Bake Off? I can do that!

Before becoming a parent, I was fairly convinced that once I had my baby, not only would I become a veritable queen of crafts, but I would also make the instantaneous transition from incompetent cook to all round domestic goddess. Post birth and during our second week of dining on Doritos and grapes in the company of used muslin cloths and empty Twix wrappers, it became clear that this was not going to happen.  I’ll admit it, I felt wholly cheated. But I accepted it.

Then, almost a year later, without any warning and while watching The Great British Bake Off, I became convinced by some internal force that I, renowned burner of pasta and one-time corned beef omlette maker-extraordinaire, had baking skills on a par with a Bake Off finalist, if not, in fact, with Mary Berry herself.

Quite where this conviction came from, I do not know. I am no cook. I can just about make fairy cakes, and I was once so overcome with pride upon managing to make a Victoria Sponge that I cried. Despite this, as November approached, I knew that I had to begin thinking about making a cake for my little girl’s first birthday, and that the cake was going to be special.

This was not going to be a one tier cake with a smattering of icing and a few hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top. Oh no. This was going to be a show stopper piece. It was going to be an absolute marvel of a cake and why not?  People do it on Bake Off all the time, and I was a late blooming domestic goddess after all. How hard could it be? I was going to create a work of cake art, in the form of a bumble bee.

It goes without saying that the cake was going to be delicious. I would bake it in my newly purchased dome tins (which were quite pricey, but an artist needs her tools), ice it with artistic flair, and then display it on a cake board for all to admire. The bee would have wings, a little stinger, big eyes and cute antennae. And it was going to be a joy to make.

But here’s the thing. It turned out not to be a joy.

cake 1 (2)
I call this one: ‘(Not so) Calm acceptance that perhaps the large dome tin did not suit my oven’

In fact, it was as far from a joy as undergoing root canal treatment while watching Topsy and Tim. If nothing else, I was grateful that it took only 4 attempts to reach an acceptable end result.

cake 4
Don’t let that innocent face fool you. This was one evil bee.

You may think that 4 attempts wasn’t too bad for a novice, but let me clarify what 4 attempts actually involved. There were:

  • 5 tantrum-esque breakdowns
  • 1 scratched work surface
  • 2 almost-smashed bowls
  • 1 half-written complaint to Lakeland (because it’s an artist’s prerogative to blame her tools)
  • 1 potential divorce
  • 11 evenings
  • 3 weekends
  • Expenses of £80+ on equipment and wasted ingredients and icing (how was I to know there were different types?!)
  • 2 large refuse sacks
  • a temporary loss of my will to live

I vowed never to do it again.

So why oh why, after watching one episode of Bake Off, have I been revisited by the same internal force that stole both my time and my sanity back in October and November 2015? I’m already thinking about digging out the banished dome tins, and for a fleeting moment, even considered attempting to  create a scene from In the Night Garden in cake form. Am I mad? Quite possibly. But then people do it on Bake Off all the time. And I am a late blooming domestic goddess after all…..

Diary of an imperfect mum
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68 thoughts on “Bake Off? I can do that!”

  1. The cake looks gorgeous though! But I feel your pain, as a fellow bellend “pretend I can bake” mum. Let’s just eat corned beef hash and go to M&S for birthday cakes, shall we? Thanks for sharing with #chucklemums x

    1. Yes, let’s do that…….although I just can’t shake the urge to create an In the Night Garden masterpiece. I’ve still got a couple of months to see sense, thankfully. Fingers crossed!

  2. This reminds me of my attempts at baking – everything I make turns out absolutely hideous (but usually tastes okay, which is the important thing). I’ve never tried to make anything as complicated as your bee, though – I tip my virtual hat to you! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Thank you! I’m glad I got there in the end, but now whenever I so much as look at that bee I feel stressed! The worst thing is that I splashed out on all kinds of cake making equipment and I can’t justify never using it again – so watch this space for this year’s inevitable fiasco!

  3. Haha. I loved this post. I’m baking my daughters birthday cake but baking is one of things I can usually do right. There’s not much else I’m good at! Haha.

    I’m hoping that it goes well and I don’t have a disaster!


  4. I loved your post. I have four kids includiing twins and spent hours making fairly disastrous looking birthday cakes throughout their early childhood..I never came close to your lovely final version of the bee…. the twins’ birthdays were worse as I felt the need to make them each their own entirley different cake. Now they are all older and not at all bothered about homemade masterpiece cakes anymore (they have accepted my limitations) and to be honest it is an immense relief. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Wow, I would never have the mental strength to make 4 birthday cakes during one year, and definitely wouldn’t cope with making two at the same time! If I am silly enough to put myself through this again later this year (which I think I might be), I’ll remember to appreciate that it’s just one cake I’m making, and not two!

