Thursday, 25 August 2011


I love cooking main meals. Didn’t I share a favourite chicken supper dish with you recently? And didn’t you say how delicious it was when you tried it out? But there’s a magic spell people use when they bake cakes and I don’t know the words. I’ve tried many times and yesterday, because I don’t give up easily, I tried again. I baked a jam sponge cake.

I do get myself into a bit of a state when I bake but I managed to hold it together. I even remembered to sieve the flour!! I measured things out and I whisked like a crazy thing [well you have to get lots of air into it, don’t you?] I watched through the oven door as it started to rise. I even allowed myself to get a little excited.

When I took it out of the oven it looked a bit knobbly, even biscuit-like in places. No matter, I thought. I bet it’ll taste delicious. I used half a jar of ‘high quality’ strawberry jam, sandwiched it together, sprinkled it with icing sugar, put all the dirty utensils into the sticky mixing bowl, filled the bowl with water and stood back to admire my cake but...

...I stepped back into water. There was water was pouring from the work surface. Where was it coming from? I called for Mr A. [It’s what I always do in times of crisis!] He helped me to mop the water but then he held up the plastic mixing bowl. There was a shattered, splintered hole in its side. We searched for the broken pieces but it was no good. They weren’t there and we both knew that there was only one place they could be.

I couldn’t do it myself. I got Mr A. to throw my beautiful, knobbly cake into the dustbin and I went to the corner shop and bought some biscuits instead. I may try to bake another cake, but not for a while, not until I get over this one... and I even remembered to sieve the flour!!



  1. Now if I had been there to lick out the mixing bowl before your cake went in the oven we could have saved you all this trouble. Mind you sieving a cake mix does have its problems!

  2. Oh dear!

    I have a theory. Cooks can be divided into those who like to experiment and those who follow instructions. The ones who follow instructions are good at baking cakes. The ones who are more creative are better with other dishes. I follow instructions and limit my creativity to writing.

  3. I can bake cakes! If they come from the But I love baking main dishes and attempting deserts. I'm all about the oven.

  4. Oh Ros,
    How awful - after all that careful effort and work - and I bet it tasted deeeelicious...... apart from that one piece :-(

  5. Oh how sad! I hope you had some joy in the mixing and cooking to make up for the lack of eating.

  6. Years ago - I made a wonderful Christmas cake. Left it in the kitchen to cool and went to bed. Husband came home late - and ate a slice! (That's not why we divorced, but it didn't help!)

  7. Ros
    You have my heat-felt sympathy. Sponge-cakes and I have never seen eye to eye, which makes me feel terrible as my Mum could knock one up with her eyes closed. I've tried - 'follow recipe to the letter' and 'chuck it in and hope' to no avail. Mind you, my pastry is usually pretty good. According to a friend, cooks can do one or other but rarely both. Luckily she's in the cake camp and now we play to our strengths. (Of course I'm now getting to know a new oven - so anything could happen!)
    Hope you enjoyed your well-earned biscuits.

  8. Oh no, that is such a shame... after all that effort. Better luck next time!

  9. I recognize your dilemma. I usually skip sieving the flour too. That's why I only eat cake at weddings. :) My sympathy.

  10. So sorry about the cake fail but I'm relieved there wasn't chocolate in it. Throwing out chocolate is, well, illegal.

    That's a very cute graphic.

  11. Horrible! I'm so sorry. :( All that work ... but I understand: biting into glass would be a bit- um - painful. At least you realized what had happened before you ate the cake!


  12. I don't know the baking spell either.

    I sometimes think I should practise more, but I try to live a healthy life with not too much sugar (besides the one in chocolate, of course), so it's probably better if I don't bake too often. :-)

  13. Oh, no~ So sorry!! I was five years old when I made my first cake without a mix. The thing to remember about baking is that the fun comes in the trying -sort of like writing. It's not how it turns out but the fun you have mixing (And licking). I make my Grandma's secret recipe sponge cake- then slice it and pile on the lemon filling and top with remaining cake and powder sugar- it is so good~ Bread on the other hand well- yeast laughs at me. So I laugh back and keep trying.

  14. That is the saddest baking story. I am so sorry. On the up side, nobody swallowed any glass, so try to cling to that. We live in Colorado and sometimes baking at altitude can yield strange and interesting results... just keep mixing! (new follower)

  15. Oh goodness :( I hate it when things like that happen. Especially after all that hard work. You sound like me. I can get through some things (when cooking) without a hitch, but other things area disaster. And it is always the most simple recipes that I mess up. It's aggravating! Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. It will be great to be on the campaign together!

