A week of baking travail

Last week it felt like every time I found myself with a spare moment, I ended up in the kitchen doing something that involved cake. I baked on Monday and Wednesday night (having already stashed half the results of a baking session the week before in the freezer in readiness); frosted after midnight on Thursday night and was wielding the piping bag again by 8am the following morning – it was extreme. The things I do for friends and country…

Big plans were afoot for the long weekend – and not just Royal Wedding related ones – the forthcoming wedding of two commoners was much more distracting, in the shape of the bride-to-be’s hen weekend. Organised by someone who doubles as a primary school teacher, the event was planned with military precision – for the afternoon tea/lunch on Saturday we were allocated a specific food item to bring and share, much in the way our class parties were organised, back in the day. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I was allocated cupcakes.

Thing is, life’s been slightly on the stressful side lately and when such times hit, I find that my baking mojo ebbs away, so I cheated. Yes, I did the unthinkable and sought the aid of Betty Crocker (well, they were on special offer too). I figured I could get away with it on two counts:
(i) Her mixes do taste good.
(ii) The cake wasn’t going to be the most important part – the frosting was.
[Incidentally, I trialled two non-Betty vanilla mixes at the same time and they were not good.]

I didn’t skimp on the frosting (ok, well I did on the chocolate one, but only because BC’s came free with one of the mixes) and made vanilla buttercream Hummingbird style, dividing it up so I could colour it in pretty colours. (Also meaning I could create a system by which to identify three different cake flavours. Oh yes, I’m even that anal when it comes to cake.) Several hours of effort, which I loved and enjoyed immensely, seemed to be successful and I feel looked particularly good in the midday sun and on a new, travel-proof, cake-stand (my parental Easter gift).

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with some pink sparkles & writing icing…

To make up for my cupcake-cheating, I went to town for my other baking task – a contribution to the Royal Wedding street party. I took a risk and tried a brand new recipe, which was particularly dangerous as I wouldn’t be able to taste it until it reached its intended destination. Having spied a simple and yummy looking recipe on the fabulous Caked Crusader blog a few weeks ago, I decided to bake a Golden Crunch cake – essentially a vanilla sponge with a coconut and jam topping.


The many stages of cake…
sponge with jam; coconut mixture (in lovely pink Avoca bowl/jug); ready to bake; finished.

Simple it was and definitely something I’ll make again. The only addition I’d make to the recipe (linked above) is that you can afford to be more generous with the jam, I think mine could’ve done with more. Once at the dessert stage of the gathering, I made a dash to find it and check that it actually was edible and not poisonous – sure enough, it really was quite moreish. (I did then spend some time hovering at the table encouraging others to try it, I think I might now be eligible for the WI.)

FYI, this cake doesn’t need to be served with coriander – it’s just that I used the same plate for my savoury as my sweet and hadn’t quite finished my Moroccan salad…

Some final tips/thoughts/suggestions:
  • Read The Caked Crusader. The recipes are great, she writes in a hilarious fashion and it’s generally only updated once a week, so not awfully overwhelming. (I will forgive her for featuring Mayor Boris’ favourite cake recipe a few weeks back.) 
  • Check out Asda’s baking paraphenalia section. I only discovered this yesterday (so several days too late) but it is both varied and cheap. Lots of different kinds of sprinkles and writing icing that comes in sparkly pinks and purples. (Although it does also sell pink food colouring, which I feel is slightly pointless.) 
  • Cupcakes react very well to being frozen and then frosted. Helps make optimum use of limited time. 
  • I still have 24 large carrot cake cupcakes in my freezer and no occasion with which to get rid of them. Suggestions welcome. 


  1. Glad the cake came out well for you and thanks for the plug!
    (PS. I have written to politicians from all parties but only Boris has replied)

  2. Becki B says:

    Bring the cupcakes to students!

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