One of my most exciting kitchen challenges to date, came about by a bit of a sad event. Darcie, a lovely friend, her husband and three kids, are leaving Doha, for the bright skies and vast beaches of Australia. For their farewell party, she asked if I was interested in a ‘project’, a celebration styled cake. I will admit to clammy hands and a rising sense of panic mixed with excitement. A pitch of a double tiered cake didn’t quite elicit any enthusiasm. The mention of a luggage cake did. Right then, time to roll up the sleeves and get stuck in fondant.
For this cake, I bought a large rectangular Wilton cake tin and baked two 8 egg based vanilla flavoured sponge cakes in it. I hate having to even out a cake and was relieved when it baked perfectly flat. The cake was really sturdy and flexible to a degree and so could withstand a fair beating at the hands of a novice. The most effort consuming part was the colouring of the fondant; that did take a while and a load of colour. The plain but yummy vanilla sponge was covered and sandwiched with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream. All in, this was a week’s worth of work in what is seemingly a simple cake.
And it was a steep, but good learning curve and I now, know what to look out for next time. I was tutored online, step by step, by my wonderful baker pal, Twinks. It would have turned out a dog’s dinner if it weren’t for her. Thanks babe. I really wondered whether I would enjoy the process of it, patience not being my strong suit. Turns out I did, it was very rewarding and the kind of work in which, you almost retreat into yourself, are quiet in the space in your head, concentrating deeply on getting the lustre onto the buckles, just so.
I don’t think I have ever taken a cake to someone’s house with more apprehension or excitement. I deliberately kept the look of it very simple and wondered if she would find it too simple. Turns out, no. She loved it, squealed and gave me a big hug. That, was all the reward I needed.
So to my dear Darcie, all the very best for you and your family’s future in Australia. For my selfish part, I wish you were here longer, since it’s rare in life that people click so effortlessly. Also, who is going to give baby Seth all those big squeezes on his wee, chubby legs, like I do? I think I’ll miss him the most. However, I get the feeling that Perth and you will get along just fine. And since you have the enviable ability to make the most of what’s given to you, no doubt, you will thrive and love it there.
Darcie, we will always have Facebook!
Bon Voyage Hunters!