It is fifteen minutes to midnight and I am waiting for my third attempt at a respectable jubilee cake to come out of the oven. The kitchen is a mess. Mixing bowls, greaseproof paper and packets of ingredients vie for space on the wooden benchtop. Two earlier tries at baking the deceptively simple-looking recipe are cowering in one corner. A more successful batch of scones rests triumphant on the dresser, tops golden brown and bottoms dutifully free of flour.
I am cooking for my first agricultural show and so far it’s been a mixed experience. It all seemed pretty straightforward when the book listing competitive classes arrived in the post for my local show. Flicking past sections for horses in action, floral art and pot plants, I came to cookery and preserves. What would it be? I decided to go with two traditional favourites in the world of show cooking – plain scones (a collection of four) and jubilee cake, an economical fruit cake that means I wouldn’t be wasting too many expensive ingredients if I had to make several attempts to get it right. Just as well . . .