Thirteenth Day of Advent: Baking

This is not the post I intended to write today, but the one I had almost finished writing vanished without warning or trace into the WordPress equivalent of a black hole. And as today is Sophia’s 1st birthday tea party, I don’t have a super-abundance of time or, to be frank, inclination, to re-write it.

Sophia's birthday cake, illustrating perfectly that presentation is not my thing!
Sophia’s birthday cake, illustrating perfectly that presentation is not my thing!

So instead I am going to write about baking briefly, before getting back to actually doing it!

Baking was on my list anyway. I enjoy a lot of cooking, but baking is undoubtedly my favourite. I have also discovered that it is cheaper and less time consuming than therapy. If I am feeling stressed or depressed, heading to the kitchen and rustling up a batch of brownies, or a few muffins or a coffee cake inevitably cheers me up and puts things back into perspective. Plus if the actual baking hasn’t worked, eating the results will definitely do the trick.

December is peak month for baking. So far this month I have baked:

  • 2 batches of mince pies
  • 24 cup cakes for the school Christmas Fair
  • 1 batch of rocky road for Sophia’s tea party today
  • 1 batch of iced biscuits to decorate the Christmas tree
  • Sophia’s birthday cake
  • The Christmas cake

But I’ve barely started. Still to go I have:

  • A batch of fudge for presents
  • 3 more batches of rocky road for presents
  • At least one, probably more, batches of mince pies
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cookies for Anna’s school party
  • Cinnamon buns to freeze and have for breakfast on Christmas morning
  • The traditional Christmas Eve Yule Log
  • Something for pudding on Christmas Day – none of us like Christmas pud, so I’m exploring alternatives. Any ideas, let me know.

Oh yes, and the Christmas cake to ice. It sounds like quite a lot, and it does represent many, many hours in the kitchen, but give or take, it is time I will very much enjoy. If I’m on my own while Anna is at school and Sophia naps then I’ll put Radio 4 on as I potter round. If Anna is home then she’ll help me, which means things tend to get a bit messy, but we have fun. And by Christmas Eve itself I will have abandoned Radio 4 in favour of wall-to-wall carols on Classic FM. I will also have banned everyone else from my kitchen by then as my control freakery approaches its zenith.

Occasionally someone has been kind enough to enjoy something I’ve made, and suggests I go on Great British Bake Off. It always makes me laugh, because with absolutely no false modesty, I can say that presentation is very, very, very far from being my thing. I’m far too slapdash and impatient, not to mention cackhandedly incompetent.  Watching Bake Off is a huge pleasure, simply because the amazing creations on there are so very far from anything that comes out of my kitchen. I don’t mind, though,  apart from the annual stress of providing Anna, and now Sophia, with birthday cakes to be proud of. It just makes me happy mess around with flour, sugar, butter, eggs and witness the alchemy that transforms them into delicious and welcoming treats for family and friends

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