Edinburgh Cake Ladies: Towers of Traybakes

“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.

Towers of Traybakes
Get out your magnifying glass to spot my contribution! Photo: edinburghcakeladies.wordpress.com

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.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! Iโ€™m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

20 thoughts on “Edinburgh Cake Ladies: Towers of Traybakes

  1. Very entertaining blog of the evening Shauna, I’m new to the cake ladies too, didn’t get to speak the other night , but maybe next time Barbara x ps I tried your cake it was lovely.(Twitter – Rosiered 11 )

  2. Hahaha! What an awesome event, Shauny!!!! And Mr Darcy! I am now inspired to start a Melbourne one for gluten-free weirdos like myself.

    BTW: Ditto on pre party/party arrival anxiety – went to a fancy Mother’s Day luncheon at the kids school and was instantly overwhelmed at the fact everyone was a ‘lady’ with a fancy watch and manicure. I had my oversized 80s digital Casio which I usually think looks suitably gangsta rapper and two handfuls of gnaw. But they were all nice despite our differences in accessories!!!!!

    1. Momo that is a TOPS idea for a GF one!

      And very moving that Casio Gangstas and Manicures can live together in harmony!

  3. I would lose sleep over picking what to cook, let alone worrying about whether or not it will taste alright. I know it’s not a competition but I can’t help myself, I would totally be in it to win.

  4. Hi lovely!

    I would LOVE to do this kind of thing in Melbourne. I wonder if there is anything like this around?!!

    And yes.. I ALWAYS freak out before meeting new internet people!


    1. Hi Ash! I wonder if there one in Melbourne… if not maybe you could start one! The Edinburgh Ladies were saying they started out very small and gradually word got around ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi Shauna! Sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet…and doubly sorry neither of us actually saw Colin Firth. Hopefully next time! (P.S. Will be reading up on your blog – thought I was the only one who BS’d their way through perfume counters! – your writing is awesome.)

  6. I cannot tell you how jealous I am. A friendly gathering, lots of AMAZING looking cakes, Colin Firth happens to drop by…

    …and no, OF COURSE you’re not the only one who gets nervous before meeting internet strangers. It’s a bloody scary thing to do! Totally normal reaction!

    (so glad you’re still here, still blogging, by the way)

  7. Oh god. Two more good reasons to move back to Edinburgh. Why must you tease me so with your glamourous cake/Darcy filled life!

    5th photo down on their blog captioned ‘All shapes and SIZES’ (emphasis mine). You think they are politely trying to tell you something….? Hahaha…am only kidding. You did well to salvage and present (both yourself and a plate).

    I would have had a good go at trying to rush a late obituary to the Evening News and hope they they saw it and assumed I was dead! I suck at parties, especially when I don’t know anyone. Throw in having to present my baking and it would all seem a bit much. Nice to know you survived and thrived!

  8. Hi Shauna – I couldn’t resist making the Passionfruit Slice – it was delicious. I will definitely be making it again. YUMMMM!
    I love the taste.com.au website. There is a quick, delicious vegetarian gnocchi recipe which I have made a lot (see http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/19659/creamy+pesto+gnocchi) but I think it tastes better with chilli pesto rather than tomato.

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