So I have been known for a time now as someone who bakes cakes. Any variety really, although I tend not to try out the more difficult desserts for worry of wasting my ingredients. I am inclined to stick to what I know. The classic victoria sponge for example, a lemon drizzle, erm… a chocolate sponge? Yes OK so I don’t veer to far from the gospel that is Be-Ro but I believe that practice makes perfect, and also the more adept one is at making the cake the quicker the thing comes out of the oven and is consumed. Preferably by me.
Since arriving here nearly 4 months ago now, I have only once ventured into the realm of cake production and I am afraid to say that I faked it. I am sorry British Bake Off fans, I did. I have no excuse. I bought a box of pre-mix, whisked in a couple of eggs and popped it in the oven for 30 mins. Boom. Squidgy chocolate brownies ready to enjoy, and I was able to avoid the daunting task of trying my hand with the differing components this side of the Atlantic. Furthermore, (please don’t judge me) I passed them off as my own. Oh dear me, to type it brings a flush to my cheeks. I am truly embarrassed and disappointed with myself. What can I say? I wanted to make a good impression at work and as I am formally known as a cake baking sensation (not a direct quote), I felt that first opinions could make or break me. I needed to introduce my sweet fare side. Legitimacy is everything.
Not a great success I might add, since it appears my new colleagues are not great lovers of cake, which is one reason why I have not bothered to investigate further the stateside alternatives on a bake day shopping list. However, with a new visitor due in the morning I decided today was the day to break my cake delivering abstinence. I looked up recipes by the US Delia Smith of patisserie, Martha Stewart, and selected a favourite; the chocolate ganache covered crowd-pleaser. I was to substitute margarine with alien-like butter in stick form, add a strange and otherworldly element that comes in a milk carton: buttermilk. This better work. Chocolate, vanilla essence, all purpose flour and the appropriate baking accessories to get a rise and standard brown eggs. And finally armed with the last essential, light brown sugar, I set to work.
I have been lucky enough to inherit some brand new baking tools through my negotiations when buying beds, sofas and the like. Now my kitchen comes complete with not one but two cake tins and a marvelous hand whisk that might just speed things up this afternoon. Or make a mess. A very eager whisk, this little appliance manages to mix the components while simultaneously spraying them ALL over the kitchen. I was finding chocolatey goo splattered generously all over the walls and benches, over me and the floor and yet there was still plenty to go round. Quite amazing. But in the land of the plenty (and more) this is hardly a surprise.
Now fully combined I see before me a magnificent batter ready for an oven blasting. Martha even accounts for a good amount of extra mix (not taking into account that which is now coating the kitchen). In fact a significant serving ended up directly in my tummy despite its intended tin destination. Yum yummy.
Oven on. Check. Timer set. Check. Cook American cake. Cook.
And so it was. The foreign baker had mastered her new environment. She had adapted to her quite bizarre elements of buttermilk and heavy cream and conquered the chocolate ganache a la Stewart. Well nearly.
I would have attempted the ganache. I had the “heavy” cream to prove it but I forgot to get the icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar over here) so I melted some chocolate, whipped up the cream and added a raspberry jam filling. Yes OK I admit it, more Be-Ro than Martha “jailbird” Stewart, but I believe one must always bring their own edge to a challenge. Or work with what you have in the fridge at least.
Not known for my creativity in presentation