Cakes – A Rare Treat!
I don’t bake cakes all that often – they are too full of calories and sugar to make a regular appearance in our household. But of course their rarity makes them much more special when I do cook them and more of a treat. I usually cook one when I have been inspired to try out something new – or because of a special occasion. Or, as recently for an event, so I get the pleasure of baking it without suffering the consequences of the calories! Ideal really!
Top Baking Chefs
Often to ensure I am doing it right I will defer to the wisdom of Mary Berry or Delia Smith. Books by both revered culinary authors have an important place on my book shelf, and are well thumbed and suitably splattered with unidentifiable substances, displaying their usefulness in every which way.
Favourite recipes are easy to discern since the books flop open easily on particular pages. It is from Delia Smith that I learned to make excellent scones and from Mary Berry that I devised my own Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe. It is also through her that I conquered making a delicious Dundee Cake.
Baking cakes encompasses patience, care and love which culminate in a sweet creation to be shared and enjoyed. A shop bought cake just can’t compete!
Baking – An Exact Science?
In baking it is often important to get the quantities and proportions right, according to the recipes and it takes some practice before a deviation from a recipe can be tried. Some ingredients and relative quantities are absolutely crucial to their success.
So for me cake baking is very much a long journey – and who knows where I am along the road. With limited practice and so many potential cakes in the world to bake, I suspect – not very far! Apple Cake has been a recent addition to my list of simple cakes!
Simple Baking Is Best
I do however, like in all my cooking, go for the simple and uncomplicated. Cakes can be very complicated if you introduce numerous ingredients, layers of icing and fancy decorations on the top. And yet what could be more delicious than a Victoria Sponge? Or the Coffee Cake I made recently, inspired by a trip out. The recipe was supplied by my Twitter friend Kate – @MummynotYummy – at my request for a recipe. Because there are many recipes that people hold in their heads and display in their kitchens but are not in the recipe books. Sharing tired and tested recipes is better than any recipe book!
My Mother was not into baking cakes so alas I did not learn very much from her – except how to make delightful birthday cakes that are so special! They were plain and simple, with a very light sponge, with white icing and yellow blobs, then my name and Happy Birthday – of course with candles.
But the most special thing was the hole in the middle. My Mother baked the cake in a mould – and the hole was the best thing of all!! It made it different from anyone else’s birthday cake and a became a birthday tradition in the family which both my sister and I carried forward to our own children. Although our repetoire was extended to include train cakes made out of Swiss roles too!
Cakes Made With Love
And that is one of the beauties of home made cakes – they are made with loving care. They will rarely look as slick and as uniform as a shop bought cake, but as such they show off all the love and time that has gone into it, by their unevenness, dripping icing, too thick (or thin )filling. The tender loving care just shines out – and that of course adds to their deliciousness.
Baking As Therapy
The act of baking can be a form of therapy, especially if you do it by hand. Taking these raw ingredients, little by little, slowly, while your mind muses on other matters, or listens to some music or a talking show on the radio, you turn them into a work of sweet creativity!
So next time you want to bake a cake, enjoy, create – and then share!