November 14th, 2007


Star baker

I've been baking cake for tomorrow's team meeting. It's sort of a tradition in the making... well, what happened was that S, my boss, brought apple tart in for the team meeting two months ago, as a sort of substitute for tarte tatin, which he was keen to learn to make because of the association with the Sologne, where Le Grand Meaulnes, which is one of his favourite books, is set. (Still following?) Anyway, for the last meeting I decided it was my turn to bake, and produced some slightly underwhelming honey and yoghurt and walnut muffins which to the best of my knowledge had no geographical or literary associations (though I suppose they were 'American muffins', which the Americans call English muffins -- divided by a common snackage!). My colleagues were nice about the muffins, but really they weren't very exciting. Muffins are hard to get right, and these were quite doughy (which I don't mind, but it's not how they should be) and practically savoury (which I don't mind but is a bit disappointing when you've put lots of sweet things in).

Really, I just like saying the word "muffins".

So anyway, this month I asked S if it was his turn to bake this time, and he was apologetic but said he just didn't have time because he was going to be out all evening; so I said I'd do it again. (No, I don't leave an apple on his desk every morning or anything. Stop it. I just like baking. And team meetings go so much more smoothly with cake and coffee.) But this time I wanted to go for something more 'safe', something guaranteed to work better than those damn muffins. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that this is one of my favourite recipes and it works perfectly every time:

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The whole house smells of cake now, and a house that smells of cake is a happy house.