Lets get Baking

Alright mate, howdy hey ya and hello to all of you. This may come as a big old shock or to those closer to me, its yesterdays new’s but bare with any how. Over the last year i have started to develop a taste of baking. Yes thats right baking, i make a good old cake. No i do not wear a apron.  I can see all your minds now, picturing me with a mid 1960’s housewife hair due, with the ultra retro pink and baby blue apron that has ‘Kiss the Chef’ embezzled on the front with varies kiss patterns across the hem of it. Standing by a window that over looks a garden as my two children play while i clutch a deep plastic basin to my chest that is a garish yellow in colour. In my other hand i have a giant wooden spoon which doubles as a weapon if the kids get out of line. I am staring happily out the garden window as i manually mix my sultana loaf with my hand with a fist of fury.  Suddenly i stop, look up and anger sweeps across my face. ‘Christ almighty, Tommy get the hell out of the vegetable garden, your clothes will be destroyed, look at the state of you, wait til i get my hands on you’.  Yes i draw up a rather vivid scene don’t i? I am a little sad to say, that when i bake, it as far from that scene. I can never get that hair due right anyway and i do not own a apron, or have kids, or live in a house with a garden, and i am a man, a gay man. So basically that wasn’t even a possibility of being me was it? I do enjoy a good old bake though, that wasn’t a fib. My way of baking is a little more modern though and it consists of varies stages.  I will point out that my love of baking on a serious note does come from my mother, so i do credit her with giving me the thirst for good old honest home baking. 

Kitchen ware

Like a complete chump the first few times i was baking over here in london, i decided a manual approach was no big deal. Thats right, i was using a actual big wooden spoon and giant bowl. This was dam right pain full and my hands were developing calicoes that were not from any kind of fun filled activity that people usually get them. The sheer strength and determination that comes from manually beating the batter ( no.. stop it i am taking about baking, keeping it clean for a change) is something to be admired so if any of you out there continue to bake in this old school style i applaud you sincerely.  I for one have since joined the electronic mixer wagon. The reason behind this more then anything was i feared my sweat i was producing from the effort of keeping up the mixing may of actually been joining the cake mix. This of course is just a fear, i don't sweat that much and of course, any excuse to get a machine to do the job for me. ( again please no dirty thoughts).  My electronic mixer is the one you’re mother had in the 90’s. Yes thats rights, its hand held white with two whisks attached. I adore it.  My Mother has moved on to something i can only dream of a, a free standing whisking machine that actively goes around the bowl its self. Jealously is a terrible thing.  I could actively try and steal it to bring back to london but i think she would notice, and i am not sure i would be able to fit the giant into my carry on bag.

Ingredients to the front please

Ok recipe says i need self raising flour, ok what do i have. Plain flour. Whats the difference? mm why is there a difference? I guess self raising flour means it raises its self. Why doesn’t plain flour do the same? It’s probably a motivational thing. Still we are not helping its confidence if we are calling it plain? Probably gets bullied by all the other flours on the shelf. Oh god what if it does? *rushes to shelf and puts the sultanas in-between the flours*. There now theres a buffer so at lest it cannot get physically abused. Oh look i do have self raising flower. crisis averted.  Ok it says i need baking powder. Wait a second, i thought baker power does the raising? So typical, the show off flour needs a buddy to maintain its confidence. ok let me line that up to use also. Caster sugar is also needed, for some reason i have 3 bags of this stuff all in various used states mmm.. Better open a 4th packet to be sure. This recipe needs milk, really? ok got some in the fridge anyway, i hope it doesn’t need it all i cannot be arsed to go to the shops again for milk after all this cooking malarky.  Eggs, ok got them, got 6 which mean by the time i cook again the other 3 i do not need with be out of date, surely they should sell them individually like they do with tomatoes? Maybe il write to Sainsbury's and suggest it. Butter, got it, 500grams worth again only need 250 what a waste. Oh i need vanilla extract. Yes that is in the fancy ingredients part of my press.  Ok thats all the ingredients lined up nicely. Theres my giant ikea bowl. there is my tiny sieve. Wooden spoon check.  electronic mixer out of the box and waiting. 
Getting Set Up

To truly maximise the time and effort i spent baking, i like to double up on my activity. Mm il be here for at lest two hours doing this task, so what can i get done in that time? Maybe its the irish in me but automatically i think. ‘Il through a wash’. Feck it might as well il be here when it finishes.  Ok now thats on. What else can i do? Oh i through on a movie on my iPad to watch as i cook, that will be very enjoyable indeed. 15 minutes later still scrolling through movie options. mmm i do not want to take a chance on anything i haven’t heard of in case its rightly shit.  Oh the first matrix before it got all depressing and sad, il give that a go. *puts on smart cover so iPad can stand like a tiny TV on counter* lets begin. 

Adding the Ingredients

Add 250g of butter to your mixing bowl. Next add 250g of sugar and mix through until fluffy. 

