Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Another lesson in the womanly art of housekeeping and family feeding.

The first thing one learns about cake making is that there are cake makers and cake fakers.
Cake fakers have Sara Lee in the freezer at all times.
Except for me who will eat the things frozen when I'm on a sweet bender.

Cake bakers turn out divine confections without putting on an apron. They open cook books just to do a quick refresh and then the brain does a re-boot and memory takes over. Scones rise, sponges rise, cupcakes are iced without the cat being splattered two rooms away and some even make bread.

I haven't baked a cake in five years but after reading the nutrition labels on so-called healthy options, I decided to be a cake maker again and here are my lessons in baking.

1. Don't be tempted to buy homebrand mixed fruit. You'll find it has 10 pieces of minute lemon peel and the rest of the fruit would have to be analysed by a CSI unit. Don't buy already chopped dates, you can't identify chopped fruit from chopped anything else that got in the way.

2. If you do buy the cheap crap, liberally douse it with as much sherry as it takes to make the fruit look like fruit and the smell creeping out of the kitchen is divine.

3. Read the recipe first. I know, just one of those silly rules that cake makers swear by but it does remind you to buy the ingredients that you actually will need. Trying to estimate how much liquid to put in to equate to a can of crushed pineapple which you knew you needed last shopping day but couldn't remember what for. Make sure you have flour. Mixing everything that's left in the jars might work or not. I'll let you know later.

4. Even if you never think you'll bake a cake ever again, buy a flour sifter, just in case. I know Nigella doesn't like sifting flour either but I'll be hanged if I'll get out the food processor to do it, not when I know she's got slaves to wash it and put it away after. She also uses it to get the lumps out of icing sugar but, but those lumps make the icing look so interesting.

5. So you have two bottles of vanilla extract. Make sure you tip the almost empty one into the mixture and not waste the full one. Make sure you have the spices. It's all very well to keep them in brown bottles away from sunlight but the bottles don't cry out in the wilderness of the pantry, "I'M EMPTY". You find that out the hard way but never mind the vanilla and sherry will make up for that. I did have sugar but it's been so long since I filled the sugar bowl I practically had to use the rolling pin to break it up. Dear old rolling pin, I've had it since my kitchen tea, we didn't have male strippers and hangovers before the wedding in my day.

6. Get out the proper sized cake tin. The recipe says an 8 inch round but it was too far back in the cupboard so I'm using a 10 inch square. It's okay, the cake will look flatter but bigger in the way guys stuff socks in their jocks except the cake will taste loads better.
Don't forget to line the tin with greased paper then a layer of baking paper or you can wing it and cut the paper out of the cake later.

7. Light the oven before you start all this, that way you won't forget and still be salivating at midnight when you finally check for a flame because something doesn't seem right. Don't take any notice of cooking times, remember you're using a 10 inch instead of an 8 inch tin and don't rely on the kitchen clock either, the battery dropped dead last week.

8. Never tell you mother at the nursing home that you're making a cake. She'll want a piece and a piece for all her friends and I won't be responsible for what happens after all those oldies ingest cake containing dates, booze and wholemeal flour. I'm sure Jane will agree with me.

I think I'll go over to Cake Wrecks and feel better about myself or I'll have an early meal and have warm cake with ice-cream on top. That's what I call nutritious.


Kath Lockett said...

I don't care what you say - it sounds delicious!

JahTeh said...

Kath, a report will be forthcoming, that's report not what you usually do and you would after all that boozy cake.

Elisabeth said...

I'm a Sara Lee frozen cake on standby person myself, though my daughters can make wonderful cakes. It must be to offset my bad habits. Thanks, JahTeh. Good on you for trying.

Andrew said...

Never stuffed socks. Don't have to.

R.H. said...

One time in Bairnsdale I went with my sister to visit her girl chum who lived in a two-car metal garage on twenty acres. She made us a cake immediately by stirring Homebrand cake mix with powdered milk then shoving the lot into a microwave.

It wasn't a cake.

