I learned to bake first from my mother, and next, in school cooking classes, where at the age of ten I was taught to cream the butter and sugar properly, over a sink of warm water, beating and beating until the mixture really did look like whipped cream and my arm had just about fallen off.
I did all my baking by hand until, for my first wedding anniversary, my husband presented me with a Kenwood Chef mixer. "Now you can make me a sponge cake," he said.
Sadly at the moment my Kenwood is in the Food Mixer Hospital. Or more precisely, in the shed at the back of the house of a semi-retired gentleman who specialises in fixing Kenwoods. Apparently he sold his business but no one else was doing it, so he started up again from home. I turned the mixer on the other week and the engine roared, but the beaters didn't turn. It's definitely worth fixing, the little old man told me. Once it's done, it will be better than a new one. Mine is apparently the best model they ever made. It must be to have kept going so long. It's 34 years old. That's older than anything else in the house except me. Well, older than anything else electrical in the house, anyway. We do have a few old things, like P's grandfather's long case clock, and his other grandfather's violin. And a very tarnished spoon that belonged to my greatgrandmother (that's a story in itself).
Today is my son's birthday. That of course calls for a cake. The trouble with little old semi-retired repairmen is that they do a great job, but they do it in their own good time. Fortunately I have my wonderful standby chocolate cake recipe which can be easily mixed by hand.
Linda's Sticky Chocolate Cake
Mix together 250 grams plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 tablespoon cocoa, 125 grams sugar
Melt together 1 and a quarter cups water, 2 generous tablespoons of golden syrup, 90 grams butter or margarine, when melted add 1 tsp baking soda.
Add to dry ingredients and mix gently. Bake at 180 degrees C (the recipe says how long to bake it for, but my version is "until it's done")
I usually make two cakes and sandwich them together with butter icing, and then put more icing (I think you Americans call it frosting) on top.
I have no idea who the heck Linda is, but that's what it's called.