of baking soda and baking powder,” Katy said. “And thought that seemed like a lot. But I went with it because that’s what it said. So I put it in the oven to bake, and the cake exploded in my oven all over and took forever to clean up.”

Most people don’t have enough commitment or time to truly love baking as much as Katy does, but with her dedication and love for it, she finds time to bake whenever she feels like it. Katy actually loves baking so much that she stayed home from Homecoming to bake. 

“I love baking because it’s just a good way to relieve stress, and then it’s delicious when you get to eat it,” Katy said. “It’s especially fun if you do it with your friends because then you and your friends get to go have fun and bake in the kitchen. I didn’t go to Homecoming this year, and my best friend and I stayed home. And we just made cupcakes and cookies in our kitchen, and we watched Stepbrothers. We had a great time because we’re just there it’s a good bonding experience, especially because we get to work together. You get to express your creativity. You can just chit-chat while you’re waiting for something to heat up or fully bake. It’s a nice experience, and everyone should try it.”

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About the Contributor
Addie Woltil
Addie Woltil, Copy Editor
Addie Woltil is a sophomore entering her second year writing for The Central Trend. She is excited about another year of writing on staff and more to come. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, going to the mall, and watching overrated reality TV shows. She loves ending her day in room 139 and can't wait for what's next. Favorite fruit: Mango Favorite TV show: How I Met Your Mother Favorite day of the year: July 24th

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