Thursday 30 January 2014

A Cake for Wolf - Celebrating 45 years at Villa

We use food to mark and celebrate the many milestones that life brings us. Birthdays come and go; anniversaries, arrivals and departures all carry their own set of rituals and conventions. Though the details of these differ, the one thing they have in common is the sharing of food. Food nourishes our bodies, but also our souls. Breaking bread with our friends is more than just sustenance, it's showing kindness, taking the time to craft a special treat for someone else. 

This week it was my very great pleasure to make a cake for my colleague Wolf Just. He is a Villa legend who has taught at the school for upward of 45 years. Yesterday he told me that he was now teaching the third generation of Villa girls and many of the current staff remember him as their teacher. His teaching and story telling is legend among all those he has taught. Now 45 years is a fair while to teach English to the teenage bred and so this occasion called for a cake of some distinction. I wanted to acknowledge his subject area and also all the many thousands of photographs he has taken for the school. At the same time I didn't want the gluten free people amongst my colleagues to miss out on their helping of cake. And so I came up with the two 'book' layers of cake, the flowers and the chocolate photos and lettering. The bottom 'book' layer of the cake is Carrot and Black current. The recipe is here. I just doubled the recipe, left the cranberries out and added a handful of black currents to the mixture before baking it in a large cake tin. The top 'book' layer is a Gluten free Spiced Apple cake which I am very happy to say I adapted myself. 

Gluten Free Spiced Apple Cake

1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
100g butter - melted
2 large apples
1 cup bakels Gluten free flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup walnuts - chopped

Preheat the oven to 175deg. C and line a 20cm square baking tin.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Using a spatula, fold the melted butter into the egg and sugar mixture.

Peel, core and chop the apples into even sized pieces.

Once the apples are chopped be quick with the remainder of the mixing so the apples don't brown. 
Sift the dry ingredients and fold them into the batter.

Lastly add the apples and walnuts and fold together.

Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
 Take the cake from the oven and let it cool in the tin. The cake texture is very delicate and needs to be gently handled.

I made a butter cream frosting and flavoured it with orange liqueur. 

For the carrot and black current cake I made Cream Cheese frosting and added blackcurrant juice for colour and flavour.

Wolf did the cutting and speech honours in his usual witty way. Congratulations to you my friend - 45 years and still going strong. 

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