Sunday, April 18, 2004

I have to admit it. I am just not a baker. I try. But it's not my thing. I can make cookies or brownies if I stick to tried and true recipes, but cakes? Please. Let's not go there...

My blog is burning part 3. If you haven't heard of it yet, it's that group event where food bloggers from all over the world blog on the same topic on the same day. This time around? A Cake Walk. And a mighty big challenge for me. But I had a plan. I had some almond meal in the house that I intended to try baking with during Passover but didn't. So the search was on to find a recipe using almond meal. I found one, had all the ingredients, followed the instructions and bombed out. The cake was supposed to be a flourless tangerine almond tort but I'd just call it a mess. Crumbly, bitter, wet. Ick.

That's when I turned to someone who knows what she's doing in the baking department. Not a professional chef, a home cook. Someone who appreciates that some of us don't have a way with baking and gives us recipes that are quick and foolproof. Yes, the one and only Nigella Lawson. Nigella as she known to millions, is particularly well-known for her cupcakes. And cupcakes make sense when you only have two people in your household and neither of you go into an office where you can palm off baked goods. Her recipe for cupcakes can easily be multiplied or you can make half a batch, as I did. I'm not actually going to post the recipe for her "fairy cakes", you can get it on her site. But a suggestion, if you too are not a baker, Nigella has several good cookbooks that will lead you to baking success. The cupcakes not only turned out perfectly, they taste so buttery good they may not make it till Monday.

By the way, Nigella uses self-raising flour quite a bit--here's how to make your own--simply mix 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt for each cup of flour.