At the risk of alienating probably tens of readers, I don’t like baking. It has ‘swept the nation’ since the start of GBBO but there was never any chance of it taking me with it. We have our annual work bake-off in October which I secretly dread, because I just don’t really like cake*. There, I said it. I feel like a freak, trying to take the smallest piece in a napkin only to take a few eye-wateringly sugary bites in full view before surreptitiously discarding of it. This year I have such a backlog I’ve ended up with cake in a mug in my desk drawer. So the fact that I insist on joining in every year is slightly sadomasochistic. Maybe it’s because if I’m going to have to eat it five days in a row I may as well be in the running for a bottle of wine at the end.

So then to the bake: all the pressure with none of the joy. I actually LOVE cooking, but this? Mixing slop which is so unappetising you can’t envisage the final product, whose outcome is out of your control once in the oven anyway. There’s no going back. Can you really tell if a mix is correct before putting it in the oven? No. And once you realise it’s wrong, there’s no chance to correct it, then you’re starting all over again. Except I wouldn’t. Who really has time to perfect baking recipes? I have a full-time job which leaves me just about able to shove on some pasta and open a bottle of wine of an evening.

But I’ve done it. A taste test proves it to be not bad at all, very moist, if a bit sweet, and my kitchen is obviously a mess. It’ll be trundled into work in the morning to delighted hungry office faces, the only genuine saving grace in this theatre of sugar, knowing that others take pleasure in it.

Sorry, Mary. Until next year.


*Some cakes I’m not offended by:

Banana Bread


Carrot Cake

Maybe a Lamington

This Orange & Almond one I just made