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Falling Flat

Have you ever had one of those days where no matter what you do your cake just refuses to rise?

fallen flat

I remember once I decided to make a birthday cake for my friend’s surprise party. I wanted to make it really special so I found a delicious looking recipe that looked a little complex but promised a delightful reward. I shopped for the ingredients, excitedly filled up my basket, and raced home to get started, eager to see the look on my friend’s face when he saw my proud creation.

Bowls lined the worktops filled with powders and liquids ready and waiting for their roles in the sweet alchemy to come. I carefully mixed them, keeping strictly to the recipe, and readied the oven. I placed my infant masterpiece into its protective womb, set the timer, and awaited its gestation.

So far so good.

Then came the agonising wait. I checked Facebook and was flooded with reminders of why I was doing this. Then the nerves set in. What if it tastes horrible? What if it burns? What if the icing is wonky? What if everyone hates it?

But as soon as they arrived, my worries were melted by a ghostly seductive hand caressing my nose, filling my nostrils with the intoxicating aroma to let me know it was nearly time.

Tick.
Tick.
Tick.
DING!

I rushed to the kitchen and could hardly contain my excitement as I opened the door and looked down at the shelf.

Oh no.

sunken cake 2

A weight crushed my heart as I stared at the crater that should have been my precious creation. Sunken as though it could not bear the very weight of the world, it stood limp and lifeless. Disheartened but still hopeful, I examined it closely. Maybe I could mask it with the icing? Restructure it? No, I needed to try again.

And I did. Twice more.

Out of flour and out of hope I began to admit defeat. This cake was falling flat in every conceivable way.

But that didn’t spell the end.

Spurred by a sense of stubbornness I decided to approach this differently. I found an old sponge recipe from my mum’s 1970s Biro book, and at 10pm raced a mile through the darkness to the shop to replenish my ingredients.

Minutes before the start of a new day the oven dinged and I opened the door expecting a monstrosity. But there it was, standing proudly and triumphantly like nothing ever happened.

Iced, decorated and left to set, I finally made it to bed around 1.30am. And I’ll tell you now, it was worth every second.


Sometimes no matter what you seem to do, your cake keeps falling flat. Making a cake can be complex and intricate, and any number of things can cause it to fail. Sometimes you just need to keep trying, sometimes you need to change the ingredients or the oven settings. Sometimes you simply need fresh eyes, and sometimes you just need a whole new recipe.

Its important to remember never to give up altogether. With time, patience, and a little hindsight, you can have your cake and eat it too!

Love,
Char
xox

 

Cakeology inspired by Char’s crappy year at uni.
Photo credits to sweetascanbe.info and thepatrioticbaker.com.
Photo edits by Char.

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The Curious Case of the Cupcake

Cupcakes.
Beautiful. Colourful. Stylish. Popular. Delicious?

cupcakes

I’ve always had such a love/hate relationship with cupcakes.

I’m obsessed with the intricate designs adorning them – the endless beautiful possibilities that could only be created by those much more talented than myself. I’ve tried decorating simple ones and just about got to grips with it but I could only dream of having the skills to make such adorable treats such as those pictured.

A large part of the culinary arts is appearance. They say you eat with your eyes, at least at first, and I’m sure few of you out there would disagree. The number of times I’ve been seduced by a well-decorated cupcake I’ve lost count. But what has soured the experience for me is the disappointment when I’ve actually gotten round to tasting them.

varietycupcakes

It seems that beauty does NOT equal taste.
It might just be me, but cupcakes piled high with icing only serve to do one of three things:

  • become overpowering and sickening,
  • mask an otherwise bland cake,
  • be purely for show.

Often the tastiest cupcakes I’ve had have only had simple decoration and limited icing. In fact usually a good hearty slice of cake does the trick much better.

Maybe its just me.

I suppose looks aren’t everything.
But you know what they say – never judge a book by its cover.
So I guess, never judge a cupcake by its icing!

