Prolific baker Isabel Fay gives her sweet creations the added ingredient of a backstory. This divine chocolate fudge cake is inspired by cat poo and a misunderstanding.
One of the weirdest things about living in London is that you regularly stand close enough to strangers to get impregnated by them, but you never ever speak to them. That’s the first rule of London.
Now I’ve never stood that close to my neighbours, but I did get pregnant. And have a baby (to be clear: not my neighbour’s baby). I now spend so much time pounding up and down my street with the babe, it’s made my neighbours major players in my life. Obviously I don’t know their names – c’mon, this is London – so I’ve given them my own. There’s Hoovers Her Lawn, Shuffles & Chuckles, Cocky McDoucheBag and Are You Boring.
I love Shuffles & Chuckles, an elderly gentleman who moves at the pace of a sloth carrying an anvil and laughs heartily at anything I say without the faintest hint that he’s understood it. Cocky McDoucheBag is flipping a house on our road; he gives not a tiny rat’s twat about his neighbours. Hoovers Her Lawn is one angry lady, her wrath directed at dirt: woe betide a stray leaf. I am terrified she will go mad this autumn and hoover the trees.
Then there’s Are You Boring, a lovely Polish girl whose cat shits with scatological wild abandon in my garden. I wanted to address the cat poo thing ages ago, but she threw me.
“Hello!” I trilled with the over-eagerness of someone about to say something awkward but wanting to make it clear It’s All Fine.
“Are you boring now with the baby?” she asked without a hello.
“Are you boring?” she insisted.
I was affronted. I mean I haven’t been going out as much as I used to, but I’m (trying to be) a have-it-all career parent (albeit with the crazy eyes of someone who hasn’t slept in eight months). Hell, last weekend I was pushed out of a cab at 3am – I still have a life dammit!
She wouldn’t let it go. “Boring. BORING. Are you BORING?”
I reverted to a puerile “Are you boring?”
She looked baffled then burst out laughing “Bored! Bored with the baby!” We both laughed heartily. It was pretty funny. The only problem is that this is now all she says to me, every single time I see her. “Are you boring!” Ha! Ha ha! We both laugh. Now, I can’t follow this hilarious conversational transaction with “By the way your cat shits in my garden, can you make it stop?” It’s too awkward, it ruins our thing. So I’ve made her the fittest cake (fact) and I’m going to slip it through her catflap.
Chocolate fudge cake with subtle hint of NIMBY
For the cake:
plain chocolate 200g
soft dark brown sugar 200g
warm water 100ml
sour cream 100ml
eggs 2, beaten
self-raising flour 200g
cocoa 5 heaped tbsp
For the icing:
plain chocolate 100g
condensed milk 170g
hundreds and thousands
A creative way to write a passive-aggressive message
Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1 (160C/gas mark 3 if it’s not fan assisted). Line a 22cm x 22cm tin with baking parchment.
Gently melt the butter, chocolate, sugar and water in a heavy saucepan on a low heat. Leave to cool for a minute and copiously lick the spoon.
Stir in the sour cream, then eggs, then gently fold in the flour and cocoa until the batter is smooth(ish; let’s face it, this will be slathered in icing so who cares?).
Pour into the tin and bake for 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool or fan it like what they do on Bake Off.
For the icing: melt the ingredients in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Coat yourself and the cooled cake in icing.
Write a passive-aggressive message to your neighbour in a very Kirstie’s Vintage Home way. Slip it through their cat flap. Sneak back and snatch a handful through the catflap. Blame the cat.2026 Views