Sunday 3 October 2010

The art of war... on baking

I love to bake.  I can't believe I didn't know about the auditions for the Great British Bake Off!!  I would've definetly signed up for that.  Maybe.  On second thoughts.... the pressure of baking for others is like planning a successful invasion campaign (not that I have intimate invasion experience, it's a hunch - go with it) which starts with marshalling your troops.

Ingredients are the keystone to any baking quest.  They have to be the right kind.  You can cut corners on a lot of things but sometimes with baking you just have to bite the bullet and buy the best you can afford.  It really does make a difference.  And when that end result is being put on show, you'll be glad you did spend hours searching for candid peel in a box rather than the manky, waxy stuff already chopped in little cartoons.

Many people bake to relax, to feel better, to immerse themselves in a task that is different to their usual 9-5 drag.  But lets face it, the ultimate result is for others to taste your baking efforts and tell you that it is the best cake they have ever ever ever eaten.  It won't be too difficult for many people who believe that cakes are made with carboard boxes around them and that the synthetic aftertaste of a bland, colourless slab of sponge is normal.  But there is a growing trend of bakers.  Home growers.  Slow cook stewers.  Made the sauce from scratch artists. And the competition is stiff.

No longer can second best 'make-do'.  Every cake that comes out of that oven has to be perfect in every way, no more hiding of uneven edges with lashes of buttercream, no more blaming of inferior ovens or the chill breeze in the kitchen from a casually left open window.  No, the cake must arrive out of the oven light yet firm, golden brown, smelling of afternoon tea bliss.  And most certainly not undercooked in the middle!!

The art of WonB extends not only to the right ingredients, perfect execution and miraculous presentation.  It must pass the taste test - it must make the eater mumble through full mouthed bliss how wonderful their taste buds feel at that very moment.  So gird your apron and step once more into the breach, get mixing because, lets be honest - what else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon? 

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