Trying something new

At some point during this month my Mum will celebrate a rather special birthday. She has asked for a cake that is maple syrupish, butterscotchish, caramelish rather than any sort of fancy cake such as the wonderful whisky bottle the FGM made for Husband or the pirate cake I made for Spider.

She is evasive when the question of presents is raised, aside from the fact she is having a new bathroom – if and when they can track down a plumber.  So in the absence of any other suggestion I have decided to try something new, which I will probably stick up on “Being Frank” as its craft related rather than cooking…but not until after her birthday as she sometimes reads both blogs and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I have possibly bitten off rather more than I can handle…at least the birthday cake will be straight forward…

Fortunately I have a backlog of things to write up dating back to budget day – haven’t broken it to Husband that he’s on kitchen duty for the next few weeks – until of course he abandons me for motorsport for 5 days whilst he takes Student to Le Mans, and although I will miss him, I’m already planning meals for whilst he’s away involving several fish dishes, mushrooms and possibly a curry.

This probably sounds a bit heartless, but I know that from the moment he gets on the ferry to France until the moment he drops Student off on the return journey that he will have no room in his head for anything other than cars, so I may as well be brutally practical and make the best of his absence !

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The on again off again birthday cake

The birthday party cookery for various reasons has not been going as planned, but I’ll write about that another time possibly. The main thing I wanted to do this week was to make a basic sponge cake and to then ice it in the shape as a skull and cross bones – really simple and easy, the only difficult bit is trying to turn the white fondant icing the right shade of black.

Anyway this week has not been good for me, I wake up tired, I am tired all day at work, I go to bed tired and I fail to sleep as there are far too many things floating around in my head. So last night when I was meant to be making the sponge cake I was instead trying to have an early night, which didn’t work out for various reasons (see yesterday’s post)…I left the butter out intending to make the cake in the morning, but as I mentioned previously someone tried to be helpful and tidied it away back into the fridge for me – and my hand held mixer can’t cope with fridge cold butter (how I miss my kenwood mixer).

At lunchtime Flapjack Queen phoned up to say that the party bags we had bought ready filled cos its cheaper are actually quite small and 2 slices of cake probably won’t fit in the bag…I agreed with her that instead we would break with small people’s party tradition and serve the cake up after the rest of the food for eating then and there. I also decided that I would copy her idea and turn Spider’s birthday cake into a pile of cup cakes instead a la Nigella.

7.30pm there was a further change of plan back to the original skull and cross bones cake due to the difficulty of persuading a certain small boy that it would be better to have the big cake on his actual birthday when he has his second party “family only”…

So spent the next 30 minutes trying to make 12oz of victoria sponge cake mixture in a too small bowl with a hand held mixer and then fitting 4 cake tins in the oven…there was more mixture on me and the walls of the kitchen by the time I had finished.

Anyway, early start again tomorrow…may be an even earlier trip to Saino’s or Tescbury if the fondant icing I’ve had in the cupboard for over a year turns out to be off…or anything else goes wrong between now and 2.30pm…

Yo ho ho me hearties, I’m off to bed to dream of pieces of eight and making people who cut you up in traffic walk the plank…