Is it too late to say 'Happy New Year'? I don't really know what the protocol is for that. I'm sure many would say we are too late into 2013 now, but as someone who still had Christmas decorations up until late last night, I feel safe flying in the face of adversity. I hope it will be joyful and prosperous for each and every one of you.
I trust you all had a wonderful holiday season; I was at home for Christmas (and want to eat that dinner again now!) and away for New Year, which gave me chance to introduce some friends and colleagues to that most frivolous and camp of seasonal drinks, The Snowball. They went down a treat!
This is the time of year when I would normally be faffing around with lamingtons, and although I did consider doing another round of Re-Invention, I have decided against it. Apologies to all, but part of my New Year pledge to myself is to at least try and eat less sugary stuff. Obviously I'll still be baking as much as ever, but I just can't handle adding coconut covered cake cubes to the pile of leftover Christmas cake, cookies and chocolate that we have yet to make a dent in.
Now. A new year means a fresh start. And that means it is time to talk resolutions. I figure that sharing mine might make me more likely to stick to them. Thus, in no particular order of importance:
- Make more time for family. I live so far away from them that they probably think I forget about them, even though I don't.
- Be nicer to my husband. I don't want to get divorced.
- 'Date Night' - at least one every time I'm home. If it's good enough for Barack and Michelle...
- Not be so obsessed about saving set amounts of my salary each month. I need to enjoy myself as well as take care of the pennies!
- Work on the side project I've been procrastinating about for far too long now.
- Knit myself a sweater. It is time.
I thought it fitting that the first recipe for 2013 should be a special one. And this Cocoa Chiffon is surely that. It's not only Mr. Other P's favourite cake ever, but also one he makes himself. Yeah - you all thought I was the only baker in this house. Well you were wrong! This chiffon was the flavour of the latter part of 2012 in Casa P, and now it can be yours as well. I've served it in the photo with some ice-cream, but what you really want on the side is a generous slick of chilled and creamy peppermint crème anglaise. Fortunately, I am also providing you with the recipe for that. Happy, happy.
Mr. Other P's Cocoa Chiffon Cake
You will need:
50g best quality cocoa powder
175ml boiling water
125ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
175g self raising flour
350g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 eggs, separated, plus 4 extra egg whites (keep the yolks for the crème anglaise)
1 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
- Heat the oven to 160°C. Have ready a 25cm angel cake tin. Do not grease or line it
- In a large bowl, mix the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool slightly and add the vanilla and oil, followed by the egg yolks. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and tip them into the wet mixture. Beat everything well until you have a thick, smooth batter.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fold this meringue into the chocolate and flour mixture, and transfer to the cake tin.
- Bake for 60 minutes, until the cake is well risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Immediately invert the cake, till in its tin, on a wire rack and leave to cool. When it has completely cooled (give it a good hour and a half or so), run a knife round the edge of the pan. Remove the base (you'll need to use your knife here too - chiffon cake sticks to the pan!), turn the cake the right way up and serve in thick slices with the custard sauce below or whatever you like.
You will need:
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
300ml single cream
- Beat the first three ingredients together until smooth. You can add a little extra sugar if you like a very sweet sauce, but for me, this is fine.
- Heat the cream in a small pan until it starts to steam and there are small bubbles forming at the edges.Pour a little onto the yolk mixture and beat the mixture with a whisk to temper the egg yolks. Slowly, still beating, add the remaining milk, pour the whole lot back into the pan and heat gently, stirring, for a few minutes. Strain the mixture into a jug and chill until needed.