But never mind, because she told us a funny story. She'd put an advert in a lonely heart's paper and a suitor was to arrive that morning, all the way from Melbourne. About 11 a.m. she peeked out her door and saw a bloke having a piss at the end of her road, then five minutes later he was at her door. It was her suitor. "And his pants were wet." So we got the cake instead.

Ro said...

Just whipped up self-saucing choc pudd....forgot to pour the 2 cups of water on top for the sauce until it was halfway thru baking *sigh*.
We'll use a chisel and jackhammer for Dad's sweets tonight.

JahTeh said...

Elisabeth, I can say the cake was superb. I don't know whether it was the dates, the booze or putting it in the wrong size tin. I will try to make it last through the weekend.

All talk DrewAn, show us the pictures, c'mon.

Robbert, a woman of a certain age looking for a man of a certain age should always check the toilet seat or floor, drips mean prostate trouble so show him the door.

Jayne? Ro? Why didn't you take the chance and bung it in halfway? I mean either way you were stuffed.

River said...

Frozen Sara Lee is the best on a hot summer night!! Especially a cheesecake!
I love homemade cakes, I don't care that they don't look "professional", but I love how they taste like cake, unlike bought cakes which often taste like nothing much except sugar. I also like knowing what's in my cakes, another good reason to make your own. Bought cakes are made with pre-prepared bulk mixes, lots of preservatives and the worst yet, they have POWDERED egg. Ugh! Packet mix cakes are the same, except you add your own egg. I haven't made a cake in almost a year, the last was a lemon chiffon cake I made for my birthday and took to work to share.
How did your cake turn out?

R.H. said...

Get two tickets for the India-Pacific.
I'm coming with you.


Ozfemme said...

(I'm a cake baker) and have a suggestion to make: when leaving cake on rack to cool, make sure that the bloody cat is outside - or at least get off your (my) lazy arse and go check what those noises in the kitchen are you're hearing - does a cake cooling make those kind of noises? - because by the time the bloody cat staggers into the living room licking it's friggin fat cat face....it will be too late. Or... cut the mangled top of, cover it in icing and nobody is the wiser.

Sorry, I know this comment should probably be a post. Sorry.

R.H. said...

All my comments are posts (what's the difference?)

Cop this one:

ANDREW you mincing old arse bandit, deleting comments that stump you...Leave religion alone; the burkha is who they are.

Maybe they'll stop wearing it when you stop being a homo.

Davoh said...

Would you believe that "ANZAC biscuits" is a 'proprietary' name?
Wot, a bitta oatmeal and SYRUP ..

Davoh said...

apart from snide and probably incomprehensible occasional snipes ..i do understand food and how it should be prepared and enjoyed.

R.H. said...

Go on Master Chef you old c--nt!
Take your van in with you!

(Make sure you're sober)


R.H. said...

Never mind about Rome Ms Andrew, lets see what "soft penalty" the HOMO MASTER at Brighton Grammer cops for molesting ELEVEN YOUNG BOYS. Arse bandit.

Davoh said...

Ah, RH .. do we need to be possums scrabbling in Jen's blog?

Come tussle with me on mine .. heh.

R.H. said...

What are you talking about?

Go on Survivor you old c-nt!

R.H. said...

Nothing happening here but plenty yesterday when I sprang the just married Miss N in Anderson Street Yarraville, looking in the window of a "boutique" wouldn't you know. She dragged me to the little hash house beside Sun Theatre; cute place, recent add to some fool's investment portfolio. We sat in a corner near the window. You're getting curvier, I said to her. I am, she said. I'm taking you to New York I said, putting you on the catwalk, there's no future in a cringing fucked up shit country like this; we're getting out!
She laughed. Was quiet a while
"Robert, there's no one like you."

JahTeh said...

River, cake turned out just right and I've been living on it for two days, too tired to cook.

Oz, that is so cute, a cake-eating kitteh. Did it throw it up on the carpet at midnight just to compound the felony? Cutting the top and icing the leftovers is acceptable but not when I'm coming over for afternoon tea. Don't think I won't check for fang marks.

