A good workman never blames his tools.

I had todays post all sorted and ready to go then I changed course as I had to write about my experience today making my daughter’s birthday cake.

6 years ago today Naomi came into this world and as I have mentioned before it was going on maternity leave with her that bought about my change of career. Every year I have made Naomi’s birthday cake in the theme of her party, which in the past few years has been of her choosing. Her birthday cakes have always been the centrepiece of the food table at her party.

This year however due to all of the current restrictions Naomi can’t have her all of her friends and family over cramped into our tiny back garden to celebrate with her but I couldn’t let a year pass without her marking the occasion – although it has been threatened on plenty of occasions especially after being stuck in the house together for the past 4 months without a break!

During Lockdown Naomi had planned a zoom party for her and her friends. She had made invites and decorations, baked cupcakes and planned the entertainment all with the theme of Flamingo’s.

So this year we have travelled to the coast where my family live to have a very small family BBQ and I chose to carry on the theme from her lockdown party. Great Excuse to get the pink Gin out to carry on the colour theme!

Obviously she can’t have a party without a cake and true to form I am making a cake to match the theme.

If I was at home this process would have been so easy, a daily routine as such. I am not at home though and it wasn’t so easy. My kitchen is far from hi tech but today I felt like I was back in the Stone Age!

When I was a little girl my Grandpa always said to me that a good workman never blames his tools and today this thought popped into mind many a time.

My first obstacle was the oven. This one doesn’t have a door (long story – maybe one for another day) it does have a top oven so I settled for that and began turned it on to preheat ready for the cakes. My Grandma came into the kitchen and told me I had it on the wrong setting. Now the oven isn’t the same as mine but most ovens have pretty generic symbols and as much as this isn’t fan assisted like mine I was still pretty sure I had it on the oven setting. Grandma showed me what she had been using and it’s safe to say that for the past 6months since the main oven broke she’s been grilling all of her food!

I didn’t want to travel with a car full of kit so Grandma reassured me she had baking tins and I agreed to use them. One of the top discussions on baking forums is how to bake the cake with a flat top so it creates a lovely flat base to help when covering with icing. Sharp edges are very on trend at the moment. Grandma was right she had the perfect size tins, however the bottoms were bumpier than the Sahara desert and Grandma proudly tells me that she used to bake my mums cakes in them. My mum celebrates her 60th birthday next year. They have done well though and I have 3 lovely baked sponges, even if they may need a bit of filler.

To get my sponges I had to weigh my ingredients and it is so important that you get the measurements right so that the cake bakes lovely and has the right texture. I got the scales out of the box and couldn’t help but laugh. They were the old style ones where you physically turn the base to reset to zero. I was pouring in the flour and thinking to myself, I need it roughly somewhere between the big 4 and the little line next to it! Nothing like my scales at home that weighs to the nearest gram. It was only after all the cakes were baked that my Mum came in asked Grandma where the digital scales were that my sister had brought her? She thought that was them. No they were still wrapped in the box as new as the day they were purchased.

I just kept telling myself that cakes have been made for hundreds of years and hardly any of this hi tech baking equipment has been around for much longer than 30years so I should just get on with it.

Right cakes out the oven. Any cooling racks? No. Ok, I’ll improvise with the grill rack.

Cakes are cooling, let’s make the butter cream. No food processor. No problem. A bit of elbow grease wasn’t going to hurt and to be fair I mix most of my sponges by hand.

I’m starting to think by this point that bringing the buttercream scraper as my only piece of decorating equipment may have been a mistake.

Another saying I learnt when I was younger is “All’s well that ends well” and I think considering the obstacles this ended very well.

Thank you Grandma for letting me turn your kitchen upside down for the day.

So the moral of this story is that if you passion and an end goal you have to start where you are ,work with what you have and you'll get there in the end.

On a final note; one mod con that I am very thankful for my Grandma owning is a dishwasher!

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