So, Friday morning, I think I have everything sorted and can get the boys to school in time to “make their line’ when at T minus 10 I’m asked “Where’s my cake?”
“Er, what cake?” If there was cake in the house I’m pretty sure I would know about it, I can sniff out cake like a bloodhound on speed.
“We need a cake for the Autumn Fair, it’s today” they say matter of fact, like I’m somehow supposed to know about this. “The PTA Autumn fair Mum!” they repeat waving a crumpled flyer under my nose, that I swear I have never set eyes on before.
On a sliding cake scale of Laurel & Hardy at one end and Nigella Lawson at the other, I’d be somewhere in the middle. I’m no Domestic Goddess, but I can knock up a Victoria Sponge if required. I can’t do it in 10 minutes though. “It’ll just have to wait till later” I say, realising that we are one PE kit short of a successful exit and frantically searching for a second trainer. “I’ll make something while you are at school and bring it with me at pick up time” Agreement is mumbled as we shuffle towards the door.
On the way home I get some decorations for said cake and some butter, since I know we are short; I get to the till and nearly need CPR at the price of butter. Brexit is obviously beginning to bite.
I made a couple of cakes only a week ago, but somehow in the interim I’ve lost the cake pans. How do you loose cake pans? Fifteen minutes of searching gives me a big fat nothing, so I give up and use other pans that I suspect are a little bit too big, bugger it, they’ll do. I get them greased and lined, and then tackle the oven. It’s time to play “guess the temperature”. My oven runs hot. At the bare minimum, its at least 20 degrees hotter than the lies the thermostat is telling me, the recipe suggests 180 degrees, but if I do that I’ll end up with cinders, I’ll try 150 and keep an eye on it.
Despite phone calls and a husband in an annoying mood, I get them made and in the oven, now the game of chicken starts… how long to leave them? Do I go the full 25 minutes, I have the temperature reduced after all. No, I check after 20 and both cakes are firm to the touch, and have pulled away from the side of the tin, I wheak them out of the oven ASAP and leave them to cool.
Then it’s the fun part – decorating. I got a few bits and pieces, sugar bone sprinkles, gummy vampire teeth and chocolate eyeballs, delightful, but it looks good. It would be too much to hope for that the cake would fit in the tin though, wouldn’t it? That would be far too easy!
The only thing I have that is remotely the right size is an empty Swizzles sweet box from last Halloween. to make it easy to get at the cake, I up end the box and (carefully) place the cake on the lid, with the upturned box over the top. Tah-Dah! The only thing is, the lid isn’t that stable, so to transport it to the school, I lift a placemat off the table for a bit of extra support. Now, remember where I was on that scale; good. I do wipe the table and mats down after the evening meal, but don’t usually bother after breakfast, and I can feel what I can only hope is squashed dried on cereal on the underside of the place mat. Yuk. It won’t matter, I’m only dropping off the cake in it’s box, the placemat is coming home, no one will know; I just hand the box over and no harm done, result. Again – that would be too damned easy!
I get to the school, and ask directions to the cake sale stand from one of the boys teachers. “Don’t worry, I’ll take it” she says reaching out and taking it from me, including the crusty place mat. Our eyes meet, two sets of pupils widen, she’s felt the crusty cereal!
“Um, I’ll just take that back” I mumble, totally mortified.
“Yes, not a problem, I’ll just take… this, down to the cake sale” she says eyeballing me as I slink off like Spud in Transpotting.
Just at that moment I feel a wee warm hand slip into mine. “Hello Mummy, mmmmm you smell of vanilla and strawberry jam” and suddenly, just like that my whole world is ok again. x