Love,
Char
xox

 

Cakeology inspired Char’s experiences with “beautiful people” (and genuinely disappointing cupcakes).
Photos credited to sciencelakes.com and deliveredcupcakes.co.uk (respectively)

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First Date with a Red Velvet

You know exactly the kind of cake you like. You’ve had different ones that you did enjoy tasting but this particular kind just does it for you. For me it’s Red Velvet. Oh my god, Red Velvet is seriously heaven on Earth. Yes it can be too sweet but it is exciting and unexpected.  It surprises you; in the best way possible.

soco-red-velvet-cake-from-the-boozy-baker 2

You’ve had a good cake relationship in this Café, ate slices from the same one and were content. Till one day the cake was gone. So you ask for another one, thinking they’d obviously have the one you like. But there are times when your usual and beloved Café runs out of Red Velvet cake. People fell in love with its extraordinary taste and took away all the pieces. So you are left with but one choice; find a new place that sells it.

You search and search, but apparently your favourite cake is now everyone’s favourite cake (you are allowed to act all hipster at this point – I give you permission), and you are getting quite upset. What if you don’t find another Red Velvet ever again? What if you are forced to eat a Victoria Sponge Cake or even worse, Carrot Cake? God, no. You have to find that cake if it’s the last thing you do.

One day, sitting on it’s gorgeous plate, you find it. It’s not as red as you remembered it looking but it definitely is the amazing Red Velvet. You enter shyly into the beautiful vintage Café you had never seen before and politely ask for it at the counter. The shop assistant is cheerful and as she brings it to you, you can almost hear the angels sing.

The table you choose is the one next to the window. You look around and notice people happily eating their favourite cakes, it feels encouraging and promising. Your fingers trace the fork as you stare at the cake. The frosting is as inviting as ever and you can almost taste it. You know exactly what it tasted like, as you’ve had it many times before. The seconds tick by and without a moment to lose you cut into the piece and bring the fork to your mouth. The smell tingles your nose. “Finally” you whisper.

And then you taste it. You nearly drop the fork with the shock.

This is Red Velvet? What?! No.

It doesn’t taste like what you remembered. It tasted strange and to be frank you don’t like it.

So what do you do? Do you take it back and ask for an explanation? Or do you eat it because well, it’s Red Velvet? The one you really like, right?

Love,

Nina

xx

Inspired by the ever ongoing tales of dating. 

Photo by theboozybaker, edited by Nina.

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The Lemon Drizzle Dilemma

There’s nothing quite like a good sponge cake.

It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. It’s versatile. It’s a safety net when you’re not sure what cake to choose.  Frankly, it’s a classic.

But how many of you out there would really choose a sponge cake over, say, a chocolate fudge cake? Or a cheesecake? Or a lemon drizzle?

Let’s look at that lemon drizzle for a second.

Lemon Drizzle Dilemma

At its core it is a sponge cake: familiar and comforting. But the truth is, it’s so much more than that. It glistens with an exotic promise. The juxtaposition of sour and sweet will revitalise your senses. Your tongue will tingle with the tanginess of the lemon, and will be soothed by the sweetness of the sugar. Lemon drizzle is refreshing, moreish, and frankly an exciting cake.

But what’s wrong with a sponge cake?

If you choose the sponge cake because you love sponge cake more than the others then well done, you may exit here safe in the knowledge that you’re on the right track.

But if you choose the sponge cake because you fear the unfamiliarity of others, then heed our advice…

Make the change. Dare to try what makes you happy. It might be scary, but often the best things are. What is unfamiliar is only unfamiliar because you haven’t given it chance to be familiar. Being safe and comfortable in an old routine is fine for a time but will only lead to a life unfulfilled.

Dare to be happy. Enjoy the sponge, but don’t be afraid of the lemon drizzle.

Love,
Char
xox

 

Cakeology inspired by Nina’s ever interesting love life.
Photo credit to sofeminine.co.uk.
Photo edited by Char.

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The Cakeology of life

Life can be described in the perfect language of cake using delicious analogies of frosting and flour measurements. Any problem will surely and undoubtedly have its own cake analogy. And dear reader, we are here not simply to provide you with gorgeous metaphors that will leave you desperately wanting a slice of cake asap, but also make you laugh at how accurate the analogies are.

If however you don’t understand them, then do not worry, simply enjoy a slice. Trust us, cake is bloody good for you.

Love,

Emma, Nina, Char & Pixie