Well surprise surprise, I am in bed with my iPad on my lap and the day is over already. One extra day in my weekend and I have managed today the following:
Three loads of washing
Mopping the kitchen floor
Walking the dogs twice (obvs)
Buying more bloody bananas (you can go off bananas, you know)
One page of notes on my new yellow A4 jotter
Season Six of Girls, bought and watched.
Twelve fairy cakes baked and ruined. Twelve baked successfully and ready to go.
This last item was a weird one. I have lost count of the number of Victoria sponge cakes I have baked over the years. It is an easy cake to make and an easier recipe to remember – in imperial measurements, at least. 6663 is all you need to know. Equal amounts of butter, sugar and flour and half the number of ounces is the number of eggs required. I could pretty much make a Victoria sponge with my eyes shut.
Tonight, I decided to make some fairy cakes using the sponge recipe and was a little distracted as I was cooking to dogs’ chicken at the same time. I was a bit worried that the butter was not soft enough – usually I microwave it in winter for 10 secs or so, but decided to risk it.
The beater was making hard work of it but finally butter, sugar and eggs were creamed and I folded in the flour, threw in some sultanas and a few chocolate chips for good measure and spooned the mixture into paper cupcake cases and whacked the tray in the oven.
We do not need more cake at home. My husband is annoyingly thin and has a few packets of treats on the go. Unfortunately, as he often observes, we have some pretty determined mice in the house. The mice have even been known to use a knife to slice a thin piece off the corner of a turnover, or even the end of a chocolate covered mini roll. Bloody mice. Well, it is either the mice or the dogs. It can’t be me, because I am on a diet.
Fifteen minutes later the chicken was cooked and served and I had a look at the cakes. Something was wrong, something was very wrong. The cakes were pale and barely risen and butter was bubbling around their edges. I checked the texture of one of them. It was heavy. They were cooked and something had gone disastrously wrong.
I took them out and threw them away. I had checked one by breaking it in half and it was exactly like the cake that someone brings to the office when they can’t bake: no air and solid as a rock. Maybe the butter had been the problem, but to be honest, it had not seemed to have been that big a deal, everything had blended OK in the end.
It was when I was in the shower that the penny dropped. I had been thinking about the flour as I had spooned it into the weighing scale. I had used plain flour. For some reason, even though the plain flour is in a completely different container to the self-raising one, I had happily measured it out and ruined my cakes in the process. I was so relieved that I had not suddenly become a terrible baker, that I went back into the kitchen and baked twelve more – this time using the correct flour and with more success.
They are now sitting safely in a Tupperware container having cooled on a rack. Well, I say safe, but those mice are bloody clever. It is probably only a matter of time before they work out how to crack the lid.