Friday, 9 November 2012

I Caked It Myself: the iPod cake

Today's submission to I Caked It Myself is the very model of a modern birthday cake, to (mis)quote The Pirates Of Penzance.

Lara writes:

My friend Jane made this for her daughter Claire's 10th birthday - her birthday present was an iPod, so the matching cake was absolutely perfect!  

It was a family effort - each member of the family decorated three "apps" to go on the cake.  Food colouring was used as paint throughout.  

The cake was gluten-free chocolate cake - and it was absolutely delicious!

I think my favourite bit is the earbuds. I would definitely have staked a claim on those. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Giraffe Cake

My giraffe
the original
Here is the giraffe cake. 

I am not sure what to say about the giraffe cake. 

It has not distinguished itself in any way, this giraffe cake. It was not too hard. It was not too easy. It did not cause me to weep in the middle of the kitchen like a deflated meringue. 

It was fine. My version is a little fatter all over (more acacia trees for lunch, perhaps?) and I got that spot in the middle wrong, I put it mashed up against the left eye instead of directly underneath it.. 

Other than that, there's not much to say.

Oh, there is ONE lesson for young players. If you're making this cake the night before, WAIT to do the licorice horns .... do them the next morning. 

If you do them the night before, like I did, the licorice will dry out overnight and break into a squillion inch-long pieces, instead of staying wrapped nicely around the paddle pop sticks. 

Then the next morning when you have to take it work for the executive assistant of the CEO, for her birthday, you will have a mild spasm when you see the broken bits, and have to do it all over again in a state of semi-panic. So, wait.

That is all.

Friday, 2 November 2012

I Caked It Myself: bumper edition from Kate!

It's Friday, readers, and this week things are different.

Normally Friday sees me heaving my sorry self onto the sofa, while clutching a glass of wine as though my life depended on it. Which it usually does, let's be honest.

But today people - TODAY - I am swanning around in Dubai and preparing to head to Kathmandu in Nepal. I probably had a huge dinner last night with friends, and I know I definitely went to my tailor to pick up a new summer wardrobe he's been sewing for me. It is warm. It is sunny. It is magnificent.

And so in the spirit of celebration I bring you a bumper edition of I Caked It Myself, from reader Kate.

Kate writes:

Hello fellow cake-aholic!

A good friend of mine put me onto your blog and I've been checking it out just now. I was compelled to write to you and send you some of the cakes I've made for my kidlets over the past few years.

Women's Weekly Cakes trigger so many delicious and delightful memories for me. My mum was a cake whiz and each year she used to let us choose which birthday cake we wanted out of the well-read, tattered copy of the Women's Weekly Kids' Cakes book. We would spend weeks perusing the pages slowly, trying to imagine how good they would taste. The ones with maximum lollies were always our favourites.

I've carried on this tradition with my kids, but I've been challenged to break the mold a bit lately with a few cake requests outside of 'The Book'!

I'll continue to follow you efforts to make every cake in the WW Book. Goodluck and happy baking :)

I know it is technically not a Women's Weekly cake, but I think Yoda is my favourite in this submission. It is the stuff of legend. Kids would have been talking about that for WEEKS. At the birthday boy's 21st, they will refer to this cake. It is so amazingly realistic! 

You can see more of Kate's marvellous creations at the tumblr blog she's set up - click this link and you'll go right there. 

May the force be with you!

The swimming pool! 

The castle, with spectacular grey icing - how did she do that??

This may be the cutest cake I have ever seen.

The train - doesn't everyone want a train!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween from the Good Witch!

The Good Witch wishes everyone a happy Halloween!

She is getting ready to fly off on her broomstick tonight, to Nepal, India and Dubai. She is totes excited about this and is having trouble holding it all inside.

It's the reason her icing is more of a maroon than a purple - when she was putting her dress on last night she DID NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE to get the colour exactly right, because she was TOO EXCITED TO THINK STRAIGHT and wanted to get back to her packing. Packing is important.

