I had what can only be described as a baking catastrophe on Saturday night: when I took a cake I'd made and left to cool, turned the tin over, and out in pieces it came. Crumbles, in fact. But this wasn't supposed to be a crumble - it was a limoncello, almond, white chocolate torta gone wrong. Moreover, it was Tom's birthday cake.
I blame Persuasion for the disaster (and in particular the wonderful Rupert Penry-Jones, whom I'd never heard about here, in the middle of nowhere, rural Italy, but whose eloquent gaze and expressive eyes kept me transfixed), because although I know that the recipe works – a friend of mine had made it and told me about it – but probably she wasn't watching Persuasion when it was the right time to get the cake out of the baking tin. I, on the other hand, was glued to the sofa until the happy ending of an eight-year-long love (to be honest, not even Penry-Jones' eyes saved the disappointing last scenes). By then the limoncello cake must have been too tired of waiting, and refused to get out of its tin whole.
The cake tasted delicious. After all, how could a cake with almonds, white chocolate and homemade limoncello be anything but delicious, whatever its appearance? But this heap of crumbs was decidedly too sad as a birthday cake, so I baked another - no persuasion required. This time it came out whole, and was served up with presents from a knitter to her husband - which this time, for a change, didn't include a hat. (I'll show you next time)