The words “Neopolitan” and “Marble” may give you a clue, for those of you raised on the ice cream of the same name you’ll know that a block of Neopolitan contains chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavours. The new Waitrose baking range is fabulous and instead of using the regular ground-up bugs which make up the Cochineal I bought myself a natural pink food colouring but failed to check the labelling.
If you’re anything like me you like to have all your soldiers in a row, all your ingredients weighed and measured or your ‘mise en place’. I recently bought Peggy Porschen’s Boutique Baking: Delectable Cakes, Cupcakes and Teatime Treats and set about baking the Neopolitan Marble Cake on page 123. It’s a simple 5-egg cake mixture which looked absolutely stunning on the pages of the book. I was using a Kenwood Titanium mixer which whipped up the ingredients in a thrice.
Let’s face it who does? However, a crucial piece of information on the side of the small bottle is absolutely vital when baking. This particular colouring is “not bake stable” which was the undoing of my beautiful cake. But the truly unforgivable is the non-proof-reading of the book itself – certainly the Bundt Cake recipe. I was left with 25ml of milk which wasn’t called for at all. I am loathe now to attempt any of the other recipes. Whilst I’ve had my fair share of non-tested recipe disasters in cookbooks this is exactly the same. The cake didn’t really suffer as a result of its exclusion, but then it was drowned in sugar syrup and the batter was pretty wet.
If I produce a cook book I’d be checking and double checking the ingredients and the method or at least have someone who bakes to do the job for me. I’m sure I could have added the milk at any point but a first-time baker would no doubt be in a tail spin. Luckily, the cake turned out a treat but it was only until I cut it that I realised the pink colouring had evaporated. The chocolate and cream coloured swirl Bundt I was left with tasted great all the same and didn’t last long at all but Neopolitan it was not.