  16. That's sad :(
    I have friends who are geniuses at cake baking. I normally just specialise in the eating part. Maybe if I find the magic word I can share it with you!

  17. Oh no! I love sponge cake, and I can imagine your pain. I also struggle with baking cakes, while everyone else makes it look so easy, so I could relate. Cute post, and I love the graphic.

  18. Ugh, poor you. I have the same curse. Cooking's a doddle, but baking's a whole different kettle of fish!

  19. Ah, sorry to hear that. I love baking, but would also have had to throw that cake out - missing splinters and all.

  20. Aw! I'm terrible at meals but brilliant at baking. Very rarely does it happen that I flop. Still, I know that a failed cake can be heart breaking.


  21. Oh, what a shame after all that work! But, biscuits always help to save the day and spirit!

  22. One night I made spaghetti for my very hungry kids and I tripped just slightly when I was carrying the pasta from the sink to the dish. All of the noodles slid out of the sieve and landed on the floor. Dinner was a little late that night!

  23. Sounds like you have taken a page from the book of my life!!!! My heartfelt sympathies.

  24. Rosalind,
    I too am a campaigner but I had no idea that simply by joining I'd live longer! What a win-win. So sorry for the loss of your cake. Be brave, time heals and all of that.

  25. I can bake a cake or brownies,and I am apparently the only one in the family who can make pie crust. But only because I follow the directions to the letter and get down to eye level to mix the ingredients just so. LOTS of work. I would rather just whip up a dinner or pot soup. I really hate following directions. That being said as you can guess I have had lots of failures, but they still tasted good. Just cover them with ice cream and no one notices.

    Pamela Jo

  26. Opps for got to mention I am a fellow campaigner. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Pamela JO

  27. Hopping over from the campaign to say hi. I don't have a single cooking gene in my body. Everything now and then my kids blackmail me into baking a cake and I've never once had success. I've gotten so many Victorian Spone Cake recipes from friends ("it's so simple, you can't go wrong!") and I get pancakes everytime - although, there's one thing I do very well, I can make the most delicious maple syrup pancakes and I think my kids are finally starting to realise that's all they'll ever get out of me

  28. Hi Bob, you’re not supposed to lick out bowls these days, raw eggs and all that!

    Hi Miriam, it must be my creativity that ruins it for me then!

    Hi Kelley, I can bake from a box too!

    Hi Ann, there were so many shards of plastic missing that we never got to taste any of it.

    Hi Karen, it wasn’t much compensation, I have to admit.

    Hi Jo, definitely grounds for divorce!

    Hi Ali and thanks, my pastry’s rubbish too I’m afraid.

    Hi Rebecca, you think there’s going to be a next time?

    Hi Manzanita, I think I’ll stick to only eating wedding cakes too.

    Hi Robyn, I never thought of it that way. There was no chocolate harmed in the making of this cake!

    Hi Amy, so glad we noticed the missing bits before we ate.

  29. Hi K.C. there is a definite advantage to not baking. There’s nothing tempting to nibble on during the day.

    Hi Nancy, you’re a cake mix licker too, huh. I don’t do that since all the egg panic.

    Hi Corrine, and I can’t even use baking at altitude as an excuse.

    Hi Abby, I’m fine at main courses.

    Hi Anna, looking forward to you sharing the magic word with me!

    Hi Julie, thanks, it is a cute graphic, isn’t it.

    Hi J.C. yeah, give me a fish kettle any day rather than a baking tin!

    Hi J.L. maybe it helps if you love to bake. I get too anxious.

    Hi Misha, I was pretty gutted.

  30. Hi Maeve, the biscuits were quite tasty, especially the ginger nuts.

    Hi Kathy, I’ve tipped the occasional dish of pasta onto the floor in my time too. It’s just so slippery!

    Hi Ann, noooo!!!! I’m not becoming as accident prone as you am I? Lol

    Hi Brdiget, here’s hoping that joining a group can make us all live longer. Well it’s worth a try.

    Hi Pamela, good job I didn’t cover this one with ice cream though!

    Hi Claire, thanks for the reminder. I can cook pancakes too. Might just make some for supper!

  31. Hi Ros .. I feel for you! I'm not a baker .. never have been, and having no kids .. never tried through life. So I make things as easy for myself as possible! Gosh .. that's the most frustrating thing - but a good blog post and tale for the future .. happier times ahead - and dry floors, no plastic in our tummies .. cheers Hilary