Inspired by the contestants of the Great British Bake Off, I donned my batman onesie, rolled up my sleeves and in the calm before yesterday's storm atttempted my to bake my first ever cake in a bid to complete the first of my 30 before 30 challenges.
The first task was choosing what cake to bake. Friends who've baked before advised making a simple sponge but I fancied doing something a little bit more adventurous and, potentially, an awful lot more tasty.
So I hit the world wide web for inspiration and after flicking through a few recipes stumbled upon a naughty Nigella coffee and walnut cake which had instructions that seemed easy enough to follow.
Recipe in the bag, I went off to Sainsburys in hunt of ingredients and baking apparatus. In truth this proved to be the most difficult and least enjoyable element of the entire process and I must have spent hours in the supermarket trying to find the various bits and bobs that go into the cake like bicarbonate of soda and espresso powder.
At one stage, I was all for chucking in the towel and calling it quits but just when I thought all hope was lost a lovely woman from the baking department came to my aid, helping me to find the baking powder and icing sugar.
Baking tins and parchment proved more problematic as Sainsburys had none in stock. Again, the lady from the baking department came to my rescue, fetching me some parchment paper from the bakery and ringing ahead to the rival supermarket down the road to check if they had baking tins. Now, that's what you call service! Shirley, if you're reading, you're a great person!
Buoyed by Shirley's enthusiasm for me to succeed, I had a new wave of enthusiasm to get the job done when I got home and, in truth, I really enjoyed the baking experience once I figured out how to put the blender together.
I followed the recipe to the letter and my only blunder came when I got a bit cocky cracking in the eggs with some of the final egg not making it in to the blender. Knowing the measurements to be crucial, I thought I'd mucked everything up at this point but decided to crack on anyway, adding another egg to make up for the egg that didn't make it into the bowl.
After that it was all plain sailing really, although the halves didn't rise as evenly as I'd have liked. One rose too much and I had to slice a little off to flatten it off while the other appeared to sag a little in the middle. However, there were no soggy bottoms and both survived being taken out of the oven, cooled and stripped of their parchment paper.
Icing wasn't the prettiest of affairs, either, but by this point I was quite tired and just wanted to get the job done.
Adding the final walnut to the cake I was pretty chuffed. I had made my first cake, and, more importantly, I had completed the first of my 30 challenges!
There'll be plenty of harder challenges than this to come but I really enjoyed making my first cake and did feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards. The final outcome wasn't very elegant but it tasted amazing. One down, 29 to go!