Sunday, 24 May 2015

Fictional Food Adventure: Making Mrs Banks' Bribery and Corruption Cocoanut Cakes from "Mary Poppins Comes Back".

I have come to rather dread cake recipes that ask you to cream the butter and sugar together. Butter, in our house, is never soft, even if we don't keep it in the fridge. But I gritted my teeth this time and relished the workout, to pound and pound it in the bowl 'til it was as light as I could get it. Probably not light enough, but if I wanted to be able to use my arms for anything else at all that day, I left it at that.

I have made cakes with coconut in before, ((and yes, I know you don't spell 'Cocoanut' with an 'a' in, as above, but P.L.Travers did in 1935) and these are simple little fairy cakes, iced with a butter icing, with a bit of milk and lots of dessicated coconut in.  Apart from the tiresome beating, the recipe was an easy one, and the batter pleasingly divided exactly between the 12 paper cases, as the recipe said it would. 

I decided to try spreading the 12 cakes over two trays, even though each tray has 12 spaces. I thought they might bake more evenly if I used just the middle 6 of each tray, over two shelves. I think it helped! 

They baked for less time than stated though because, as I have mentioned before, our oven is power-crazed. The cakies came out looking lightly golden, and cushiony to the touch. After they'd cooled I spread some of the thick icing on, and added half a glace cherry to each one. I know most people don't like them, but they look so chummy and I am more than happy for people to pick off their cherry and put it on my plate.

I baked these on the day we were off to a little birthday party for our bestest friend, with her man, at another of our friends' house. This meant there would be no risk of us eating them all ourselves, as they are very tempting. As Jane and Michael Banks would agree, a cake to look forward to at teatime is a very fine thing. Their fretful mother, in her desperation for a little bit of peace and quiet uses "Cocoanut Cakes" as a bargaining tool, to win their co-operation. Before Mary Poppins unexpectedly returns to the Banks family, everything in their home is going wrong. Nothing is as it ought to be, and everyone is fretful about some little thing.
At last it all becomes too much for Mrs Banks and, to preserve her sanity, she ushers Jane and Michael out of the house, begging them to take their little toddler twin brother and sister to the park, AND NOT COME HOME UNTIL TEATIME! "And if you will go quietly and be good children," she tells them, "there will be cocoanut cakes for tea."

The bribe works, and by the time the children all come home, not only is there a sweet treat, but Mary Poppins is coming with them up Cherry Tree Lane, to stay "until the clasp of her locket chain breaks."

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