The last time Ellen persuaded me to make a Betty Crocker cake (and ‘made’ is hyperbole) my NT daughter told me it was one of the best cakes she’d ever tasted. The E numbers take up most of the back of the packet and, like a McDonalds burger, it didn’t seem to ever go bad. I have no doubt the whole range will soon be condemned by Public Health England.
Today, Ellen and I were supposed to be going to the zoo to see the new female tiger, but the monsoon-like rain which has anchored itself over England for the past month forced us to make other plans. So, I’m sure like many other desperate families during the drenched Easter Holidays, we decided to make a cake.
We braved the downpour to make a trip to Tesco to buy the necessary healthy ingredients and the Bramley apples proved to be difficult to locate and weigh at the till and so provided Ellen with a lot of welcome challenges and opportunities for me to guide her. As we passed the ‘home baking’ aisle, Ellen lovingly stroked the Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix packets.
‘We’re not making that today’ I announced cheerfully ‘we’re making a healthy cake’. I chose to overlook the fact that Ellen had already put a spaghetti bolognaise ready meal, 3 packets of sweets and some chocolate buttons in the trolley.
After our healthy lunch, we proceeded to make the ‘healthy cake’. The three massive Bramleys were quite a challenge to peel, but Ellen proved to be very adept at cutting them into chunks. She was also very keen to break the eggs and mix them together and enthusiastically grabbed the sieve to sift the flour and cinnamon, unfortunately without appreciating that it improved the success rate to hold the sieve over the mixing bowl and not the floor! (This is one of those times when having dogs is a bonus).
When the cake finally emerged from the oven an hour later, Ellen had lost interest and was busy tucking into her sweets. I gave a piece to my NT daughter who looked at it without enthusiasm, ‘I don’t usually like these kind of cakes’ she began, ‘I’m only saying that so you don’t think it’s your cooking if I don’t like it’. This was followed by exaggerated ‘mmmm’ ‘mmmm’ noises before half the cake was deposited back in front of me. ‘It’s really nice Mum, but I had a big lunch so I can’t finish it, but you have it.’
How kind, I thought, tucking in. However, I’m not sure it will be terribly healthy for me to eat the entire cake on my own.