This was a bit of a long weekend for me, in that I did so much stuff! Before we go on, let me just give you some context: I have the tendency to be a hermit. People don’t know this, but I’m actually an introvert; I enjoy spending time with myself, doing things I like that everybody else thinks is geeky or weird, getting lost in series of epic fantasy books, baking and blogging about it, not wearing lots of constricting clothes, or going out without planning to go out and getting myself in the mindset for getting tired and meeting people well in advance.
But after my recent reminder of mortality (ie birthday), I had to shake myself and made the decision to just have a friggin life. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my recluse ways, it’s just that other people think I’m depressed or lonely or some such nonsense. So this weekend, I made an effort.
First of all, my dad celebrated his birthday, and while it doesn’t involve going “out” out, we did have a nice dinner, for which every member of the family made an attempt to dress up and get spiffy. He’s incredibly shy about being celebrated, however, so in the picture above you’ll see him pretending that it’s my sister’s birthday.
|Crazy good cheese & lemon tarts, Forty Licks ice cream, and Poached Pears in Red Wine popsicles (say whuuut?)|
Then there was the Food Bites bazaar on Saturday, where I ran into quite a few old friends and acquaintances (one even remarked that he hasn’t seen me in 2 years, and that he thought I’d left town again) and tried lots of good food. My friend had also set up a stall selling his Forty Licks ice cream, which was the main reason I had gone to the bazaar. Then I just stayed for the food, music and booze lol.
|Alena and I catching some sun, my favourite girls, and my favourite boys x|
|My best friend, Jessica, and my cousin, Azie, with our Deer Society slushies at the Food Bites bazaar|
And on Sunday night, my friend Alena and I decided to make pear and gorgonzola pizza! It was a bit of a disaster (note to self: read a recipe before attempting pizza dough), but we had so much fun doing it and have made grand plans to try making ravioli/jambalaya next weekend. I would share a pizza recipe with you, but that will have to wait until I’ve figured it out LOL.
|Makeshift rolling pin, first taste of our pizza, Alena doing the honours|
However, I do have a really good recipe that I am more than happy to share with you right now. It’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe, given to me by my baking guru, Aunty Rosa. It’s the cake she used to make for my birthdays when I was growing up, and it has always been my benchmark for chocolate cake. I did make some tiny tweaks to it to suit my tastes, but for this cake order from a friend of mine, I made it just the way she did.
Here it is, a two tier chocolate and butter cake with chocolate and vanilla buttercream, inspired by Amanda’s Neapolitan Rose cake. My buttercream was giving me issues though, which seems to always happen whenever it matters. Murphy’s law applies.
It has been so long since I’ve piped anything that it took me ages to get a hang of it again. I probably went through a good quarter of the buttercream just trying to get the pressure right. I definitely need to get back into it, just keep practicing even though I’m not a big fan of frosting on my own cakes. Mini cakes it is then!
The cake order was for a friend’s parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, as well as for her own birthday (the top tier is for her lol). I really do hope that the flavour was okay, and that they enjoyed the cake. It’s always really daunting to make cakes for orders cos you never know how it’s going to turn out.
- 175g butter, softened
- 250 g dark soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g cocoa powder
- 250g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 100ml yoghurt/sour cream
Preheat the oven to 180C, line a 9″ baking tin, or 2 8″ baking tins, and mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into pan and bake for 35 – 45 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm with a drizzle of dark chocolate ganache 😀
I usually whip up some simple chocolate icing to pour over this chocolate cake, but for the purposes of these chocolate roses, I used the same chocolate buttercream recipe that Amanda used for her cake. Next time I make this chocolate cake as I usually do, I’ll be sure to snap some pretty pictures and post my favourite dark chocolate ganache recipe.
Lots of love!