The questions that buzz around my brain are complex but always have good intentions behind them; you could say my blog is my vent for these things. So if you want to skip this tiny thought process, go ahead but for you who would like a bit of night time reading. Proceed.
Not many people would see getting older as something to be proud of or even look forward to. The advancement in age, especially if you are woman, means becoming invisible to the world. Declining in health is inevitable no matter how much you prepare for it; you can try to but it won't work. Society is counting the days to your death where most will be cremated to save space and place in a little jar just like any other ordinary display item. Yes death is an uncomfortable topic.
I admit getting older did scare me as I think about stuff like this.
Did I make use of the many decades?
Could of done something in or improve what I did in those decades?
I am planning a future for myself that will allow me to fulfill my “full Potential”?
Did I pass all the mile stones in life that I should of have passed?”
However what comes with age also comes freedom, wisdom and in my case spontaneity. My fear of getting older (well past the 50 stage) has reduced with age. Getting closer to that number has relaxed me.
I guess I take on a Utilitarian perspective whenever I make a decisions in life. Even though I am still quite young (21 if you call that young), I have never had an impulsive streak. Yep, I have never done anything spontaneous or “stupid” in the moment things. Everything in my life has had SOME though placed behind it even if it as simple as buying groceries from the supermarket.
Now you can understand when I finally have done something I never thought I would do. Once I finished University I expected to go out in to the world, become a health professional and help others. I actually wanted to become an occupational therapist; the idea of helping someone to live a better life by planning makes me happy but unfulfilled. This means the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. Nope not doing that anymore!
For once in my life I am being incredibly selfish, spontaneous even, and taking time to get my skills in commercial patisserie up to industry standards so in hope one day I can fulfill my individual dream of working as one. This is huge change for me as I have been very book smart for many years, also other than my dad; skill based learning has never been a bit part of childhood. The spontaneous risks of taking up a trade used to make me comfortable as I felt it would not benefit enough people if I did baking as a job. Really this was naïve thinking.
I discovered during a day of random thought processing, baking well-made baked good and giving them to people can make them incredibly happy. While it might not be the same benefits as the medical field, it is more about the emotional connections you can tap into when you bake a cake that is just right or recreate their family favorite that has been lost for many years. Chefs always talk about food memories right? So Why can I not help others to reclaim theirs in my job?
Getting old is not always bad as you can see. Other thing about getting old is that you have permission to have nostalgic. I might have forgotten about this candy but it is in every Australian’s childhood at least once.
For Australia day last month I did this cake inspired by the Aussie favorite of the chocolate freckle. For you guys in the northern hemisphere; it is basically a hard plastic looking piece of chocolate covered in sprinkles. Yes it is not the tastiest candy in the world but it was something I look forward to getting in the lolly bag mix. If I eat one now; it is really plain. Seriously sometimes I think I would have better memories of this candy if I left it to my childhood taste buds but back then it was the sweetest and pretties chocolate I have ever seen.
I have been craving chocolate cake lately and on that day I was feeling particularly childish. The base of this 7 layered tower is a chocolate cola cake. This was the first time I have ever come across of such a recipe but for you Americans it is very traditional. Curiosity got the best of me and Duh! I had to make it. Not only for its novelty value but the flavors of coke (lime, cinnamon, star anise and bitters) would make for an instant indulgent paring with chocolate. Also the carbonation in the drink helps to keep is crumb soft and light but without being dry. BIG thumbs up for Australia right now; because this a winner of chocolate cake and I would have no problem with using this again. So thank you!
This cake is covered in a layer of German butter cream. If you have not heard of it; really make some for yourself and you experience a butter cream of unparalleled smoothness and addictiveness. Flavoured with chocolate malted milk (milo), this cake combines all the child hood treats in a cake that is also as “arty” as Andy Warhol. Can you see the big chocolate circles on the top? Yep they are all made by me in a graded pattern (so the big one at the top then trailing down to the little one).
I used 15cm pans for this cake but feel free to use bigger ones if you want. You will just need more cake batter (no problems here with a batter this edible). For the snap of the chocolate you will need to temper it but really it is not necessary; I tempered here but that is because I wanted to eat big circles of sprinkles (happy baker with snappy chocolate). No one is ever too old for chocolate cake especially this one!
Giant chocolate freckle cake
Makes 4 x15 cm pans (double recipe)
Sourced directly from Food republic, originally from Annie Bell's Baking Bible
255g unsalted butter, diced
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
280 self-rising flour, sifted
30g cocoa powder, sifted
300g superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium sauce pan on low, bring the coke to a boil with the butter. One melted together stir in the baking soda, which will fizz, and set aside for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to180C. Grease and line your cake tins.
Combine the flour, cocoa and sugar in a large bowl, add the cola mixture and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. Pour in the flour mixture and beat everything to combine.
Pour the mixture to the prepared pan and tap to even the. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until risen and set and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of the pan and set aside to cool for about 30 minutes. Place a cake stand or plate on top of the pan and invert it, and leave to cool completely.
German milo butter cream
Recipe adapted from Bravetart
230ml whole milk
35g milo powder
1 vanilla bean pods, split and scraped, seeds reserved for another use
20 custard powder
1.5 whole eggs
400g unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
In a medium pot, bring the milk to a simmer along with the vanilla bean pods. Turn off the heat and set aside to steep for at least one hour. Dissolve milo in the sauce pan while still warm.
Strain the milk mixture into another bowl but reserves the vanilla pods. Scrap out the vnilla pods and set the goo aside.. Return the milk to a simmer. Whisk together the sugar, reserved vanilla bean scrapings, custard powder and eggs medium bowl.
Temper the milk in the egg mixture by pouring a steady thin stream of hot milk into the egg mix while whisking. Return the tempered egg/milk mixture back into the pot.Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble sluggishly. From that point, continue whisking and cooking for a full minute more; use a timer or you run the risk of not fully cooking out the cornstarch. When the minute is up, pour the custard into a large mixing bowl.
In a stand mixer, beat it with the mixer paddle until room temp. This will take a while like 25 minutes. Beat it till it is creamy and stable.
Cut you butter into a small dice. Proceeded to add in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Add the salt and continue to whip until the mixture is creamy and homogenous.
Use immediately or refrigerate until needed. When ready to use, whip until creamy before proceeding.
2 recipes of the cola cake
1 recipe of the butter cream
400g dark chocolate
For the tempered giant freckles melt your 1/3 chocolate till it reaches 47C. After dump in the remaining 2/3 and continue string for half an hour until it gets to 26C. Bring it back up to 30C to working stages.
After spread well the chocolate on a baking sheet; before it sets sprinkles the sprinkles on the chocolate. Allow to set. Once set cut out circles in any size. Save remaining scrapes of chocolate for the sides of the cake.
Place your cake on your cake broad. Trim and cut off the domes of the cakes; then divide in half. Fill and crumb ice each cake with German butter cream. Set in fridge for 1 hour. Once cool, press in your chocolate sprinkle circles in a graded order and cover the sides with left over chocolate sprinkle scrapes. Set in the fridge for 2 hours then serve.