I made a cake for work.
A big cake, as befits someone who needs to feed cake to 90-odd scientists. By big, I mean it was more than 30 cm in diameter, about 15 centimetres high, and weighed more than 7 kilos once iced. Two kilos of that weight was chocolate and raspberries.
For once, I actually succeeded in making enough food that there were leftovers. About a quarter of the cake, to be precise. And that’s after I fed several other random Institute people. The difficulty is that I can cater for four, or six, or ten, but once it gets to 90, I just throw up my hands and go ‘lots!’. I don’t really know what constitutes a sensible amount of cake for that number of people…
Also, it turns out that making little stencils out of baking paper and using them to make sparkly sugar hearts is actually quite an effective decorating technique, which causes people not to notice that your icing is lumpy from all the raspberries. So that was good, too.
Also, it tasted fantastic. But we knew that already…
I’m a bit late on this bandwagon, largely because I went into one of my baking frenzies yesterday, inspired by my recent acquisition of Sugar and Spice, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra, and my subsequent compulsion to make everything in the book, even though I’m not really in a sweets mood and currently have no scientists to feed things to. Anyway, several hours of baking later, I can tell you that chickpea fudge is actually really gorgeous (and a bit like halva, really), egg candy is slightly, but only slightly, less weird than it sounds, that Scotch Tablet is very sweet, but good with dried figs and glacé ginger stirred into it, and that brownies are still best with dried cherries in them. And that I want to make Paneer so that I can make Indian Mango Milk Sweets. Why yes, I will be reviewing this book in the near future.
Anyway. One advantage of being late off the mark is that one can peruse the blogs of one’s acquaintance, see what they are doing about end of year posts, and then pick something that looks pleasing and not too difficult. Not surprisingly, Hannah’s formula at Wayfaring Chocolate appeals to me (perhaps it’s the shared fixation with sweets?), so herewith, a month-by-month gallery of my favourite recipes for 2012.
Happy New Year – may your 2013 be as full of sweetness as my kitchen currently is!
May your Christmas Dinner be delicious, your family visits non-stressful, your gifts – given and received – be precisely what was desired, may your children actually sleep in on Christmas morning (and may the batteries on that fluffy toy duck that plays the chicken dance on endless repeat be short-lived), may you have precisely the right amount of leftovers, and may your Christmas pudding light with ease but not actually set the kitchen on fire.
And if you are on the roads, drive safely.
Catherine (& Andrew, side-kick and washer-upper extraordinaire)
I’m still taking orders for jellies this week, so act now, before it’s too late! I’ve been very diligent this weekend, and should be able to start filling orders for people on Tuesday. As a reminder, the prices are:
$15 – Luxury Fruit (raspberry, passionfruit, lime)
$12 – Citrus (blood orange, lemon and grapefruit – my secret favourite combo)
$12 – Christmas Spice (cinnamon apple, grapefruit with ginger, spiced orange)
$10 – Agar jellies in a petri dish (wide variety of flavours, each more ridiculous than the last – see below)
Actually, every dish will have an assortment, but the blue curaçao ones were my test batch.
Also, I want more people to order my agar jellies, because they are adorable, amusing, and slightly insane. Just like me… (sorry, I’m channeling my inner Lydia Bennet, apparently)
So, earlier this year, my friend Rhiannon emailed me and asked me if I’d be willing to do her wedding cake and maybe cater her wedding. “A lot of my friends have allergies,” she warned me, “So of course I thought of you…”.
You may possibly have noticed that I love baking and that yes, baking around allergies is something I do quite a bit of. So I got very, very excited and jumped up and down a few times and said Yes, yes, yes I would LOVE to make your wedding cake and cater your wedding!
Just a short post tonight, because I have indeed baked wedding cakes with some success but also, apparently, at the price of a migraine and some serious wobbliness, so it’s an early night for me.
Gluten- and dairy-free (and, allegedly, low-fructose) fresh ginger cakes with blood orange and rhubarb filling and wild hibiscus flower
Recipe for a Baking Frenzy
1. Be seduced by the new Women’s Weekly Little Squares and Slices cookbook when out at lunch on Thursday. Accidentally buy it (this could happen to anyone).
2. Spend quite a lot of Thursday afternoon showing said cookbook to a randomly-selected sample of one’s colleagues. Conclusion: This cookbook is dangerous. Also, we are all hungry now.
3. No time for baking after choir on Thursday! Spend all Friday at work distracted by thoughts of slice. Spend Friday lunchtime methodically going through the cookbook working out which slice to bake first. Narrow it down to ten slices which need to be baked immediately.
4. Somewhat less-randomly selected sample of colleagues are all in favour of ten kinds of slice, and suggest others, too.
5. Get home rather late on Friday and immediately go shopping to get ingredients for the first three slices. Because moderation is important! But we do have friends coming for afternoon tea on Saturday, so slice is important too!