One Last Birthday Cake

18 Aug 2007

Many years ago when Louis, now 18, was eighteen months old, it was Christmas time and money was very tight. We were living on my part time wage, Stephen was a full time student and between the two of us we cared for our son and our home. For Christmas Stephen made Louis the most beautiful wooden farm set with a barn made from Tasmanian myrtle and little wooden animals and fences. Everything could be stored in the barn. It was and still is a very treasured toy.

Stephen's dad had paid for us to fly to Sydney so the family could meet our son and we could visit with family who we hadn't seen for some time. We wanted to give gifts but we had to be very inventive. We decided to give each couple the same gift; a treasure bag of things we had made.

I can't remember everything we put in the bags but there was a jar of homemade apricot chutney, a muslin bathbag filled with homegrown herbs to tie hang in the bath while the tub is filling and give off a relaxing aroma, a small Christmas cake made with tropical fruits and nuts, and our Barry cook book. Barry is my husband's nickname. We typed out some of our favourite recipes, some from books and some we had devised ourselves over the years. My mum photocopied them and then we bound them with navy ribbon. Each cover was hand embellished with gold ink. We made a dozen of them.

Most family members still have their cook books and occasionally use them. Tonight I used one of the recipes to make my mum's birthday cake, the chocolate rum dessert cake. It's very simple, just remember the number 6.

6 oz dark cooking chocolate, melted in a basin over simmering water

6 oz unsalted butter

6 oz sugar

6 eggs

6 oz ground almonds

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons rum

Cream the butter and sugar.

Add egg yolks, one at a time , mixing each one well.

Add ground almonds, cooled chocolate and rum (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla)

Whip egg whites and salt until stiff.

Carefully fold egg whites through chocolate mixture a little at a time.

Bake in a spring form tin , base lined with baking paper (parchment) at 190C (375F) for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 180C (350F) for a further 45 minutes. Do not over cook. The cake has a fudgey texture.

Leave to cool in tin but run knife around the edge after about 10 minutes of cooling to stop cake sticking.

As it cools the centre of the cake will sink, it's supposed to.
Serve the cake topped with cream, filling the dip with cream to make the surface flat.
This cake is deliciously rich and you only need a slim piece to be satisfied so although the cake is small it will serve about 12 people. It's really nice with freshly brewed coffee.

This was our traditional birthday celebration cake for many years until the children were old enough to enjoy their cake and they found it too rich. It is starting to find favour again now that they are older. Try it next time you have something to celebrate. You can make it the day before and add the cream on the day. It's yummy.

9 Responses to “One Last Birthday Cake”

  1. That cake looks, and sounds, divine!

    I love the Christmas gifts you made - very special.

  2. Mmm... I'm practically drooling here ;) Looks wonderful, I'd love to try it!

  3. Mmm, delicious!
    Gifts like the ones you describe here are always the best!

  4. Happy belated birthday!!! Tonight we will celebrate son #2...he asked for a frozen lemonade cheesecake, so the other brothers and my husband helped me make that this morning... they had to do a lot of it for me. His other favorite dinner food was in the freezer, made pre-surgery. So that was easy. And my middle son made dinner for my oldests birthday, which was so soon after surgery. I love the brotherly love going on here...

    But enough about me.... enjoy the last birthday, and I hope you have a fabulous year as well!!

  5. That cake looks wonderful, and what a great idea for Christmas gifts. I'd love to receive a paskage like that.

  6. Your cake looks wonderful!! You had some very good ideas for Christmas.

  7. What great ideas for Christmas gifts. The cake sounds really yummy.


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