She spent a good fifteen minutes arsing about with five drops of this and ten drops of that, and fifteen more drops of this and twenty more drops of that - and all to no avail. So she knocked it on the head and spent a far more enjoyable hour considering the merits of dotted swiss voile over cotton poplin. Even witches have to have some down time.

So she does not consider this cake her best work. But she does not care because soon she will be on holiday! With dotted swiss voile!

The Good Witch is at work today but is so on edge that she may need to go outside at some point and screech with excitement to relieve the tension.

The Good Witch will be gone for nearly a month, but fear not - she has cast a spell and blog posts will appear by magic while she is away.

For cakey goodness, keep reading this blog (of course!).

For all the tales of her travels, check out All Toile And No Reward.....

Friday, 19 October 2012

I Caked It Myself: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery .....

..... or is it? That's the question posed by today's submission to I Caked It Myself, which comes from my friend Tam.

Tam writes: 

 Nine years ago I decided to decorate my birthday cake with buttercream flowers. I'd seen a picture in a magazine and when I saw a packet of icing tips (plastic!) at my local Coles I thought I'd give it a try. 

I had a few tubs of food colour paste at home (pinky-red, yellow and green) and my trusty WW buttercream recipe on hand, so I made up a big batch of icing and after a few practise rounds on baking paper I came up with this:

 (Made in 2003, uploaded onto Flickr in 2007)
I was fairly proud of it at the time (Ed: I am proud of it too. Your flowers are wonderful, especially for a first-timer! I actually thought they were real when I saw the picture for the first time. You will have to give me lessons. My flowers are rubbish.), but a few years later - after purchasing stainless steel decorating tips and a greater range of food paste colours - I decided to make another ranunculus flower cake for myself [not so much through lack of imagination, but because ranunculi flower profusely in my garden around the time of my birthday].
Keen to improve on my original design, I looked to Google for inspiration, and was shocked to find the following image:

The cheating copy

(spotted on the Amphora bakery website in 2009)

It's still there! Check out (page 4).
It was like looking at one of those puzzles in the newspaper where you try to find the difference between the two pictures. Oh sure, the serving dish was different, but those colours? the amateurish petals? This was a copy of MY CAKE! (Yes! It is practically a carbon copy of your cake!)
At first I was miffed that I wasn't given credit for the idea (even though by posting a photo of my original cake on Flickr I pretty much lost control over any copyright of the artwork etc).  

On the other hand, I'm flattered, as this was the first cake I'd ever decorated with a piping bag and tips. And someone thought it was worth copying. (I hear you, Tam, I hear you.) 

I also smugly know that I have moved on in my portrayal of ranunculi on my birthday cakes:

So therein lies the question .... is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Perhaps, if it is imitation with a proper attribution to the author, the university student in me would say. 

I would have been absolutely gleeful to find that someone had copied a cake of mine. And then a bit ropable. After all, my entire project is about copying, so I could hardly get cranky with someone else for doing the same thing! 

But then, if I'd actually come up with the idea myself, like Tam did, then maybe I would think differently .....

What do you think?


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Sorry About Dead People

Yep, I'm as dumbstruck as you are.

What I do know though,  is that sometimes in life, you gotta break the rules.

This project is all about making cakes from The Book, of course - one hundred and eight of them. That's a lot of Women's Weekly in my life.

So when I was extra-specially-requested to make *this* cake for a colleague, of course I jumped at the chance.

Not just because it is about as far from the Women's Weekly as you can get. And not just because it would give me a chance to finally try out my piping skills and all those icing nozzles I over-enthusiastically bought when I first set sail on this ship.

No, I agreed to do it because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS CAKE MEANS. And that fascinates me.

It fascinates my colleague, too. She has had the picture up on her wall for ages, and for the Festival Of Jess  this week she made a special request. Months ago, in fact, she very politely asked if it would be possible for me to recreate the cake for her birthday even though it is not from The Book. And I just couldn't refuse, could I? This is the sort of chance you don't often get in life. You've got to grab those moments when they present themselves.

