Life and baking can be a game of two halves.
Sometimes life is an absolute pleasure.
An amazing half term in glorious sunshine having fun with the grandkiddies.
A cosy Sunday lunch for a family birthday celebration.
That was life last week and I definitely don't blog when I'm having so much fun!
Sometimes life can be sad and difficult.
And just when I planned to write up a blog last weekend, sad life happened and my time was immediately allocated to pressing matters which needed dealing with immediately.
So what I'm saying here is that there will be times in a hobby blogger's calendar when blogging is put on hold and these last few days have been such.
But I'll share some of the nice stuff with you.
Baking. My baking game is one of two halves too.
Success. And failure.
First, the rip-roaring success..
GD made these little clouds of yumminess
using this cook book.
She's been going through the book in the school holidays and I'm always excited when I see her walk into my kitchen with The Unicorn Cookbook under her arm. Every single thing we've tried has been delicious yet easy to make. I really recommend this cookbook and what a great no-brainer pressie this makes to help engage children in cooking - Yumminess and UNICORNS in one!!
Oh and just in case you go looking for the recipe in the book, the actual recipe was for a piled up pavlova but we thought it would be easier to eat and share with the family if made as individual merengues.
And it was! OK, GD and I may have had a bigger share than the rest of the family but hey, isn't that the cooks' prerogative?!!
And then there was the den building whilst we engaged ourselves in our baking.
GS built an amazing Den City! It was an all-mod-cons den with a secret extension under the kitchen table. All manner of conveniences were amassed in there, including a water-filled bowl to create a bathroom area. Ok granny did baulk a bit at this convenience, but there was zero spillage!
So this is pretty much what my kitchen looked like last week. Den City and merengues. Not a bad place to be!
Then, the failure.
I made a birthday cake for the family lunch. A birthday girl must have a cake, eh? She is diabetic so I hunted around for a recipe.
I chose this one, link below.
It uses prunes to bring some of the sweetness to the party. The rest comes from regular demerera sugar - but I decided I could make it even more diabetic-friendly by replacing that with sugar substitute.
Here I should remind the reader that cake baking is absolute chemistry. It belongs in the alchemist's corner of the kitchen. I know that.
I thought I was clever enough that I could adapt the recipe ...
The day before the lunch I set about making the cake and with hindsight I'm glad that I set out early on this journey. The cake was an epic fail! I got the sugar substitute to sugar conversion wrong - do not yet this at home as it was a solid as a rock.
It put me in mind of Mrs Cropley's* culinary experimentation.
Initially I thought I could double the sweetness in the ricotta frosting and mask my cock-up but I woke up in a cold sweat at 5am and resolved to draw a line under my failed alchemy and start again. I then went back to sleep, peaceful in the knowledge that I had a plan B.
And thus, Sunday morning found me squeezing in some time around my chicken roastie lunch to put plan B in action.
And phew! Following the recipe to the letter, the cake was yumminess itself, deliciously moist and moreish.
Do try it, it's delish!
So the lesson here is that in cake making DO NOT DEVIATE.
And when it goes rock-shaped, bin it and start again!
*And remember Mrs Cropley!
Now please tell me you've had cake fails too!
A la perchoine,