Once upon a time, a Melbourne friend of mine claimed that you could pick a Sydney sider in the crowd. because they try too hard to be stylish. She was referring to the bed hair that took two hours to create, the face plastered in make up and outfit styled and restyled 4-5 times for good measure. She claimed that for a Melbournite, style is simple and not over-analysed.
On my recent southern adventure, while I sat in cafe after cafe, it was only a matter of time before I started comparing fashion to cakes. I asked my friends to contribute to my analogy by suggesting cakes that represent Melbournian style, and much like style itself, everyone has a theory. From the predictable but comforting Hummingbird, the decadent Black Forest, the gluten friendly flourless orange slice (“everyone else has flour, why do we need it??”) and of course, as testament to the Italian community, the tiramisù.
As I pondered all their suggestions and looked in cake fridge after cake fridge, I came to one conclusion. It would HAVE to be a layered cake. Then it came to me in a lightbulb moment.
Melbourne fashion is an apple crumble cheese cake.
We start with the solid biscuit base. This is the foundation – the staples that every Melbournian needs to survive in the unpredictable weather – including a coat, a selection of boots in 50 shades of brown and of course an umbrella.
The delicate cheesecake. This layer is classy, elegant and only wears heels. You see these people walking all over the city, on trams, in cafes restaurants and bars. Is this layer overcooked? Sometimes, but at its core is simplicity – cream cheese, flour, vanilla, eggs and sugar.
The apple layer. For me, this is my least favourite part of the cake. To be honest, I felt like I was living in a Country Road ad, surrounded by a sea of beige, black, denim and knee high boots. It’s boring, predictable and just like tinned apple full of fake sweetness.
The crumble topping. In my crumble, I use oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts, salt, flour and butter. These are the bits and pieces that make up the alternative fringe of society, weird and quirky is embraced. Everything that is old is new again as clothes and styles are cycled and recycled. Without the crumble there would be no cake. Even if you don’t always understand the crumble, you appreciate its importance in the whole scheme of things.
All I know is, this talk of cake is making me hungry!!!