I guess there comes a time in every novice baker’s journey where something doesn’t go to plan or turn out as expected. This happened to me big style recently.
After a run of reasonably successful bakes I was tasked with baking 2 cakes for a local cafe where my daughter has a summer job. A coffee & walnut cake and a lemon sponge had been requested. No problem I thought, these are 2 quite easy recipes so shouldn’t be a problem. The cafe would supply the ingredients and pay me £3 for each cake for my trouble. I suppose this may not seem a lot to others but I was happy to do it to be able to practice my baking skills.
The Coffee & Walnut Cake was the more successful of the two bakes. I’d not made this cake before and scoured the internet looking for a decent easy enough recipe. I used this one from Really Nice Recipes. The issues I had with this cake were the lack of rise and that I’d used that yukky baking spread that pretends to be butter which the cafe supplied and so the icing had this greasy unsettled look to it and this papery effect on the edges (see below left pics). I’ve only ever used proper block butter for my bakes – lesson learned here.
For the Lemon Sponge I’d used the sponge and lemon curd recipe from the previously tested successful Lemon Meringue Cake recipe. However, this time I used the tub baking spread that the Cafe had given me; this was a disaster! The cake didn’t rise properly and had a sticky feel to the sponge. I decided this just wouldn’t do so I decided to make another regular sponge.
This went alot better using the same tub spread but as I’d used 1.5 times the measurements so it took longer to bake so the outside was a litle overdone. Also, the lemon curd didn’t set properly even though I’d made it 24 hours in advance; worked a dream the first time I made it, this time, spread everywhere even though I used the same recipe and ingredients.
Overall I was really disappointed with the whole experience, I was rushed and I’d put myself under pressure to perform and I just ended up stressed.
The feedback that came to back to me wasn’t as nearly as bad as I had expected and I even had a compliment on the lemon cake flavour and both cakes sold but it just goes to show how your ingredients can affect your end result (and your mood!).
Good news though – they commissioned another Coffee & Walnut Cake for the same weekend…post to follow