Thursday, 29 November 2012

I learned one thing at school .....

and that was how to line a cake tin!  We must have had a very good cookery teacher in my school days as so much of the stuff I remember dates back to school cookery lessons.  My mother wasn't a 'natural' cook and therefore found it hard to pass on any skills; some do remain however, mainly how to scrape out the mixing bowl when the cake was in the oven!  This, of course, isn't allowed these days because of the raw egg content!

My skills in lining a cake tin returned to me today as I decided for the first time in many years to make a Christmas cake. The last few Christmas's have been with family who don't like Christmas cake so there was no real incentive to bake and previously R's mother had always made the cakes.

There were no instructions in Delia's recipe on how to line the tin, although I'm sure her skills with this are even greater than mine, but from the back of my mind I dragged the ancient instructions on how to do this.  Line the base first - cut the paper with an overhang which could be turned up, then measure round the tin to get the length which then had to have a 'turn up' which had to be cut at intervals to make it bend!

Grease absolutely everything with butter and fit the paper.  Hey presto, it worked.
The base corners shouldn't be inspected too closely but, what the hell, no-one's going to stop a galloping horse to look at them (as my grandmother used to say).

Very pleased with my efforts and went on to read the Method of the recipe, realising that I needed at least four large mixing bowls.  As I only have two and one of those was full of stew (another story) I had a stop for a coffee and a think. It was possibly the caffeine rush but I suddenly remembered that somewhere in the depths of a cupboard I had my late mother-in-law's Kenwood Mixer! She had bought this in the late 1950's when they were new to the market (my mother had one as well) and had the same impact as today's technology!  Baking was revolutionised!  No longer did you have to stand with a wooden spoon beating sugar and butter until it was white or tediously whisking eggs with a hand beater - this mixer was all electric, had so many attachments it was a phenomenon, and, in my view, has never been bettered. With a little forward planning the problem was over!

So I end with thanks to Mrs Stallibrass (my cookery teacher) and Gwen (my lovely m-i-l) for giving me the knowledge and technology to bake a Christmas cake.