It is my lovely friend Karen’s birthday and she is having an afternoon of cake. She is a baker extraordinaire – she can rustle up a pecan pie at the blink of an eye, create a beautiful blueberry gateau with just a little more effort. All the more impressive when she manages to create the most gorgeous of concoctions without the backbone of baking – wheat, due to an intolerance. I’m trying to do dairy-free at the moment, and cut down on sugar so between us we have probably sucked out all the fun and what makes cakes so gloriously decadent. Still maybe for one day I can indulge! I am also attempting to make my own somewhat more modest addition to the feast – a wheat and dairy free chocolate cherry cake. Have found a great cookbook, the picture looks nice, lets hope my efforts match. It’s always amazing to see the messy magic that takes place when you bake – my kitchen does always look like a flour bomb has hit it and the batter and butter cover every conceivable instrument and vessel. but there is alchemy in cake making. These seemingly innocuous substances combine and (hopefully) become way greater than the sum of their parts (or a slightly expensive, unedible experiment as I have found to my cost, usually when i have gone off-road in a recipe – you can do that quite happily when cooking but not baking!). They rise and billow and morph and evolve into something a mouth-watering world away from their elemental ingredients. Anyway, wish me luck with this one… lets hope the kitchen gods are smiling on me. I have a lot to live up to given Karen’s talents (and that of her other friends). Don’t want to be the one that is left with just one slice missing when other magical offerings have been devoured and all that remains are crumbs and a streak of icing or chocolate. Don’t want to do the whole ‘full-tupperware’ walk of shame back home from the party!! Might just buy a packet of biscuits as back-up ….
On Rising to the Occasion:
potions and liquids. magic begins.
the alchemy of cake
Update! Well the cake rose and looked wonderful when I took it out after it’s allotted 45 mins. Then it broke in half as I tried to get it out the tin and onto the rack to cool. Luckily it did as there was chunks of uncooked stuff in the middle. Suffice to say it has now been back in the oven for almost twice the recommended time and is currently burnt on top and around the edges and way to squidgy inside. Here’s hoping i can chop bits off, pretend it’s a brownie and that the chocolate icing will hide a multitude of sins (although for a wheat free, dairy free cake it’s already got a few sins missing!)….