Wednesday, March 23, 2022

On baking a cake

Gail's comment about keeping track of what she has accomplished is an excellent reminder. We are all on that treadmill, and if we don't stop and look at what we have done, it can add to that feeling of getting nowhere fast. Celebrate what we've done to help us get through what we need to do!  

I'm trying to keep a picture of what I finish -- totally finished things, not just what I accomplished monthly on the sew-alongs. I don't think there are too many things in that folder yet this year. But that's OK -- I'm making great progress on stuff, and I'll get stuff finished! 

And thanks to everyone who sent e-mails about the posts the last two days. Yes -- we need to fill our days with things that WE want to make or do, not because someone else is making a certain project or doing something -- FOMO!! It's all about balance, which we humans are NOT good at, and remember that any opportunity/class you don't want to miss will likely come around again! Especially the technique ones. 

So -- it happened. After countless hours of watching The Great British Baking Show, borrowing a Mary Berry cookbook from the library weeks ago, and having the ingredients sitting on the kitchen counter for two weeks, I did it -- I BAKED a cake. 

Getting ready to bake a cake

My first ever cake and my go-to recipe when I baked a cake weekly for my family when I was a teenager was called the One bowl chocolate cake. You threw everything in one bowl, gave it a good mix, and put it in a pan. 

Not so with Mary's Classic Genoese. I had to whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl over hot water. DO you know how hard it is to whisk something? Good lord, I thought my arm was going to fall off. Well, I think this is whisked enough; it's time to add the flour. 

Eggs and sugar whisked together

I didn't follow the instructions and did not sift the first part of the flour, which was a mistake. I don't have a sifter, but I found something else that would work for the rest. Too late -- I think I killed the air that I got in the batter from all the whisking! 

The cake batter

Anyway -- it looked and smelled like cake batter. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the over controls (OK -- so I rarely look at them, except to change the clock when the time changes!) I have a setting for bread proofing. Seriously??? We've had that stove for YEARS, and I never noticed that before. 

Bread proofing setting - who knew!

It was supposed to be a two-tier cake, but those 8-inch pans, instead of 7- inch pans, made a huge difference, so it all went into one. Thank goodness I did that. 

My cake!

As you can see, it didn't get too big, and I believe I need a little bit smaller pan; I need to sift that flour and improve my folding skills. However, the cake was cooked, it was golden brown, and I think it was a success. 

My Genoese sponge!

The sponge was supposed to have a filling of whipped heavy cream and raspberries. I don't know about you, but whipped cream starts to separate after a day, and that was going to make for a very soggy cake, so I made the whipped cream in a chilled bowl!

Making the whipped cream

And while I was doing that, I had company. 

MOM -- I can lick the beater - right? MOM!!! 

Sigh -- those girls are very much out of sorts this week. It's just us girls this week, and I know they miss DH. It's dead silence here because he spends his day talking on the phone! They only have me to bug, and I'm no fun!!!

MOM -- when is Dad coming home? I miss him! MOM!

So this probably wouldn't meet Mary's standards, but I thought it was good. It's baked -- I can hear Paul say, it's a bit dry and overbaked. I went for the minimum cooking time since it was in a larger pan, but I gave it two extra minutes, and I don't think I needed that. 

My sponge is not quite as spongy as it should have been

But I cut a slice, added whipped cream and raspberries, and ate my cake!!!


Overall, I would say the cake was a success. I'm not as fussy as the baking judges - I go for flavor, not necessary texture - you can't taste texture! Now the question will be -- how to improve the cake's lightness. It's not heavy, but I envisioned it a bit lighter. Sifting the flour, folding better to avoid killing the air that I whisked into those eggs and perhaps a different tin. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? I learned it all on the baking show!!

But don't forget, I had Home Ec when I was in Grade 8, and I can still hear Mrs. Sealy telling us how to fold ingredients into the cake batter. She would be so proud of me now!!!

The major writing assignments are done now, so that's good. I have two documents that I want to write, so they are next up. They are the follow-up to some lectures that I did. It would be great to get the notes done first, so right after the lecture, I could send them out. That's something to strive for. 

I managed to do some tidy-up in Studio B, but I've got a long way before it's back in tip-top shape. Some quilts got trimmed, so I'll be sending out e-mails today. And one more quilt got done. 

Customer quilt - DONE

I did two presentations yesterday, and I'm starting to feel on top of things. Until I look at the mini-design boards loaded with blocks to sew and applique to do. No worries -- there's a Virtual Retreat this weekend, so it'll be the perfect time to work on those. 

