The crucial question of crumb. Moist, with each miniscule grain separate from, yet touchy-feely with its fellow crumb neighbour makes for a texture that doesn’t need frosting. Cakes are my weak, and strong point. The slightly misshapen products of my oven can’t claim to be lookers, but they taste adequate and at times, quite marvellous (by the admission of a few kind hangers-on who’ll do anything for cake and have stoically hung on through years of clumsy baking). Cake represents jollity, a crinkle-at-the-corner-of-the-eyes kind, that you can slice up and hand around, a most tangible exercise in spreading joy. When I come across a soft swoop of buttery frosting nestled on a moist cupcake or a vulnerably rotund sponge burnished with drizzle, I hanker for it. I can bake one that doesn’t require fancy ingredients but at the moment I am without cake and it’s not a happy one. I am often dismayed by friends’ scant regard for dessert when we finish a satisfying meal. It’s a habit best kicked in the sugar-weakened gut, but it’s distressing—this cold void of sweetlessness that extreme types embrace. Talk to me of scones and clotted cream, wax eloquent on petit fours and beignets, postulate on the perfection of croissants and flaky crust. I like a bit of flakiness, a bit of naughty ooziness.
In pursuance of this unseemly fixation, I would have ideally liked to gush about how my baking efforts are appreciated, (because who doesn’t like a fridge full of cake?) but it’s not true. *Grumble* but, all those intimidatingly disciplined, lovely, creative bloggers always have these supportive partners. This one mutters, “yesyesverynice, maybe I’ll have some after dinner and cake isn’t really dessert, is it?”
So, cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, hoarded patterned cupcake liners, wooden spoons, bundt pans, cocoa-at-hand, vanilla essence (the cheap one works beautifully), no-to-food colour (quick aside, make an exception for the the siren of cakes—red velvet), whisking-by-hand, rum, peel (orange, lemon, ginger) an’ an’…What you get are companions for tea and a shelves full of baking pans.