We’ve made our Christmas cakes today.
I feel like we’re really late with them this year. I think we should have made them earlier this month – with only a month to go until Christmas it does seem terribly disorganised on our part.
But still, it’s done.
The day without an oven and having to stay up until who knows when so that the second cake is cool enough to put away is nearly done.
And, as with every year, I’ve managed to cover myself in butter.
The recipe calls for soft butter, because that’s about seven gazillion times easier to beat into the mixture than fresh from the fridge butter that you could bang a nail in to a wall with. So having learned our lesson in the first year of cake making, where we swore repeatedly at the butter until it softened purely out of fear, we now encourage it along a little by sitting it on top of the oven as the oven preheats.
Unfortunately, I never remember that butter goes from the solid state to the liquid state at a very specific point. That point being not while you’re watching it and certainly not when you touch it to see if it’s soft. It’s immediately after that. As soon as you’ve touched it, the butter molecules see that as their key to separate slightly and move from a solid into a liquid.
But, butter is clever.
It holds its shape until you pick it up. And then it goes all floppy and spills liquid butter – the softest possible form of butter, and slightly too far gone for our purposes – all down the front of the male cake-maker. The male cake-maker who is well aware this happens every year, owns several cooking aprons and never puts them on before handling the butter because honestly how messy can I, I mean he, get?
And then you weigh the butter, and the block of 250g is now less than that, as you take your desired 225g you wonder where the rest of it is, because what is left is surely less than 25g forgetting that the t-shirt you are wearing, and possibly the lino beneath you feet (and therefore your socks), is several grams of butter heavier than it was earlier in the process.
Still, the cakes are lovely.
And getting covered in flour and mixture while you’re baking is such a cliché. Honestly, butter’s the way forward – everyone will be doing it.
And maybe next year I’ll remember….