It's from the Cakewrecks book. I can't find the post on the website unfortunately, because I was hoping it might be able to shed some light on things.

Is it a funeral cake? A "wake cake"? God forbid.

Consensus in the office is that maybe someone spoiled the ending to The Sixth Sense and felt they needed to have a cake made to say sorry. I don't buy it.

The possibilities are endless.  It could be a poor translation of a Chinese saying you use when someone dies (does such a saying exist?). Or a housewife politely apologising for the untidy dead people at her party. Or a forbidding portent of the upcoming murder of the PERSON THIS CAKE WAS MADE FOR. Wouldn't that be creepy .... opening the box, seeing the cake, and realising your friendly baker person was about to kill you. Very Alfred Hitchock Presents.

And while the thought of what it means is terribly morbidly fascinating, it's not nearly as morbidly fascinating as the decoration on the actual cake itself.

Those pink scalloped edges took me ages to get right. That particular shade of fluorescent yellow icing is right on trend for the current fashion season. And the wiggly poo-esque shape of the white and yellow ribbons just tops everything off.

I hope you appreciate my attention to detail in this cake. It was quite hard to get it just as horrible as the original. I tried really hard on the writing but couldn't quite replicate the heavy hand and lack of attention to detail. So I made up for it by going to the extent of making sure the coloured flower decoration things were (mostly) in exactly the right place.

After you have oohed and aahed over the awfulness of this particular baked treat, I would love to hear your theories on what it could mean ......!

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Telephone Cake: or, explaining the Bakers' Ennui


Picture this imaginary exchange ......

Ring ring! Ring ring!

Me: Hello?  

Them: Hello, it's the Cake Police here.

Me: The cake police?  Really? Like the little toppers on top of wedding cakes? How ever did you come to life?

Cake Police: No funny business thanks very much. We police baking. To be specific, we police Not Baking. And it has come to our attention, missy, that you have Not Been Baking. One might say you have Slacked Off.

Me: Indeed, one might say that. Are you saying that?

Cake Police: We are. According to your blog, which we are monitoring, you have not baked a cake for weeks. Is this true? How do you answer to this charge?

Me: It is true to some extent. I have baked cakes but I have not blogged them. Why are you monitoring my website?

Cake Police: That's classified ma'am. Your behaviour is unacceptable. It cannot continue.

Me: I'm sorry officer. I have been experiencing sugar overload. Flour elbow. I have Bakers' Ennui. You see, that duck cake was so good that I don't know how I am going to follow it.

Cake Police: We don't care. Neither do your readers. Get back on the horse!

Me: If only there was a horse cake, I would bake that in homage to your order.

Cake Police: Whatever. Do we have your word that this episode ends here?

Me: You do. I solemnly vow to blog the backlog. By the way, have you even noticed seen the telephone cake in this post? The coloured smarties and lifesavers are placed EXACTLY the same as the ones in The Book. Now that is attention to detail! Although I did struggle with the black licorice. For the life of me I couldn't make it stay curled up like they did in their photo. I bet the stylist used glue, or hairspray or something, to hold it in place. But my cake had to be eaten, so I could not use those tricks of the trade. And do you know how hard it is to even *find* Lifesavers these days? They come in an entirely differently-sized packet! And they are stuck way down on the bottom shelves of shops, along with the dust bunnies and the ladybirds made of chocolate. No one loves Lifesavers anymore.

Cake Police: We know. They are the poor cousin of today's Skittle. But don't try to distract us. We'll let you off with a warning this time, but next time don't expect such sweet treatment.

Me: thank you officer. Let the blogging begin again.

Friday, 21 September 2012

I Caked It Myself: a special story

Friday. Thank god.

I have been up all night baking. Baking, and icing, and scaffolding, and then watching everything break apart. Numerous times. Four times, to be precise. It has lead to my first Damn This Cake To Hell moment. And I'll tell you about it, oh yes I will.

But not today.

Today, it is time for I Caked It Myself. Allow me to shift the spotlight sideways for a moment, and shine it onto regular reader Alison. Alison has sent in a very special story and I'm honoured she had allowed me to share it with you.

