Sunday, 14 November 2010

Chocolate Cloudberry Cake

It's Father's Day here today. We were spending it at my parents, and I offered to make a cake, the first real cake I've done in months. I was a bit apprehensive that my sugar pastes might have dried up, and had to do some digging around in my kitchen cupboards to find my tools, but in the end the pastes hadn't dried too much and only some of the tools had mysteriously disappeared during the move ( I think moving boxes must eat stuff, there's simply no other way to explain this...) so we had a luscious chocolatey cake with our lunch. Again, I started with a basic sponge cake base cut in three layers. Moistened the layers with diluted orange juice. Then I spread some whipped cream on two of the layer pieces, and added  Arctic Cloudberries on top of the cream. 

These berries have a very distinct flavor and I doubt they are available as such outside the Nordic countries, but it seems that jam made out of these berries is available elsewhere as well, check here for example. Should you be using the berries as such however, depending on your required level of sweetness, add sugar on top of the berries as needed. 

I wanted to cover the cake with chocolate ganache but what do you know, forgot to buy the double cream needed. Head like a sieve I have these days. So, instead of the ganache I decided to do a sort of improvised chocolate buttercream. First I whipped around 200 grams of room temperature butter with my kitchen mixer until soft and smooth. Then I added about the same amount of mascarpone cheese and did some more mixing with the machine. By the way, the machine had sort of broken somewhere between summer and now, but no worries, I stuck a screwdriver in a strategic place and lo and behold, a working kitchen mixer! Next, 500grams of confectioners sugar, and a teaspoon of bourbon vanilla. Mix. Add about 50 grams of dark cocoa powder and again mix until of smooth consistency and color. I also added some melted and cooled dark chocolate, around 100 grams, just to make the topping even more delicious and chocolatey. 

Spread the topping generously on top, intentionally sort of higgedly piggedly, and placed the sugar flowers and leaves in place. Enjoy.

So, today was the day of Fathers. I have always been a sort of Daddy's Girl, and probably always will be. Having a child myself has given me a whole new relationship with my Mother, but it is my Father that I have always felt was more like me and somehow just got what I was about. Both during my seriously troubled teenage years and now that things have at least in that respect toned down considerably. But it was also my Father with whom I had the biggest fights and whom I have many times though of as being completely impossible, infuriating and bull-headed as hell. And still, these days I know that as long as there's breath left in him he will always be there for both me and my Daughter.

I also think I have the weirdest, most wonderful Brother on the planet. Sure, he is known to have an acidic tongue, and he's not squemish in the least about unleashing this verbal hellfire on pretty much anyone who happens to rub him the wrong way. Not an easy person, not by a longshot. And while he might at times get carried away from us by his own ghosts, when he is there, you'd be hard pressed to find a more loyal, helpful and honest person. Oh, and he's also into gym and nutrition, big time. Obsession would be too mild a word here... 

So, since I am aware that my diet these days is probably lacking in every single nutrient there is, and knowing that as soon as I would mention this to my Brother he would be more than willing to make me a whole new eating regime, that's exactly what I did. And now my head is swimming with a completely alien terminology and my Brother fully believes that while I may not be exactly cured by all this I should at least start feeling way better as soon as I get this new regime up and running. Mind you, a diet as in weight loss this is not, just making sure that I get enough everything that I need. Though I must admit that a long, long time ago, when I was actually wanting to lose weight and decided, for the second and the last time in my life to give a diet a go, the diet my Brother fashioned for me made me lose almost 20 kgs ( or 44 lbs ). And the weight did not come back until the pregnancy, so I am certainly willing to give his regime, albeit a wholly different one this time, a go.

Which brings me back to baking. As my Brother has been helping me A LOT lately with all sorts of things, both material and mental, I have actually come up with a pastry that I am going to make for him as a way of thanks. It will have a sweet pie base, vanilla custard on the bottom, cheesecake filling and it will be covered with the same chocolate buttercream topping I improvised for today. Damn, I just hope he won't be reading this...

But now, sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite. I am going to steel myself and tackle the frightening array of unopened moving boxes in the attic with high hopes of finding one marked ''Christmas''. Enough with the darkness, bring on the holly. 

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