“I cocked up the cake!”
“What?” Gareth staggered in from an evening bike ride to find me flapping around the kitchen with oven gloves on.
“The passionfruit slice! I left it in the oven too long and it’s all burnt at the edges! And I don’t have enough ingredients to make another!”
“What are you going to do?” he grinned, “No cake for Cake Club! They’ll kick you out before you even get in!”
I’ve been blogstalking the Edinburgh Cake Ladies for over a year. It was my idea of heaven – a bunch of folk each bake a cake, then gather together in a coffee shop to share and socialise. After drooling over their photos for yonks I finally worked up the nerve to put my name in the hat for a spot at the next gathering.
The theme was “Tower of Terrific Traybakes”. Traybakes are what we call slices in Oz, basically stuff that you bake in a rectangular tin and cut into bars/slices. We were to bring 20 pieces. I went with this simple Passionfruit Slice that was a previous success. It would have been a repeat success, had I not been pissfarting around on Twitter and forgot to take it out of the oven.
I did a frantic drive to the supermarket, but there was no passionfruit. So I chucked together a rhubarb crumble slice since I’d just stewed a megaload of rhubarb. Unfortunately the next day when I cut it up, it was soggy, bland and bordering on raw inside. Even Gareth said it was crap, and he has low cake standards.
I had to get the bus to Edinburgh so there was no time for a 3rd attempt. I considered tweeting Alison (founding Cake Lady) that there’d been a work emergency or I’d got my arm caught in the electric mixer. But with careful excavation we salvaged 12 teeny tiny petit four-ish squares from the middle of the passionfruit slice that weren’t scorched and/or split.
Hmm. Not so much a Tower of Traybakes but a modest bungalow. For Lego people.
It seems silly now, days later, but please tell me I’m not alone in getting crazy nervous before meeting internet strangers? The thought of showing up there with such a pitiful plate was mortifying. It was like when you’re a kid at a birthday party and everyone else gives the birthday girl Barbies and My Little Ponies and all you have to offer is a shithouse colouring book from Woolworths. And then there was the overarching fear that people would think I’d just scoffed half the traybake myself and made up an elaborate cover story!
But in the end my freaking out was for nowt. I arrived at Bon Papillon and the awesome Alison kindly countered my panicky rant with reassuring tales of previous Cake Cock-ups. Bon Papillion was a total charmer of a cafe, with nice coffee and lots of art for sale. Before long the room was buzzing and the mighty traybake towers piled up.
Everyone I chatted to was so bloody lovely. I mean, people who like to bake cakes and like to talk to other people about baking cakes – you really can’t go wrong, can you?
It was an awesome sugar-rushy blur and three days later I’m no doubt confusing names, cakes and Twitter handles, but among the lovely Cake Ladies I chatted to was Sophia of Cake With A View (photos of cake with a view, obv), Victoria who made delicious Nanaimo bars, Wendy the Inside Out Chef (who recently hosted a Pudding Club!), Michelle who runs pop-up arvo tea parties!!! and fellow Dunfermlineite Claire, who is looking to start a Fife baking group (woohoo!).
All the traybakes I sampled were scrumptious but I went back for seconds of Lucy’s chocolate toffee bars – chewy, a touch of salt and packed with pecans. Hubba hubba!
Apparently COLIN FIRTH dropped in during the evening to check out the art but most of us were too busy eating and jibber-jabbering to notice his Oscar winning presence. To be honest if I was forced to choose between cake or Mr Darcy I’d probably take the cake anyway, unless there was a third cake AND Darcy option.
Thank you Cake Ladies for a great evening.