Alison writes:

I am rather intimidated by the sheer quality of Jo's Magnificent Portfolio, but hey, what the hell. (Editor: don't worry Alison. We cannot all be Jo. Jo has rad skillz we can only dream of. The rest of us must scrape by as best we can.)

These are the cakes we made for our son's first birthday.  Some background: my son Michael was born quite premature, and also very small due to a placental problem and some other stuff.  He's now spent just over a year in hospital due to lung issues (and is still there!), so his first birthday was quite special.  (Hooray for his first birthday! Congratulations to everybody. What a celebration it must have been for you!)

We had two parties - one for the medical staff, and a smaller family one.  For the first party I made a number 1 cake.  Two reasons for this - there are a lot of medical staff, and it's relatively easy.  As it turns out though, it's not actually as easy to scale up as I thought it would be.  The main reason for this is the geometry, which seriously cake book?  Is difficult.  (I hear you, Alison. The number one was my first cake too and I had ex-ACT-ly the same issue with scaling the geometry so that I could feed 40 of my closest colleagues! I thought it would be easy. But it was not.)

I used meatloaf tins to make larger cakes and cut them according to the diagram in the book... and then spent about 30 minutes rearranging the cut shapes and arguing with my husband until I worked out how to get them to fit in the right shape with minimal additional cutting.  (Then we ate the leftover bits.)  
The unfinished cake looked disturbingly like a penguin at this point, and had I had any black colouring I would have been tempted to turn it into one.  Fortunately I didn't as I'd bought rather a lot of M&Ms to decorate the cake with!  Icing with Vienna Cream was relatively straightforward once I'd woken up enough to remember that doubling 125g of butter does not mean adding 500g butter to the mixing bowl - fortunately my Mum can do maths, even late at night, and was helping me put the cake together - and also when we realised that having a butter-based icing mix means that letting the cakes cool down before starting to cover them with Vienna Cream is essential as otherwise the icing melts.  (Aren't mums awesome? They really know their stuff.)

Fortunately we had already cleared enough space in the fridge to be able to put them in there while we had a cup of tea.  Once cooled the Vienna Cream went on very nicely, the quantity of M&Ms was fortunately sufficient to cover the cake and the finished cake was well received by the ravening hordes of medical staff - and the icing (with some cake crumbs) by the birthday boy. (Hooray for his first cake! What a milestone!)

The family cake I let my husband choose the design for - which is how we ended up with what was going to be just a guitar cake in honour of Michael's love of music therapy turning into a "Michael Schenker Flying V guitar" design.  
The only setback to this turned out to be again not having black icing, so we made do with icing as blue as we could get it.  Then we realised we didn't have anything to do the strings with - another reason why planning these things is probably a good idea, rather than making the cake the night before and decorating it on the morning of the actual event.  (If The Book teaches its readers one thing, that thing is DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE. I learnt that lesson just last night, and it wasn't pretty. Right now I am pretty much running on sugar and caffeine and eventually I am going to hit the ground with a bang and start weeping. That'll be fun for my workmates.)

So it's more a representation of a flying V, rather than a close copy.  As it turned out many of the guests apparently thought it was a rocketship - an impression probably helped by the electric candle placement.  (No flames permitted in close proximity to oxygen tanks!)  (Quite. I mean, birthdays are great when they go off with a bang, but not THAT kind of bang.)

The cake was again well received by family (and the leftovers by the medical staff, again.)

I look forward to many more cake making adventures from the book!

Me too Alison, me too. Thank you for sharing this story with us and I know every reader sends their love and best wishes to you, your husband and little Michael.

The birthday boy crashed out after all the excitement of the party

Monday, 3 September 2012

In Honour Of Spring: the Basket Of Flowers

Oh happy day, Spring is here! I have seen the sun, for the first time in months, and lo, it is good!

The birds are chirping, my forest pansies are about to burst into bloom, and the cats are poised for their seasonal moulting, where my entire house becomes a living, breathing furball for about three weeks. Yay. Something to look forward to.

