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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In which the Editor plays with her food

The currant* Skoda Fabia advert (my thanks to Becca for the link to "the baking of" video clip) has had me rummaging through my drawers (in a manner of speaking) for photographic evidence of One Of Those Creative Things I Used To Do Before I Was Such A Crip.

Yes, for several years, I liked nothing better than creating novelty cakes for either my nearest and dearest, or for people who were willing to both pay for the ingredients and make suitably flattering comments.

Unfortunately, times were hard in those days, and I couldn't afford a camera. (And, no, that was not because I spent all my money on marzipan.) So, sadly, there is no documentary evidence of the majority of my edible sculptures. I trust you won't doubt my word when I aver that the ones which weren't photographed demonstrated considerably greater artistic talent than the ones which were. Even though that is clearly a Monstrous Untruth.

Noddy and Big Ears in Noddy's car; the Sports Bag; the plump, red heart with the hand-painted banner; the bevy of lovely ladies in a state of undress; Cinderella in her pumpkin coach; the Egyptian mummy emerging from its coffin; the pair of Tommy Cooper's fez hats - these and others now exist only in memory. (Although I seem to recall that one of the lovely, scantily-clad ladies spent quite some time sitting on a telephone in the office: for some reason, my male colleagues found her response to the vibrations of the ringing phone to be highly entertaining. Indeed, sometimes she was so excited, she actually fell off onto the desk. Cue much dirty sniggering. Men, eh? She was made from icing, for heaven's sake.)

I gave up about six years ago. Partly because I was already becoming too creaky to do it, but mainly because I'd become diabetic. I never partook of the finished product, you understand, but there can be quite a lot of carving to achieve the desired shape and, well, it would just be such a waste of ingredients to throw the off-cuts into the bin...

I still have a whole shelf of books devoted to the art. I can't bear to let them go although, really, there is precious little point in hanging on to them. My absolute favourite was Jill Tipping's "Iced Follies", published in 1988. Abebooks has a number of second-hand copies for sale. It's worth buying just for the ingenuity of her designs, even if you never get round to creaming the initial butter and sugar together and lining your cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Anyway, I've been playing with my scanner. As I said, not many of the cakes were ever photographed. Of those that were, some of the photographs were of such poor quality that they weren't worth scanning. Others were photographed next to their "delighted" recipients, none of whom, I suspect, would want an unauthorised image of themselves to be published on the interwebnet. But here are just a few:

* That's a pun, not a spelling error. Currants. They go into fruit cakes. Do you see what I did there? Is that hilarious or what? I missed my vocation. You know, I should have been on the stage... [Exit Editor, protesting vehemently, dragged away from the computer by hideously embarrassed Selkirk Rex kitten.]


Blogger Mary said...

I love the bluebirds.

The advert made me want to smash things.

11:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the bluebird-loving motion. (Wait. Let me rephrase that.) The champagne bucket is rather amazing as well. :)

Have some Dalek cakes.

12:44 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Oh no! Becca will now be most insistent that I train her PA up in the art of sculpting daleks from sponge!

That champagne bucket was a nightmare. I tried to make ice cubes out of melted glacier mints, but it all went horribly wrong...

The bottle was moulded round a real champagne bottle, then cut in half and "glued" back together.

I think the bucket was moulded round a flower pot. But I could be wrong. It was a very long time ago.

1:23 pm  
Blogger R said...

Editor: You're correct.

Dalek lessons please! :D

Mary -- I absolutely love the advert! What's your objection to it?

2:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A cake the size of a saloon car, mmmm, heaven ....

4:32 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

I can vouch for the lovely cakes as one was made for my 30th Birthday (oh so long ago). It was a football pitch I seem to remember (with players and goals) and had about three bottles of brandy in it. I think the Editor started making the cake when I was born and then topped it up with the said tipple every week until the big day. It was delicious and packed a punch. Unfortunately I don't think I have a picture of it myself.

My ex-girlfriend might have a copy but i haven'ty seen her for ten years, live 250 miles away from her and don't know where she lives so the chances of obtain one are quite remote. However if The Editor has one of me with said cake I hereby give my permission to post it.

7:17 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

What is this football pitch of which you speak?

Clearly the brandy has rotted your brains...

It was a semi-3D head of Leo, your star sign, with gilding. (Same principle as the male torso: building up the relief with layers of marzipan before covering the whole thing with fondant.) Only the hideous flat I was living in at the time was so damp that I couldn't get the midnight-blue colouring to dry.

Sadly, that's one of the ones of which there is no photograph. Not even one with you standing next to it being "delighted" :-(

8:28 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

You of course are right. I had a football pitch the year before from said ex who also made cakes.

You could definitely taste the brandy in it that's for sure. In fact I think I still can taste it now.

8:53 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

You've got to feed a fruit cake spirits*.

I think there's a law about it somewhere...

*NB I mean a cake. Made with lots of dried fruit. Not anything/anybody else which/who might occasionally be given that label. Just so we're clear on this.

8:58 pm  
Blogger Bank Of Doge said...


delightful to see your artistic creations. I must concur with the sentiments of your other commenters: The bluebirds are jolly nice, but the chilled champers well thats just the icing on the cake.

11:12 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Which, coincidentally, is the name of the book which contains the instructions on how to make it... :-)

7:12 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Ooh, Dalek cake...

2:44 pm  

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