Adventures in Baking

I do love to bake, but only cookies, pies and apple crisp. I’ve attempted to make muffins over the years, but they usually come out like lead-filled hockey pucks. Cupcakes; forget it. Cakes; the worst.

I have made exactly two cakes in my life; one was a chocolate cake with caramel frosting. The cake was a slanted disaster, plus it had a crater in the middle. Not knowing how to repair a cake, I simply filled the crater with more frosting. The frosting turned as hard as a brick, but it was sort of like fudge, so no real harm done.

Years later, I tried making a white cake with strawberry frosting. Now, before I go further, I made this cake (and the last one) from scratch, not from a mix. I thought somehow that it would be a better cake from scratch. That sort of cake snobbery got me nowhere. In fact, I have heard from very good sources that the best cakes are the ones from a mix!

Well, my cake was a flat disaster, literally and figuratively. It had a tough texture, but the strawberry frosting was pretty good. What’s really funny about this is that my mother made fabulous cakes and made it look so easy. When she heard about my fledgling effort in baking, she offered to buy me a cake stand.

I told her that, since I had only made two cakes in my entire life, that really wasn’t something I needed. In fact, from then on I just stuck to pies, cobblers, crisps and cookies. We all can’t be Betty Crockers.

These days I watch the Great British Baking show with admiration and jealousy. I have heard from the Crankee Yankee, who has traveled to England a few times, that the pastries and other confections in England are absolutely wonderful. After watching all those eager and talented bakers on the show, I may go to England myself just to eat cake. (Sorry, Marie Antoinette.)

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