I don’t know what has happened to the last few weeks. They seem to have whirled by in a blur of grey skies, tremendously monotonous rain and an intensively all-consuming course that finished with a two-hour oral exam where I had to get 80% to pass. It was stressful. And in between all this we’re trying to buy a flat – which no matter how romanticised my idea of it is, it is just plain painful. A welcome reprieve to all this – was having a houseguest move in ten days ago. She is also buying a flat and due to ‘unforseen’ delays (namely that the seller’s solicitor will only communicate via post) she’s been left with couple of weeks between flats.
It was her birthday this last weekend – and so this cake is for her. Although rather gaudy, it’s a fun cake of decadently rich chocolate sponge, smothered in a white chocolate, vanilla and sour cream ganache – and finished with a light marshmallow meringue frosting (in various shades of pink).
I don’t know where the last two months have disappeared to, but I sit here with my fingers hovering over the keyboard unsure what to type in sheer embarrassment of lack of posts over the festive season. The list of recipes I intended posting lies on the kitchen counter as a constant reminder – and does nothing but grow as I add delectable ideas to it. So my apologies. December saw family visiting, a wedding – and my first attempt at a wedding cake – followed by a rather rushed dash to the southern tip of Africa to spend a few glorious weeks in the dry heat interspersed with road trips, big blue skies, quiet glasses of chilled wine at dusk, quality time with my favourite nephew, glorious sunsets, endless beaches and radiant sunshine. And then back to dreary London I trudged, braced to face the wintery weather and a new year of work.
2 November 2011. A year of Tuesdays has passed since the last 2 November – and each one marked with a lifetime’s worth of sadness, grief and loss. Today is a year since my Dad died. A year since I ran out of the office into the anonymity of Waterloo Station, fighting back tears. Not knowing what to do I bought a poppy – a remembrance poppy. I had the poppy in my hand, willing my Dad to be okay when the news came from the hot Karoo town near the southern tip of Africa that he wasn’t. The poppy crumpled in my hand as I bent over double struggling to breathe.
The gugelhupf, I can say with certainty, was my Dad’s favourite anytime cake. This cake has featured in my life as far back as I can remember, and it has been known to be eaten not only for afternoon tea or dessert with a dollop of whipped cream, but also on occasion for breakfast with a mug of steaming coffee.