The Battle of Cakegate

Mumma B made a coffee and walnut (but not walnut because she only had almonds) cake the other week. It was lovely.

However, very quickly battle lines were drawn when my sister, also in lockdown with us, questioned the fairness of the portion sizes. See some people in the family tend to favour the little and often approach, others the massive slab at a time. Papa Bennett is also a fan of the unheard of fad of ‘breakfast cake’ (still waiting on the proof that coffee cake is a fair substitube to the morning drink).

India, being young and thereby somewhat left of centre, proposed that a system was drawn up and rapidly used the Spode cake cutter (#MiddleClassProblems) to mark out portions on the cake. Putting to one side how badly drawn and unequal these lines were, I was happy to go along with it.

“But how will we know who has eaten what?” Mumma B cried out loud. I just shrugged, Dragon’s Den was on TV and I love that show.

So while I was half-hearted watching a television rerun Mumma B was out planning how to resolve the biggest catering crisis since home bakers having to buy substitute flour during lockdown.

I walked into the kitchen to discover my dear mother had been at it again with the cocktail sticks and PostIt notes.

Oh yeah, AND it was done through the clingfilm, making it a Middleclass nightmare to even gain access to said cake!

Funny thing is, it didn’t even stop people. It’s like the time Papa B was eating a magnum ice cream and only afterwards saw the wrapper had been labelled with a large white sticker saying ALICE. I learnt a lot about our parent/daughter relationship that day…

Anyway, people still ate cake regardless of the little flags, BUT no one complained this time. Who knows, maybe this approach could be here to stay. The battle of cakegate could be the Bennett family’s new normal.


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A Complete Numpty’s Guide to Baking

Fairy Cakes à la Alice

This is a favourite recipe of mine, inspired by the immortal words of Tumblr:

“It’s not about the destination, but the journey”

You will need:

2 eggs

3oz caster sugar

3oz butter, softened

3oz self-raising flour (plus extra)

½ teaspoon baking powder

Fudge loads of random stuff to add in the name of ‘spur of the moment experimentation’

For decoration:

Cake cases that will undoubtedly prove to be too big or too small later on

An unqualified amount of icing sugar

Too much water OR too much butter

Fudge loads of random stuff to add in the name of ‘spur of the moment experimentation’




  1. Preheat the oven to 180c (erm, gas mark…4?)
  2. Get out your twelve, holed, cake/bun tray thingy out (you know the one). Put cake cases in the holes and congratulate yourself for doing a good job thus far
  3. Weigh out ingredients (do people put ‘weigh out ingredients’ in the method? Or are you expected to have already done that? Oh well)
  4. Put flour, butter, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Whisk eggs separately and slowly add to the mixture whilst beating
  5. Once mixed you may think “this is a bit runny” in which case add extra flour. How much? The length of a piece of string
  6. Add random ingredients into the mix. Berries, flavourings, golden syrup (personal favourite), wine…
  7. Evenly divide mixture between the cake cases. Don’t forget to leave a suitable amount of batter behind for personal consumption.
  8. Put in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown. Put the TV on.
  9. About 20 minutes later suddenly realise the time, shout expletives and rush to the oven. Remove cakes just in time and leave to cool.


Post Dinner Decoration

  1. Place cakes on a plate or suitable decorating surface
  2. Lay out all items of decoration and take in a moment to visualise how amazing your cakes are going to look. No one will care about the burnt edges or iffy flavours but they will look like God’s gift when you’re done
  3. For butter cream icing mix icing sugar and butter and keep adding either ingredient to the mix until you final get the balance right and you find yourself with far too much icing
  4. For simple icing sugar and water combo (classic) most normal people add water to icing sugar. For the à la Alice version though, put about 100ml water into a bowl and add sugar. Realise you don’t have enough icing sugar. Rope in housemate to lend you her sugar. Discover that even this isn’t enough. Scream into a pillow.
  5. At 10pm, put on normal clothes and power walk down to local supermarket. Buy biggest bag of icing sugar they stock and rush back home
  6. Add icing sugar to water until it vaguely resembles icing. Add in more golden syrup (no reason). You’ll now have around a gallon of icing to cover twelve – fourteen small cakes
  7. Apply far too much icing to each cake so that it leaks over the top of the cases. Curse the cases for being too small
  8. Drizzle syrup on top, because one really can never have too much syrup. Mutter strong words when pretty syrup pattern melts into icing
  9. Go into desperation mode and stick literally anything and everything on top. Sprinkles, sugar, edible decorations, just anything


