I can’t believe it has been weeks since I was here. It’s because I have been sitting on my couch, with my thinking hat on.
To think about life and my place in it is not a new thing for me. I have questioned my existence for as long as I can remember. But several years ago, seven to be exact, it went into hyper drive. Was it an early advent of middle age or was it the realization of true love? That I will never know. I would like to believe that it was both. I’ve always been far older in thought than my peers yet the dearest person in my life would say I never matured further than 15. Both are true I’m afraid. I treasure greatly the idea of my self declared multi faceted personality. I am hardly concerned with others discovering me, apart from the one that I hold closest to my heart. Self discovery keeps me plenty busy. My older readers will surely understand this.
I come from a country that imposes every possible social conditioning onto the female gender. I have always been determined to break them all. It proved harder than I thought. It is so deeply ingrained in my rebellious body. How insidiously it entered my brain. But I live every day in the hope of crushing those voices in my head telling me to judge a situation by what someone decided was right or wrong. In essence there is no such thing. There is no such thing as a blanket or generalized right or wrong. And, let me point out, I exist because of my principles. I exist because of the rights and wrongs I created for myself. And, I believed I created them myself. But its not true. Any which way I look at it I was not the creator of my own values. That’s a hard blow. One I am reeling from.
It happened when my best friend asked me why I keep some principles alive. What do they bring you, he asked? Keep the ones that keep you happy and re-evaluate the ones that bring you only pain. Because isn’t living all about making ourselves better versions of ourselves? Versions that we are happy with? That can only come with constantly looking into the mirror and perhaps often having to say, “hey, I think I went wrong there for myself” For myself, because no one else matters. THAT is progress.
In the end I’m a mortal and one day this will all end. I wonder how many of those useless principles I continue to hang on to will make my journey pleasurable. Love is the only thing, as cliched and as stupid and mushy as it may sound… love is the only thing that gets us through. Love not principles. By no means is it a cake walk, that today I say “hey stupid principle, go bite the dust” and miraculously tomorrow I wake up skipping. Quite the opposite. Its a deep struggle with myself which results in me slowly scraping out the true version of me.
As I combat this deep seated malaise, and this reorganizing and reinventing of my being, it is important not to sink into myself. Easier said than done. Cooking not only saves me from sitting on my couch for weeks on end not noticing the world go around me but it is an important part of my self discovery.
This cake, the Lamington Cake, is an Australian delight. It is usually served as square sponge cake bites, drowned in melted chocolate and then rolled around in coconut. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? I can’t resist anything with coconut in it anyway! I decided to make a cake out of it. Three layers of sponge cake. Each layers soaked in a different sort of sweetness and then covered with toasted coconut deliciousness. This is an extremely easy cake, laborious for me since I don’t own a kitchen machine but if you have one, this is as easy as it gets.
- For the Sponge Cake
- 320 grams fine sugar
- 320 grams self rising flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 6 eggs
- 150 ml milk
- 220 grams butter
- 3 cups toasted shredded coconut (for decorating)
- Chocolate Sauce
- 200 grams icing sugar
- 50 grams cocoa
- 35 grams water
- 50 grams butter
- 50 grams heavy cream
- 1 tsp coffee
- Pink Sauce
- 200 grams icing sugar
- 35 grams water
- pink food coloring
- White Chocolate Sauce
- 200 grams white chocolate
- 100 grams heavy cream
- For the sponge cakes. Preheat your oven to 170°C/350°F. Butter and flour 3 cake tins. I used 7" round tins.
- Over a pot of slightly simmering water, heat the sugar and the eggs in a double boiler until they are hot to the touch. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk for around 25 minutes on a medium/high speed until the egg mix is pale, fluffy and can hold a peak. If you have a kitchen aid this will take roughly 8-10 minutes. While you are whisking, heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat until the butter starts to turn a toasty brown. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside.
- Gently scrape the egg mix into a wide, large mixing bowl. Sift over half the flour/salt mix and gently fold in with a spatula. Fold in the remaining sifted flour until it has been fully incorporated. Slowly pour in the warm melted butter mix and fold in. Lastly add the milk.
- Scrape and divide the mix into the prepared tins and smooth the tops a little.
- Bake until lightly bouncy in the center and golden brown about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.
- Cool completely.
- Once cool, trim the tops so you get and set aside.
- To prepare the chocolate sauce, stir the icing mix and cocoa together in a bowl. Heat the water, butter and cream until boiling and pour into the bowl. Whisk well to make a smooth icing. Set aside.
- To prepare the pink sauce, mix the icing sugar with the water. Whisk well to make a smooth icing.
- Add the colouring.
- Mix again and set aside.
- To prepare the white chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate and cream in a double boiler. Whisk and mix till a smooth icing forms. Set aside.
- To put the cake together, dip each layer of cake in each of the sauces. You can set the layer on a wire cooling rack and just pour on the sauce and then flip the layer to cover the other side. Once you have the layer fully covered, dab the coconut on generously.
- I put the chocolate layer on the bottom, the pink layer in the middle and finally the white chocolate dipped layer on the top. Stack them on however you like though. I also used some extra large coconut chunks on the top. You can skip this if you like. Let sit for a while and then cut your slice and go to heaven!