I usually bake a cake or something like it on Friday evenings, being the creature of habit that I am. We exercise inhuman restraint not tasting it when it’s freshly baked; sometimes wisely, sometimes more fool us if it’s a confection absolutely at its best warm from the oven.
We and the cake wait patiently until Saturday morning when the cake is given final touches, if necessary and photographed, if applicable. Then, having brewed a gallon of coffee, we read the weekend newspapers and stuff ourselves with at least two helpings of cake each, phwoaring every now and then to each other at how good it is. The rest of it lasts until Wednesday or thereabouts.
This was a super-disappearing cake – only a few crumbs were left by Sunday afternoon. First off, it was exceedingly good, not least thanks to an extra lemon zested into the mix or to the – totally optional but totally right – icing glaze. Secondly, a friend in some domestic-related distress popped round and had to be given cake and sympathy. Sunday breakfast was late and slapdash – so cake was eaten instead of full or even half English and before we knew it, it was gone.
Just then I thought perhaps it wasn’t so ridiculous back in the day to bake a pound cake by the book: a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter and a dozen eggs…