As lovely as my birthday was, I couldn’t help feeling it wasn’t quite right: I had my ginger parkin (and very tasty it was too), but there wasn’t even a whiffter of good old-fashioned birthday cake. In many ways I’m a traditionalist, so if you ask me, a birthday’s not really a birthday without some slightly wobbly singing and the blowing-out of candles on a tasty home-made sponge.
Thank goodness, then, for Saturday.
Along with a couple of my bestest buds, the Man and I headed to Brixton Village – an up-and-coming Mecca for those who love their nosh. Despite its rural name, the ‘Village’ is actually an industrial-sized building tucked behind Brixton station, stuffed with intriguing little huts, at which you can sample all types of cuisine – from Japanese street food to bangers and mash. The prices aren’t always that cheap, but the variety’s pretty thrilling (with choices apparently changing on a fairly regular basis).
All eyes, however, were on the cake. So, after dutifully eating some Japanese omelettes, we made a beeline for the nearest stall.
Wonderful things, are cake stalls – this one was no exception. Most of the sponges were three tiers high, and the flavours all sounded incredibly tempting. Mango cake, banana cake, shortbread filled with chocolate drops, red velvet cake, carrot cake, cookies, chocolate brownie cheesecake, fruit muffins… We stared at the range for quite some time, and ended up choosing three things between four of us. An excellent way to maximise sampling potential.
And so it was that after having no birthday cake whatsoever, I suddenly found myself with three: a whopper slice of red velvet (with a tangy cream cheese frosting), an equally huge slice of banana cake (this time with a chocolate brownie frosting), and a creamy wedge of chocolate brownie cheesecake. As we perched on our bench in the cold, out came the candles and the plastic forks. Good times! Now, that’s the way to do it.
Somehow, despite having one more person than we did slices, the four of us were overstuffed by the time the last crumb vanished. And the winner? Well, somewhat surprisingly – given the presence of the world’s biggest red velvet and cheesecake fans – our love unanimously fell on the banana cake. Moist, solid, substantial – it could do no wrong. And as for the chocolate brownie frosting? A delicious twist on the norm.
Thank heavens for good cake – and even better friends. If only it had hands, my stomach would salute you all.