Most of my baking is given to friends, which tends to determine when the baking happens. Five minutes before I’m supposed to be out the door*, there’ll be icing and crumbs all over the kitchen and I’ll be hopping about like a mad meerkat trying to stick brownies in boxes, decide which shoes go with my outfit, and bulldoze a towering heap of washing up into the sink**. A last-minute glance in the mirror has saved me from running out of the flat with a chocolate smear on my nose more than once.
It can be all too easy to underestimate how long a recipe really takes. The preparation times in cookbooks often assume we have a handy minion to prepare the mise en place, and the cooking times certainly require adjustment for my unruly Smeg. Along with my repeated inability to remember that things need to cool down (including me!) this can lead to hasty puddings of entirely the wrong kind. A cake, however scrumptious, looks rather unlovely languishing in a puddle of icing and the gooey-est of centres isn’t sufficient to redeem brownies that are falling to bits from being cut up too soon.
Cupcake kitchen timer from Bright & Bold via This Next - I like the idea of timing baking a cake with another cake. It also bears a striking resemblance to a certain bicycle bell!
The most infuriating outcome is that the thing you ran late to bake ends up not looking presentable enough to give to even the most tolerant of baking-sampling friends. And there you are, late, flustered and empty-handed. Harrumph! This might be like the frustration of parents who get their offspring all clean and dressed and ready and then they go and get in a mess when it’s too late to do something about it. Although I can seek solace in squashed baking, which is a
Phone kitchen timer from de Cuisine. This kitchen timer doesn't just look like a phone - it rings like one, too! Although perhaps if you're running late and getting in a muddle, that might be even more befuddling.
And if you see a woman hurtling out of a taxi, clutching a slightly squashed cardboard box and with her hair still a bit ruffled, please give her a sympathetic smile – it could well be me!
* Or on a really bad day, five minutes after I was supposed to be somewhere else...
** Because it’s always so lovely to come home to a mountain of sticky bowls and saucepans. Especially if you weren’t the person who put them there... oops!
Penguin kitchen timer by Beng Ekt Design from Legend Cookshop. You didn't think I could resist a(nother) penguin, did you?