Bucket List No 5 – Bake a perfect cake

7 Apr
Carrot cake cupcakes - delicious...

Carrot cake cupcakes – delicious…

Cakes are everywhere.  There’s the cupcake phenomenon which has introduced Britain to American style cupcakes with fat, cream cheese toppings as oppose to the flat, iced cupcakes I grew up with.  TV shows are also getting on the act.  The success of the Great British Bake Off was no fluke.  Everyone loves the idea of baking and let’s face it, most people love eating cakes.  The idea of baking can seem overwhelming but take it from a novice baker – it’s not as tricky as you might think.  

I’ll let you into a little secret about baking cakes.  It’s an exact science.  As long as you follow the recipe to the letter, the chances of you producing a delicious cake are really, really good.

I’m not talking about fancy cakes with toffee lattices or gold chocolate leaves here.  I’m talking about simple, traditional British cakes.  And if there’s one thing the Brits do know about cooking, it’s how to make a good cake.  And the best bit?  You get to enjoy eating the results!

Victoria sponge with fresh cream and jam

Victoria sponge with fresh cream and jam

Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to give it a go, here’s how I got started.

In January, I decided on a new approach to New Year’s resolutions.  Instead of setting unachievable or overwhelming goals, I was going to make a list of all the things I wanted to do this year.  The only condition was they had to be things I would enjoy.

One of my bucket list items was “bake a perfect cake”.  I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy the baking part, but I knew I was going to enjoy the eating part so I started off with this one.

Apart from a few Home Economics classes taught by a slightly crazy teacher, I had absolutely no experience of cake baking.  As a novice baker, my first mistake was thinking I need a lot of fancy gadgets.  You don’t.

Here’s a list of my essentials for getting started:

A mixing bowl

Weighing scales

2 x 20cm cake tins

1 x loaf tin

Electric whisk

Cupcake moulds

Cake stand

Cake tin

I spent a total of around £40 on this list and it lets me make loaf shaped cakes, two tiered cakes and of course, cupcakes.  The stand and tin make sure the cakes stay fresh for longer and let me share the goodies with others.  In the silicone vs. metal debate, I’d go for silicone.  The metal cake tins I have can make the outer bit of my cake a bit crusty and hard.

The next step is to pick a recipe and for this, Google is your friend.  Start off with a cake you enjoy eating – mine was coffee and walnut which is one of my favourites.  Don’t be put off by how complicated it might look, take time to read the instructions and as long as there’s nothing which looks too tricky, go for it.

And the next step?  Roll up your sleeves, get your apron on and bake your chosen cake!

My first attempt at a cake - coffee and wlanut

My first attempt at a cake – coffee and wlanut

As for me, my bucket list has a total of 15 items and we’re coming up to April, but so far I’m still stuck on this one.  After all, I did say I’d bake a perfect cake so I need to get it just right…

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