Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Lumpy Cakes!*

I am really excited and cake is the cause

No one in my town sells Skips in single bags. This is important because a) how can it be that I can’t buy Skips in anything but bags of six? And b) it was while looking for a bag of Skips that I found these:

Oh god these. Lumpy fucking Cakes. These have been gone from my life for so long I’ve actually stopped missing them, well that emotional peace is over. I found them for a £1 in Martin’s, one of the three newsagents within walking distance of my house that didn’t have Skips, Martin’s has recently been taken over and started stocking basic groceries (and rack toys) for the first time. Given that I use Martin’s once or twice a week for Oyster Card related business these must be fairly recent, I’d’ve seen them if they weren’t, there's no way I would have missed Lumpy Cakes. And how fitting they arrive in December, Christmastime being the only time of year where it’s socially acceptable to be as nostalgic as you can – and few things are more nostalgic to me than Lumpy Cakes (always to be capitalized). I ate one of these just about every day from the age of around 4 to the around 16 and then slightly less often until I was 18 when they seemed to vanish from the face of the earth, and by ‘face of the earth’ I mean ‘everywhere we shopped’. The packing is different and I’ll be honest I never once noticed who made them as a child/teenager so they could now be by a different company but I as the taste and texture is identical I’m guessing that either Dulcesol always made them and just changed the back from pink to blue or they bought out the company that made them before and just discontinued that company name while keeping the cakes they made unaltered.

Because I’m not being hyperbolic when I say these things have the exact same taste and texture. I’m sure most people have food that they can recall the taste of perfectly – maybe it’s your mother’s home cooked specialty but for me it’s Lumpy Cakes, with the slightest of thought I can recall exactly how they taste and it’s exactly like these. That is so, so good – so many things are exactly as you remember them from childhood, often they’re worse or worse still often when they come back into your life they’re different; they’ve changed the recipe, they’ve changed the art style, they’ve let Michael Bay near it, whatever, and that’s sad but that’s not the case here. As a child I would never have thought that Lumpy Cakes would have anything in common Batman: The Animated Series but there you go. I will now attempt to describe eating a Lumpy Cake and prove why I mostly write about toys and comics: They’re solid, not crumbly but somewhere just on the dense side of soft and they’re very smooth, the ‘above ground’ part, the lump itself, is almost shiny in its smoothness. Imagine that work surface material that just has a slight texture of stone, that feeling, only it’s as sweet as you always want it to be when you lick it. They’re not too sweet, certainly not as sweet as any milk chocolate, just a little airy, and it leaves a slight sweet aftertaste in the back of your mouth, behind your wisdom teeth (if you have ‘em, if not in the place roughly where wisdom teeth would be). Also there is only one way to eat them, they’re not Cream Eggs, there’s none of that ‘How Do you eat Yours’ shit here: You must bite the lump off, remove the wrapper, take a big bite out of the side then stuff the rest in your mouth, if it takes more or less than three bites to polish off a Lumpy Cake you’re doing it wrong. I am an expert; trust my wisdom in these matters.

Yes I can read (mostly) and I know they’re not called ‘Lumpy Cakes’. They are, it seems, simply called ‘Fairy Cakes’ but I’ve called them Lumpy Cakes for so long and all my family have called them Lumpy Cakes for so long that there is no way I’m ever going to stop, it’s like how I still call this one shop (that recently had reindeer outside!) ‘Vidbiz’ even though Vidbiz has been closed for years and the premises now sells windows and conservatories. Anyway if my childhood had to have a logo, it would be a Lumpy Cake, I used to go home for lunch at school, not just because my mother is was a coddling overprotective divorcee (sorry mum!) but because I lived a literal 2 minute walk from the school gates (and my paternal grandmother lived even closer) and every day I would have a Lumpy Cake with my lunch – which was typically either a banana or crisp sandwich, a Fish Finger sandwich if my nan was feeling particularly saucy, I did not have a culinarily adventurous home. At the time Lumpy Cakes were sold in Tesco - which is where my Nan exclusively shopped, not just because it was the cheapest of the supermarkets at the time but because we lived a literal four minute (or 0.3 kilometres) walk from its front entrance. I’m telling you all this because, well, I thought of it really. What’s an ‘editor’?

This is my cake box, I have used the same cake box my entire life and were anything to happen to it would be genuinely moved to tears, despite having a large amount of crap there are few inanimate objects that would cause such a sense of loss in me as this cake box and for the first time in 12 years my cake box is feels complete – both types of Marble Cake and Lumpy Cakes. It is only a temporary situation but while it’s here I intend to feel way warmer inside than baked goods in a beige box should make someone feel. I admit I already feel a twinge of sadness knowing that very soon I will have no Lumpy Cakes again and given the type of stock that Martin’s now uses there is no guarantee they’ll ever be there again. So yes my gladness is tinged with sadness but we had a major family bereavement just lately and I’ve had to adult a lot in the aftermath of that so it kind of feels like the universe threw me a bone - well, a cake, and said - “here, you can feel like a kid every time you eat one of these, I’ve only got one bag but here you go” and I appreciate that universe, and I thank you Dulcesol and I thank you for reading about cakes.    

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