AS Thursday 25 April loomed near, I became more and more nervous. Office Bake Day had been in my diary for months and it was finally here. It was my turn to rustle up some goodies to share around the department of near on 25 colleagues and I had promised a buffet of traditional Australian treats — Anzac biscuits and lamingtons.
For those that don’t know me, you might be surprised to learn that not only am I the only Aussie who doesn’t tan, I am also unable to cook. It is not for the lack of trying, but I am a failure at all things in the kitchen. My specialties include nachos, Vegemite toasties and my delicious spaghetti bolognaise. I have also been known to burn hands, slice open the tip of my index finger and, most recently, scratching a friend’s hot plate.
How was I going to BAKE for almost 25 people?
Previous colleagues had treated us to brownies, sponges, biscuits, an incredible ‘drizzle cake’ and some other specialties I just could not live up to. My only saving grace was that the week before my colleague had turned up with a delicious home-made chocolate cake … and a can of whipped cream. Yes, whipped cream. I thought the expectation had been lowered somewhat, until I tried the delicious cake.
Slightly scared I would be caught out cooking into the early hours of Thursday morning, I decided to be proactive and start my baking at the beginning of the week. My first hurdle was to trying to track down where I could buy all of the ingredients.
Actually, my first hurdle was to find out what all of the ingredients were. Is bicarbonate of soda different to baking powder? Do I need desiccated coconut or will dried coconut do? And did we even have a rectangular baking tray?
I missed the first train and finally arrived home laden with what felt like 20 kilos of baking ingredients ready to start my own version of MasterChef, Jacqui style. In what was shaping up to be a #typicaljacquiday, I was covered in flour and mopping up spilled golden syrup when I realised I had forgotten to buy milk and butter. It required a bit of convincing to get hubby to go in search of the missing essentials.
Finally back on track and several hours later (how did it take that long!?) I proudly packed away my first successful (and only slightly burnt) batch of traditional Anzac biscuits to share with my colleagues on Anzac Day.
Excited about my own baking skills, the following night I attempted homemade lamingtons, another Australian favourite. With the exception of much of the chocolate icing ending up on my face and in my hair, I think that they turned out quite well.
The true test was finding out what my colleagues thought of my new found baking skills…