On growing up and chocolate cake

27 Jul

This time four years ago, I was sort of, possibly, in labour.  Within a couple of hours, my youngest child had slithered into the world.  Just minutes after his speedy arrival, I felt complete, that our family was complete.  I believe that his lovely birth and his smiley, sunny personality have helped make me into the mother I am today.  Helped me to recapture my pre-children calmness, and to realise that parenting needn’t always be hard, that it’s OK to let stuff wash over me, OK to have fun.  He was loved instantly by his older siblings, he makes us laugh, he’s cheeky, he is sweet and loving.  Of course he can also be whiny and annoying, and he shouts really, really, loudly, but our family wouldn’t be the same without him.  I like being a family of five.

When he was a baby, four years old seemed grown up.  Four years old was our benchmark for when life would change.  We decided to go travelling when he was four years old because it seemed like a sensible age.  We wouldn’t need nappies, buggies, cots.  He’d be able to walk reasonable distances, wouldn’t run off into a crowd, would be able to tell us what was wrong if he was ill.  Most importantly, as a four year old, we hoped he’d get something from the experience.

So it is with very mixed feelings that we celebrate his fourth birthday today.  Sad because we no longer have babies and toddlers, a huge, important stage of our life is over.  Happy because we are entering a new and exicting stage.  Because Dickon being four, means that our trip is rapidly approaching.

When asked what kind of cake he wanted, Dickon first said a dinosaur cake.  A few days ago he changed his mind to a pirate cake.  We settled for a pirate dinosaur.  Covering our bases.

This recipe is for our family birthday cake.  I make it at least three times a year because it is quite simply the best chocolate cake in the world.  Roaring loudly when you eat it is optional.

3oz plain chocolate
7floz milk
9oz dark muscovado sugar
3oz butter softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
5 oz flour
1 oz cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Set the oven to 350 F or Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line two 8 inch sandwich tins (or one dinosaur tin).  Put the chocolate, milk and 3oz of the sugar into a pan, heat gently to melt, then allow to cool.  Cream the butter and remaining sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the eggs, vanilla essence and milk mixture.  Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb and gently fold in, incorporating as much air as possible.  Put into the tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Turn out and cool.

Meanwhile, beat together 4oz of butter and 7oz of golden icing sugar in a bowl. Melt 4oz plain chocolate and mix with a tablespoon of milk. Add the choclate the butter and sugar and use to sandwich the cakes together. Coat the top and sides of the cake with the remainder.

This post was written for English Mum’s Big Bake Off.  If I win, I’ll get lots and lots of Green and Blacks chocolate.  To make more cake.


6 Responses to “On growing up and chocolate cake”

  1. Cathy @ NurtureStore 27/07/2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Happy birthday Dickon! A great post and a lovely tribute to your birthday boy. And a fab cake!

  2. English Mum 27/07/2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Fantastic. Happy birthday little dude. And good luck, Mum! xx

  3. christinemosler 27/07/2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Happy Happy Happy Birthday to you and to him! 4 year olds are very special people. I love that cake, it’s so piratey dinosaury. xxx

  4. Gappy 27/07/2010 at 11:01 pm #

    My youngest will be four soon too. It does feel a little bit like the end of an era doesn’t it. Hope your little one had a lovely day. x

  5. eggscreamandhoney 29/07/2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Brilliant cake lovely! What a special milestone. You will have lots of those with Dicken (like me with Eve). I guess that’s what makes the final baby so precious.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 02/08/2010 at 3:20 pm #

      Yes, sniff

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