Tag Archives: cake

Things that happened today

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Oreo butterfly cakes ūüĎć

Also a smashing afternoon en amité but largely it was about Oreo butterfly cakes.

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A post entirely about cake

Feeling shamed into updating after being pimped by the excellent adultbeginner, I hereby bring you a post entirely about cake what I have made lately.

Earlier this year I accidentally got promoted to my first management role, it was an internal promotion so luckily the panel knew me – probably too – well. One of the questions was about how I would lead my team. “Cake,” I said without even thinking about it. I didn’t think the answer needed any further qualification but apparently it did so I made some stuff up and concluded “but I’d still use cake as a first resort.” For weeks after m appointment every time my director rang up he asked if he was missing out on cake…

I once saw a quote that said “a party without cake is just a meeting” so our team meetings are accompanied by cake. It started in conjunction with challenging myself to make one recipe from every cook book in the kitchen – I thought I’d completed said challenge last weekend but I’ve just acquired my Big Gran’s (so named because she was a good foot taller than my Little Gran) Good Housekeeping recipe book which is a beautiful thing…

As are some of the cakes I’ve made of late:

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Okay, a couple of them are biscuits but I still made them with my own fair hands… (And are why I have to take ballet as often as I do or I’d be the size of a house)

Also meringue frosting is the cats whiskers. Absolute bugger to make but so worth it!

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At some point I got sidetracked…

Despite all my grand promises (to myself at least) about being less of a Slack Alice on the blog front, I got a bit distracted by my new knitting project…

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I was in a meeting the other week, idly doodling to keep my focus on what was going on and I ended up with this. My fingers got twitchy, desperately twitchy. The need to rush out INSTANTLY to buy all the yarn and cast on.

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I am really quite excited by this and how nicely it’s turning out. Mostly I can’t wait to finish it so I’m knitting unto like the proverbial loon, which is daft as summer keeps trying to put in an appearance and a great big blanket would be the last thing I’d need right now. Mind you, this is Angleterre with it’s ludicrous weather system so I’ll probably need this in August…

In other news, I hung another year on the line last weekend (not sure how that happened) to slightly misquote Paul Simon. At my grand age birthdays are really just another day, but getting to spend this one with my nephewits was super special – even being dragged out of bed at some unholy hour of a Saturday because they were too excited for me to spend any longer in bed. And they decorated my birthday cake…

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Today I have to make cake of my own to obey the Work Birthday Law (Thou Shalt Bring Cake) as I was parted from my kitchen last weekend. Much as I love baking, I’m slightly loathe to be parted from my knitting for the afternoon. OH LIFE, Y U SO HARD?

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Festive cheer? [A post mostly about cake and a little about ballet]

Somewhere along the way I appear to have misplaced my festive spirit – I think mostly because I am quite confused as to how it is so nearly Christmas (2.5 working days left to go – WOOHOO!). I was away for the first week of December and¬†I kind of forgot things like Christmas were happening because¬†I had my holiday to get through first. On the plus side, I’m not the only hopelessly disorganised person in my life as discussions over the past week have shown and I think after several chaotic lunch breaks charging about the metrop I am pretty much sorted and ready to¬†leave for the wilds of Rural Derbyshire on Thursday.

Berlin, incidentally, was ace – I may even find words about it once I’ve got back to Rural Derbyshire and have time to stop and think.

This weekend I dashed from one¬†harebrained attempt at organisation to another, thwarted somewhat by accidentally sleeping in until almost lunchtime on Saturday and thereby losing half the day. I wrote cards, wrapped presents, cleaned, cleaned some more, went to the supermarket TWICE, went out to visit friends and – perhaps most crucially if you’re in my office this morning – I made cake (and had to clean the kitchen three times as I went along, so more cleaning).

My default setting in life is pathologically lazy and the prospect of sitting down and writing Christmas cards to everyone at work (it’s a small organisation) fills me with dread as I attempt to negotiate the most political of minefields. Last year I realised there was an easier solution: cake. So that was that, I took to the kitchen yesterday and baked as though my life depended on it. Like a less bearded version of Father Christmas, I’ve made a few colleagues’ wishes come true this morning…

Yep, I love working with me too...

