Today is one of those days I am very glad I am not a contestant on The Great British Bake Off.
Yesterday I decided that I missed baking, and that I would spend the majority of my day today baking things. I knew that we were running low on supplies, so I put together a shopping list based on the four cakes I knew I wanted to make. Even though I know four cakes is far too many cakes.
Although how I can even type the words ‘far too many cakes’ and remain true to myself is boggling my mind slightly.
I need the children to shout: ‘But mama, there can never be enough cakes.’
This morning, after dropping Oscar at school and shouting at Tallulah for faking my signature, which she did badly, which is stupid given that the school have nine million copies of my signature on file. And which, had she but asked I would probably have taught her how to do, as I have Tilly, given that I am not in the slightest bit interested in signing homework logs every week. I went to the supermarket.
I was jolly efficient and bought many fine things, and remembered to put the oven on before I went out.
Then, when I got home I realised that there were at least four things that should have been on the list that weren’t, and that made me irritable. I sent Jason out for the things and started baking.
The first rule of bake club is never bake when you are irritable. I am a great believer in the idea that mood affects your cooking ability (I have watched Like Water for Chocolate – for me it was more of a documentary). When things go wrong they come not as single spies but in battalions and all that.
So stupidly. because I was grumpy, and time was slipping by, and I didn’t have all my ingredients yet, I decided to start with the one cake I’ve never made before, a fancy pants chocolate number which was supposed to be for my crochet class this evening.
It is fair to say I made a total and utter hash of it, and forgot to remember that the oven runs hot, and by this time had been on for about eleventy hours. I also made the classic, schoolboy error of not checking on the cake before the time the book says it should be ready. Hence, by the time it came out, it had erupted out of the tin, burned on the top and edges, and was liquid in the middle.
I cannot remember the last time I had such a catastrophic baking experience.
I sliced the top off, put foil over it and whacked it back in the oven for twenty minutes.
It made no discernible difference except that the edges were now beginning to turn into crap biscuit.
After extensive testing, where it transpired that should the cake actually be baked correctly, it would taste rather delicious, I decided I would bake it again, but with due care and attention.
I would also get a few of my more practised bakes out the way to buoy my confidence before starting afresh.
I have now made a successful chocolate malteser cake, and am waiting for my banana caramel cake to cool before I can ice it with dulce de leche butter cream. I have the new cake mix for the new cake mark II in the oven and am watching it like a hawk, and am shortly making forays into a spiced apple cake.
We got there in the end, but I can just hear what Paul and Mary would say given the dismal state of the first cake. That disbelieving look that Paul gets in his eye when you’ve served him something that might kill him, and the drawling Scouse way he pronounces ‘raw’ with maximum sarcasm. In the meantime, while Paul goes in for the kill, Mary is twisting the knife with a look like a kicked puppy and the word ‘disappointing’ hovering on her lips.