Birthday Cake


We had a significant birthday in our house this week, my husbands 40th. We have spent a fair amount of time discussing how he wants to mark this occasion. We were originally planning on being in Cape Town with his family and friends but for one reason and many others that didn’t quite work out.

I then offered to take him to the recently refurbished Savoy Grill in London. When i say recently refurbished i mean in 2010. We’ve been lost in the world of babies since then, so that is still considered very much recent in our world. I made a reservation and duly cancelled it when he informed me that he didn’t want to go.

I then suggested dinner at a local Michelin Starred restaurant in Faversham, Kent. Local & Seasonal produce at its finest. I made a reservation and duly cancelled it when he informed me that he didn’t want to go.

I told him i was done with making plans and he had to decide what it is he wanted to do.

Sheepishly he confided that he wanted to use our night out without the babies by going to the cinema & popping to Nando’s. Such a rarity is it these days for us to actually go out without the girls, im pretty certain though that a movie & chicken dinner don’t quite cut the mustard as being up there as a special nights out or ways to commemorate a milestone birthday. Cool it is not.

After digesting his request, I got it. I completely understood his reasoning and actually once he explained that the last thing he will feel like doing after a full on day of looking after the girls is rushing to get ready & out the door, arrive on time to sit in a posh restaurant and paying (a lot) for the privilege. When throwing our coats over our yogurt stained clothing and spending 120 minutes in a cinema watching a film without interruptions is our (new) idea of a luxury. Chicken and chips with a beer thrown in for good measure, well that’s just the cherry on the cake. Lets not even go there that his choice of film is the newly released ‘This is 40’. Oh the irony.

I’m sure the time will come when sitting in a posh restaurant will be back up there as special nights out, maybe, but turning 40 if anything is surely about acceptance? Finding peace with yourself and an inner karma.

His birthday itself was spent in an equally low-key way. We did make a fuss of him with tea, presents & cards in bed whilst he fielded the many phone calls from South Africa wishing him well. We even made him a birthday cake. Tempted to get the professionals on the case i decided a home cooked one was far more thoughtful. I borrowed a book from a friend who swore by this fool-proof recipe for Gooey Chocolate Fudge Cake. It was nice, a little on the dry side if im looking for criticism so maybe shouldnt have baked the sponges for the full 45 minutes.

250g Self Raising Flour
6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
300g Margarine (I used butter, whats the diff ?)
300g Soft Brown Sugar
6 large eggs
150g cooking chocolate. I used 200g….i would just end up eating the rest.
150ml double cream

Oven at 170 degrees.

– Line cake tins with baking parchment/paper. Gloss with oil so they stick.
– Sift flour, cocoa & baking powder
– mix butter & sugar in another bowl
– add one egg and a spoonful of flour at a time and mix into the butter & sugar bowl.
– Repeat until all eggs are in. Mix in rest of flour using figure 8 motion to keep it light.
– Put in cake tins

– melt chocolate & cream in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water
– let it cool. Put in fridge. Return occasionally to stir. Will thicken.
– Spread over cooled down sponges, having been removed from cake tins & baking paper peeled off.
– EAT !

He was very touched by our efforts and with a lunch of fish & chips and a bottle of fizz thrown in for good measure he went to bed saying what a lovely day he had, just being with his girls.



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