Thursday Interview: Rudolph Reindeer

Pleased to meet you, Rudolph. You know, you’re possibly the most popular reindeer ever. But that wasn’t always the case, was it?

No, I had an unhappy calfhood. I wasn’t exactly bullied, but I felt very unwanted. The others wouldn’t let me play their reindeer games.

And all because of your nose?

I was the laughing stock. And it made me terribly self-conscious. You know how teenagers feel when they have a zit on their nose? It was a thousand times worse!

How did you cope?

You develop a thick skin in the end. I said to myself I didn’t want to play their stupid games anyway. It was actually untrue – I was dying to play. But being a loner means you mature a lot quicker, I think. You know what their favourite game was? Sardines. So silly! Besides, reindeer are useless at sardines. I took up golf instead. But that was a bit of a disaster too. The very first day I crashed the buggy so I had to get off and hoof it. Then they accused me of wreaking havoc with the green and told me not to come back.

But it all changed one day. What happened?

I was out walking on my own one night, feeling sorry for myself, when a man came up and said, ‘That’s just what I need! A nose that glows!’ He was so excited I thought he was going to cut it off there and then. But he asked if I wanted to join his team to guide them. So instead of following their nose, they’d follow mine. Then he introduced himself – Santa Claus! Well, I thought I was dreaming. A miserable outcast one minute, Santa’s head reindeer the next!

A life-changing opportunity indeed. But you took it in your stride?

It was nerve-wracking to begin with. It’s a huge responsibility. I was terrified I’d screw up. I imagined children everywhere howling, ‘That’s not what I asked for!’ Smashing Barbie dolls to bits, stamping on Darth Vader. But it all went OK and now I’ve got used to it, I find it much less stressful.

And what advice would you give to other reindeer?

Remember it’s no big deal if they won’t let you play sardines. However hostile the world might seem, one day your fortunes will look up. So don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. And above all, join me now in wishing everyone a


A short while ago, my interviewee, Red Velvet Cake, so impressed me that I just had to try it myself. Unlike Lili’s original, mine wouldn’t win a beauty pageant but everyone agreed it was scrumptious. Putting on the topping reminded me why I never became a plasterer, and nor would I be much use with shop letters. As soon as the C went on, I realised I should have gone for Xmas instead. M complained vigorously in its best Judi Dench accent: ‘Call this a cake? More like the Piccadilly Line at rush hour.’ To which the second S retorted, ‘Consider yourself lucky! What about me, clinging on for dear life?’ In short, everyone got a bit irritable, but in the end the Christmas spirit prevailed, and the main thing is that you get the message, sincerely sent from Red Velvet Cake and me to all of you!


Thursday Interview: Red Velvet Cake

Pomegranate red velvet cake

I must say you look delicious, Red Velvet Cake, it’s a pleasure to have you with me. First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Certainly. My full name, actually, is Pomegranate Red Velvet Cake. I come from Lili’s Cakes, and I’m delighted to have been chosen to represent her site. There was an awful lot of competition.

And what did the selection process involve?

A beauty pageant, basically. I’m not much into them myself – I’m more than just pretty icing. But obviously, looks are important, so we had to parade on the sideboard and look sweet. After a while, it was whittled down to me and Jamaican Ginger Cupcake. She’s so beautiful, I thought I didn’t stand a chance.

So what clinched it for you?

I think the jury was dazzled by the pomegranate seeds. As I said, it’s a bit annoying to be judged on appearances alone, but that’s how it is. They do ask us a few questions, but we don’t get a chance to show them how much we know. You’d be surprised how cultured many cakes are. We absorb so much. Like sponges.

You’ve been described as the Lady Gaga of cakes. What do you think of that?

Well, it’s the other way round, isn’t it? She’s the Red Velvet Cake of singers, or tries to be. Lili says I have “a delightful colour that isn’t too garish, a beautifully satisfying spongy texture and a wonderful combination of tastes with a balance between sweet and salty.” I’ll leave you to reach your own conclusion.

And what can you say about Lili herself?

Oh, she’s a goddess. And I’m not just buttering her up. But to create such delights out of a few basic ingredients – that’s my definition of divinity.

Don’t you get depressed, though? I mean, you were only made to be eaten. You don’t last more than a few days. If you were in my house, I doubt it would even be that.

Well, it’s longer than a milkshake. No sooner shaken than drunk, poor things. Besides, what counts isn’t me, I’m just the outward result. My true identity’s in the recipe. Once you’ve got that, you can have your cake and eat it – you’ve got the DNA to make clones.

That’s wonderful. Our thanks go to Lili for providing it, and of course to you, Red Velvet Cake, for coming along to talk to us. There are many other delicious cakes on Lili’s site, but I must say you take the biscuit.

Oh, I don’t know what to say. You can’t really see because I’m red already, but you’re making me blush. Crumbs!


The Amazing New Cake Diet


Lychee, rose and raspberry meringue nests

I’m amazed that Jamie Oliver and Co. still sell as many cookbooks as they do. Now I’ve nothing against Jamie, who’s likeable, down to earth and does what he can to tackle obesity, but why buy a cookbook when everything you need is online? Enter the name of any recipe or ingredient and up come a million responses. And when it comes to cakes, cookbooks are even more irrelevant because there’s Lili.

There are two reasons why I haven’t yet made any of her cakes. One, we’re in Mayotte, where not only are ingredients hard to come by but our oven’s an absolute nightmare. But that’s temporary. Back in the Metropole, I’ll have no excuse (I’ve been drooling over the strawberry tres leches cake for the past week). Except, of course, my BMI, because how can you add such delights to your diet without it going off the scale?

Well, I’ve thought about this and it so happens there’s a very simple answer. I remember reading once that the great eccentric (and even greater novelist) Evelyn Waugh lived his days backwards for a while – brandy and cigar first thing in the morning, Corn Flakes before bed. Without going that far, I suggest that instead of having Ginger and Mint American Lime Pie at the end of the meal, you put it at the beginning. Because obviously, you’ll still guzzle something like that when you’re already full to bursting, but you wouldn’t feel the same about minestrone, would you? Result? Basically you eat nothing but Lili’s cakes. Sounds like a great diet to me (no kidding – many of Lili’s recipes are healthy).

I offer this dietary advice entirely free, but if anyone wants to turn it into a book, they have my blessing. If you do, you’ll be even richer, I’m sure, than the woman who made a fortune with the book based on her revolutionary diet, Get Thin – Eat Less.