Image credit: BBC Good Food
Victoria sponge was always my favourite cake.
Yes, there’s the fact my dad told me it was named after me when I was a kid, which made my sister furiously jealous – both things that gave me enormous pleasure.
But more than that there’s something so delicious about the simple elegance of vanilla sponge, cream, jam and a light dusting of icing sugar.
I would eat shop-bought with great pleasure.
There is a place for the clean, easy, cellophane-wrapped supermarket cake: it’s convenient, consistent, cheap and always available.
But oh, the glory of a lovingly home made one.
There’s the tender, melting crumb of a sponge recently out of the oven and made with creamery butter, fresh local eggs, real, fragrant vanilla essence.
Freshly whipped cream and good raspberry jam, of course, but also an extra layer of lightly crushed fresh raspberries just zinging with flavour. Eating this cake you can detect subtle layers of delight, luxuriate in the heady scents and textures put there through delicious ingredients and love.
And that’s how I feel about the difference between painted and wallpapered rooms.
A painted room can be lovely: convenient, consistent, cheap to decorate, easy to clean, smooth, flawless, long-lasting…
A wallpapered room, though, has that sense of depth and complexity that a lovingly made cake does.
You can’t really see that there is a smooth wall and a thick lining paper, but there’s something about the quality of sound in the room that lets you know.
Noises don’t bounce and echo so much, making a more peaceful atmosphere.
Image credit: The Glam Pad
Then there’s the texture, pattern, colour, pigment of the wallpaper, reassuring the eye that there is beauty all around. You can layer on extras - curtains, rugs, pictures, fabrics, cushions, building on that lovely base like a cook might add rosewater or coconut to the basic cake batter to vary the taste, or blackberries or strawberries to surprise the palate.
And though cake is a perennial pleasure I could never give up, wallpaper has one distinct advantage.
It’s calorie free!