The Strawcumber Saga Part One


A long-promised post, is this. I’ve been going on about strawberry and cucumber cake for over a week, so you’d think I’d have loads of photos and a really great recipe, wouldn’t you? You’d be forgiven for thinking that, certainly. And since I’ve forgiven you for thinking that, it really seems only fair that you should forgive me for it not being true…

It’s such a long story that I’m splitting it between two posts, for the sake of reminding everyone that I’m here and haven’t slid of the face of the earth, possibly defeated by a particularly difficult recipe. Far from it, I’m going strong but just haven’t been living up to the promise of trying harder to get blogging. It’s been ever such a quick week!

I was making this cake for Miss M’s birthday girls night, which I was hosting in my wee hoose. This meant some fairly drastic furniture moving, along with much cleaning and tidying and scrubbing of doormats and filling of cupboards with things I wanted out of the way. In among all this business, I also had to decorate the cake (which I’d baked the night before), bake some savoury treats and wash every single glass I own because I never wash and rinse them properly and they always have fingerprints on them *somewhere* and I couldn’t possibly serve my guests glasses with fingerprints on them – this run-on sentence should give you an idea as to how I started to feel when I got home from work on Thursday, three hours before the girls were due to start arriving. On top of this, the cake didn’t go as I wanted it to, and as I ran out of patience and also as it got nearer to the time when I expected a knock at the door, the camera got set aside. I regret this, now, as the cake worked out really well in terms of flavour, if not appearance, and so I wish I had documented the stages as I went along.

The main thing that went wrong was that I baked the cake in a tin that was too big, which led to a really flat sponge. Look at it. It’s like no peas on an ironing board. I was really annoyed at myself about this because the sponge actually looked and smelled really lovely, and if I’d only payed better attention to what I was doing it could have been such a perfect cake… … Anyway, I thought and thought and thought about it, and I decided that I would cut it in half widthways and then trim it up to make two rectangles, which I would sandwich together and make a rectangle cake. I cut it in half, I trimmed off two of the round edges and then I looked at what I had done. I had hacked up a perfectly good, if extremely flat, cake. If I carried on I’d end up with a tiny cake that Miss M would have to slice into wafer thin slices if she wanted to share it round the room, and four curved bits of cake that would go completely to waste. What. An. Idiot.

I slid the two halves back together. I ate the curved bits in a gloomy kind of way. They were good. Unfortunately, they did not taste of either juniper or mint. This will probably not surprise you, as you didn’t know that they were supposed to taste of juniper and mint. They didn’t taste like cat food, either, but this, at least, was intentional. Do you remember when I had the idea of gin fizz cakes in my head? I finally used the juniper sugar that I made then, and I also made (or thought I had) some mint sugar by mixing fifteen mint leaves, which I’d lightly crushed by putting them in one hand and slapping with the other, with more caster sugar. It smelled a lot like mint, but unfortunately once I’d taken the mint leaves out it just tasted normal again. It was like when I was quite young and decided to try to make grape flavoured milk. I simmered some grapes in a small pot of milk for ages. At the end, the only difference was that the grapes were wet. And maybe annoyed, it’s hard to tell with grapes. So the cake just tasted like a plain sponge – a nice one, very light and fluffy and moist, but plain. This was disappointing, too. It wasn’t going well.

Here I will end part one of the strawcumber saga. Oooh it’s a cliffhanger… Next up: cucumber jam and strawberry buttercream, and recipes for everything should you want to make it but do it properly…

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

2 responses to “The Strawcumber Saga Part One

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