Yep, I love working with me too…

More crucially, perhaps, I have only one ballet class left before Christmas! To be perfectly honest, when I look back to last Christmas when I didn’t care if I never took another class again, it seems a little surreal. The break was the right thing to take and I think my sense of perspective about where ballet fits into my life is a lot healthier now. I dance up to four evenings a week in classes I kind of wish I’d found earlier, but hey ho that’s all water under the bridge. Three of my classes kick my butt seriously, and one is fractionally more sedate where I have more time to stop, think, focus and work on things like technique, placement and the whys¬†but even occasionally (when I’m least expecting it) that class will turn round and kick my butt too. It’s a good balance of classes with a good balance of teachers and I can’t wait to get back to it all in the New Year…

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Chocolate rainbow cake and chilling out

Since my last post was quite definitely written in a haze of self pitying misery and woe, I figured this one really ought to be the polar opposite and, frankly, what is more cheering than cake? So this will be a post about cake.

I’ve just got back from ten days in Rural Derbyshire which has been a much needed respite from the world in general. I didn’t get a decent stomp in as the weather mostly conspired against me but on the plus side I did have a lot of familial obligations which meant oodles of time with my nephewits. Little Nephew renamed me ‘Auntie Boo’ at one point which has nothing to do with Bunheads and everything to do with the fact that I spend a lot of time hiding behind things, jumping out at him and yelling ‘boo’. I’m a good auntie like that.

 

 

 

 

Shortly before my sojourn to the frozen wilds of Rural Derbyshire, my little brother had the nerve to have yet another birthday – something I am never going to wholly approve of. Anyway, we all know that birthdays mean cake, right? Good. Since there was going to be a small birthday related familial gathering, my mother suggested cake and somehow I wound up volunteering to make it. With my mother as my apprentice in some kind of weird role reversal situation… Have a family recipe!

Chocolate Rainbow Cake

  1. Take 8oz caster sugar and 8oz butter. Have debate with mother over how to work the scales, drive mother to despair because I cannot work her new fangled hi-tech scales.
  2. Cream butter and sugar, admire handiwork. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time.
  3. Be interrupted by mother declaring ‘your granny would be spinning in her grave! Put the flour in now!’.
  4. Roll eyes, add in 80z self raising flour.
  5. Be asked how much baking powder you want in. Without thinking reply ‘just under a level teaspoon’, think something is vaguely wrong as your mother chucks in a well heaped teaspoon.
  6. Stand well back as your apprentice (mother) approaches with a quarter cup of hot chocolate and bowl of melted dark chocolate to add. Obligingly mix in.
  7. Pour cake mixture into tin premixed by your apprentice and put in the oven for something over an hour whilst it rises impressively. Transfer to wire cooling rack, continue to be impressed by rising, leave for a while to watch Terrible Man Film on Movies 4 Men (available on FreeSat only!).
  8. Return to admire cake some more and muse aloud ‘I think I ought to make a rainbow cake, you know, like when we were kids’. Hear despairing wail from mother of ‘oh no, does this mean I have to spend forever sorting Smarties into colours?’. Conclude Little Brother is big enough to get over not having his Smarties sorted by colour and accept proffered glass of wine. Forget about cake overnight.
  9. Arise the following morning and decide the best idea you’ve ever had is to trek the mile and something down to Tesco to buy Smarties and chocolate buttons, regretting it every step of the way on the trek back up the hill as the air is close and oppressive. Wish for storm.
  10. Cut top off cake. Cut remaining cake in half and use the last bit of jam in the jar to stick halves together. Melt bar and a bit of dark chocolate and smother cake liberally. Place Smarties and buttons in alternate rows over cake and admire handiwork. Top with candles, insisting that Little Brother NEEDS a pink one because, well he does.
  11. Indulge in familial outing for pub lunch before decamping to Favourite Auntie’s arriving just as the threatened storm breaks (THANK YOU, WEATHER GOD). Entertain small family members until official cake cutting time is declared. Watch family members devour cake, accept compliments, watch ego swell to size of small principality √† la Lichenstein.

Don’t take my word for it that it was ace, have some photos although sadly I neglected to take any of it in its well risen splendour:

 

 

 

 

Coming soon: new knitting pattern! It’s been¬†far too long since I last wrote one properly but this deserves one. Huzzah. I haven’t quite finished the end product yet, close but no cigar…

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“I hung one more year on the line…”

To be perfectly frank, this week my mood has matched the weather: grey, unpredictable and a bit miserable. Malaise, truly you have been my great friend this week – apart from the day where I had a hangover (not a sicky hangover, not a buckethead hangover but one of those hangovers where mere existence is too much like hard work). It’s done nothing but rain for weeks and, clearly, it’s really starting to get under my skin. It’s generally been a funny kind of a week all round – I’m not sure how much of that to attribute to my weather matching mood or to the fact that today I got another year older.

