Pud bought me a rather brilliant cookbook for Christmas. Well, when I say Pud bought it, I ordered it from Amazon and told Pud he owed me £11.99. Needless to say it didn’t come gift-wrapped. Bitterness aside, this book is right up my street! It’s crammed full of delicious cake recipes that look simple enough for even the most virginal of bakers, i.e me.
I don’t mind admitting that I find baking quite tricky. I always start with the best of intentions but I’m a little bit scared of it if I’m honest. Everything has to be just so, whereas my natural cooking technique is slightly more hmmm, shall we say rustic. Before I even enter the kitchen there are certain issues that I just know are going to thwart my attempts to become the next Mary Berry (actually she’s a bit smug anyway):
- my scales are inaccurate. I can tip an entire block of butter on and they will hardly register any change in weight or a spoonful of sugar will end up weighing about 250 grams
- 99.9% of my wooden spoons smell of curry
- I rarely realise that I don’t have the right sized tin for the job until all my ingredients are weighed out (inaccurately) and I’m standing there with a tape measure wondering if a 20cm square tin will do the same job as an 18cm round one (It won’t, take it from me tin size is key)
- my butter is never ever soft enough
But I don’t let these factors deter me, oh no. I laugh in the face of cake adversity and soldier on in the vain hope that one day I will produce something that doesn’t resemble two bright yellow Frisbees sandwiched together with seeping blood or blobs of chocolate-tasting dog poo as someone at work once said when I displayed my homemade birthday biscuits for all to enjoy. He’s lucky I didn’t make him try my shortcrust pastry.
So, armed with my new cake book, an even newer baking tin and more than a slight feeling of trepidation, I set about making a chocolate brownie tray bake.
Here’s a brief summary of what followed:-
- the butter wasn’t soft enough (I did warn you) and got jammed in the spokes(?) of the electric whisk
- I ate half of the chocolate chunks that were supposed to be added in
- I lifted the whisk too high out of the bowl and splattered approximately half of the kitchen with cake mix
- I licked the spoon, the spatula, the whisk, the teaspoon required to get the mix off the spoon and tested a little bit from the bowl just for good measure
- I didn’t fancy any lunch
Eventually I had a thick, sticky goo that the recipe said should be poured into the cake tray. Well there was no pouring here let me tell you, just a loud splat as I shook the mix from the spoon with a considerable amount of force. As I shut the oven door and set about clearing up the carnage left behind I resigned myself to yet another weird and wonderfully shaped offering for the family.
But as the timer pinged and I slowly pulled open the oven door I could not believe the sight that befell me! A plump bed of warm, rich, chocolateness that not only smelt edible but looked the part as well!
Oh my days how we celebrated in the Puddington Residence. Molly gave the brownies ten out of ten (coming from the girl who regularly scores me five on the mashed potato lump-ometer), Pud said it was my best attempt yet (not actually sure if that’s any kind of accolade) and I managed to get my appetite back and eat two pieces in one go.
When I move with the times and manage to create fancy stuff like links on these pages I will direct you straight to the book that has inspired me to persevere with cake making. For now though, this will have to do…..
Go and buy ‘Bake me a Cake as Fast as You Can’ by Miranda Gore Browne.