Looking at cakes, baking cakes, decorating cakes... almost as good as tasting cakes.

Since Christmas 2009 I have become quite consumed by cakes, all types of cakes - as my ever growing belly will vouch for. After being asked by my boyfriends Nanny Mary "If Santa could bring you one thing for Christmas, what would it be?" I didn't hesitate to answer... "A kenwood food mixer of course!" Before I could even begin to explain my life long dream of owning my very own Kenwood she had hot-footed it out of the living room. Within a matter of seconds she returned with a whole lot of huffing and puffing... lugging, yep, you guessed it - a Kenwood. Being almost double my age there was nothing this Kenwood couldn't handle. It was love at first site, and I knew her age and wisdom would make me the cake baker I've always dreamed of becoming. "Goodbye" to the early onset of tennis elbow from my cheapo, handheld mixer and "hello" to the singsong whirrs of my k-beater.

Admittedly, I may have underestimated the true skill that is needed to make the perfect cakes- fine tools are all well and good but without a decent recipe, quality ingriedients, determination, patience, time, passion... yep, there is way more to this baking malarky than I first thought.

This blog will follow my many trials and, no doubt, many tribulations, with a little weight gain to boot, as I test out as many cake recipes as I can muster.

And it doesn't end there... I will also chase cakes around the country, even the world, and review and determine what really makes the perfect cake.

Will the 'famous' bakerys and cook books give me my moneys worth and be all they're cracked up to be? The proof is in the pudding, ahem, cake.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The V&A Cafe, South Kensington

After a delightful gander around the Grace Kelly exhibition my friend Una and I decided a cup of tea and slice of cake was most definitely in order.
The museum itself is elegant, grand and slightly overwhelming, not dissimilar to the cakes served in the cafe. With a scrumptious display of various cakes, brownies and scones we couldn't help being drawn to the largest slices of all- the carrot cake. There would be no tense, holding your breath, moment when the waitress glides the cake server under the smallest slice, as there was no 'smallest' slice they were all deliciously gigantic. Una and I, whilst dribbling, and somehow in capable of speech, grabbed our plates, quickly paid and took the nearest available seat. Using a fork, a pitch fork may have been more appropriate for this monster of a slice, we dug in.
The creamy butter frosting was truly scrumptious, it melted in my mouth in seconds. There was no denying the butter cream was utterly sinful but god was it worth it. Who cares about calories when the silky, smooth, just sweet enough, frosting tastes that good. In my opinion it's the butter cream that truly makes the carrot cake.
Now onto the sponge... carrot cakes can often be risky due to the sponge. You never quite know what you might get- am I right? Will it be too dry? Too bland? Too carroty? Too greasy? Eek! If it wasn't for the butter cream I probably wouldn't ever order the carrot cake. However, the V&A's sponge was worth the risk. The sponge was hearty, just about moist enough and in terms of flavour lovely. Not "wow" but not by any means disappointing. Having said that, I don't think I've ever had a "wow" carrot cake sponge? Can you suggest anywhere I might find such a sponge?
The cake overall was worth the gamble, if a bit on the large side. At around £3 a slice (can't remember exactly, I will make it a priority to remember this crucial detail in future) it's certainly value for money.
As for the cafe area itself, the canteen style queing system is a bit of a turn off. Although the various canteen sections/stalls are well presented the 'fast food' feel of queing with trays isn't ideal. The beautiful tea room style seating areas are gorgeous and yet ridiculously ruined by crappy modern table and chairs, cheapening the overall traditional grandeur of the rooms. The garden is a beautiful court yard surrounded by grass and table and chairs. The large shallow water feature in the middle of the courtyard makes it a lovely place to sit in the sunshine, should you be lucky enough to be graced by the sunshine.

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