Cake cures all

Now there's a headline that would sell newspapers! Cake cures all. If only.

I had lunch with a dear friend this week and as tradition demands when you are catching up with a girlfriend, cake is a pre-requisite. We went to a city centre Costa and after the sensible pre-amble of BLT and skinny latte (skinny to compensate for the calories we were about to gorge on), we turned to the main event - Cake.

Cake lends itself very well to almost any situation. Seriously, think of any place, any time and I defy you to not find a cake in there somewhere. The first recollection I have of cake is a birthday one when I was in junior school, probably around aged 6. I was having the usual 80s tea party after class with my 5 'best' friends of that week, party bags and butter cream and jam sodden napkins with pictures of My Little Pony.

I was so excited about getting this cake. It came from a local Sayers the bakers (scouse version of Greggs) and around its circumference was white soft icing with those chocolate hundreds and thousands things. Imagine if you rolled a car tyre in front of you, that's how I imagined they got the chocolate to stick to the sides. After the party the remaining cake was housed in the fridge on a dinner plate ready for me to have a slice with my packed lunch the next day. Essential to this was that it had to be wrapped in tin foil. It just wasn't cool otherwise.

Anyway, I soon decided that this icing/chocolate bits combo was my favourite part and would make several trips to the kitchen via the fridge to scrape off a fingers load of icing and scoff it straight away. This, I believed, was only visible to me therefore it was a shock when Mum asked me had I been at the cake. No, I replied, it wasn't me. We must have mice then, she said, at which point I guiltily owned up. But strangely enough I didn't get into trouble over it. Maybe my punishment was to turn up at lunch the next day with my tin foil wrapped slice of cake - but no icing.

If I think of Swiss Rolls (which I tend to do from time to time), I am transported back to Home Economics lessons when every Christmas without fail we 'made' chocolate logs by sieving icing sugar over the roll as pretend snow. How they got an entire hour out of that was creative lesson planning indeed. This tricky recipe was graduated to only once cornflake cakes had been mastered.

Such was my obsession with the delightfully soft yet crumbly textured deliciousness that, inspired by my Aunt's hobby, I decided that when I grew up I was going to open a shop selling decorated cakes. Birthdays, Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, you get the idea. I had a little savings tin with a key and a page of graph paper torn out of the middle of my maths exercise book, which were my accounts. I diligently saved up my pocket money for 3 weeks before I decided that Sonia's new album on cassette would be a better investment for my funds.

The word sandwich to me, always says cake before ham or cheese and pickle. I have a lemon scented shower gel in my gym bag in the hopes that the scent will satisfy my craving enough that I don't drive into Tesco and straight to the cake aisle after my workout. I've even been known to buy a whole cake in a fit of hormonal pique, have a slice and squirt the rest with bleach so I don't eat it from the bin later on.

My favourites, especially during hormonally challenged weeks, were those that came individually wrapped. It’s a relatively simple concept, yet was a major breakthrough for addicts such as myself. You could have your cake, eat it, and keep the rest nice and moist in their foil fresh packets. Genius.

In short(cake) I am obsessed. Yet proud.

I champion others who suffer with this affliction. We worship on the anniversary of the sad passing of the purveyor of exceedingly good cakes. A French princess, many years ago, was distraught that the peasants had no bread and so declared 'let them eat cake!'.

She sounds like my kind of girl.


Catie Smith



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