Sometimes it's like i'm actually willing myself to fail.
I should wear a badge- "Rebecca: actively seeking nervous breakdown."
I should have seen the warning signs in the recipe itself, but it was deceptive...
It's (meant to be) an apple cake with honey icing.
The description begins:
"A cake that takes no time to make, requires no special ingredients and slices up a treat for afternoon tea? Apple do nicely"
Fantastic right?! Sounds right up my street. Exactly my kind of cake.
But then there's the ingredients list...
Flour, yadda yadda, baking powder, yadda yadda...pinch of ground nutmeg...hmm...not too bad...zest of a lemon?!...Ok...we're still good...seeds from one vanilla pod...
Hang about. Back up a minute...i thought this was supposed to be a cake that requires no special ingredients?! Vanilla pods?! Are you kidding me?!
Who the hell has vanilla pods in their cupboard as a matter of routine?! Don't tell me you do because i won't believe you. Liar.
Seriously, when it comes to the weekly shop and you're grabbing the essentials..."Bread...Milk...Eggs...Bog roll...Oh don't forget the madagascan vanilla pods darling! They're a cupboard staple you know, i simply don't know how we'd manage without them!"
I bought madagascan vanilla pods from the supermarket especially for the recipe. That in itself was a feat because i had no idea what a vanilla pod looked like. Maybe i'm incredibly vulgar and uncultured but where i come from, gravy is made from granules, cream is squirted from a pressurised container and vanilla comes in a little plastic bottle labelled "Vanilla Flavouring".
I asked Chris if he knew what form vanilla pods took so we could locate the right aisle for them but he didn't know either. I was about to give up when i spotted them...
A bargain at £3.48 for two (!) Nothing says "Don't fuck this cake up Rebecca!" like pricey ingredients. And everybody loves a bit of pressure right?...
So fast forward to this afternoon. I had my ingredients, and a spare hour or so while Rudy naps. Toby was watching cbeebies but he does far too much of that so i lured him away with the promise of whisking and mixing and possibly licking spoons with cakey mixture on them.
Sadly it wasn't to be. There were several obstacles, i feel, that even a very accomplished baker (which i am not) would have struggled to overcome. First up. The equipment. Like any bad workman, i am inclined to blame my tools. But really, this is my whisk:
No obviously i'm just kidding. We have another whisk too:
I'm not kidding. Those are the whisks. In days gone by many a better woman could have probably whisked up a storm with those beauties. Good for them. I must have incredibly weak wrists or something because it just aint happening.
Aside from the technical challenge of trying to whisk something resembling concrete into "a light batter" using one of the above there was also the unrelated matter of Toby Wearing Pants.
Yes, potty training continues in earnest. Earnest on our parts. Reluctance on his. Some days are fantastic and i think we have it nailed and get all carried away with myself daydreaming of a time when i will be able to leave the house without nappies. Other days are...not so good.
We're getting stuck into the baking and Toby wants to take a break to drink some juice. It's all good. He has his juice, i carry on with the measuring and the grating and the whisking and the stirring and the folding. Yes, indeed, they also lied about it "Taking no time at all to make" bastards.
Then he wanders off with a sieve on his head babbling on about it being his "racing helmet" and it's still all good, i don't really need his "help" at that minute anyway.
The next thing it's all gone quiet and he's stood in the corner by the back door pulling "The Face"
"Poos go on the potty not in your pants remember!" i chorus, swooping him into the living room and plonking him on one of the various potties that litter our house these days. At which point he promptly pees and denies any knowledge of any such bodily function as poo and any suggestion he might like to try to have one. Meanwhile the "cake mixture" (aforementioned concrete) is setting quietly in the kitchen...solid enough to hold the whisk upright for eternity.
After slamming some cupboards, flinging some tupperware about and yelling at Chris i realise i have two options. Throw it all in the bin (won't someone think of the madagascan vanilla pods?!) or throw it all in the oven.
I opt for the latter on account of the significant finances and time invested by that point.
As such i am now the proud owner of this, delactable looking beauty:
Whether it needs to be classified as hazardous to health and disposed of in a special way to protect the public remains to be seen. I shall try to persuade someone to take a bite after dinner, but as Chris just popped his head around the kitchen door gestured to it and asked with some confusion "What's THAT?!" i don't hold out much hope...
I leave you with a mini series of portraits depicting Toby's puzzlement at being asked to "zest a lemon"