Ah, spring - welcome back. I might say though, you took your damn time arriving - it feels as though it's been winter in Melbourne for EV-AHHHHH.

And so in celebration of spring, I baked the Basket Of Flowers. I thought it was appropriately symbolic - the grassy green colours, the pillowy marshmallow flowers, the coconut flavoured green M&Ms - it was a worthy offering.

(As an aside, does anyone else remember the ahem, particular qualities ascribed to green M&Ms back in the mid-80s? Was it universal? Or was it just a strange idiom of the country town I grew up in? Let me know.)

I made a slightly different base cake for this one. It's the standard butter cake mixture from The Book, but I made the spontaneous addition of two handfuls of frozen raspberries, to really freshen up the recipe. It worked a treat too - we cut into this cake at around 11am in the office, and less than fifteen minutes later the entire thing had been scoffed.

I was not happy with the shape of the cake, however. It's a typical round one (and I made mine much bigger than The Book suggested, because of course I had to feed thirty hungry co-workers rather than nine or ten little nine-or-ten year old girls, as The Book imagined.)

I think the basket doesn't really work in the round, flat shape of a standard cake tin. Wouldn't it have looked a bit better if you made this cake in a pudding steamer, which is the shape of a bowl with a flat bottom?

Then you would get the lovely round shape, the wide lip etc, but it would narrow down to a smaller base. I think that would look more delicate than this somewhat flat-footed clumsy version.

Book Editors, please note - something for the next edition!

Friday, 31 August 2012

I Caked It Myself: Jo's Magnificent Portfolio

Gah, Friday at last, dear readers!  It was so cold and wet this morning that the last thing I wanted to do was get up out of bed. I was warm, I was snuggly, I had two gigantic cats pinning me down - but I did it.

I Got Up.

I sacrificed my happiness for you, dear readers. Because today's I Caked It Myself series is a very special offering.

Reader Jo has sent in a portfolio of her cake-baking efforts over the years.  It is magnificent. I am in awe of her prowess. I am humbled by her commitment. I am a featherweight in comparison. She has done the train! And I want that shark for my next party!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jo The Magnificent. Jo writes.....

Hoping these provide you with some amusement! It is a bizarre experience presenting them as a portfolio. There are probably some deep psychological insights to be had. Eeew. I’m not very good at following instructions, so tend to take a few liberties; ranging from just changing the underlying cake recipe (my favourite base is  ‘wacky cake’ aka the 6-minute chocolate cake; as it is foolproof, edible, chocolate and easy to carve – especially after freezing); to modifying the decorations to taste; or merely using pictures as inspiration for wild inventions of my own. The results range from roaring successes to dodgy looking numbers requiring a bit of imagination to interpret – and everything in between....

So here goes!  Undertaking No. 1.  The mermaid cake for Clare’s 5th birthday.

Based on an internet search, with complicated cutting pattern. Round cake head, a rectangular cake and 12 mini-muffins. Turned out bigger than Ben Hur, and we ended up having to use a very heavy piece of laminex (the cut-out from the sink ~900mm long) covered in foil. Decorated with cachous and mini florals, placed precisely, lovingly and carefully colour coordinated-ly until well after midnight (oh, and I was 3 months pregnant at the time!).

 No. 2. The Witch, Clare’s 7th birthday. Note the dodgy nose! And black icing is really scary. Green is bad, but black? Who eats black icing? [editor's note: I would, Jo, I would.]

And, for the record, there was some pretty sensational party food to go with the cake - bats wings, eyeballs, lizard eyes, giants thumbs, dried toads guts..) [This sounds awesome. I would have loved a party like this when I was little.]

 Natty’s 2nd birthday cake. The train cake, but modified to avoid that evil blue icing of the Thomas version. My rule of birthday cakes is that it does have to be edible! Personally, I’m most proud of the popcorn steam coming from the funnel....

 Natty’s 3rd... a sailing boat. Uninspired and done under a false sense of pressure. Peppermint leaf sea with penguins swimming in it.  Probably a low point!

