Have you ever made a cake yourself? Do you like cakes? Did you like cakes when you were a child? Do you eat cakes or other sweet things after a meal?
  • Mayhem (noun) - a situation in which there is little or no order or control.
  • To ensue (verb) - to happen after something else, especially as a result of it.
  • To turn out (phrasal verb) - to happen in a particular way or to have a particular result, especially an unexpected one.
  • Every now and then (phrase) - sometimes but not often.
  • Gut bacteria (noun) - bacteria that live within your gut.
  • Bloated (adj.) - swollen and rounded because of containing too much air, liquid, or food.
  • To abstain (verb) - to not do something, especially something enjoyable that you think might be bad.
  • Impulse control (noun) - the ability to resist an impulse, desire, or temptation and to regulate its translation into action.
  • Bland (adj.) - not having a strong taste or character or not showing any interest or energy.
  • Flapjack (noun) - a type of sweet, chewy cake made from oats.
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Questions and Answers
M: Have you ever made a cake yourself?

R: Oh, not in about I think 20 years. And even then I had help from my parents. I think the closest thing I've come to making in terms of something like a cake was syrniki. And that's like a Russian cheese dessert, I suppose. But nothing like a cake. I'm absolutely useless at baking. I hate to think of the kind of mayhem that would ensue if I tried baking a cake in the kitchen. Even my syrniki turned out burned. And that's a very simple recipe.

M: Do you like cakes?

R: Every now and then, yeah. But I don't eat them terribly often. Because my gut bacteria don't respond very well to that much sugar in me and I get all bloated and feel ill. But it's nice to have something sweet every now and then. And then abstain for another three months.

M: Did you like cakes when you were a child?

R: Yeah, a bit too much probably. I remember my grandmother would give us cakes almost every time we went to visit. I liked the icing in particular, which is basically just pure sugar. And that is not good if you had... Or if you're a child with poor impulse control, which I definitely was.

M: Do you eat cakes or other sweet things after a meal?

R: Well, as you might have guessed by now, not really. No. I think the closest thing is the bland protein аlapjack I have every day. Although I'm fine with that because I think it makes me appreciate the rare sweet things when I do have them. So it's not so bad.
M: Right, dear listener, so we can make a cake, we can bake a cake. We can have a cake, we can eat a cake. Yum, yum, yum. We can have a homemade cake. Okay? For example. Or a slice of cake. A slice. A piece of cake, a slice of cake. Rory told us that he is useless at making cakes. I'm useless at baking cakes.

R: I am.

M: Useless. I'm not good.

R: I can't bake. I mean, I could do it for myself. But if I baked for other people, I would be so worried I would poison them. So I just don't do this.

M: So I'm not good at making cakes. I'm useless at baking cakes. When I do this, a cake turns out to be burnt. So my cakes turned out to be burnt. Turn out? They kind of, they happen.

R: Well, my syrniki turned out burned. My cakes... I don't even want to imagine what that would be like. I've not made one in a very long time. So God only knows what would happen.

M: You can say that once I was making a cake. A cheesecake. Once Rory was making syrniki. Syrniki is, well, they call it like Russian curd cheese pancakes. It's not a dessert.

R: It's not? Oh, I thought it was. I'm sorry.

M: No, it's not a desert.

R: It just goes to show you, don't have to be factually correct when you're giving an answer to an IELTS question. You just have to make sure that you use the appropriate vocabulary. And if not, then I did say it's kind of like or it's a kind o. So it's not exactly what I said.

M: Mayhem is a very good word. So every time I try to bake something, there is mayhem or I create mayhem.

R: Yes, so mayhem is like, well, it's similar to chaos, or just a really unregulated and disorderly situation, which is exactly what would be the case if I did some baking because I don't have a clue what to do. Even if I followed the recipe book, it would just be a mess.

M: Do some baking, okay? I did some baking when I was a child, for example. I sometimes have cakes. Rory, what did you say? You didn't say sometimes, but you said something else.

R: What did I say? Oh, yeah. Every now and then.

M: Every now and then. Like, do you have cakes? Every now and then. Like sometimes, not often, not always. Sometimes. If you don't, then you can speak about your gut bacteria. Gut... it's like inside your stomach. No, inside your belly, you have guts here. And Rory has some bacteria in his guts. And his bacteria don't respond well to sugar. To cakes. And Rory gets all bloated. So when you get bloated, you...

R: You feel an expansion of your stomach. It's not very pleasant. It's not a nice feeling.

M: Yeah, so kind of like... Like a balloon. I usually get bloated and ill after I eat a cake.

R: Anything with sugar.
M: And then Rory has to abstain for three months or abstain from sugar for a year.

R: I might be exaggerating slightly there.

M: When you abstain from something what do you do?

R: You just don't do it or don't have it for a period of time. So usually I don't eat that much sugar, maybe not terribly often. I said once every three months, but that was just kind of a joke. It's probably maybe once every two weeks or so. It's not often. You could say it's once in a blue moon.

M: When you abstain from something you don't do something enjoyable. Okay? So I have to abstain from sugar. Because I love sugar. I have to abstain from coffee or from smoking. All right? From alcohol. Usually from these kinds of things. Which we enjoy. Can you abstain from English?

R: You can but only if you... I mean, you'd have to lock yourself in a dark room because the English is everywhere now, isn't it?

