There are times when one’s beloved is not. There are times, in fact, when your significant other might actually be a bit of a bastard. For one of my lovely midwife friends (LMF), today is one of those days. And isn’t it so tempting, when your spouse is being a bastard, to just be a bastard right back at them? You might not want to actually speak to them, but you do want to stay close by, just to let them know – through the mediums of stomping, door-slamming and heavy sighing – that you are wronged and they are responsible. Unfortunately, like me, my long-suffering LMF is sharing her life with an irredeemably stubborn and obtuse Polack. And like me my LMF has come to know that Polacks pay no attention to the subtext of stomping, door-slamming or heavy sighing. The Polack assumes that if you have stomped into another room, you want to be in the other room alone and that maybe you’re just feeling a little heavy-footed today. No amount of exaggerated huffing or avoiding eye-contact will make the Polack realise they should be apologise for a wrongdoing. If they were wrong, which is of course pretty unlikely, they would have apologised already. Obviously.
So, my LMF did not stay home today and wear herself out with foot-stampery. She went out and bought the bastard a birthday present. Then she came here and made him a birthday cake. Because, as anyone sharing their life with a stubborn Polack knows, there’s just no point holding a grudge. They only get confused.
Bastard Husband Guilt Trip Cake*
*adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes & Slices
200 grams of dark chocolate, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon of instant coffee
1 tablespoon of boiling water
150 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 grams of caster sugar plus 2 tablespoons extra
3 eggs, separated
1 cup of plain flour
200 grams of pure cream
1/2 tablespoon of instant coffee
1/2 tablespoon of boiling water
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
140 grams of dark chocolate, chopped roughly
140 grams of unsalted butter
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius (170 fan forced).
Grease and line a 23cm springform tin.
Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over hot water (set a small pan to simmer, then turn it off). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
The original recipe suggests adding a tablespoon of water to the melted sugar. Reading this, I thought ‘hmmm, that will seize the chocolate’. Then I thought ‘maybe this is a magical exception that the AWW has somehow created’. It is not an exception. Adding water to melted chocolate makes it seize. Do not do this. It’s a quick way to waste a lot of chocolate. Whenever you’re reading a recipe, listen to your instinct. They are not infallible. On the upside, redoing the chocolate part gave us the idea to add coffee and make this a mocha sacher torte.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water.
Add the coffee to the mixture, beating well to combine.
Stir in the melted chocolate.
Sift in the flour and stir well to combine.
In a medium bowl (glass or metal) beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the extra caster sugar and beat well until the sugar has dissolved.
Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
Spread the batter into the tin. Bake for 30 minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake is completely cold (this can be hastened by putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes, which is helpful if all the children in the kitchen are driving you mad with their restlessness) cut it in half horizontally.
For the filling:
Sift the icing sugar into the cream.
Whisk until thickened slightly.
Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water.
Whisk into the cream and continue to whisk until spreadably thick.
Spread on the bottom layer of the cake. Replace the top layer.
For the icing:
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl over hot water.
Set aside to cool and thicken. This may also be hastened by putting it in the fridge, stirring regularly until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
Spread all over the top and sides of the cake.