Mum, You Need to do Your Own Baking!


Children can be very direct. My daughters especially seem to have an ability to cut straight to the heart of the matter. I remember once trying to help L with her Maths homework (I’ve given up on that one now, by the way – Year 7 Maths is way too hard for me!). Here’s how it went …

Me: If it costs £2.40 for 4 pens, how much does it cost for 1 pen?
L: It usually tells you how much it is for one. This is a rubbish shop.

So when they try to tell you that Maths is an essential life skill, you know what? They’re lying.


M has the same habit. She’s been working very hard at school and filling her evenings with six hours of ballet every week. Unsurprisingly, she reached yesterday morning and wanted to just ‘chill out’ for a bit. I took pity on her, boiled her an egg and allowed her to eat it in the living room so she could watch TV. Here’s how that one went …

Me: Try not to spill your egg.
M: But Mum, I was going to try to spill it coz I really like spilling egg on the sofa.

Okay, okay. Give me break. And she’s only 8 years old … we still have the teenage years to navigate.


Yesterday afternoon had its own ‘get real, Mum’ moment too. M was writing up a post for her own blog about a cake she invented last weekend …

M: I really like this. Can I write about it on A Merrier World too?
M: Mum, you need to do your own baking.

As I said – straight to the heart of the matter. But her cake is so lovely, I begged, pleaded, threatened and eventually bribed her until she agreed to let me show it to you over here …


Flumpies (by Madmu)

6 oz butter
3 large eggs
6 oz castor sugar
6 oz self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

raspberry jam
marshmallow flumps

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Grease and line an 8 inch round cake pan (and also line 6 to 8 cupcake holders with cases. This recipe makes 2 x 7″ round cakes, so there’s a bit left over for cupcakes if you just make one 8″ round Flumpie cake).

Make sure that the butter is very soft – beat it for a bit first in the mixer.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add all the other ingredients.

Beat on medium speed for a minute until everything is smooth and mixed together.

Fill the cake pan no more than 2/3 full and divide the rest of the batter between the cupcake cases.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Spread raspberry jam on top of the cake.

Cut up some marshmallow flumps and make a star with them on top of the cake.

Roald Dahl’s Treacle Toffee (Not)

I didn’t mean to make fudge this morning. To be honest, I never mean to make fudge. That way, I can’t be disappointed when I invariably fail to make fudge. For starters, I never manage to dissolve all of the sugar before the mixture begins to boil. I think I have the wrong sort of sugar. That’s it – it must be the sugar. I have the sort that won’t dissolve. It’s also the sort that loves to burn on the bottom of the pan well before the temperature reaches anything approaching that elusive soft ball stage.

So, how on earth did I end up making fudge this morning? Well, the thing is, I didn’t mean to make it. I was trying to make toffee instead. The fudge was an accident – a failure to make toffee.

I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about my ability to make toffee either, but M has been reading a book about Roald Dahl and found a recipe for toffee there. On page 82, to be precise. Roald Dahl said this toffee was “dashed good”, so naturally M wanted to try it. I did warn her about sugar crystallization, separation and burning but she didn’t really ‘get’ my sugar phobia.

As it turned out, the ‘recipe’ was simply a list of ingredients with a note that this dashing good toffee cost 1/10d to make. I hadn’t reckoned on undertaking a Great British Bake Off technical challenge so early in the day. The only things missing were Sue Perkins and the terrifying words, “On your marks, get set … bake!”

It all went well for a very short time. The sides of the pan weren’t sticky with undissolved crystals, the mixture hadn’t seized and I hadn’t burned my tongue or fingernails (yes, it’s possible to scorch your fingernails when you mistakenly think it’s a good idea to poke a bit of boiling caramel around the end of a spatula with them).

And then of course, it all unfolded with tedious inevitability. The mixture bubbled and began to burn on the bottom of the saucepan. I whipped it off the heat, stirred furiously and muttered all kinds of sorcerous curses. One more wasted batch of sugar destined for the sink … but not quite. My sugar thermometer was fairly sure we’d nearly reached the soft ball stage and so, in a final flourish of indifference to the science of sugar, I returned the pan to the heat and decided to go for fudge. Well, a burnt sort of treacle toffee sort of fudge, anyway.

And what do you know – it turned out to be the best treacle toffee fudge that I’ve ever made. Fudged fudge. Or, as M writes:

Today we made some toffee (not). Well it was supposed to be toffee but it came out as fudge.

Roald Dahl’s Treacle Toffee (Not)