Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A sweet success!

Well well. As I sit here typing this I am feeling pretty darn chuffed with myself. Why? Because, dear readers, I happen to have demonstrated that my baking skills are, in fact, not bad at all. As you all know, I am fan of eating dolce. A big fan. A massive, super sweet-toothed fan. And yes, every now and then I do get involved in a bit of cake making and sometimes I even share my little sponge cake or cupcake recipes with you. But this time, this particular weekend, I think it's fair to say that I just about surpassed myself. As it was my boyfriend's birthday, I calmly volunteered to make a birthday cake. Momentarily forgetting (great big face palm) that 'making a birthday cake' here in southern Italy does not involve wedging a couple of sponge cakes together with some nice chocolate icing. Oh no no no no.

Firstly, there can't just be one cake. Absolutely not. There must be a 'selection' of treats, as every person's plate must contain at least 3 or 4 different types of dolce. Now, this is not an 'official' rule, but it may as well be. Previous birthday ''get-togethers' that I have been to have left me with a tummy full of 5 or 6 different cake samples. Secondly, in our list of 'cake requirements', the standard of the cakes must be no less than excellent. There's no 'Oh-it's-the-thought-that-counts' mentality here. It has to be bloody brilliant. And finally, he or she preparing said cakes must be able to deal well with stress. The thought that it may all go wrong, or that the standard of the cake won't be up to par, or that people will passively insult your cakes by leaving big slices of them uneaten on abandoned plates...in other words, get ready to put blood, sweat and tears into your dolce if you're cooking for a load of fussy Italians.Especially a good 25 of them.

So you can imagine that, after uttering the words 'sure, I'll make your birthday cake', my world started crashing around me. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit. But only a bit. Even deciding on which dolce to make was a trauma. Cream? Chocolate? Fruit? Oh why are there so many options. Anyway, in the end I decided on the following: A vanilla, two-layer sponge cake decorated with crema pasticcera, crema Chantilly , fresh strawberries and grated white chocolate. This was to be the 'main' cake. The piece di resistance. I would also do two Kinder Bueno cheesecakes and a plate of fairy cakes topped with crema Chantilly. For several hours, my kitchen turned into a pasticceria and I turned into a mean, cake making machine. Once the process was finished, and I realised that I hadn't sat down in over three hours, I stepped back and surveyed the situation. The cakes looked pretty darn good. All had gone to plan. But my kitchen? It looked like a great big bomb of cream, strawberries and Kinder Bueno bits had gone off in it. Dirty pots and containers had been abandoned all over the place and the electric whisk looked like it had had better days. All of this didn't bother me so much however. As the party was drawing nearer and it was almost time for my cakes too be judged by a ruthless panel. I mean, eaten by my boyfriend's loving family. Ahem.

Fast forward to several hours later, and the fruit had just been devoured. (The order of food here goes like this: savoury, fruit, dessert, liqueur. Always.) My heart was actually pounding as I brought out the dolce and presented it on the table. Nobody said a word. And it wasn't that sort of 'stunned by the beauty of it all' silence. No. They just weren't really fussed. Buuuuh. It's OK, I said to myself. Clearly the presentation isn't so important. Wait until they try it. Slices were plated up. Said plates were distributed. And I waited. For a while, nothing. Munch munch. Chew chew. Then suddenly:


Really nice Amy.

I had started to breathe again.

Is there any more? I'd quite like another piece.

YES. Fist pump.

At this point I was grinning like a loon at my little success. Plates were being finished! People were asking for more! My man beamed at me. But then I heard this:

Very nice Amy. Yes...can we book you for the next birthday party?!

.......*Amy shaped hole in the wall*

The goods.

Recipes for these cakes to be published soon!!


  1. the kinder bueno cakes especially look lovely!

  2. these look AMAZING!! you get on with your bad baking self!!
    i usually bake around the holidays and literally dont want to eat a thing by the end because they take FOREVER & i'm usually left hoping that they taste good haha
    xx Corinne