Finishing Off

Stand back and admire handiwork:


Turn around and look at the carnage left behind:


Tidy up the essentials, leaving the kitchen area looking like a scene from CSI Bake Off:



The Aftermath

Eat/drink literally half a gallon of icing (i.e. pure sugar), eat one of the cakes and then have the world’s biggest sugar crash. Wake up the next morning with a sugar hangover and vowing to never go through that again in a hurry.

Take cakes into work, have them devoured by colleagues and be worshipped like a baking Goddess.

Voila! Fairy Cakes à la Alice = Baking success

The Hole in My Shoe: The Next Steps (Pun Intended)

I was deciding whether to eat rice or pasta this evening (age old dilemma) when I realised that I hadn’t posted anything for a while. So here I am, PJs on, Big Bang Theory on in the background, typing away. Not adventurous, but it was going to be Black Mirror. You’ll be grateful when this post takes a happy tangent as opposed to a dystopian approach where the future is bleak and young people turn into mindless zombies on Instragram. Oh wait…

(FYI, I don’t want this blog to turn into ‘what the office-worker did today at her desk’ or ‘how many cups of tea can Alice drink in a day without overdosing on caffeine’. There are places on the internet that will answer both.)

So, as I recall I left my last post with me getting a job. I’m now 4.5 months through a nine month contract (if not already made obvious, I was hired as maternity cover) and on the whole life is pretty good. There have been ups and downs but name a job that doesn’t have them. All downs and you’re in the wrong job, all ups and something isn’t right (you only need to watch Wolf of Wall Street to know that). Downs include dealing with a new computer system, but ups include my birthday last week. I made cupcakes for the team, and my line manager declared it was ‘wear a hat to work day’ to celebrate my extensive hat collection. Cue team selfie with those in the office…


(Given it was 8:15 in the morning I think we look rather merry. My birthday has that effect on people).

Slight downs, massive ups. Swings and roundabouts. Tea and, urm, cold tea. But without the downs you never fully enjoy the highs. If we wore hats to work and celebrated my birthday everyday life would be rather dull. I’d also be spending a all my time and money baking constantly (don’t give my colleagues ideas).

Don’t assume from that photo that life is all wine and mince pies. Ok, it is bit of that thanks to the food and drink buyer who sits opposite me, but still, life can be tough. While our book buyer has been seconded I’m flicking between handling publishers, new ranges and product reviews alongside tasks set out in my job title dealing with administration, invoices and orders. Depending on how things pan out the two jobs can either create a wonderful Mary Berry-esk trifle, nicely layered, varied, and something you want to want to dive into, or like the one time I attempted to make a fruit loaf. Solid, overcooked and, as a result, can badly bruise one’s foot when dropped (my family dubbed my creation ‘the brick’). Whichever way, both take work and devotion. Some days I get trifle, other days I get brick loaf. So far I’m eating more jelly than carbon so I must be doing something right.

Here seems a good point to stop for now. And as if by magic, I switch over and Master Chef is on my TV (don’t worry, I promise you it won’t stay that way for long). I hope this post has given a little bit more of an insight into what I’m doing in my tangent filled, round about way. My next post will either be about my housemates or linked to the Jack Wills Christmas catalogue (flicking through it is quite an interesting insight into the world of the middle-class hipster.) Now, time to turn off Master Chef and get to work on a true example of a culinary masterpiece, aka…



(Ps, the holey shoes are now dead, but they still live under my bed. Since the Freeview advert with the singing toys I like to think they belt out classic ballads when I’m at work. Who am I to stop them doing their dayjob? #BonnieBoot

Pps, it’s also because they’re moved to the darkest reaches of the ‘under the bed’ space and I’m too lazy to fish them out, but pretend you didn’t read that…)