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It’s a testament to my optimistic nature, the triumph of imagination over reality, but somehow the stupidity of baking with a two year old became the joy of baking with a ten year old.

The children are in varying stages of COVID recovery at the moment, so before they arrived for the holidays, I stocked the house with Christmas Holiday levels of comfort food, games, and film-based distractions. 

One of the things I had planned was some baking because after three years in La Sombra I am just getting to grips with the oven ... and misery loves company.

In my defence, my oven is gas-powered and had the added spice of being delivered without a single number on the temperature dial: It has all the character traits of a blast furnace.

So, I decided to enlist the help of the erstwhile hazard child in perfecting a brand new vegan cake. 

Ironically, looking back at the previous baking post, this cake did contain tinned pears. Long gone are the days of "they're my favourite" but eight years of cooking with Esme has refined her reactions to perfection.

She is the master of understatement, has the nose of a bloodhound and the discernment of a Michelin inspector, and her approval is now measured by a single deadpan nod. 

I live for that nod.

Esme is my favourite kitchen buddy. She's calm, creative and inspirational, and very, very emo.

So when I invented a cake involving chopped pear, cinnamon and nutmeg I wanted Esme's help to perfect the recipe.

Once we had done our chores, as I did eight years ago (and many times since) I laid everything out on the counter, turned on the oven, took a deep cleansing breath and called Esme into the kitchen.

What happened after that moment is a blur. 

My mixture was wrong: I had gone too hard on the nutmeg and not hard enough with the salt. There was milk where there should have been pear juice and not enough floof powder. 

I felt suitably chastised as I spooned the mixture into the cake tin under her disapproving stare.

As I turned around from the oven though, the emo had fallen away from Esme. There instead was the two year old with a passion for unbaked cake batter, violence and pithy banter.

And she was right about the cake. It was the best one yet.


  1. Replies
    1. I'll bake you one for next time we have something to celebrate ;)


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