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Bookish bites : Mrs MacCready Was Ever So Greedy

“When in the right mood her favourite food was chocolate cake covered in CREAM, with strawberries on top and a big glass of pop, it MADE all her neighbours scream.”

Since February I’ve been lucky enough to work with new independent publishers, Maverick Books and at the end of May they published their next five new titles, one of which was Mrs MacCready Was Ever So Greedy by the lovely (I’ve met her so I can vouch that she is definitely lovely) Julie Fulton. As you can probably tell by the title, the book lends itself to being a bookish bite perfectly. Milo’s enjoying reading this with me , it’s rhyming, quirky and fun and the ending is not what you’d necessarily expect from a children’s book.

The cake in question that Milo pointed and said “we make this one?” is described as a chocolate cake, though from the image the layers are quite, quite pink.

I only really know of one recipe that combines chocolate and pinky red colours and that’s the red velvet cupcakes in the Hummingbird Bakery book. Be warned, this is not a quick recipe to make. The red velvety sponge is worth it, but it does take a bit of time. There is however plenty for a toddler to do.

Greasing and preparing the tins.
Sifting the flour.

Mixing the paste – cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla essence. I was nervous about letting Milo help with this stage. Our kitchen is white and the sink looked like a massacre had happened when we were cleaning up afterwards, but he had fun and was really excited to add this to the mixture in the mixer and watch it turn red.

Buttery and yum to bright red!

The mix is very thick and glossy. We used the same quantities as the Hummingbird Bakery recommend for 12 cupcakes, but divided between two 7inch round baking tins and added ten minutes to the cooking time – so approximately 30-35 mins in the oven. Our oven is hopeless and cooks more on the left side than the right which is frustrating when making a sponge that you can’t rotate mid-bake.

While cooking, Milo thought it would be fun to have a wander around in daddy’s shoes for a while. He normally prefers my slippers but they were on my feet.

It’s so fun to see a sponge come out of the oven a bright red colour! For the pink cream in the middle, I decided due to large quantity of food colouring in the actual cake, that it might be better to avoid it for the cream so instead of using pink colouring I used strawberries. About 5 or six, whizzed up in the food processor, seived to get any bits out and added to about 300ml of cream, a few drops of vanilla essence and a teaspoon of sugar (does anyone else always add a teaspoon of sugar to their whipped cream – something my mum taught me and I have no idea why!), then whisked until thick and well, creamy. It isn’t as bright pink as in the book, but really does taste very nice and summery.

Layer up your cake – the pic in the book suggests three layers of sponge with thick cream layers in between, dollops of white cream piped on the top with strawberries on. You’ll have to slice your sponges in half so you have three, flat(ish) layers… the leftover bits can be frozen perhaps to make a pinky sponge trifle at a later date!

And here’s Milo having his slice while watching the motor racing on the TV. He’s only ever allowed to eat on the sofa when the F1 is on, or when he’s really, poorly!

This is a pretty dense cake, Milo didn’t make it through his whole slice, but the strawberry cream is a nice, refreshing contrast with the sponge. Though the sponge has cocoa in, it wasn’t all that chocolaty and so didn’t feel completely faithful to the book (though a good attempt I reckon?!).

Milo’s verdict: “I like strawberries and red sponge. Oh no, what’s that car doing on the grass. Silly car.”

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