Monday, 21 February 2011

The Joy of Baking

As I sit, nibbling on the charred remains of my recent baking venture, I find I am still filled with The Joy of Baking. 

Without fail, my baking escapades - fondly referred to as ‘cocking up a storm in the kitchen’ - have been a complete disaster. 

The pecan pie, which came out a burnt slab on top, with an eggy, wet (strangely lemony) base. 

The scones [I’m not entering the debate on pronunciation. But it’s Sc-own-s.], which came out as smoldering shells, completely devoid of any ‘middle bit’ - light & fluffy or otherwise.

The ‘oaty bread’, which you could bring down with considerable force on the kitchen-counter, and run more risk of damaging the woodwork (tried & tested). 

The carrot cake that was meant to come out a warmly spiced, thick slab of moist, carroty goodness. I took it to work with a large Health & Safety sign attached: ‘WARNING: Non-functional charred edges. Serving suggestion: break apart in hands before attempting consumption. Soften with lengthy tea-dunking. Enjoy!’ 
The Victoria Sponge, which was fondly renamed ‘the Bernard Black placemat’ - crunchy, flavourless and hilariously pathetic. You could pick it up, as a whole, and vigorously wobble it 5ft above ground level before safely returning it to its wire rack without any structural damage (tried & tested). 

This was also true of my botched attempt at Nigella’s choc-chip cookies. 'The Bernard Black Coasters'. O! Nigella, how I’ve failed you.

And, finally, this evening’s effort - vanilla cupcakes. So bizarrely did they cook that my darling boyfriend assumed the gritty black rim of the golden-topped cupcake was the paper nest within which, it was scorched to perfection. In my defence - if you pick away the sides with a chisel - the middle & lid is quite passable.

Perhaps inexplicably, all attempts tasted delicious at the mixing stage (tried & tested). It’s just wonderful. Creamy, sweet and silky. All over my spoon. And face.

I even spilled a blob of mixture on my Moleskine once. I think I am among few of the writing community who can claim they have licked their Moleskine. [This is, incidentally, probably not the post that will establish my presence within the Blogging Community, but it made me LOL].

My mother’s theory is that our ancient gas oven is terrible at keeping a constant, even temperature. And I should probably learn to follow a recipe.  

My theory - far more plausible - is something terrible happens en route from mixing bowl to baking tin. Perhaps the mixture has an outright aversion being spooned? Or being tilted, en masse, to 90º? 

Le sigh.
For me [she says, with a Nigella-esque sultry look to the camera], The Joy of Baking lies solely in the licking of the mixing bowl, waiting for my latest cock-up to finish laughing at me from the depths of our oven.

1 comment: