Thursday, 26 June 2008

In the kitchen with Noodle

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of a toy rabbit posing with a batch of homemade brownies. 'Random', you may have thought, and passed on. Well now I can formally introduce the young bunny in question: his name is Noodle, and he'd been helping me in the kitchen.

Noodle marshalls his ingredients

The reason that he was acting as my brownie buddy that day was that I happen to know that The Munchkin owns his identical twin - both gifts from Granny T. I thought it would be fun to make him a little photo book featuring Noodle baking some brownies which he could then replicate at home. Or at least help his mum - I'm a bit out of touch but I'm pretty sure 21 month olds aren't up to too much independent measuring and melting. Noodle duly played his part in the adventure and turned out to be a pretty good baker if the results were anything to go by, and the little book winged its way off to New Zealand.

Once introduced to the world of cakes, however, Noodle wanted more. He'd become blase about real baking after managing the giant-sized utensils so well the first time, and decided to dabble in a little ready-made cake mix. Of course cake mixes would never normally be allowed in my kitchen, but Eco Bro had cunningly picked up on my unhealthy interest in the weird and enormous array of mixes available in America, and brought me back an Angel Food cake mix from a business trip a few months ago. I've been holding out to make it for an occasion when he and Eco Sis were with us, but what with one thing and another it hadn't yet been opened when Noodle went on his convenience baking kick.

Noodle was quite surprised when he read the instructions on the pack to find that all you had to do was add water. Yes, really. He took the manufacturer's word for it, and measured out his water (dangling precipitously from the tap until he got the required amount. There's little this bunny wouldn't risk in the name of top quality cake mix). The mix whisked up into a fluffy mass almost immediately, filling a ring pan and loaf tin to boot. Neither Noodle nor I had ever had Angel Food cake before, but we gather that it contains a lot of egg whites, and as such is almost fat free. This one certainly was, apparently containing nothing other than water and sawdust. Once baked and brown on top, Noodle informed me that Angel cakes need to be inverted in their tins while they cooled, and anxious to do things properly, we improvised a cooling gantry.

It's the way they do it in America, doncherknow?

We deferred to Eco Bro on how to serve our triumphant cake, and he requested squirty cream and strawberries (shall I embarrass you, Eco Sis.......?). The cake was so light and fluffy that it needed a gentle sawing action to avoid compressing it into a slice a fraction of its former size on cutting. Once we'd mastered that though, we found it to be curiously fascinating. It was very fluffy, but in a foamy, soft way - a friend I gave some to the next day described it as dense candy floss (and then gobbled the rest up, so I think this was a good thing). The family consensus was that it was good, but more as a vehicle for cream and berries than as a delicacy in its own right. I hasten to add that this is no reflection either on the bunny-cook, or the very thoughtful courier. I welcome any future chances to mock American instant cake mixes.

Noodle poses with his finished cake. He's sitting at the cake end, which is doing a good job at blending in with the cream (or possibly Noodle got carried away with the squirty can)

Noodle hasn't requested any more baking sessions yet, and has been having a rest in the fruit bowl since his Angel Cake triumph. He's been throwing glances at my cookbook collection though, so I wouldn't rule out future installments of Noodle's Baking Adventures. He'll have to find a recipe without cream though - Eco Sis took care of that :)


LisaRene said...

Cute post! Your little munchkin is certainly going to enjoy your homemade book, great idea!

Yes, we have a TON of cake, cookie and brownie mixes in our grocery, it's actually a bit embarrassing to see how much space these mixes take up. I think the brownie mixes are the most popular and I will admit that I find box mix brownies better then homemade :)

Angle Food cake is a favorite of my mother and brothers. I haven't had it in many years but do remember it being very sweet and spongy with a distinct texture. My mom serves it by slicing the cake into 3 pieces using sewing thread and filling each layer with homemade whip cream and fresh strawberries.

Lysy said...

I misread your comment at first and thought that your mother sewed the bits of cake together! Cutting it with thread is a very good idea though - I should have thought of that given how much thread there is lying around our living room (it's where I do all my patchwork)

I will have to put brownie mix on my request list for Eco Bro's next trip!

Johanna said...

That noodle is a clever young bunny and I hope we will be seeing some more of his adventures on your blog. Love your idea of a photo book - when I was little a father of a friend made a photo book about their pets and I loved it and have sometimes thought it would be fun to do. Am sure the munchkin will love it.

I too have a little prejudice about cake mixes - used to have a couple I liked when younger but can't remember the last time I used one. They do tempt me in the supermarket sometimes because the pics are always great but the idea just doesn't appeal.