 Clare’s 9th birthday and better rendition of the sailing theme, if a bit boring....Is that chocolate again? Ummm, ....that would be yes.

Followed up by the greatest folly. Natty’s 4th birthday when he was obsessed by (can you figure it out?)... sharks! Getting cocky now, but the shark cake was scary on too many levels.... oh dear. [I love this one Jo! I love the convoluted concept of a person eating a cake of a person-eating shark! I want this one for my next party please.]

 So, back to the tried and true. The treasure chest for Natty’s 5th. Gold coins, necklaces, sand (nice touch, food-processed arrowroot bikkies!) with seahorses and other sea critters... Had the kids with the oooh aaah factor, that year! Easy, but effective. Wisdom gained.....

 .... is, oh, so easily lost. What happened? Did I forget the lessons of the 4th birthday? Yep. This is my self-directed attempt at Star Wars, with the R2D2 and C3PO crashing on Tatooine (the desert planet) scene. Yes – it is a sand dune, crashed escape pod and arguing droids. Deluded, I know. [Let us just admire your idea and your attempt. Execution is not everything. If nothing else, my crazy cake project has taught me that.]

Only as I compile this do I see that Natty has scored on every birthday since 2, but Clare’s only had the odd numbers since she was 5. Sometime I guess the birthday cake god/dess will strike me down.  By Clare’s 11th birthday she was happy to have a higher quality chocolate cake and be done with the themes. 

Love your concept of doing all the Women’s Weekly cook book cakes. My husband Tim tried to tell me that mine show more creativity, but I am not convinced. [You should believe him! It is true!] My skill doesn’t match my vision, and clearly I don’t learn. But what I love about it is that the kids are not critical! 

I sometimes even sew costumes for them too.... (love the mane on this!). Clare was obsessed by zebras for a very long time, and this lasted from when she was about 6 till an occasional outing still... 

Jo, I think I am most impressed by this costume, out of everything! It is stunning! She actually looks like a zebra! I think you are awesome, and I've got a bit of a girl crush on you......

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Moment In The Confessional

I'm a naughty little blogger!

It's been four weeks since my last post.

Dear readers, I'm sorry. I can't even make it better by saying I haven't been baking. Because I have.  I HAVE been baking, and I've been eating the evidence and not posting it up here.

So without ado I offer you a ladybird as a peace offering. How does that rhyme go?

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children alone 

That's a bit how I feel for not posting over the past month ... like I should hide my face under my wings in shame.

I think the ladybird turned out very well, though my colours are much darker than the ones in the picture!

It didn't stop us eating this up though - as a change, I made the cake a carrot cake.

Whoever put carrot into a cake for the first time? What would make someone do that?

It's a little bit like zucchini scones. I would never eat zucchini scones.

What kind of cake would *you* never eat?

Friday, 27 July 2012

I Caked It Myself: the Ladybird

Tra la la, oh happy day, Friday's here, kahloo kahlay! That is my happy Friday song. But you may sing it too if you like. Go on - it'll do wonders for your tired, workaday soul.

O Friday, how I love your lovely end-of-weekiness. It means rest is around the corner, sleep is practically within grasp, and it's time to let someone else step into the limelight until I shove them rudely out of it again and hog the spotlight myself once more.

Today's contributor to I Caked It Myself is the gorgeous Anna, who has submitted the ladybird for your edification. 

Anna writes: 

I love your blog (ed: why thank you Anna! You are a very nice person, and I must say that you clearly have impeccable taste.) and for a recent friend's birthday she said that she wanted a ladybird cake. 

Where better than to go to the Australian's Woman's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book where so many of my childhood cakes were made from!

As you can no longer buy black smarties, I bought large chocolate black buttons.

The cake was a huge success with my friends.

Good luck with all your remaining cakes!  I can't wait to see how you go with the train- that was always my favourite!

Thank you Anna for your lovely email, and for the photos of your wonderful ladybird! I also cannot wait to see how I go with the train, which everyone is dying to see and therefore also inadvertently providing me with the perfect excuse to hold off making it for some time yet in order to build the anticipation. 

