You know by now that a nice cup of tea is the cornerstone of my diet, closely followed in another corner by pizza. But one cannot live on tea alone, sometimes the beige nectar needs to be accompanied by cake.
We have a cupboard in our house dedicated to cake and biscuits. My other half has quite a sweet tooth and there’s always something sugary to eat.
When I was a kid my mum used to bake scones. I always loved a nice scone with jam and cream.
But they’re not very cool are they? When I went to uni I had my head turned by things like dough-nuts and caramel slices and before I knew it fifteen years had passed and I hadn’t given any thought to the humble scone.
I was at a work event one day and there at the end of the buffet table was a tray of scones with jam and cream. I smiled at the quaintness and popped one into my mouth. Oh my word. It was like a little taste of heaven. All the memories came flooding back, of home baked scones and tea.
It’s top of my list now. First choice cake, and the reason I’ve developed something of an addiction to Afternoon Tea.
Followed swiftly by another classic: the Victoria sponge cake.
A friend of mine recently poo-poohed the simple classic Victoria sponge as being the cake equivilant of Spam.
Now I’m something of a convert to Spam at the moment. We are in a recession after all and I can get a good few dishes out of a tin of spam. Grilled like crispy bacon. Yum.
Still, I believe my friend meant to insult the Victoria sponge and needless to say, he is wrong.
There is something of a theme here of course – the Victoria sponge with its jam and cream filling is a lighter alternative to the scone, reserved for those times when you don’t want to risk a tongue strain injury dislodging bits of mashed up scone from around your teeth and gums.
I do like some of the fancy desserts though. In recent years I became a big fan of banoffee pie. Especially after I found a cheat that didn’t require me to boil a tin of condensed milk for five hours. I microwaved the milk in 20 minutes! But now you can buy tins of already caramelised condensed milk.
I like the banana flavour and the vague feeling that I’m getting one of my five a day while eating something sweet and naughty!
I also love Cheesecake. My other half is on a mission to sample every type of cheesecake imaginable. Regardless of what is on the dessert menu, if there’s a cheesecake he hasn’t tried then that’s his choice. We recently discovered blueberry muffin cheesecake in Asda, bringing together a much loved tea cake with a much loved dessert cake. It was beautiful!
But my ultimate favourite dessert is Trifle.
I know, another uncool classic. But there it is. I’m very particular about my trifle.
I like to make it with a Swiss roll and Strawberry jelly base. Thick custard layer and dream topping with chocolate sprinkles.
I do not, under any circumstances, want it ruined with sherry.
Or real fruit!
The perfectly set trifle will always make a sluuuuuuuuurppppp noise when the first spoonful is removed for serving. It’s become a high pressure deal among my friends. Everyone crowds round silently listening for the sucking slurpy noise as the jelly and custard is ripped apart. A successful slurp will result in cheering and back slapping and compliments to the chef. But fail in the slurp and the silence of anticipation turns into an embarrassed disappointed silence.
And I know. I can see from the consistency whether it’s going to slurp. My last trifle was a resounding failure, so much so, I sloped off quietly to dish it out alone, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would not slurp. The custard just wouldn’t set. The trick to the perfectly set custard layer is using the old fashioned custard powder not a quick mix packet or a tin of ready made. We’d only had quick mix sachets. Custard should be made with boiling milk not boiling water. A schoolboy error. Still it tasted like trifle even if it was a big old sloppy mess!
So they are my favourites, although there’s also something to be said for the absolute classic apple pie and custard. Always a winner and smells better than all of the above by a mile!
I’m starting to feel a bit peckish now. I only need to talk about food to get my tummy rumbling.
What’s your favourite cakey goodness?
A nice cup of tea and a slice of cake.