Cake or Death 3: Raspberry & Almond Teabread vs The Doomsday Machine

It was another weekend, and so it’s now another chance to choose between cake, or death!

This latest episode of knife edge decision making has been somewhat delayed by my failure to remember to bring both the book of doomsday and this week’s recipe with me to visit Rosie in Wales.

The Cake


Raspberry & Almond Teabread, by Trish Messom of The Stuffed Olive in Bantry, from the Cookbook of the same name (photography advice from Rosie).

This cake, although it’s called* a teabread, is superficially similar to a pound cake, but with more flour and less butter and hence, well, a bit more bready. But it’s really nice!

I used tinned raspberries, rather than fresh, and since the kitchen was really cold, and the batter stiff, this meant there was little chance of the raspberries remaining cohesive, and they instead became smeared tastily throughout the cake, rather than becoming discrete raspberry chunks within the almondy substrate of the rest of the cake. I’m sure this would make a difference to the experience of eating this cake/teabread, but…

Don’t forget your tea. Or hot chocolate. There is something about this teabread that demands that it is accompanied by some hot beverage, and I don’t think that was just a matter of the cold kitchen it was baked in.

The Death

The Doomsday Machine

Ever seen Dr Strangelove? That’s the premise of of this Doomsday. Only the Russians really did build it and really didn’t tell anyone about it.

The thought process proceeds thus. Nuclear weapons (see next week – why does this book seem to be written backwards?), massively destructive, have them because the other guys have them, have enough of them to destroy the world so that the other guys won’t use theirs. But.. have to keep them under control, so require codes to fire them.

However, this then makes it sort of possible for the other side to win a nuclear war – if they can knock out all of your command and control then you can’t send the codes to your nukes, and you lose. Turns out the Soviets were paranoid enough to think of a way round this, involving a bunch of “command missiles” that would be shot up to send codes out to all their nuclear weapons if a nuclear attack was detected, and the link to command and control was down, presumed destroyed. Something like that. There seemed to be another bunker involved with a bunch of very bored junior officers, but I didn’t find that bit very reassuring.

Are we scared yet?

Pretty much, yes. Setting up an elaborate security mechanism so that only authorised people can fire your nuclear weapons of mass destruction is a very sensible idea – one of very few when it comes to nuclear weapons. And the Soviets decided it had to be circumvented lest it prevented them from firing their nukes in retaliation. Oh dear.

Cake or Death – what is your choice?

* I did consider baking a tart this week, but it’s not a cake! they cried. For the avoidance of doubt, for the purposes of choosing between cake and death, all tortes, puddings, tarts, muffins, scones, cookies, biscuits (and teabreads) count as cake. You’re hardly going to confuse any of them for death now, are you?


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