Last Wednesday was Iris’s first birthday. She absolutely loves animals, which makes a nice change from Betty, who as a baby and a toddler was scared of anything that moved, right down to tiny weeny flies. Iris can spot a dog coming miles off, and all animals are “do-do’s” at the moment. So I thought I would make her a doggie birthday cake.
I made a round cake and a loaf cake from a yoghurt cake recipe to construct my dog. It’s one of the easiest cakes to make. You use a pot of yoghurt (I used toffee, but fruity ones are also lovely) and to that you add the rest of the ingredients measured with the yoghurt pot. There are variations online but a basic recipe is:
1 carton (approx 150g) yoghurt
2 cartons caster sugar (I usually reduce sugar in most cakes I make at the moment)
3 cartons self raising flour
1 carton sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Tip it all in a bowl and beat. Pour into a lined tin, and again timings vary, but it probably wants a bit longer than a normal sponge. I did about 50 mins at 150 degrees in a fan oven. It makes a lovely dense sponge which has a faint taste of whatever flavoured yoghurt you’ve used. It needs some butter icing in my opinion, else it can be a bit cloying. I just used 2 parts icing sugar to one part butter, a dash of milk, and added melted chocolate for the brown icing.
On Sunday morning, the day of Iris’s little tea party, by 10.30 I had made 48 fairy cakes! I had been meaning to take some into work for a while. I recently attended a course on Risk Assessment. Now I just work in an office, sat at a computer all day, how much risk is involved? Turned out that there are loads! Risks to your back and limbs after years of poor posture and poorly configured display equipment, risks of lack of sleep (ha!) especially if you are making long business journeys. Risks of stress and illness, exacerbated by working too many hours without adequate breaks, lighting, ventilation etc. It was really interesting actually. My idea to take it back to my team was in the form of baked goods. I doubled the amount of fairy cakes I needed to make, and instead of chocolate buttons on top I iced various words that had some H&S meaning, and instructed my colleagues that if they wanted a cake they had to email me a sentence about Health and Safety relating to that word! Most people thought it was funny and joined in with the spirit of it. But a few were curmudgeons who grumbled “Well, I don’t want cake if there are strings attached!” There’s no such thing as a free cake, I informed them, especially edu-cake-tional ones (yes, I did use the phrase edu-cake-tional, and yes, my colleagues probably do hate me :)).