According to the Greeks of ancient time – it was they who first put candles on a cake to mark a birthday – you need to blow them out in a single puff for the smoke to carry your wishes to god, in order for them to come true. Yep, that’s where you’ve been going wrong, and it explains why as you grow older, the growing combination of less puff and more candles means no wish ever comes true.
Other than being signs of god’s love, cakes are great for snapshots. You’ve got to take a picture of the cake on the big day. So you do – like the one above, the contents of which may well be banned in any number of States.
We’re delighted that Robert E. Jackson has one more dipped into his sublime collection of snapshots to hare with us this album of cake photos.
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
– MacArthur Park by Jimmy Webb
Then I found myself in a chandeliered room
Where people were dining and I hid in the gloom
My hunger pains hurt until I thought I would break
When a waiter brought out a big strawberry cake
– Johnny Cash, Strawberry Cake
5 oz. flour, 4 oz. sugar, 3 oz. grease (butter best), 2 eggs, 1 teaspoonful baking powder. Mix as above and bake.
– George Orwell’s recipe for cake
1 pound flour | ½ pound butter | 4 ounces currants | 4 ounces mixed peel | 3 ounces raisins | ½ pound castor sugar | 2 teaspoons baking powder | 3 eggs | 1 teaspoon mixed spice | milk
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat eggs and whisk gradually into the creamed mixture.
Sift flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture by degrees.
Finally mix in fruit and spice.
The mixture should now be of such a consistency that it will drop easily from the spoon. Add milk only if necessary.
Turn into a cake tin approximately 7 ½ inches in diameter lined with greaseproof paper.
Bake for 2-3 hours in a slow oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas Mark 2.
Test with a skewer to see if cooked. Insert it in the centre. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready to be placed on a wire rack to cool.
Cut it first and hand round afterwards.
– Looking Glass Cake recipe, from the Alice in Wonderland Cookbook, 1976
“I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”
— Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Pat it and prick it and mark it with “B”
Put it in the oven for baby and me
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