Sunday, 15 May 2011

Are we talking about me yet?

Have you noticed how some people always manage to twist every conversation back to their own favourite topics?  
At a friend’s birthday party a woman asked me: ” So, do you have any children? ” I said no, and judging by the look on her face I might as well have been speaking Greek. She got this blank look on her face, like she was starring at a very confusing modern painting. Finally she made a weird coughing sound and said “Excuse me.”  Next thing I know she is eagerly talking to a mutual friend, a very pregnant friend, about sibling rivalry, the challenges of travelling with small children, and how it’s important to carve out time for yourself and take care of you at least once a month. Clearly I couldn’t be trusted to participate in this ravishing conversation, childless as I was. And talking about something else was obviously out of the question.

Bob, Cooper and Lynch
Another time this phenomena came up, was when I was introduced to a man who bore a striking resemblance to Bob. Remember Bob, from Twin Peaks? Anyone growing up in the 80’s will know who I’m talking about. Uncombed, long grey hair, dressed in denim, lurking behind the living-room furniture with that haunting look on his face. I’m still carrying a lot of anxiety from having been exposed to Bob, so you can imagine my shock when I saw this man before me. He had lived in Asia for decades and was therefore blissfully unaware of his evil twin brother. I think he confused my disbelief/curiosity with adoration, because regardless of what we were doing or talking about, he always managed to bring some sexual innuendo to the table. When I was drinking a cup of hot milk I was met with an approving nod towards the milk and the comment: “Warm, sweet and nice, just as a little boy”. When we visited the local museum, it was mainly the exhibition of ancient armors adorned with steel penises that held his interest. One evening, when he was in the more philosophical corner, he asked the following question: “What has given you more pleasure in life, food or men?”

See, that is what I should have asked the woman who could only talk about children! It would never have worked though, too blunt, too direct. There is clearly no right answer, but regardless what you say you will come off sounding kind of weird. If your answer is food, what does that tell you about your interactions with the male population? If you answer men, it makes you sound like a pervert. I will easily choose a French baguette with cream cheese and blueberry jam over most men. In a weaker moment I know it I'm willing to give up chocolate just to get a glimpse of a certain someone without his shirt on. It’s hard to say. I think I will let Winnie the Pooh answer the question for me: “Both, please”

On that note, why don’t you surprise your special someone with a scrumptious chocolate marble cake? Or make it for yourself. Regardless on where you stand on the topic of food and men, you can never go wrong with chocolate.

 Marbled Chocolate Cake

This cake can be perceived as rather boring. There is no frosting, no filling, no decorating required at all. Yet, it’s the simplicity and effortlessness of this cake that makes it such a winner. And if you are still stumbling into the world of baking, still not sure of your cooking skills, this cake is a good place to start.

You need the following:

150g soft butter
150g fine caster sugar
3 eggs
1dl milk
200g flour
50g almond flour (if you don’t have almond flour, just use regular flour instead)
1,5 teaspoon baking powder
0,5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar

In a separate bowl:
2 tablespoons pure cocoa
2 tablespoons muscova sugar (this is the dark kind, but regular white sugar will also do)
½ dl milk

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, celsius. (In order for the baking powder to have it’s full effect on the rising process, your cake needs a warm oven.)

Cream together butter and sugar, then add one egg at a time, then vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder. Add one third of the dry mix to the creamy mixture, then add some of the milk. Keep alternating between adding the dry stuff and the milk. Don’t go crazy with the mixing, but make sure it’s all blended together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, cocoa and milk. Add one third of the light batter to this dark paste. Both batters should now be of the same consistency.

Grease a 1,5 l baking pan and pour in half of the light batter into it. Then pour the dark batter in, and pour the rest of the light batter on top of that again. In order to create the marble effect, drag a spoon through all the layers. 

Put the pan in the over and bake for about 55 minutes. After 25 minutes rotate the pan, and after 45 minutes insert a toothpick into the cake. If it comes out clean, take the cake out. If it comes out with runny batter on it, leave the cake in the oven a little longer. It’s always good to check on your cake while baking and not blindly trust the given baking time. All ovens are different, and it also depends on the shape of your pan.

When done baking, take the cake out of the oven and place it on a cooling rack. After 10-15 minutes you can remove the cake from the pan and your marble treat is ready to eat.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Bob character in Twin Peaks wasn't in the original  script? While filming a scene, Mr Lynch saw one of his sound technicians crawling on the floor. He thought it was the most frightening thing he has ever seen, and that is how Bob made it into the series. But enough about Bob, enjoy your cake. 

 PS: I can highly recommend getting a silicon cake pan. Mine is in a shape of a sand caste, and it's really fun to peel the pan off the cake when it's done baking. Just something extra, something different. 


1 comment:

  1. I love making marble cake, my recipe is very different to yours though. I will give yours a go and see how it comes out. for birthday's or giving to friends I like to use the chocolate part to make a letter through the cake, i've tried writing a whole name, not always legible when it rises in the middle though.