I have a list. Actually, I have a lot of lists. Many, many lists. But not as many as MO's daughter. She wins in the list making stakes.
I have shopping lists, one for each shop - Sainsburys, Boots, health food shop, cupcake lady (in case I forget to buy a cupcake as I pass her stall), Smiths, man in high street fruit stall list etc. etc. etc. I have 'to do' lists of a daily, weekly and monthly nature. On a bad day the daily list starts with get up. I have a books to read list, a books already read list, my Amazon wish list, plays I must see before I die list, christmas card list, a what to do with my lottery jackpot winnings list - you get the idea - many, many lists. Sometimes I throw them away. Sometimes.
However, the list I am referring to is a special list. My special list is a '60 things to do before I'm 60' list. After my birthday in June I shall have four years in which to complete it.
It is doubly special because it means I am healing. I am getting better. There is still a way to go but I am getting there. Three years ago I just wouldn't have been able to comprehend making a list of future plans and now I have my list of 60. Almost.
It is not yet complete. I have 35 things on it so far. I am sure I will have the other 25 by my birthday. It is taking a while to draw up because my situation is putting constraints on the content of my list. It would be amazingly easy to run 60 things off just like that and those things would involve lots of travel and excursions of the going to Venice on the Orient Express sort of thing (oh how I wish) but unless things change there is no way that will be happening so they are not on the list. In the spirit of optimism and balance however, I do have a few money costing things on it and they are things I that I really, really would like to do such as visit JH in Australia, travel round America, do a Ballymaloe cookery course, visit Ronnie Scotts and a few others. So it may be that not everything on the list will get done. I am alright with that. The majority of my list is modest and achievable.
By the by the point of the list is to do things I have always or really wanted to do. This does not include things like declutter various rooms, paint the bathroom or clear out the garage. If I had really wanted to do those things I would have done them by now.
And so to the cake. I have wanted for a very, very long time to make a three tier cake and I have never done it. Simple desire, needn't be overly expensive and hopefully not beyond my capabilities (especially now I have a leaning towards domestic goddessdom). So now I will be doing it - because it is on my list. I will make it next year for a certain persons special birthday. I am going to make Lorraine Pascale's 3 tier Red Velvet cake from her Baking Made Easy cook book - as seen on television.
Then in a moment of panic I thought I had better practise first. A three tier cake is a big thing. So as AJ has a birthday coming up I decided I would make the smallest tier as a birthday cake for her. It looked fairly easy when Lorraine made it on her television programme. And actually it wasn't too difficult. In fact it went remarkably well. I didn't much like double lining the tin. I got melted butter all up my arms but luckily I had rolled up my sleeves as taught me by my Grannie. Other than that I had all the right ingredients (always a good thing), I added them in the right order, I used the right quantities and nothing fell in the bowl by accident. The bits that should be fluffy and light, were. I followed the recipe to the letter. My only concern was this
It doesn't look exactly red.
Now, Lorraine Pascale didn't cut her cake as far as I remember but I have had red velvet cake before and it has always been red. Also I made red velvet cup cakes from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook - umm best not go there - but they were red and they were edible, - just not quite, right and the kitchen was a mess - red cup cake mixture up the walls, over the floor, over me - not a happy experience. Anyway, I put it in the oven and hoped that when it came out it would be red. You know, some sort of chemical transformation happening with heat.
Still doesn't look red
Aaaand - it isn't
Tastes alright though.
A bit dry around the edges perhaps. It was in the oven for longer than the recipe stated before the old skewer test thing (kitchen knife) came out clean. But definitely, definitely not red.
Glad I practised but now have a dilemma. Do I start messing about tweaking this recipe to make it go red by using the making it red procedure from the Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cup cake recipe with this recipe or am I aiming way too high given my track record. Is 'tweaking' a step too far for me?
Well AJ's birthday is in a couple of days so watch this space..............................