Pastry and I … we don’t get on. At all. I can barely manage with bought pastry, and if I try to make it myself it’s a disaster.
I’ve tried everything – food processor, mixer, by hand. It all goes grey and shrinks, and is as unappetising as you might imagine.
I’ve been hunting for one of these for a while, and found it at Lakeland [warning: do not go here unless you are of strong will-].
I used it once, and I don’t think it’ll work. I’ve just fetched it out to make some rock buns, and the handle had worked a tiny bit loose, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it. Pete has tightened its nuts (as it were) with his Leatherman mole grips and we’ll see how it goes.
And the rock cakes have just come out of the oven. They *smell* nice, anyway.
 they taste nice too, but they’re not rock buns as I remember them.
Is it me, or is it my oven? [sigh]
Well, I tried it again. I used the right size tins, I checked that the oven was the right temperature with a thermometer, I even softened the butter Just In Case.
And still, my cake was more like a biscuit. An uncooked biscuit at that.
My sponge making days are over. Gloom.
But for some reason, in the past week or so I’ve been making some cakey things. I started with carrot and cinnamon muffins (delicious), then did some espresso flavoured cup cakes (also delicious).
Then, fired up with confidence, I decided to make a sponge. A SPONGE. How hard can it be?, I asked myself. I found a recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. I rummaged in the back of the saucepan cupboard and found a brace of 6″ sponge tins. I rummaged in the bottom drawer in the kitchen and found the pre-cut cake tin liners (cut them myself? Are you mad?).
Then, in accordance with the recipe, I preheated the oven to Gas 4, tipped all the ingredients in the Magimix, bar the milk, whizzed them all up, and then added the milk. I did think the ingredients looked a bit – well – odd, but I got Pete to check them. Then I poured the mixture into the sponge tins, set the timer for 25 minutes and went off to watch Doctor Who.
And never heard the timer … so they had 35 minutes instead of 25. But they weren’t burned, and hey had risen quite enthusiastically, and the skewer was clean, so I left them in their tins for a bit to cool as instructed, then turned them out. Then, a bit later, I spread one of them liberally with rhubarb and ginger jam, sandwiched them together, and triumphantly cut us a slice each.
And it wasn’t cooked through. On re-reading the recipe, Nigella uses *8″* tins, not 6″ ones. Stupid woman.
Originally posted in my LiveJournal 19 dec 2005
So … I weighed out the ground almonds, the whole nuts (whizzed briefly in the food processor), the mixed tropical fruit, the sultanas, the blueberries and cranberries, the dried apricots. I rummaged in the back of the cupboard for Cointreau and Amaretto.
I beat 225g of butter with 225g of caster sugar and 1 tsp of Madagascan vanilla essence.
I added one egg.
Then I added another egg … and *as I cracked it* I realised it was bad, but it was too late – it was on its way into the Kitchenaid. Pete heroically dealt with the revolting sugary sulphury mess, while I washed everything up.
Then I found more butter, more sugar, more vanilla essence and started again. This time I did what I usually do – but inexplicably didn’t the time before – and broke the eggs into an intermediate container, but of course they were all fine.
The cake? Well, I’m not very happy with it to be honest. I think I might go and [whisper] buy one from Waitrose …