Robbert, the burkha is not part of their religion, it's part of their cultural identity. In a democracy they are free to wear or discard it but not in a country ruled by theocracy. Men are not immune to this either, Sikhs must not cut their hair and the turban is part of their identity, cultural and religious but I doubt if they would be stoned to death as women are if they suddenly decided not to wear a turban.

Davo, the propriety name came in when the biscuit company was taken over and it looked like we might lose it forever.

Robbert, as for Rome, Brighton Grammer is chronically Christian as well and stop confusing Homos with Pedos. There are a lot more pedos hiding under rocks than there are homos.
Miss N is right, there is no-one like you. It appears the creator was intelligent after all.

R.H. said...

From what I've seen, there's lots of religions in the Middle East, only Muslims wear the burkha. It's religious garb, that's why homosexuals and their tools pick on it.
Well it's funny for me, most trendies like the
burkha, like seeing it in their neighbourhood, makes them feel worldly. There's also the matter of anti-racism -high on the trendy catechism. Things like this make them sweat.
People can dress how they like, cop the desperates in Chapel street. Well if they want to show half their tits they can, and put metal through their skin too, trouble is they're no easier a root than the more intelligent. I'm sorry for them, really. The worst end up mental wards.
Brighton Grammar is "chronically Christian", so is the pope, homos become priests as a cover for not chasing women.
"Pedophiles" don't necessarily prefer kids at all, it's just that kids are easy marks -especially for homo priests in the catholic church.
There's hetero pedophiles and homo pedophiles.
I'd hang both by the neck until dead.


How do you know there are more pedos than homos hiding under rocks?

R.H. said...

You can't have a go at foreigners in funny clothes: a big headache for the trendies, feminists especially. I've nought against homosexuals, just glad I'm not one. If they'd shut up about religion they'd hear nought from me.

R.H. said...

Change the topic. This will amaze you. Yesterday my biographical subject went to the State Trustees. He was seen there by an employee he hadn't met before. The bloke must have been nervy because (get this!) a shield of bullet proof glass separated them.
It's there, at the State Trustees, a special room, just like at Pentridge.

JahTeh said...

Bullet proof glass, your reputation precedes you.

As for hiding under rocks, gays would love to be out and proud without getting punched into next Sunday but when have you heard a pedo shout out loud and proud.

If the nuns could get rid of their penguin suits then Burkhas could be modified to show faces which is all the governments want.

R.H. said...

The State Trustees have TWO locations in the city: a grand high rise in Exhibition Street, and an obscure hovel in Little Bourke Street. Their ragged army of mentally ill and demented clients are directed to the Little Bourke Street place; out of sight, like prostitutes through a back door.
The only income some of these poor bums have is the government pension, "managed" by the State Trustees who deduct an amount to ensure bills for utilities such as gas, electricity and so on get paid, plus their "fee" of course. One bloke I know (due to a naturally frugal lifestyle) managed to save four thousand dollars from his pension over two years. When he boasted about it to the Trustees they were horrified. A board meeting (I suppose) was held around a shiny table whereupon a decision was made to take the money fron him and moreover hold back $100 per fortnight from his pension to ensure it didn't happen again.

It's funny to me that someone can intercept pension money granted by the Federal government in the first place, and then decide it's excessive. And at a time when pensioners are stripping in the streets to protest the pension's inadequacy.

The State Trustees are among people in this world who eat, sleep, and shit finance. There isn't a human among them. Believing that money spent is money wasted they are very adverse to handing any over, especially to people like my biographical subject who has quite a large bundle there. Whenever such people request money and are summoned into Bourke Street to hear a decision they won't like it's announced in the Salon de Refuses: a safe room with fortified glass screen to protect the representative of Mammon. -And its Grand philosophy: Money spent is money wasted.

Every year during the Mardi Bizarre down Oxford Street homosexuals parade as penguin suit nuns -a filthy insult to these women and their church. The truth is homos don't want acceptance at all. They want trouble.

Middle Child said...

This litle balck duck won't be making any cakes for a long time after this...