Cake Glorious Cake

After the Banana Bread Fail I was still craving cake. I asked my husband if it was ok for me to buy a cake from M&S (with Christmas gift vouchers) or if I should attempt to make one, seeing as how I had given him a “let’s stick to the budget” lecture when he bought a £1 bottle of beer the other night. He said I could do whatever, but my guilt re: said lecture got the better of me.

I made this chocolate cake with only one (ok two) minor changes. We didn’t have plain flour so I used wholemeal (the result was fine but a little grainy, but hey – it  made us eat some wholewheat) and I used 9″ cake pans because that’s all we have (I Googled “tetanus from cake pans” and used baking soda to scrub off the teeny, tiny, spot of rust on one of them – incidentally, my husband says tetanus is a bacteria and even if it was present, which it wouldn’t be, cooking it in the oven would kill it).

The cake is supposed to be layered and then iced. I just cut up one layer and we ate it with custard for pudding. The other layer is still sitting there, probably for tonight’s pudding. M didn’t really like the cake on its own but he liked it with custard. It doesn’t taste very sweet, but then it is supposed to be smothered in chocolate icing. I really like it though because it was great with custard. I hate eating too-sweet cakes with sweet custard. I think I will try making it again but maybe using a sheet pan – then I could cut it into squares like school dinner cake (for some reason I have fond memories of school dinner puddings). I also wasn’t crazy about the bran texture from the wholemeal flour so next time will use plain as directed.

The thing I like best about this recipe though is that is says to just chuck all the ingredients into a bowl, willy nilly, and then mix with a wooden spoon. Now that’s my kind of recipe! It also helpfully says that, after adding the water, the batter will be very liquid, which is great to know. It was so liquid I thought it might seep through the bottom of my cake pans, but it didn’t, and the cake turned out moist and entirely edible (with custard). A distinct improvement on my last attempt at pudding.

It’s Been A Long Time: New Jobs, New Additions, and a Spectacular Fail of a Pudding

Tonight I stood in the kitchen, watching molten pie crust ooze onto the floor of my oven as acrid butter-flavoured smoke filled the house, and not for the first time wondered who I thought I was kidding with the whole “making dinner” thing. I must have matured slightly over the past year though as I didn’t pout or cry but took a deep breath and tried to be mindful that this particular pudding failure was part of the rich tapestry of life. I did yell my husband’s name rather hysterically and get him to retrieve the molten (and rather dangerous/hot) concoction from the oven. I apologised for the mess (which he cleaned up – seriously he is a star) and set about making an entirely different dinner than the one planned (which was only going to be pizza but the oven was so full of smoke that using it was now out of the question) and a crustless tofu chocolate pie.

Yes, you read correctly. A tofu chocolate pie. A lot of things have changed for us over the past year but M is still a fussy eater. He is also now four years old and a big brother to (nearly) three-month-old L.

I started this blog when my husband was working late nights and I was left to fend for myself (and M) with the cooking. He went through another job after that and now has a 9-5 office job (for the first time ever) but I am currently on maternity leave and figure it is only fair that I make dinner; after tonight’s fiasco I had the idea of re-starting this blog. Unfortunately I decided this after the mess was cleaned up so there is no photo which is a shame as it was rather amusing.

The blog is taking on a slightly different incarnation though. I will no longer be sampling craft beers for two reasons: 1. I am breastfeeding and 2. We are trying to save money. Any beer we do buy (and I have already tried to put an embargo on all beer – and non-alcoholic beer – consumption, much to my husband’s resigned annoyance) will be of the cheap lager-type for the foreseeable future. I also realised that I didn’t want to limit myself to writing about food (on which subject I am clearly no expert) or crafts (which I have limited time for) or parenting. Instead, I have subtitled the blog “a blog about life,” because it is a blog about my/our life. A life which does, admittedly, include the occasional burnt supper (or pudding pie crust).

But back to why I was making a tofu chocolate pie instead of just getting a quick pizza dinner ready. M seems to eat better when we all eat together, though he is still a pain with food. We are hoping his brother will be more into food and set a good example once he’s old enough. M has been referred to a dietician but we are making some progress by ourselves and I am always excited and amazed when he eats anything with fruit or vegetables. My new trick is that we will only eat healthy food, so everything M is offered is more-or-less healthy and if he chooses not to eat it that is up to him. After rejecting his lunch and given no other alternative, he ate a packet of raisins today in the park. He even said they were nice. I was gobsmacked and slightly smug that my new plan seems to be working. I have also decided to stop telling him he can’t have pudding if he doesn’t eat his dinner and instead ignore him if he doesn’t eat dinner and offer healthy puddings instead. Hence the tofu chocolate pie. Yesterday it was a healthy banana split, with whipped cream and sprinkles on a banana. Predictably he licked the cream and sprinkles off and left the banana. I bit my tongue but fumed on the inside. When you become a mother they don’t tell you about the secret battles of will you will have with your offspring, and how much energy you will expend on them. Or maybe they do, but you don’t realise it until you experience it first hand.

This was why I was trying my best to make a delicious chocolately pudding that was also packed full of protein. Alas, I was foiled by either a) the recipe I found online for pie crust, which my husband pointed out seemed to have an entirely skewed butter:digestive biscuit ratio or b) the crappy set of food scales I bought at Argos for £3.99 that seemed incapable of accurately weighing anything. Either way, the mixture was altogether too buttery and I (stupidly) put it in the oven in a casserole lid (like a pie dish) then set the casserole dish on top of it to flatten it. When I went to investigate why the kitchen was filling with smoke I saw that the mixture was bubbling-up, lava-like, and spilling over the edge of the lid all over the oven floor. I called my long-suffering other half to sort it out (i.e. played the “damsel in distress” card) and chalked it up to experience. Undefeated, I made a simple pasta with tomato sauce and served the pie as a sort-of chocolate mousse instead.

M loved the chocolate tofu concoction, though he didn’t eat a lot of it – it was very rich. He said “I love it” about five times while eating it, which somehow (almost) made the hassle and mess worth it!

For those of you who are interested, here is the link to the tofu chocolate pie I made – it doesn’t include a recipe for a pie crust though so be careful which one you choose/don’t be as silly as I was when making the crust.