Ok i do not have anything to measure the ingredients. The butter is 500 grams so if i just cut it down the middle that will do wont it? ok lets do that. The sugar comes in 500g also. Suddenly all the half packets of sugar make a lot more sense. Ok lets add that also.. mmm sugar is small that could be tricky, maybe i should convert it into cup sizes. Wont go wrong then as i can continually use the same cup for the rest of the mix right? Ok how will i convert it? “SIRI how many cups is 250g in sugar?” after 5 attempts of getting Siri to do it who keeps confusing cups for bucks, i google it quickly on my phone. Ok. lets go. 

Now add a table spoon and a half of vanilla extract and mix through

I have essence of vanilla is that the same? Does any one know? Which one is a table spoon and which one is a tea spoon, i feel like i need to google this every time i cook. Ok its the big one. Il use the extra big one to be sure. Ok how the hell do i add a half a spoon of it, honestly its liquid it centres in the middle of the spoon, am i supposed to be that could at calculating the ratio of space around it in contrast to the amount taken up by the liquid? Can i corner of half the spoon some how to add a half a spoon? il just add a splash it is bound to be the same.

add 3 eggs to the mixer one at a time, gently folding it through each time.

Adds first egg, bit of shell went in, digs in to find shell. more shell falls in. Ok lets just use the whisk that way it will disintegrate into the mixture and no one will notice. its not some how poisonous is it? Il put the mixer on 2 thats probably the same as gently folding the mixture. Ok this is taking too much time, its not mixing in really at all, i will do a quick burst of the 5 setting. Thats it, cant even see the egg now its blended completely in.  Repeat this process two more times to finish adding the eggs. ( Each time fishing out more shell content.)

Add 250gs of flour, sieving through gently a bit at a time

Thats a very vague instruction. I paid for this book, i want it to be a bit more direct. Never mind. Ok let me first convert the measurements into cups. ok cool thats done. Now my sieve is really small so this will take some time. Opps over filled the sieve more then half of the first cup went straight into the mixture. Im sure its fine. wow this is kinda satisfying sieving through the flower. 10 minutes later. Ok i give up. *Dumps the rest of the lower in* sure il just use the high speed 5 again to insure its all mixed up nicely. 

Add 2 table spoons of baking power to the mixture using the sieve to gentle add it

The baking powder container does not allow a big spoon to fit in side. Ok il just gentle tip it on its side and sprinkle it onto the table spoon and then into the sieve. Crap, too much has fallen onto the spoon. Crap its also landed into the mixer. Ok doesn’t matter il add less into the mix then. Mixes at speed 5. 

I have no idea what is going on in this movie with all this whisking. mmm Maybe i should use headphones, no bad idea what if they got tangled up in the whisk. Nightmare. il just stop whisking for a bit to catch up.  Stupid bloody washing machine is too loud i cannot hear a thing. Dam it.  Now i know why my mother had music on extra loud when baking. 

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease lightly with butter around the sides to prevent sticking. 

This is harder then it looks, il add a bit of butter with my fingers. mmm not sticking down, the parchment keeps popping up out of the tin. Never mind. There is butter all over my hands now. 

Pre-heat the Oven to gas mark 4 or 180c. 

Dam it i never pre heated it, il turn it on now before i put it in. Il just watch the movie for a bit while i wait for it to heat up. Dam it the washing machine sounds like its about to take off, i cant hear a thing. God i forgot how much of a talking movie the matrix was, i remember it being more action based. 

Gentle add the mixture to the baking tin

Pouring all the content into the tin as fast as i can. Wow it tastes so good, il just have a little bit. Will i get salmonella poisoning like i was always told? *stands thinking this through all the while actively licking the wooden spoon covered in the mixture.  Ok lets get this thing baking. 

Done and dusted

The baking process has began. After this, i clean the dishes, which means my back is too the iPad while i scrub the dishes. At this stage the washing machine as calmed down loads and i can actually hear whats going on. Of course this also means that i keep having to turn giving fleeting glances towards the iPad to asses what is going on in the movie.  After the dishes are done i quickly clean up the counters and sweep all the fallen ingredients from the floor.  Usually i will quickly check whats going on with the cake. Oh my god it is swelling to twice the size of the tin. Dam it too much baking powder. Regardless il take a snap of it to instagram the shit of out of it.  Next il shall check my wash to find that it never drained the water and thus it needs to be started all over again.  

Now that its done i can have a little fantasy about how good i am.  Maybe i should go on the great irish bake off? No i don't think i could stand Anna, Maybe the great british bake off i do love sue... mmm ok getting ahead of my self a little. Maybe they will see my humble instragam picture and come seek me out? They would probably want me as a judge, i could hang with Mary Berry, i could tell her about how there is always food on her lip?  Someone needs too. 

The best part of the entire process is taking the cake out of the oven when it is freshly done and it doesn’t even look half bad. If i am lucky enough after the cooling process i get to dust the crap out of it with icing sugar. This is incredibly exciting. I do not know the meaning of light dusting however i am afraid to admit. By time i am done, it looks like a layer of snow has unseasonably attached itself to the top of the bulbous cake. Still Instragam the hell of it and i am done. Usually a person wound want to try a slice of the cake by now. I am however far too full of the batter to try some so will have to wait a few hours. 

Sultana done manually
Marble Cake, latest effort

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