I do, however, have a style all my own, and one faithful customer who comes back year after year for caketastrophe after caketastrophe. It is my colleague's daughter, who last year got the Pig of Doom.
(I was quite proud of the babies, but Momma Hog is just fearsome).
This year, she decided she wanted this (look Helena! We're back on the beach).
Never fear, however, apprentice bakers, because here is the Belgian Waffle step by step guide to how to make a cake that looks a bit like a tiger pen, if you squint at it sideways and enjoy being blinded by edible glitter. Let the masterclass commence! You may place your technical questions in the comments. I love to be able to use my talents as a force for good.
1. First, ensure your kitchen and work surfaces are spotlessly clean.
2. Next, assemble your cake ingredients. If your eggs look like this:
get some more, if you can be bothered. I can't. They don't smell bad. It will be fine.
3. Now, make a cake. No, I am not going to explain that to you. Oh, ok, if you insist. Put the cake stuff in a mixer. All of it. Mix at warp speed 10 for as long as you can be bothered. Pour it into a tin, lined with whatever you can find, in my case, a lot of flattened fairy case papers. Put in the oven at 'too hot'. Go and play on the internet. Come back to find your cake looking impressively plump and gigantic. Take it out, and watch it deflate to a wrinkled communion wafer before your very eyes. Stand back to admire the crater in the middle, ideal for creating a jelly pond. Knock over the milk.
Clean up as best you can.
4. Start to make the icing, stopping to realise you have no icing sugar and making a detour via GB (Delhaize's cheaper and nastier counterpart) to buy finger biscuits, icing sugar and other stuff you can't remember. Forget stuff. Curse. Go back. Lack of correct biscuits means you buy about thirty types to experiment on. Your basket looks like a bulimic's dream. When you get home you also realise you have a long smear of chocolate cake mix along your right cheek.
5. Try to be clever. Essential, this step. Decide that bright yellow icing is not quite right for the tiger pen floor, and add some cocoa powder to the icing mix. The result will be horribly reminiscent of early nappies:
but do not despair, continue throwing yellow colouring into the mixture until either you run out of yellow colouring, or your icing does not look like baby poo. In my case, the former.
6. Using only the power of your imagination, devise a blue jelly out of a clear sports drink, blue food colouring and leaf gelatine.
Leave mixture in fridge in the hope it will eventually set.
7. It's time to ice your cake! Turn it out of the tin, picking off fairy cake cases from the bottom. Find a cake board, due to a miraculous act of Nathan, sparing the poor cakee the aesthetic joy of receiving her precious cake on a Quick tray.
(I call this tableau vivant 'Quick tray with debris'. Prints retail at €85 for a 6"x4" limited edition)
8. Slap icing all over cake, ignoring inevitable crumbage escaping and creating horrible rubble effect. Eat icing. Stick biscuits round the side. Eat biscuits. Roll coconut in food colouring and sprinkle on top. Consider eating coconut but reject as insufficiently sweet. Eat more icing. Put pieces of Flake on cake top as decorative logs. Eat Flake. Use chocolate chips for tiger poo. Eat tiger poo, etc etc.
Admire handiwork through sugar coma. Very nice.
9. Stick cake in fridge. Give entirely liquid jellymix a worried poke. Sigh. Eat more icing. END OF PART ONE
Tune in later today to let me take you through those crucial finishing touches, including, 'holy fuck Oscar have you eaten the tigers'.