Did you have a lovely weekend? I hope so… it was Mothers Day here in the UK so I was woken around dawn by a breathless Harry, bursting with excitement and clutching a pot of daffodils he had secretly grown at school, a carefully drawn portrait of me (dressed in black, curiously, with forked hands rather like Satan – but then I’m sure that some of Lucian Freud’s subjects were equally touchy about how they were portrayed), and ready to recite a poem called ‘My Mummy’ about the wonderful things that mothers do.
And yes, I cried. (‘I know you were crying’ said Harry, at the end of the poem ‘Because I could see the drips’.)
To treat ourselves, we made cake; a rather splendid layer cake in the brightest colours we could find. I got to choose, so I chose pink…
We used a basic sponge cake recipe and a set of layer cake pans which produce small but perfectly formed sponge layers (try these or this link if you’re in North America – both have recipe links too), and simply divided the cake batter into five pudding bowls and stirred in tiny amounts of pink food colouring, adding more with each bowl…
To get equal amounts of cake batter, by the way, you need a spot of elementary maths (great for mini-chef assistants!); weigh your mixing bowl before you begin and again when the batter is mixed; deduct the original bowl weight and then divide the remaining weight by five; that’s the amount you need to spoon out each time. When the cakes are baked, they look interesting and somewhat planetary; Once cooled, we stacked and layered ours with vanilla buttercream and then covered the cake with (whisper it) Betty Crocker Strawberry Frosting. Because if you can’t take a culinary shortcut on Mothers Day, when can you? It was delicious; both the first slice and the second..
This was our second attempt at layer-cake-making; we made a neon rainbow cake for Harry’s wonderful Godparents a couple of weeks ago using the same principles but a rather more lairy set of colours, chosen entirely by Harry, who made a cute rainbow decoration to adorn the top;
See what I mean about the colours? It had the same effect on our teeth that those old-fashioned disclosing tablets used to do… but it was worth it.
Enough about cake, particularly for those who are trying to exercise restraint in such matters as the thought of summer and swimwear starts to focus the mind, and the appearance of beguiling layer cake photos is far from helpful. Instead, let’s talk about..
The solar eclipse which will occur across Scandinavia and the UK on Friday and which is already causing feverish excitement in our household. We need to make a pinhole camera to view it, which requires us to eat a whole can of Pringles before then in order to use the tube for our camera. It’s a tough job but I’m making good progress (on the crisps that is; I haven’t started the camera). Will you be watching, are you ready? If you won’t be able to see it from where you are, you can follow it here instead. Fingers crossed for clear skies.
And finally have you seen this documentary? I’m sure that I’m late to the party on this one but I loved it; a feel-good analysis of what makes us happy – a great antidote for those Sunday-evening blues as we transition from the weekend back to work. It’s up there with Finding Vivian Maier on my list of great word-of-mouth Netflix discoveries; if you have any more recommendations of things you’ve watched and loved do please share in the comments below – I need to build up a little store of things I can look forward to watching!
Have a great week ahead – oh and thank you for all the lovely comments on our bathroom; they really made me smile.