My funny old week has included a hideous late meeting at work, too much work and no motivation equating to not¬†really getting anything done,¬†upping my ballet classes back to two, booking my first tap class in twenty years (eep!), discovering a GIANT hole in the sole of my new ballet shoes in the second wear, one super smashing wine fuelled evening with some lovely pals¬†and possibly the loveliest compliment ever about my ballet (which is still giving me the fuzzies a few days later even though I am totally convinced my teacher is clearly delusional for thinking it in the first instance, see: what’s so wrong with being good?).

Things are a little brighter today: my Crackberry is constantly flashing with love, I have a desk covered in cards from my colleagues, I’ve made cake (and therefore everyone loves me) and I had a smashing phone chat with my mother (who I’d had to phone back to apologise for being short with her when she’d phoned me as I was getting off the train and was tangled in headphones and bag straps). I have a day to survive in the office and an evening with the small people then I have to await the Tesco man bringing my gin so I can celebrate properly tomorrow. It could be worse – at least I’m not disinterested in my birthday this year (in fairness I think I only was last year because I’d been celebrating for about three weeks beforehand so when it finally rolled round I’d had enough).

Anyway, the Work Birthday Law is when it’s your birthday you bring in cake. Of course, when you’re me this is an excuse to take to the kitchen and bake ALL OF THE CAKE. I maintain that there is no cake that cannot be improved by the addition of chocolate, fortunately the Green and Black’s book agrees with me on this. One chocolate lemon drizzle, one chocolate ginger and a dozen cupcakes later I had one happy housemate licking the bowl last night¬†and many happy colleagues this morning…

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Of dessert, cake and cardigans.

I am firmly of the opinion that everyone needs that one friend that they can share dessert with. I have been out with my Dessert Sharing Friend this evening and now am approximately 70% dim sum and 30% dessert and I got left to finish the dessert because Dessert Sharing Friend had the lame excuse of growing a baby in her tummy (which I am (a) super-duper excited about and (b) plotting knitting for). Talking of dessert, I made a vague pretence at being a grown up over the weekend and had some friends over for afternoon tea which was basically just an excuse for (a) me to spend QT with my kitchen, (b) sparkling wine and (c) these super amazing Phish Food Brownies.

 

 

 

 

Back to the subject of knitting though (see tenuous link above to baby knitting), we all remember the ongoing saga of my grey Fair Isle cardigan, right? The one that started out as a pale grey warm up cardigan for ballet (which is kind of a redundant concept at the moment) and then went through several variations on a theme? Good, nice to know you’re keeping up. Yeah, that cardigan: I FINISHED IT well ahead of schedule. Dessert Sharing Friend was disappointed it wasn’t getting an outing tonight (I haven’t washed it yet, that’s why) and my mother commented on the phone last night that I really must have had not a lot to do socialising-wise last week since I’d managed to knit half a cardigan in just under a week… ho hum. I find this is often the case with knitting projects: they spend vastly more time under my bed ‘thinking about what they’ve done’ than I actually do knitting them. If I could just settle down and crack on things would get completed so much more quickly. Anyway, no point crying over spilt milk and all that palaver, I’ve got a lovely¬†bunch of cocountscardigan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cardigan pattern itself is a variation on a theme of Glenna C’s Basic Black. I switched the 2×2 ribbing for a 4×2 C4F rib and added the snowflake band ten rows up from the end of the ribbing – if you look at the chart picture close enough you should be able to see my markings for where all the increases/decreases come in for the various component parts. I’ve also done a garter stitch button band rather than a 2×2 rib and it’s only got the one button because I very rarely bother to wear my cardigans buttoned up. The snowflake design itself is my own, a doodle variation on a theme of a dozen existing snowflake patterns. I confess I haven’t actually woven in all the ends, I’ve knotted some together and I need to ‘wilt’ them with a match to stop them unravelling.

The whole thing is knitted in Sirdar Snuggly which is an acrylic yarn but it’s one of the nicer feeling ones (as opposed to the vile cardboardy stuff you often get). It also has the bonuses of (a) being able to go into the washing machine and (b) not making me want to rip all my skin off wearing it. Small victories and all that jazz, amigos. Now I need to crack on and do some baby knitting…

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