Normally, Saturday is my favourite day: a whole week of work is over, there are a multitude of eating ops on the horizon, and I still have the protective cushion of Sunday to keep me from feeling too trapped.
This Saturday, however, was God-awful.
Hunting for an inexplicably elusive cake tin was bad enough, but then, in the apparent sanctuary of The Brunswick Centre (yes, that Brunswick Centre), I found I had been pickpocketed. PICKPOCKETED. Somehow, in the ten seconds it took me to put my debit card back in my bag, some arse-hole had nicked my wallet.
What followed was a miserable afternoon of calling police and security guards, cancelling cards, reordering new ones, still failing to find the cake tin, and marvelling at the crappiness of life in general.
What I needed was a miracle. Something to restore my faith in humanity.
I needed some bloody good cake.
Luckily for me, one of the stores which claimed to have the tin I needed (it didn’t, btw), was close to a market in Marylebone. Luckier still, it was one I hadn’t visited before: the intriguingly named Cabbages and Frocks Market.
Keen to boost our souls with some sugar, the Man and I hurried on in.
We found the cakes we craved on a stall selling Vegan Soda Bread. A product of ‘Yam the Cassava’ – a woman who oversees a mini Creole-style food empire – I had seen these stalls in various London markets before, and always enjoyed the free samples.
It was finally time to go the whole hog.
The decision of what to buy was an easy one, despite the array of glorious looking fruit loaves. Two enormous cakes, cut into the hugest of pieces, stood out as just what we needed. How better to smooth the ruffles of thefts and tin disasters?
One piece of Apple Crumble Cake, please.
And one of the Chocolate Mud Pie.
Unfortunately, you can’t really see the scale of the cakes in these photos. If you’re a ‘dog person’, it might be helpful to say they were about the size of a jack russell’s head (if you’re not a ‘dog person’, think… fox). The slices were so big, in fact, that on a normal day, we might – might – have bought only one between us. But, as I told myself then, if being pickpocketed isn’t enough of an excuse to pig out, I haven’t a clue what is.
Thankfully, the Man had not lost all his money, so he paid (only £2 each!) and we shuffled on home, laden with our goodies.
It proved to be a wise investment: my taste buds were very impressed.
Now, you might be one of those people who think that vegan puds (i.e. puddings made without things like eggs and butter) are dry and flavourless things, suitable only for lining the roof. You could not be more wrong.
Let’s start with the Apple Crumble Cake, a cake that already had good associations, being rather like my Granny’s own Dorset version. Like hers, it was delicious: super moist, with generous chunks of apple and a heavenly sweet crunchy topping which was more than a centimetre thick in places. Never mind lining the roof with it: I felt so nourished afterwards, I could probably have built a whole cottage from scratch. Glorious.
The real star of the show, however, was the Chocolate Mud Cake. I’ll be honest (and this may surprise you), but I’m not the world’s biggest fan of chocolate cake (most of the time, I’d rather just have chocolate).
The reason I wanted to get this one was simple: it was ENORMOUS and it had glittery icing. I know I sound like a twelve-year old Barbie fan, but glitter has a magpie-type effect on me – so no judgements, please.
Back to the cake though: fabulous. It was super dense, super moist, and tasted ever so slightly like banana (was it used as a butter subsitute? Who knows!). The icing gave me the shivers too: bound the whole thing with a lovely, melty edge. Just the kind of Mud that a real Pud-Hog likes to wallow in.
It took us two sittings to finish both slices – and as I kept munching, my murderous thoughts stayed away.
Now that they’re gone though, well…
Pickpockets of London beware.