M: Dear listener, here you can show off your vocabulary about cakes. I usually eat New York cheesecake chocolate cake or carrot cake. Carrot cake with walnuts. Walnuts? Like kind of types of nuts. Or I prefer cupcakes, like little cakes. Cupcakes. Or I prefer gluten-free cakes. Gluten-free. Or vegan cakes. You can also say like apple and strawberry crumble. Crumble is a kind of a type of cake. Yum, yum, yum. Like a vegan banana cake. Like, choose two types of cakes, which are kind of nice. Like strawberry crumble. You see? Like nice vocabulary. Also, Rory, did you know the recent trends in the cake industry?

R: No. Who follows this?

M: Well, you should. Okay?

R: In addition to everything else that you're doing, like getting ready for IELTS, you should also follow the cake industry.

M: Well, you speak about cakes in the what? In the 22nd century? 21st century now? So, dear listener, I'm gonna tell you now, I've researched. Now shaped cakes are really popular. Shaped? You can get a cake with any shape you want. Okay? So, for example, a dinosaur cake. A cake with the shape of a dinosaur. Or like, they are called dimensional sculpted cakes. 3d cakes. 3d, dear listener. Okay? For example, a cake in the shape of a freaking Titanic.

R: Who has the time and money for this?

M: No people do that. Believe me. There are many companies now. So it's Rory's birthday. What kind of cake are we gonna give to Rory for his birthday?

R: A regular cake, please. I don't want anything like the Titanic.
M: A cake in the shape of a Scottish flag. A kilt cake. A cake in the shape of a kilt. Or a bagpipe. So dear listener, there are all kinds of designs. So please, if you want to be interesting, mention this in the test when they ask you about cakes. So there are three-dimensional 3d cakes. Sculpted cakes. You can get a cake in the shape of anything. I would love to have a cake in the shape of a football or a cheeseburger. Also, dear listener, they put edible photographs on cakes. For example, a photo of me and a photo of Rory on your cake. And you can yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. You can eat those photos, dear listener. So they print your photo with edible colours. Edible colours. On edible paper. Edible? You can eat it. Yum, yum, yum.

R: Can we try and use that in one of the questions then? Go on, ask me.

M: Alright, Rory. So, do you often eat cakes?

R: Ah, no, I think the last time I had a cake was... Oh, it must have been at my birthday party. And on that we... On the icing, there was a photo printed on it with edible ink so we could eat the photo.

M: There you go. You see? Much more interesting. You're in the trend. Our podcast gives you the recent trends in cakes and sunglasses. Well, pretty much shoes, and hair. Anything you want. When I was a child, I ate cake a bit too much.

R: Yes.

M: Too much cake, dear listener. So, Rory, tell us, can I use cake without an article?

R: Yeah, it's uncountable.

M: Cake. Okay? Like love. I need love. I need cake in my life. Like in general. Cake. What is the icing?

R: It's usually the sugary covering on top of the sponge, is how I am going to describe it. There's probably some baker somewhere going... Or having a nervous breakdown. Because I've just given the wrong description, but it's the closest thing I can think of.

M: Yeah, so if you have your cake, something like on top. You know? Of different colours. So it's like an icing. An icing? Or just icing?

R: Just icing or the icing.

M: The icing. Yeah, not an icing. No, it's just icing, or the icing on a cake.

R: It's an idiom as well. The icing on the cake is something positive in a situation that's already good. So a cake is good. But icing, because it's got sugar in it, and it tastes nice is something that makes it even better.
M: Could you give us an example with this idiom?

R: The podcast is good. But the icing on the cake is you can take classes with me if you look at the link in the description below. Self-promotion.

M: Super grammar for you, dear listener, is to use "would" about the past. So the examiner asks you did you eat cakes when you were a child? Past. So you can say I used to eat cakes in the past. A regular action in the past. Or my grandmother would give me cakes. Would give me cakes? It means my grandma gave me cakes when I was a child. All right? So this is super advanced. Or my parents would give me a lot of sweets, okay? Or cakes, and I ate them. As a child, Rory had poor impulse control.

R: Well, most children have poor impulse control, don't they?

M: You can't control yourself. So you just keep eating. Keep eating things in an uncontrollable way. I had poor impulse control. After a meal? After dinner, breakfast, and lunch you can have some sweets. And Rory told us that he usually has a bland protein flapjack. What?

R: It's not a cake. It is something that people eat. It's made with oats compressed like that. This one's got a bit of chocolate on the top, but it's dark chocolate. It's bland so it's not got much flavour to it or not as much as a cake I would say.

M: Yeah, dear listener, so you can mention all different kinds of sweet things. Like protein bars, muffins, brownies, cookies, and fruit tarts. Tarts? Like little thingies. And they have fruit on top. Pies. Okay? Like protein muesli bars, dear listener. And all like different, you know, like sweets, like chocolate. And a nice thing to say is, as you might have guessed by now. So the examiner asks you a question and then you go like, as you might have guessed by now, dear examiner.

R: Yeah. It's just another way of saying, I'm just going to give you a very similar answer to everything I've given you before. Because I don't do much baking, and I'm not very good at it.

M: Could you say it again? Like naturally with your beautiful Scottish accent?

R: As you might have guessed by now, not regularly.

M: Dear listener, could you tell us what kind of cake would you like to have? Could you write it down in the comments? Let's go wild and crazy. I would like a cake in the shape of a dragon.

R: I'm going to go and have my flapjack now to make me feel better. Bye!

M: Bye!
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