Thank goodness that it’s nearly the Easter holiday. It’s strange to think that this term began way back in January. It’s been a busy ten weeks and the exhaustion that has been held at bay for so long is finally beginning to break through; only the prospect of an early night and copious amounts of tea and coffee can keep me awake during the daytime, when my eyelids are heavy with fatigue and my brain is fuzzy with tiredness.
Putting the thought of a break from work aside, I’m also looking forward to the holiday for another reason. I’ll be spending a few days in London next week and during that time, I’m going to be visiting the Le Cordon Bleu school! They offer a Patisserie Diploma course which I’m hoping to apply for in the (very) near future, so to actually be able to go and see the school is a hugely exciting prospect. (They even have a herb garden on the roof!) Of course, it’s also a little bit scary, because it signals the beginning of the realisation of all my ambitions. This is the next step for me, if I really want to become a professional pastry chef/cake decorator. From this point onwards, it stops being just a dream and starts becoming a reality. This is where everything starts.
Now, here’s where I have a confession to make: even though I haven’t started my application yet, I can’t help occasionally thinking about what I’d do if I didn’t get into the Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie Diploma. Since I first discovered it a few months ago whilst researching culinary schools and programmes, it’s been the only place and the only course that I’ve wanted to apply to. As soon as I read the course description, I knew that it was what I’d been looking for all along; it’s exactly what I want to do and where I want to be. The thought of not being accepted there terrifies me. Because this is what I really want to do with my life; this interest in food and in baking isn’t a passing phase, like so many of my other so-called ‘ambitions’. This is my passion, and, hopefully or so I like to believe, what I’m good at. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, and I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this. As such, is it wrong of me to be a little bit afraid that I might not be good enough?
Okay, time to stop worrying. Let’s talk about cake.
This is Edd Kimber’s peaches & cream upside-down cake. I’ve wanted to make it literally from the first moment that I read his cookbook, and now, six months later, I finally have!
This is a truly beautiful cake recipe. It takes sour cream, peaches and brown sugar caramel and bakes into the softest cake you can imagine. It’s sticky with fruit, crunchy with caramelised sugar and has a wonderfully light texture whilst also remaining substantial. (This is particularly important, because I’m not a big fan of sponge cakes which are so delicate and airy that they disappear as soon as you take a bite.) Served warm, it’s the perfect cake for afternoon tea. Or you could have it with a drizzle of cream for dessert. Either way, it’s delicious and is a great take on a classic combination.
(Recipe by Edd Kimber, taken from The Boy Who Bakes.)