Cricket season has arrived in Edinburgh. What this means is that once a week I take my eldest over to our local grounds for practice. With the sun shining, the children all in their cricket whites, and just the sound of bats hitting their targets, I feel both excited and guilty about being part of it. The pitch is situated in one of the more affluent parts of town, overlooked by a grand mansion with multiple bay windows and a vast garden extending down a steep slope. The views from the pitch extend over to Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags and are magnificent in the evening light. Outside are parked family Mercs, Audis, and Range Rovers, and inside the walls lean custom made bicycles that have secure garage storage when at home. Meanwhile the clubhouse itself is just a glorified shed and the club members are prodominantly middle class folk who lean towards the upper end of the spectrum, many obviously eager to climb up, up, up to the top 1%. The club do not discriminate in their members; places are awarded on a first come, first serve basis, but not many working class folk are in the area. So yeah, it all feels just a tad elitist, just not as blatant as an invitation only country club.
I don't have a new coat, a fancy bike, or a flashy car to show off, so instead I bring culinary creations to prove my worth. You see, part of the charm of the place is a folding table set up at the side, quietly selling tea, coffee, juice, and homemade cakes. Parents nibble delicacies and sip tea on wooden benches as they watch their sons practice (yes, all boys, somehow no girls have expressed interest in joining our local club), then at the end a swarm of young men surround the table to clear it of every last crumb, thrusting their 50 pence pieces at whichever overwhelmed mother has been pulled into duty that week. I have carefully avoided the baking table's rota, telling myself if I just bring cake every week I will have fulfilled my duties as a cricket mother without having to endure excessive smalltalk.
But what to bring? Last week I delivered some chocolate chip cookies which disappeared quickly, but I discovered the other day that somehow I'd managed to hide 5 different bags of raspberries in my freezer. This meant whatever I made this week would have to be dotted with these berries in order to clear out space for the two monstrous bags of Costco chicken nuggets I had more recently shoved inside (don't judge). Aiming for a show-off factor, I pulled down my fleur de lis bundt tin. All it takes is a lot of oiling (hello, cooking spray, where were you when I needed you this week) a lot of cooling, and some tupperware to transport it and BOOM, you've got yourself a fancy cake. It can taste like sawdust, but people will still ooh and aah when they see it.
I only grabbed my i-device once I'd put it in the tin, as I was in a wee bit of a rush, but I just loved the look of the batter so much I had to take a photo. Berries make things look pretty.
Then in it went. As the berries were still frozen, and I had limited time, I cranked up the heat 30 degrees higher (Celcius) than the recipe said and chanced my luck. After an hour, it looked like this, which was good because the last time I made it at the lower temp it took over an hour and a half to cook through.
A few hours cooling, then I turned it out onto some parchment paper. A couple parts had stuck, but not too disastrously.
Then a quick stirring of lemon juice and icing sugar for a runny glaze. "IT'S DRIPPING!!!" my three year old son warned me. I reassured him that I meant for it to happen that way, but he just eyed me with great skepticism.
For the record, this is what it looked last time I made it with the slower cooking time and temp...and a more runny glaze:
Off it went to cricket. My pride climbed to unhealthy heights when I saw it was the cake that all the adults chose to consume with their evening cuppa. I don't have a photo of the what it looks like when you slice into it, but it really is inviting: golden cake dotted with fresh red raspberries. My cake lady status was preserved.
The meticulously copied and pasted recipe is below