Anna, I also admire how well you adapted the cake by using chocolate buttons - they look absolutely delicious. And I know only too well how annoying it can be, when you have decided to make a cake from The Book and you go out to procure all the proper bits and pieces only to find they've stopped making black smarties, or pink wafers, or tiny dolls, or a certain kind of squishy jube.

Did you know that the reason Smarties are now their kind of pale and insipid colours instead of the vibrant eye-bashingly colourful sweets we remember from our childhoods, is because Nestle decided to take out all the artificial colourings?

Now, I can understand that from a corporate social responsibility point of view. I can understand it from an organic-muesli-mummy-gumboots kind of view. But I cannot accept it from an authenticity point of view. Do they know how cross it makes me? Do they? It's like when they renamed those tiny lolly cigarettes "FADS". They weren't fooling anyone.

As a woman without children, I am MORE than prepared for every other mum across Australia to have to deal with their kids bouncing off the walls from artificial colourings if it means I can have the proper lollies at hand to lovingly recreate cakes from The Book. Isn't that magnanimous of me. 

Humph. Perhaps I should write a letter. 

Or better yet: do you think that if we gathered enough support through Facebook, that we could pressure Nestle to reinstate the black Smartie??? 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane (or: the flying doctor)


She's leeeeaaa-ving, on a jet plaaane

Don't know when she'll be back again,
Oh babe, she hates to go .....

So wrote John Denver back in 1966 - sort of, anyway, I have adapted it slightly - in a song most famously recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary (who, I hear the younger of you ask?).

I quote this song in honour of Katherine With A K, a dear friend who jetted off to England last week to take up an incredibly prestigious neurological position with a leading London hospital. She's clever. 

(To contrast that achievement, let me just remind everyone that my biggest goal right now is to a) get out of bed each day and b) maybe achieve a smoother consistency for my vienna cream. To wit, perhaps I should sift the icing sugar instead of just dumping it into the KitchenAid in a cloud of puff?) 

Katherine With A K, on the other hand, is out there Making It Happen and having exciting adventures. I can feel my feet starting to itch.

Katherine With A K flew out on Thursday, and as we haven't heard from her yet, I expect she is still stuck in the Olympic-sized queue at Heathrow, policed by poorly trained security guards (would that make them insecurity guards, or unsecure guards?). 

I shall miss Katherine With A K. She is one of those friends I don't see all the time, but I think of her often. And each time I do, my heart flutters a little. She is magic. And she is also one of those wonderful people who has the ability to make you feel like a far more captivating version of yourself. 

Like a concentrated perfume, in her presence I become Flickettysplits Intensif.   

So it seemed only appropriate that the Jet Plane should take on a dangerous lean to the left once it arrived at its afternoon tea destination. 

It was slumping in anticipation of her departure, just like my spirits. It happened in slow motion before our eyes, and eventually toppled to one side as the turboprop wafer collapsed. 

We toasted her departure with tea (the nursing mothers, and her, the responsible doctor) - and wine (me, the artistic soul sobbing on the inside).

Farewell for now, Katherine With A K, and long may you live, though not long in London please. xox.

(As a postscript, I'd just like to note HOW FREAKING HARD this cake was. Mainly because of my terrible construction skills. I cut the bottom platform too narrowly, which meant the entire plane body teetered precariously on a teeny-tiny-itty-bitty bit of cake instead of the solid footing it should have had. And the wafers! In The Book the icecream wafers are pink. Can you buy pink wafers in real life these days? No you cannot. Not unless you buy the Arnotts wafer biscuits, take them apart, scrape out the pink fondant, and then glue them into the shape you *actually* need. Sheesh. And you try - just TRY - getting that hundreds and thousands thing to stick onto the roof and not shed hundreds and thousands everywhere like little bits of sugary dandruff. I had to resort to jamming a wooden skewer into it and ignoring the dandruffy bits. I tell you, if this cake hadn't been for Katherine With A K... well, I just would have given up.)