#3: The Near Baking Disaster
I <3 The High Street is our retail diary. While we all like the convenience of shopping online, nothing quite compares to the experiences we can have in good, ol’ fashioned bricks and mortar stores. We say ol’ fashioned. It can be pretty cutting-edge. But, we digress. In this article, we’ll be hearing from Jess, who narrowly escaped 'baking' some pretty terrible 'cupcakes' when a knowledgable cashier helped her out.
"I was in my second year at uni when some friends back at home decided to run a fundraising event for a local children’s charity. They needed some help with baking for the bake sale and knew that I couldn’t say no to that kind of thing. ‘Don’t worry, it won’t be huge’ they said. ‘Just 200 or so people’.
I assessed my typical student bank account and student kitchen and decided there was no way…. And agreed to it anyway.
I figured out it was simple – I had a nectar card that my Mum had been stocking up with points back at home (thanks Mum!). She’d racked up about £70 worth of points on there, so that was ingredients sorted. I did a quick opinion poll amongst my friends of their favourite cupcake flavours; chocolate orange, white choc raspberry, lemon and blueberry and passionfruit. (I have pretty fancy friends apparently. What happened to fairy cakes?) I found a basic cupcake recipe online. I figured I could make one giant batch of batter, and then split it up and add my flavours. Sorted. Time to shop.
I confidently strode around the supermarket, piling armfuls of flour, butter, eggs and sugar into my trolley. I mean kilos of the stuff. Nobody was going hungry here. I excitedly browsed the fruit aisle, picking out fresh fruit to go in my fancy-flavoured creations before heading to the checkout. Under budget too! My nectar card could cover it all!
Now it’s worth mentioning here, that, even though I was 22 at the time, I’m also 5 foot on a tall day, a little chubby, and quite baby faced.
I approached a checkout manned by a friendly looking middle-aged woman. Smiling at her, I arranged my haul on the conveyor and moved to the end to start packing my bags.
‘Birthday?’ she asked with a grin. I smiled and explained what I was doing. ‘I love baking!’ She said. ‘I’m forever baking for my grandkids. They’re mad on salted caramel at the moment. I…. uh. Oh. My dear, what flavours are you doing?’
I looked at her, slightly confused at the change in tone, and told her ‘chocolate orange, white choc raspberry, lemon and blueberry and passionfruit’.
‘Bless you dear. I wouldn’t recommend you putting fresh fruit straight into cupcakes. It’ll make them sink. Why don’t you run and get some freeze-dried blueberries and raspberries from the baking section and I’ll get somebody to take the fruit back.’
Grateful, I did as I was told.
On my return I thanked Jenny and went to pay when she picked up a passionfruit ‘now, with these I’d suggest you make them into a curd and fill your cupcakes. Nobody wants seeds. You’ve got plenty of eggs here, so you should be fine.’ I thanked her again, paid and left, armed with Jenny’s expert baking advice and a newfound sense of confidence.
I followed Jenny’s instructions (almost) to the T and the cupcakes went down a storm. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I did run out of time to attempt a passionfruit curd though, and I just bunged it in.
As Jenny had warned, they were more like pancakes than cupcakes.