Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or, how not to make a Christmas Cake)

on November 19, 2013

I knew this was going to happen.

I could have preempted it and stopped this whole hideous situation in its tracks.

I could have taken myself to one side, had a quiet word, somewhere along the lines of;
Look love, you’re not a natural cook, much less a baker so why don’t you just make it easy on yourself.
Buy a Christmas cake.
Other people do.
It doesn’t make you a bad person.
No one even likes Christmas cake so it’s no big deal and, if you really, really must, you can lie and say you made it,
fed it with brandy weekly,
iced it
and stuck on the little tiny people all by yourself.
But no, you wouldn’t listen to clever old Jiminy Cricket would you?
And now, as a direct result of your utter imbecility you’ve been invited to join the WI by Barb.
How did this happen I hear you cry? Well- in the interests of you not becoming Martha Stewarts answer to the Anti Christ I will tell you.
Pull up a chair.

It all started in Masseys, the butchers. I picked up their Christmas order form and was immediately set upon by an old man. Lets call him Jim.
Ah- getting ready for Christmas are we?
You have to, it’s all in the planning.
I remember once when we went to my son and daughter in laws for Christmas.
They didn’t have a clue.
Not a bloody clue bless them.
The turkey wouldn’t fit in the oven so they chopped it in half and the whole thing was pretty much a disaster.
We go to the other sons now…he’s a chef.
It’s all in the planning.
He stopped short of saying- they’re dead to us know but I got the picture…failure is not an option!
And so, with Jims wise words ringing in my ears, I hot footed it straight over the road to get the library copy of Delia does Christmas. (Like the cookery version of Debbie does Dallas I imagine!)
No doubt by some equally feckless individual who didn’t know their giblets from their goose fat.
Well thanks for that.
Big society my eye. Everyone is out for themselves.
Bah humbug.
Get flustered and take out Nigella’s How to be a domestic goddess instead.
When we get home I leaf through Nigella’s book and find a Christmas cake recipe which sounds achievable.
I also have a look at Delia’s recipe on line.
Call my mum to ask if I can borrow her cake tin. She’s chucked it.
Text talented yummy mummy mates to ask if I can borrow their tins. That’s a no go too.
In the inevitable pre Christmas panic I end up spending £29, £29 on a square cake tin which at best will be used annually but, possibly after this experience may in fact never see the light of day again.
I faff around with the grease proof paper, the layering with brown paper and tying with string and then, with blind optimism (and a helpful toddler) I begin on my Christmas cake quest.
Mixed fruits soaking by a open fire (or regular cooker if I'm honest)

Mixed fruits soaking by a open fire (or regular cooker if I’m honest)

Before long the kitchen is awash with the smell of mixed spice, brandy and Christmas. It smells divine.
I enjoy talking through the steps with my gorgeous girl and daydream about this becoming a tradition. Imagining that in years to come she’ll call me up to ask how she can ever hope to make a cake as good as Mumas so she can hand it down to her children.
Finally I triumphantly pour the mixture into the, so freaking expensive it should be gold, cake tin.
Oh crap- it is the thickness of a flapjack.
Check the recipe again. Yep, I did everything it said.
Check tin size with Delia…20cm
Check tin size with Nigella…25cm
And that my friends is how I came to be begging a tin from Barb at 7.30 on a Sunday night, moments after they’d returned from a cruise (very nice thanks, the Canaries)
You know how it is, we don’t really know our neighbours yet so it was the height of cheek for me to even ask but, it seems Barb is quite the cook.
Within moments she was emptying tins and Tupperware onto her table to find the right thing for me. Very kind.
And that is when she hit me with it… If I wanted to learn more about cooking, craft and, well anything like that really, I should join the WI. She’s only the ruddy president.
It’s not what you know it’s who you know people.
This time next year I could be baps out in a calendar. 😉
Reproduced from WI images

Reproduced from WI images

So, tell me, how is your Christmas shaping up?!
PS- Here’s the finished article…here’s hoping that the icing will hide a multitude of sins!! I’ll let you know…
The Christmas Chaos Cake

The Christmas Chaos Cake

17 responses to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or, how not to make a Christmas Cake)

  1. Becky says:

    Ahahaha that is great! Your cake looks great though and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the president of the WI with your new found baking skills! xxx


  2. It looks great, haven’t summoned up the courage to try a Christmas cake… I don’t like it, you see! But hubby loves it, and it’s not quite as popular in the US, from what I can gather, so I really should make one…! #MMWBH


  3. Hurnae says:

    My Nan makes one every year and my dad is usually the only one eating it out of our entire family! xx


  4. Even if your Christmas cake is completely shocking it was worth it alone for this post 😀


  5. Hannah Green says:

    It’s looks fine hehe….with a bit off icing a decoration no one will ever now. be sure to post the finished cake xx


  6. Brilliant post. Gave me a right giggle. Let me know if you join the WI, I quite fancy joining myself.


    • Mumaleary says:

      Thanks! I am seriously considering it so will keep you posted. It might be one of those ‘next year I’m going to become amazing at everything’ kind of statements…


  7. Aww this is a great post. And the cake looks fine to me! Baps out in a calendar? Yeh go on then 🙂 x


  8. I hate Christmas cake and I am completely undomesticated but I am sure it will look lovely once you ice it. You should join WI – I am a member of the Manchester one – its great fun!


  9. […] It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or, how not to make a Christmas Cake) ( […]


  10. […] Don’t panic dear reader, we are nearing the end; it is November and that means onesies and hanging out at home. Trying to become a competent cook and ultimately failing…again! […]


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