Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Waiting for that chocolate cake to cook

We're waiting. Waiting for my mother to arrive and pick up the kids, to whisk them away for half-term. I hate waiting. It's that in-between limbo that does it.

The kids blatantly feel it too. They are, in our household lingo, "faffing". Unable to concentrate on doodling, construction bricks, tea parties. Forever looking out of the window to see if that car's arrived.

Much as I feel I should take a feather out of the Buddhist cap and remember to be 'present' in every moment, living 'consciously', waiting moments are, basically, wasted on me. Waiting at the airport, waiting for a 'phone call, waiting for the line to clear when it's engaged (my pet hate. I'm so impatient, I've been known to repeat dial an embarassing amount of times. Ok. About 25?). But, add up all those wasted, waiting, foot-tapping, nervous-tic creating, impatient, nervous energy-consuming moments in one's life and you'd probably get a nice long holiday out of the sum of it all! So, should we really be wasting the seconds and minutes of our waking lives, or getting on and doing something productive to while away the time? (as we get older by the for thought!) And, a watched pot never boils.... as me old Pa likes to say.

Having children has helped to 'productivise' (invented a word there?) what would otherwise be written-off moments for me: story books read in airport-waiting-lounges right up 'till that last moment, 'I spy' at the dentist, that sort of thing. (Although many husbands, dare I say it, seem not to have this dilemma of free and discarded minutes - the ubiquitous 'crackberry' device has helped to put a stop to idling away the time. Scrolling away time instead - even marriages instead!)

So, today I grabbed my conscience in both hands, and decided to use my waiting time productively. I whipped up my household's fave chocolate cake: admittedly the kids'll miss eating this one, but it'll be plenty excusable, I reckon, for a woman burning up calories stripping walls and re-painting furniture! It's my husband's favourite, too, and indispensable to finish up the easter-egg hoard in my spare fridge(325g of chocolate per cake and anything else you'd like to throw in - leftover turkish delight, anyone? -worked a dream, actually, added gooey bits!). After Easter, I send Hubby to work with a large slice every day (he then wonders where the 'love handles' came from, but, my, he does have a mid-afternoon pick-me-up!)

So, this one's dedicated to the concept of slow living the moment with "consciousness", to banishing the trickle of wasted seconds lived in impatience and boredom. Taste it like you mean it!!!

"RELUCTANTLY FRUSTRATED STAY-AT-HOME MUM'S SERIOUSLY CHOCOLATEY CAKE" (promise you'll be blown away...not too sickly and as light as a feather.)

Serves: 8 (or 1 doing D-I-Y!!)
Cooking time: officially 45 minutes (but can take 15 or even 20 minutes longer). When a skewer inserted comes out clean, it's cooked. So test it, blasting up the oven to max as you open it to prevent the in-rush of cool air collapsing the thing like a burst balloon.

225g to 325g chocolate, broken into pieces (former is official recipe, latter is my tweak to finish off the stuff accumulated in the sweetie drawer: makes no difference to the recipe in my experience).

225ml milk, you can add an extra splash if you're putting in more choc and see the need...
150g butter, softened
300g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
1tbsp golden syrup
225g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1) Preheat the overn to 180c/350F/Gas mark 4. Melt the chocolate and milk together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (bain marie. Or 'Ban Mary' as my husband calls it. I said: "You Philistine!...who's Mary?!") Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and set aside. Try not to finish the whole bowl by tasting for: temperature/consistency/taste/because it looks yummy.

2) Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy (never quite understood when fluffy was, but pale and lack of discernable crystals does it for me). Use an electric beater unless you are sexually (or otherwise) frustrated and need to beat the hell out of the mix with a wooden spoon (no, not me. I use the electric gadget. For the cake, that is. Sorry!) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the golden syrup. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb into the bowl, and combine. Gradually stir in the chocolate mixture.

3) Grease and line the base of a 900g loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment (official recipe - I use whatever I can get my hands on in the melee of my cupboards, normal round non-stick cake tin also fine.) Note however that the parchment (grease-proof paper, folks) is a good idea, for this cake is a vision of light and airy - and would suffer being prodded and pushed out of a tin.
Spoon in the mixture (it might seem runnier than usual stodgy mixes, don't worry) and bake to 40 minutes or so, OR until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean (my cakes are unpredicable. Up to 1 hr 15 has been known. Just make sure the skewer comes out greasy but clean to check it's done, right in the middle.)

4) Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool - if you can wait that long. I don't...

Enjoy every mouthful, folks, and by the way. The being conscious-of-the-moment thing? It's also a very good way to lose weight. Live it like you mean it and eat it like you mean it!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the recipe. I will definitely give is a try this weekend.