I decided to be all Mary Berry (instead of a merry berry) this year and have a go at baking a Xmas cake. I’ve never baked one before, but after watching mum as a child bake one I’ve always thought how hard could it be?
For someone quite disorganised, its ridiculously hard. Firstly, my husband came back from the shop with only half the cherries and no raisins. So we went back the next day and brought them.
I then realised I’d chucked the brandy out so after a quick google decided I would soak the fruit in darjeeling tea. Back to the shop for darjeeling tea.
We didnt realise that we’d brought loose leaf, so had to borrow a tea strainer from next door. Finally the fruits were in soak overnight (the recipe states 3 days but I didnt have time).
During this faff, I baked some premixed cupcakes with my step daughter and delivered them with candles and cheer to both my sisters for their birthdays.
So we’ve soaked the fruit. Now its time to make the cake. I look for the grease proof paper, we have none. The hubster had used the last of it in the week, so back to my mums to borrow some grease proof paper (couldn’t stand the thought of queuing at a shop again).
We stick all the dry ingredients together and we have no all spice. By this point I’m so unbelievably cross at myself I could have thrown the frigging soaked fruits up the wall. Instead I’ve improvised with chinese 5 spice (at this point the husband is hysterically laughing at me). He stops laughing when we both realise he’s used up all the brown sugar on something else. In goes caster sugar instead.
It goes in the oven and I automatically set it to 200. As everything cooks at 180 to 200 right? NOT THIS CAKE. After an hour I smell the corners burning and turn it down to 100 and hope the cake survives.
We are half way through the 4 hour bake. My step daughter is so excited that we’ve improvised or in her words done a really cool experiment. I’m close to tears in the corner.
So what have I learnt? Apart from I should stick to eating cake, not baking cake.
Well, planning is obviously important, reading ingredients and the method (hello baking paper). Seeing the excitement on my SD face, I keep telling myself, it’s the experience not the end product that’s important. And messing up and learning is half the fun of baking.
What’s also positive is I’m trying to see the good in this experience instead of focusing on the negatives (a million shop trips and a burnt, funny tasting cake). It’s bonded my SD and I, we’ve chatted away whilst doing it. I get to look forward to icing the bloody thing and force feeding a slice to my husband.
In the mean time, I think I’ll pause my application to the GBBO.
Oh and the best bit. I don’t even like frigging Xmas cake.
Happy sober sunday. How’s everyone elses going?