Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A recipe for success!

Why the picture of a cake? This cake represents to me everything that is interior my world at least.

My daughter was 8 recently and so I decided, rather than succumb to pressure and buy the Moshi Monster cake that she wanted, that I would make her a cake. 

It's not the first time I've made this decision. A few years ago I attempted a Peppa Pig cake, which, in fairness turned out ok. For her second birthday she asked for a 'Stephanie' cake based on the main character in her favourite show at the time. Not so successful. Stephanie's leg fell off and she looked rather more like the sort of character that needs inflating before use than a popular children's TV character! 

My son is only 2 so he has a slight advantage in that he has had to experience fewer of my experimental cakes! For his first birthday I was still in the throes of 'new mum' syndrome and felt strongly that he should have a healthy carrot and cranberry cake rather than a sugar coated teeth rotter. Disaster. He refused to look at it let alone taste it. It had taken me ages...lots of googling and reading through recipe books to find a cake suitable for a one year old. It was inedible. Even the birds turned their beaks up.

Like the disastrous cakes, I've had some monumental disasters with colour. I once painted a kitchen in my Edinburgh apartment canary yellow, having seen a beautiful light filled kitchen painted in the exact same colour in one of my sacred magazines. My kitchen, however, was north facing and dark and dingy. The yellow lasted about 3 hours.....just leaving enough time for me to paint it back to the original colour before my partner arrived home!! In a house I owned years ago, I painted one of the two bedrooms probably near on 20 times in the 5 years I owned it. I doubt any of the 20 colours was a good choice. I didn't realise you had to consider room size, how much light the room gets etc. As for the whole idea of painting a small test area first...well...that was a complete mystery to me! I pity the people that bought my house should they have ever wanted to strip the lining paper in that room!

My philosophy now is to keep things simple. Follow basic principles. Invest in tester pots. Consider the room size and how much or how little light a room benefits from.

My daughter was thrilled to bits with her cake. Yes. She would have liked the Moshi Monster cake with all its colour and detail, but infact I think she preferred the less is more approach that I took and I didn't spend £10.00! It wouldn't win any awards but it was a nice simple cake, a great shape when it came out of the oven, and decorated quite nicely, though I say it myself. We were both happy.

My point is, decorating or interior design, given its posh title, is rather like attempting to make your own birthday cake in my experience. A degree of trial and error is involved. What I have learned is that if you start with the basics and get those right, you will find over time that you learn what you like and dislike, what works and what doesn't.

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