This is a post long, long overdue. In fact, almost 2 months overdue.
My 16th birthday was the very first day of school (the IB, to be precise... the thought was/is petrifying), and it was our orientation day. Contrary to what I believed the day would be like- a chilled, exciting day with activities- it was so, so dull. I didn't know any of the new people, we had endless talks and presentations, and I came home feeling completely flustered, tired, overwhelmed and really upset that it just had to be my birthday. I honestly didn't think I cared so much. This year I didn't want to make fuss over the day- I knew that what really makes me happy is cooking, quality time with my family, good food and conversation.
But within half an hour of reaching home my family had turned my day around: a movie secretly made for me, beautiful cards and poems, thoughtful gifts, and so much effort put into getting everything ready for the evening.
And this cake, a cake that I saw and that made me instantaneously decide 'That's what I want for my birthday cake!', and that I subsequently stared at for days, was so perfect. The mixture was freakishly easy, and it turned out so warm, gooey, oozy and scrumptious with ice cream.
Defining family is practically impossible. But after my birthday I've got a new piece of advice that will stay with me forever, and that I believe applies to my friends and other people around me too: family are the people who, unconditionally and undeservedly, can take you from a lonely, exhausted place and make you feel as though you're on top of the world.
Turning 16 was scary, and some days I find myself utterly daunted by the world ahead of me and around me. But knowing that I have these unbelievable people by my side each day makes everything a whole lot better.
Swedish Chocolate Cake
From Top With Cinnamon
Notes from Izzy from Top With Cinnamon:
-The baking time stated in the recipe below has a super large range; this is because it depends on the size of your cake pan, my 6″ pan took about 40 minutes, however a larger cake pan will require a smaller baking time. In my mum’s family recipe book, the original recipe says 35 minutes – HOWEVER, you seriously need to make sure you check on your cake at around the 20 or 25 minute mark. It’s supposed to still be gooey in the center when you take it out of the oven – none of this ‘clean toothpick’ business unless you want to end up with a disappointing, dry cake!!!!!
10 tbsp (5oz / 135g) salted butter
1/2 cup (2 oz / 55g ) cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup (12.5 oz / 350g) sugar + 2 tsp vanilla sugar*
1 cup (4.6 oz / 130g) flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), butter and flour a 6″ to 8″ cake pan, it needs to be quite deep.
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the grease cake pan, and bake for 20-40 minutes (see notes)
Let the cake cool in it’s pan, then run a dull knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack**. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
*you can substitute the 2 tsp of vanilla sugar for 2 tsp of vanilla extract
**I like do do this once the cake is completly cool and so is less fragile, then I can turn it out upside-down, straight into my hand, then place it right side up back on the wire rack.