Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Not Just Any Cake

During our foray to the pub on Friday (see last post), Bob and I made a tentative arrangement to go to the cinema this Monday. I remembered this on Monday morning and checked with Polly that this would okay and that she hadn't organized anything exciting, like the weekly food shop, and would need the car. Rather to my surprise she was delighted that I was going out and assured me she could manage, briefly, in my absence. Just as I was checking the listings and choosing between Saw VI and Zombieland she added that the boys would enjoy a trip out with their dad as well. I tried to explain that I thought Sam was a little young for the fiendish puzzles of Jigsaw, but if she was sure. . .

Which is how I ended up seeing Up in 3d with Bob, his wife Antoinette and Matty and Sam. Despite a severe lack of the undead and a complete absence of grotesque killer puzzles Up is a brilliant film and neither Matty or Sam bemoaned the shortage of blood. Instead we all sat entranced, enjoying a rare thing in the two a penny world of CGI animated output, a good story, well drawn characters who ooze humour, charm and warmth, and a whole series of comic set pieces that are both funny and visually pleasing, especially in 3d. I defy anybody not to love Dug, the Golden Retriever.

When I got home with two burger-stuffed boys, way past their bedtime, I found a sightly fractious wife. Polly had been baking a cake. Now it must be said that Polly is an excellent cook and has baked countless cakes over the years. This cake, however, is a cake with baggage, a cake with history. This is the Deal family Christmas cake, a recipe handed down the generations. This is the cake that until this year my mother has made every year for as many Christmases as I can remember. A cake that is so complicated and takes so long to prepare that my mother can no longer stand to bake it. I mean that literally, mum has arthritis. The mantle has now passed to Polly. It had taken her over three and a half hours to mix and prepare. Muttering grimly about 'your family' she told me she would have to set the alarm to go off at 1:30am to take it out of the oven after its five and a half hour baking time. She swears that next year she will make a chocolate log but I'm sure she will have calmed down by next October.

At 1:30am the alarm went off and Polly staggered into the kitchen. I was asleep before she crawled back to bed. I learned in the morning that the cake needed to cool a further 40 minutes before it could be removed from the tin.

All I can say is that it is a VERY nice cake. It has to be decorated in a certain way too, but I'll mention that next time I go to the cinema.

Until next time...