Sunday, 25 October 2009

Let's whisk again!

After some distinct peaks and troughs in the course of my baking week, I finally got my mojo back on Friday night.
In fairness, I was back on safe turf - three birthday cakes: all chocolate, and practiced, tweaked and fine-tuned over several years. But for reasons I can't explain - maybe the planets just aligning at the right moment, or a divine ability to transfigure the winner from the previous evening's Masterchef final - I was absolutely in the zone and as focused as hell.
The cakes were for my brother-in-law, and two nephews - their 50th, 21st and 18th respectively. I decided to present the boys with one of my 'light' cakes each - no butter (apart from a teensy bit in the frosting), and butternut squash as it's central moisture-inducing component. I know I've expressed a queasiness for vegetables as a baking ingredient elsewhere on these pages, but this cake never disappoints. And you wouldn't know it was so virtuous from the flavour and texture, which are heavenly. These two were knocked out during an enjoyable evening session, whilst watching Corrie on the kitchen telly.
The following morning, I started on the third offering - my 'signature' chocolate cake - so wet, it's almost gateau-like, and encased in white chocolate icing. I spiked it with fresh raspberries, with a few mulched and smeared through its centre - just for good measure. With a masterful flourish of writing icing, and some strategically scattered sugar crystals (they're naturally coloured, and come from Wholefoods - I love them) the job was done. All three cakes took up residence in the fridge until the party later on. And I have to admit, I couldn't resist peaking at them at regular intervals throughout the day - they just looked so damn pretty!
All went well, and the cakes were rightfully swooned over at the party. Ian's was the first to get demolished, followed by Stefans. Danny's was spirited away, so that the family could enjoy it for themselves the next day. However, on the way home, whilst they waited for a mini-cab on Ladbroke Grove, a gaggle of howlingly inebriated girls attempted to steal it! My sister Joanna, in an inspired move, I think - told them that it had been puked on, thus ensuring it's hasty return! (The awful girls still got away with a bottle of champagne though). An Urban Cake indeed.

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