Is there anything more blissful to a girl than a big, fat, slab of gooey chocolate cake? Now I confess that I do love a good hearty pizza and even enjoy tucking into a great big bowl of fresh salad (hold the dressing – if I’m eating salad I don’t want to consume more calories than a Big Mac as it is extremely likely that I am only eating it to justify a highly calorific dessert) but when the chips are down is there anything other than chocolate cake that really hits that spot?
There are huge numbers of wonderful varieties of cake in all shapes, sizes and flavours as any wedding guest will attest. I am not a cake snob but each cake has its very own special place.
A delightful lemon drizzle cake is perfect for a warm summer’s day with a glass of something cold and bubbly (alcohol to be added at the holders discretion) or as a lightweight addition to afternoon tea. A flapjack is great lunchbox or mountain climbing food: hearty oatey goodness masquerading as something you could have eaten for breakfast. A true chocolate brownie can be a real stunner but best saved as dessert accompanied by Bailey’s cream. The humble muffin is great in all varieties (try Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Morning Muffins – stuffed with cranberries they are the perfect start to the Christmas fun) but for me the muffin remains firmly in the “morning slot” and shalt not be consumed after 12pm.
A good chunk of coffee and walnut cake is perfect for a wintry day with a steaming mug of hot tea to accompany it, especially if the cake is layered with a gooey coffee-flavoured centre and rich creamy icing to top it all off. And a millionaire shortbread or rocky road is great quick snack food on the train/bus/car on the way when one doesn’t have time to stop and refuel properly (as we all know we should – nutrition may follow as a future post…and then again…) And fruit cake is best saved for birthdays, Christmas and weddings – and served packed with rich fruits.
But there are days when it feels that the world has come crashing down around you. The sort of day where every single thing you try to do goes wrong. When you end up convinced that if you had only got out of bed on the other side all would have been well. It may be any day, in any season but come what may these days will creep up and pounce on you. On those days is there really anything that can temporarily lift the fog of frustration better than a good slab of chocolate cake?
Chocolates in a box or in a bar are great but not anywhere close to being as satisfying as sinking your teeth into the gloriously soft texture of a moist chocolate sponge. For starters after about 8-10 mouthfuls of chocolates from a box most of us start feeling a little sick and the fun ends; with chocolate cake you can always go back for another slice and each slice is worthy of several mouthfuls. Then think of the layers and varieties of inner fillings and toppings you can have on a chocolate cake – endless varieties: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, dark chocolate cream, milk chocolate cream, white chocolate cream, caramel cream, caramel, mint chocolate cream, cream, marshmallow, solid chocolate (for the topping)…..oh how I could go on!
A chocolate cake is also genuinely more than just pure sugar. Not only does a chocolate cake include some of the same ingredients as bread (a staple food), but chocolate cake can even include vegetables! And I am not just thinking about how many cocoa beans you need to make one of your 5-a-day. Oh no, you see you can put beetroot in chocolate cake and it makes it even more moist and delicious. Of course it is best to keep the proportions right or you end up with a rather sloppy, purple blob looking more like an overgrown blueberry. That would not be big and certainly not clever however delicious the result.
But the wonders do not end there. Although hugely significant the joy of chocolate cake is not just in the eating. Chocolate cake looks so irresistably perfect and untouched – just begging to be cut open so its true beauty can be revealed. And once the final piece has been delicately placed in the mouth (or stuffed in with great effort to avoiding wasting crumbs falling waywardly to the floor/desk/plate/table) there is still the wonderful joy of licking your fingers of all the glorious topping/filling that will have jumped up off the cake and smudged itself everywhere. Think of a child with their first chocolate ice cream and you have the idea.
The closest thing we may ever have to heaven on earth is sinking our teeth into a great big chunk of the softest, lightest and richest chocolate cake. If you see one unattended, don’t touch – I can guarantee that somewhere there is a girl with her eye on it. If you do approach I don’t want to be near enough to witness the fall out.
Must go – cake is calling.