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Do you know Meeta?

I bet you do. If you don’t, you must meet her here and now! Allow me to make the introductions.

Meeta is the gentle force behind What’s for Lunch Honey? and The Daily Tiffin.

She is a warm, passionate and lovely person, and I’m happy to consider her a friend, even though I’ve never actually met her in person.

I came close to meeting her, mind you. In 2006, when I was in Berlin, Germany, we almost managed to meet up but sadly that didn’t happen. I wasn’t too upset, though, because I know that one day, we will meet (right, Meeta?!)!

Meeta hosts a monthly event called the Monthly Mingle. For May 2009, the theme was Spring Cakes. I’ve never participated in one of Meeta’s Monthly Mingles, but have wanted to so many times, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity.

Early in May, a coworker asked me to take on a baking project for her and I wanted to practice some decorating techniques so I thought that Meeta’s event would be a wonderful chance to do this.

Naturally, I missed the May 13 deadline.

But as they say, better late than never.

I’d really been wanting to try the recipe for Buttermilk Cake (p. 40) from Flo Braker’s The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. I’m always looking for a great base cake to use in layer cakes and I thought I’d give this one a try.

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To fill the cake layers, I had some lemon curd leftover from my Triple-Layer Lemon Cake so I mixed that with some freshly whipped cream. For the bottom layer of the cake, I added sliced strawberries.

Having filled my cake, I decided to try the Classic Buttercream recipe (pp. 263-264) from Braker’s book, but this met with less success than the cake.

I’ve made buttercream many times over the last few years and have become comfortable with adding hot sugar syrup to beaten egg yolks or egg whites. In this recipe, however, the hot syrup is poured into the centre of the beaten eggs (the machine is not running) and then you’re required to whisk quickly to incorporate the ingredients while preventing the eggs from being cooked.

I didn’t have a lot of luck with this. While my eggs didn’t quite cook, I found that the finished buttercream did have this unpleasant cooked egg taste to it. People who tried it said the buttercream was okay, but I didn’t like it at all. The buttercream also didn’t have the same smooth texture that other buttercreams that I’ve made have had. While the Buttermilk Cake was delicious, I wasn’t as thrilled with the Classic Buttercream recipe.

I soldiered on, though, and decided to really use the opportunity to experiment in terms of colours and also to continue to practice my decorating skills (I use the term skills very loosely).

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I overdid it a bit with the colours. The cake ended up looking a bit garish for my tastes, but I think in its own way it had some springtime charm. More like springtime on the grounds of an abandoned English estate … not quite the effect I was going for but not bad. Most importantly, I got to put in some much-needed baking and decorating time, which always makes me happy!

Just like Meeta always makes me happy.

Meeta, I’m sorry the cake is late, but here it is. Should we ever meet in person, I guarantee I will give you something much more fitting!

Ciao!