Friends, let me tell you the extent of my addiction. Just the thought of a virtual trip there makes my palms go all clammy. I'm quite furtive about it as I rarely need to buy anything. Lakeland is my baking porn. I have a "Lakeland face". There. I've said it. And you know what, I feel better. It's a relief to say it out loud. Step forward if you suffer too and we'll have a group cuddle.
But this week, joy of joy, I had a valid reason to pay them a visit. I could hold my head high and browse the virtual top shelf without shame.
I've been asked to provide cakes for my ex-boss' big Five Oh bash in a couple of weeks time. He is a top bloke and I miss working with him. I get all misty eyed when I remember how we bored the rest of the office with our extensive chats about the 1970's, and how we nearly always finished our conversations with "Where does the time go?". Anyway, I digress. His favourite cake in the whole world is a Victoria Sponge but it's a tricky cake to jazz up in a manly way and scale up for a big occasion. So, after a chat with his wife, I suggested I make a large classic one, complete with candles, but also provide some little cakes to ensure that everyone got a piece of the action. She agreed and, without realising, played straight into my clammy hands because I've been eyeing up this bad boy for ages.
Reader, I ordered him and he didn't disappoint. He's sturdy in build and a reliable sort. As I couldn't wait to grease him up, I decided to make a few trial cakes to test out on the office. I can't be doing with the term mini when applied to most things apart from cars. It always sounds a bit twee. So, hence forth, these cakes will be known as "I'm a giant" cakes. I made three sorts: Victoria Sponge, mascarpone and home made lemon curd and a blueberry, lime and cream cheese version. They got the thumbs up from the office but I still think I'll need to make more and finesse them a little. I mean, 50 is a landmark. It's important the cakes are just right. It has nothing to do with the fact I want to play with the tin again, honest.
But I need to tear myself away from this searing confession and get down to the brass tacks of this weeks cake for the tasters. What to do with some leftover lemon curd and a rolled up copy of this months Good Food mag? No, not that.
That nice John who won GBBO last time had a recipe for a white chocolate and raspberry cake in the mag. White choc, raspberry and lemon is a combo I really like, so instead of his white chocolate ganache filling, I decided on sweetened mascarpone and lemon curd. For his cake, you melt white chocolate and butter, cool a bit then whisk it up with eggs and sugar. His recipe doesn't stipulate to sift the flour before folding it and the raspberries in to the mix, but I did to try and make sure the air wasn't knocked out of it. Now my oven has a mind of its own, temperature wise, so that may account for one of the sponges sinking quite a bit in the middle when cooling. I did the sensible thing. I turned it upside down and used it as the base. Now while it's all in the hands of the tasters, I've got time on my hands. There's only one thing that will keep me away from the delights of Lakeland...