Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday Baking (AM)

Delia Smith is a doyenne of English home cooking who has lately been mouthing off about the fact that cooking shows don't teach people how to cook. Happily, she has a website that does, or she says.  Yesterday, I watched her tutorial on making sponge cakes and then baked a walnut coffee sponge to take to Mum and Dad's for lunch. I felt like the combination of walnut and coffee was nice and autumnal, and had an old school quality that would make it appealing to my pezzies. The idea that I was making something that appealed to their tastes more than mine made me feel like a really great person, so that's what I did.

Here is some of the stuff that goes in the cake. 

Just the usual really. However, Delia uses self raising flour as well as baking powder. That confused me. And she doesn't separate the eggs and whip the egg whites. You know, to make the cake nice and airy. She just whacks them in there holus bolus. The only airiness comes from sifting flour. 

I was dubious about that.

Everything gets mixed together and then chopped walnuts are folded through. 
Then, the mixture is divided by two 18cm cake pans and baked for 25 minutes.  
Here is where my troubles began. In Delia's tutorial, she told me that tin size is very important in making cakes. But she didn't tell me why, nor the likely consequences of deviating from the recommended tin girth, which I was forced to do because I didn't have the right cake tins.
I don't know it was because of the tins or because my butter was melted instead of just being softened, or whether it has something to do with not separating the eggs, but my sponge cakes came out of the oven like pancakes, barely having risen at all. 

It didn't really matter when I sandwiched them together and slathered them with coffee cream. 

But still, I feel like Delia let me down. A sponge's raison d'etre is lightness and airiness. Without that, it's just a cake. Delia's recipe did not make a light airy sponge, and that makes me feel like she let me down. Did we eat it all? Of course we did, we are not crazy. Was it delicious? It was pretty damned delicious. But sheesh, if one of the world's problems is that no one teaches people how to cook anymore,  I'm not sure D-Smithy is the woman for the job. 

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