I've still got prep to finish for this weekend, so that'll be my focus for the next couple of days. 

I was looking through my book collection for a particular book, and look what I found! Another Jen Kingwell quilt. The answer is NO! I will NOT be doing another Jen Kingwell quilt for some time. 

The Circle Game by Jen Kingwell

Will I be doing a class to help those that have fallen behind? NO -- they have my notes, and they can make their own schedule, just like I did for those that are currently up-to-date! I will admit that the workload for homework, especially for those that signed up for more than one of her quilts, is HUGE. I'm getting texts and e-mails with the progress or seeing it on Facebook. There are some troopers in the class, and they are madly working!

So this picture didn't turn out well, but someone asked me the other day that I must have a room filled with sewing machine boxes. We do NOT destroy the boxes when we get machines as they are good for shipping or transporting the sewing machines. The boxes are made specifically for each machine, and I store them in the cold room under my front step! And yes -- there are a lot of boxes. The sergers that I currently have (I won't tell you how many) came with no boxes, so imagine if those boxes were added!

Lots of boxes to house sewing machines and embroidery units

DH had saved a bone for the girls, and I had instructions to give them the treat while he was away. OK -- so whose dogs are these anyway? He didn't even like dogs when we first met. 

Murphy ran around the backyard, finding the perfect spot to enjoy her treat, and plunked herself into one of the flower beds. Sigh...................

MOM! This is the perfect spot, and I'm not getting dirt on myself!

After delicately picking up the bone, Lexi just laid down on the deck to enjoy her treat. Gosh -- they are the same, yet they are so different!!!

Lexi just plunked herself on the deck to eat her bone

But both of them are saying, "Is Dad coming home today? How many sleeps until Dad is home?" Girls, that would be three! And there might even be a piece of cake left for him! See -- I got the worst one (hopefully) out of the way while he's not here. 

I have a couple of car errands today, and then I'll be married to the computer and the long arm. I didn't even get a chance to walk the dogs until 4:00 PM. They were NOT impressed, and it was the first day in a long time that I didn't walk double digits in KM. 

So yes -- I'll be rethinking a lot about what I take on in the coming future. Or learn to work smarter, not harder. Part of it is the heavy workload on three of the sew alongs, and those will be over soon. 

As we were leaving the house the other day, I spotted a heron flying over - I think I mentioned that. Although my camera was in the car with me, I did NOT snap a picture. I read somewhere that we need to enjoy life WITHOUT constantly taking pictures or watching our children's/pets lives through the lens of a video camera. You spend so much time trying to get a picture and totally miss the event. That would have happened with the heron, so I didn't even try. 

But that reminds me of parents at a recital. They see the entire event through their camera lens and don't really get to enjoy the moment. The memory will live forever in our heads, and how often do you go back and look at those pictures or videos?? 

I'm off to spin class this morning. I read an article yesterday about how beneficial cycling was for us. I'll share part of it with you tomorrow because I think it's super important, and I'm going to say that's partially why I am so healthy, although I've only been cycling for about the last 13 years. It's not just cycling --- it's MOVEMENT -- it's doing an activity and moving your body -- that's hugely beneficial, and cycling isn't hard on your body like running is!

I did something that I don't normally do. I listened to an audiobook for the entire walk with the girls. And I finished The Wife Upstairs just as I got back to the house. OH MY  --- that book was filled with twists and turns that I never saw coming. And the ending? Well --- that was interesting, and that's all I'm going to say, so I don't spoil it for anyone. 


Here are the quilt shows that I'm aware of in my area. 

The Textile Show at the Gerrard Art Space (Toronto)  --- show runs until April 3!!!  (better hurry on that one!)

Colour with a U  -- a quilt show at the Orillia Museum of Art & History -- runs until April 9 

Common Thread Quilt Guild Ottawa) is hosting its show on May 6,7,8. 

Hamilton Quilt Guild -- June 3, 4


Don't forget to check out QUILTSocial today  --- I'm checking out some accessory feet for the sewing machine. 

And lastly, don't forget the Virtual Retreat this weekend. 

Saturday, March 26 --- starts at 6 PM. 

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

And Sunday, March 27 -- starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

On that note, I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!


1 comment:

  1. I don't have many "specialty tools" in my kitchen. I use a wire mesh strainer for a sifter :-)

    Congrats on the cake!!!!!