  5. Well the cake looks bloody marvellous, but yes, every time I ever attempt to make a cake I always get to a point where I question my own sanity, and wonder why I didn’t just pay someone else to do it. THanks for joining #chucklemums

    1. Thank you – although to be honest, I can’t stand the sight of that bee’s smug little grin. It would certainly cost less in terms of money and sanity to pay someone to make a cake, but unfortunately I just don’t have the sense!

  6. Hahah! This made me laugh!!
    I love to bake and I have often watched Bake Off and muttered ‘oh I could do that!’ (Seriously – last week – who doesn’t know what way round a Jaffa Cake is?!) But I suspect the reality is much much worse. I even downloaded the application form once, but my reportior is far too limited.
    I think your Bee looks great! You’ve got my thinking about what I should do for my daughters cake in January!

    1. It’s awful isn’t it? I was making gingerbread sculptures in my head this week! I haven’t gone as far as downloading the application form – I know that would definitely end in disaster. Good luck with your daughter’s cake!

  7. I love baking, but am terrible at icing and using sugar paste, yet every year I end up attempting birthday cakes, and then vowing to never do it again, yet I do! Stupid or what! #KCACOLS

  8. I am so glad I visited your blog today, missus. It’s my first time. Although I’m not proud of the fact I’ve really enjoyed listening to your cake traumas, I feel like I’ve found a hidden treasure.

    I was reading the first para thinking, I’m going to love this post…I really did. I love your humour and writing style! It’s right up my street.

    Evil Bee (I’m sure the bee had many, many names during the course of its creation) looks amazing. I’d say it was worth it in the end but your bullet list suggests otherwise 😉

    Thanks for sharing. Loved it. #KCACOLS

    1. Oh yes, Evil Bee was the kindest name I gave him. He had much worse! 😉 Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. It means so much to hear that, especially as I’m still getting used to this blogging lark! I really do appreciate it 🙂

  9. Oh yes, Bake Off is very dangerous to watch! Cake week I made a massive double decker chocolate cake. Biscuit week I was ill, but almost well enough to build a replica of Hogwarts out of gingerbread. My wife watched bread week today and Insisted I make a cheese and bacon pull-apart loaf for dinner. It was delicious!
    Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

  10. Wowzers that is an impressive looking cake, although it does sound as though it was a mission and a half to bake. Good on you for sticking at it though, I would of hit the shoe after attempt one. Xx #KCACOLS

  11. I’m very impressed with the final result! I baked a cake for my Mum when I was about 9, it was supposed to be a sponge but it ended up like a rubber ball. Totally revolting, I can still remember the look on my mums face as she pretended to find it delicious!! 😀 #KCACOLS

  12. Ahh this is brilliant! But your end result looks amazing! I had a late night trip to tesco earlier in the year to get red icing for my son’s angry birds cake, after trying for about an hour to turn white icing red with food colouring. It never turns red. No matter how much colouring you add, it just goes pink. x #KCACOLS

    1. Haha, oh that’s frustrating. People always make it look so easy, don’t they? I avoided any messing around with food colouring and just bought coloured icing. I don’t think I’d have been able to cope with any more complications!

  13. This is very funny. I suffered a similar delusion about my forthcoming domestic goddess-ness when I was pregnant. It never happened. I am, however, now amazing at defrosting and cooking skinless Richmond sausages. I think your cake turned out amazing, despite your struggles. I could only dream of a cake that turned out to look like the thing I wanted it to look like. #kcacols

  14. I could have swore that I had commented already but I guess not 🙁 You did a fab job of making that cake. I don’t bake anything…EVER…love to cook but baking is just not my thing and I could burn brownies from the box. Thanks so much for linking with #momsterslink and making the featured post list. Hope to see you again this week.

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of effort – I don’t think I’m a natural. I just hope that I realise this before my daughter’s second birthday in a couple of months! So happy to have made the featured post list. I’ll miss this week but will be back to link up next week once I’m back from my holidays.

  15. The cake looks awesome. Did it taste of blood, sweat and tears?! I haven’t even attempted to make one myself as I am so bad at the decorating part. My big one is 7 in October and wants a Harry Potter cake! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  16. Hilarious! I used to get these sorts of ideas in my head too, but I am in recovery: ‘My name is Silly Mummy and I am not a baker. It’s been three years since my last failed birthday cake.’

    The bee cake does look amazing though!

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.

  17. Haha totes feel your pain. Tried 3 times to make a decent vicky sponge for my daughters 2nd birthday. Gave up. They were all crap. She got a cake-from-a-box instead.
    Your bee looks AMAZING!

  18. This was so entertaining to read, I love the way you write! Honestly since I started watching Bake Off I keep having these waves where I feel like becoming a master baker but then yeah…this would be my reality as well. I have a sneaking suspicion nothing would quite go as I planned. In the end your cake does look really really good though, so silver lining!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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