Tuesday, May 5, 2009


It's challenging, being a householder. We don't even complete the deal for another two months, and already I'm dropping behind in my commitments.

Local by-laws, at my place of employment, dictate that someone who makes such a major commitment as buying a house (or getting married, giving birth etc.) is required to bring in a celebratory cake for the rest of the team. Local by-laws in my own household stipulate that any such cake must be home-made, not shop-bought.

But what kind of cake? The laws are silent on that.

Anything with chocolate and/or cream is too much like hard work. Ditto anything that requires obscure or specialised ingredients, such as - well, anything I don't have in the apartment at the moment. I've never got the hang of meringue.

For my last birthday, I made Westmorland pepper cake, which went OK but not favourite. I'm thinking something sweeter, perhaps something quite unlike what you can get in any corner bakery. After dredging my childhood memory, I hit on: cardamom cake, with lemon glaze.

Hey, I never claimed to be a great cook, it doesn't have to be imaginative. But on the web, even simple recipes can become complicated...

Most cardamom cake recipes I can find involve random other ingredients - orange, pear, apple, pecan, you name it, all of which would I'm sure be delicious but they're not what I'm looking for. The closest I can find is this one, which stipulates when to use a food mixer (quite unnecessary), and actually forgets to put the cardamom in at all, and then smothers the whole thing in a thick lemon icing, rather than a thin transparent glaze. Not confidence-inspiring, but let's give it a try.

So I settle down to it, inserting spice where it seems to make most sense, doing the beating by hand Just Like Mother Taught Me, making the glaze with just lemon and sugar. The result isn't bad, but needs more cardamom.

Trying again, I suffer 'second-attempt syndrome'. This is what happens when you don't follow the recipe closely enough any more because you think you can remember it, only you can't, not in the right order anyway. We're eating through the results of that now.

I'll get it right later this week.

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