Aunt Fanny’s Treacly, Sticky Ginger Cake…

Next weekend it’s the turn of the Wilderness Festival, which as luck would have it, like last weekend’s smaller but perfectly-formed Riverside Festival, is right on our doorstep in rural West Oxfordshire, on the beautiful Cornbury Park estate.

Wilderness is a right old eclectic mix of a festival - its as much about food and well-being as it is about music - with sumptuous banquets by Yotam Ottolenghi, a lakeside spa curated by Toast (can you imagine?) in a hidden clearing beside a swimming lake and everything else in between, including performances from Rodrigo y Gabriela, Wilco and Stornaway. It’s surely not to be missed so we’re once again packing up the campervan and heading down there.

In the meantime though, I have been baking my way through my share of the Wilderness festival cakes which are provided (along with reviving tea and lattes) by our primary school who man the tea tent from the moment set-up starts on Thursday right to the bitter end when all the cakes have gone and the last tea-bag has been squeezed, on Monday morning.

We have a mammoth task of baking over 500 big cakes, 400 muffins and about a million scones to keep the festival goers fed and happy over the weekend so all around our local villages this week you’ll pick up the delicious smells of ginger cakes, carrot cakes, banana cakes and muffins being timed to perfection ready for transportation to Wilderness ready for icing and slicing.

My job is to provide 50 blueberry muffins (check), 10 carrot cakes and 5 ginger cakes, the last two of which are sending their tempting gingery wafts upstairs as I type. I have an ACE recipe for ginger cake which is a real winner and never fails to be anything other than lovely, from Jane Brocket’s Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer which is a cookbook like no other.

All the recipes are inspired by the food in the books of our childhoods, so there are gems such as Mrs Glump’s Melt-in-the-Mouth Shortbread, Milly Molly Mandy and Billy Blunt’s Fried Onions, Pippi’s Swedish Pancakes (her of the Longstockings) and Wind in the Willows River Picnic Cress Sandwiches.

The baking is coming on apace - Aunt Fanny would (I hope) be proud…