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Magic Vanilla Cake

This is a picture from the week I first landed in the US, exactly one year ago.

 

First week in NY

 

I was jet-lagged and yet crazy excited to begin my new life in a new country with a new husband (only husband 😛 ) and new everything!

 

And here I am one year later.

 

Easter

 

What a whirlwind this year has been. It’s had its ups and downs but I would have never guessed how perfectly things would come together in the end.

 

I won’t lie – it’s been a BIG adjustment. Moving away from everyone I know and love, from friends and family, from a wonderful job, from all things familiar. The furthest I been away from Mom and Dad is a four hour flight. Now that’s 18 hours. That is still the absolute hardest thing to stomach.

 

But this has certainly been a year touched by magic. Setting up a new home, learning what it means to be married (it means sharing bacon and blankets and it can get tough), finding a job I love, travelling to some gorgeous places I’ve never seen before and meeting amazing people.

 

magic

 

This year has taught me that making that big change can be terrifying, but if you take the leap, whatever comes of it, you will be better, stronger and happier at the end of it.

 

There’s magic to be found in the most unlikely places.

 

Like even in this cake! It has some relatively basic pantry ingredients but once you bake it, it magically becomes three delicious layers – light and fluffy top, custard-y center and dense, cake-y base! Whaaaa?!

 

The cake itself isn’t very sweet, and is rather light. It’s not egg-y either! Just make sure you use good quality vanilla extract.

 

Here’s how you pull the rabbit out of the hat 🙂

 

Magic Vanilla Cake

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Serves: 8-10

 

Magic Cake 1

 

Ingredients:

 

115g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus a little more for greasing

4 eggs, separated

150g/ 1 and 3/4 cup icing sugar

115g/ 1 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

475ml/ 2 cups milk, slightly warm

 

Magic Cake 2

 

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF and grease a 8 by 8 inch baking tin with butter. Using an electric whisk, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks and icing sugar until pale and well combined. Add the melted and cooled butter with a tablespoon of water and mix again. Add the flour and combine well.
  3. Add the vanilla and then gradually pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Now gently fold in the reserved egg whites a little at a time. Once everything is well combined, pour into the tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes. The center will be slightly wobbly once done but will harden as it cools once removed from the oven. Serve warm.

 

Happy weekend! Love you’ll! 😀

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Gandalf: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”


Books can be such powerful things.


They carry us away to magical places.


They teach us to stand for courage and truth.


They comfort us, support us, and sometimes change us.


The Lord of the Rings is a one such book.


My uncle introduced me to Tolkien and the world of fantasy when I was a teenager. I loved it so much, I wanted to be an elf.


The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy did a fantastic job of bringing some our beloved characters to life.


I never tire of watching the movies. So last Saturday, when some friends had a Fellowship of the Ring viewing party, I wanted to make something special.


I scoured the internet only to be reminded (sadly) how basic my baking skills were.


I mean look at this.



And this.



Seriously? (those are cakes, by the way.)


But this one is my fav 🙂



I decided what I could do were Sauron’s eye cupcakes. For the uninitiated, Sauron is the evil force the protagonists must battle in The Lord of the Rings. For more, read this.


I used my basic vanilla cupcake recipe, but added a little buttermilk to the batter for extra softness. I divided the batter and then coloured half orange and the other yellow.



They came out of the oven looking beautiful.



Then I did some regular buttercream icing in yellow and orange, and ran a fork along the sides. It all came together with a streak of black down the centre.



If LOTR fans can’t see the resemblance, this may help.



Do you see it now? 🙂



I leave you with a rather unforgettable exchange.


Aragorn: Gentlemen, we do not stop ’til nightfall.
Pippin: What about breakfast?
Aragorn: You’ve already had it.
Pippin: We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?
Merry: I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?
Merry: I wouldn’t count on it.


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Plan: Making Banoffee Pie
People involved: 2 crazy friends and me
Roadblock: There was no cream

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I kid you not. We looked in at least 8 shops. None had any cream.
Trauma. Shock. Horror. Despair. Over-reaction.

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But we were determined. We wanted to make Banoffee Pie.
And that is what we did.

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We worked with what we had.

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We crushed digestive biscuits.

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We made dulce de leche (caramel).

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We drank Hazelnut Baileys. (This is an optional step, but it greatly enhances the recipe making process.)

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We chopped bananas.

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We layered.

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Not one layer.
But, two thick gorgeous layers of both banana and caramel.

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We still had no cream though.

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So…
Wait for it…

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We used good ol’ vanilla ice cream!

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And then we ate. And it was good.

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The grainy saltiness of the biscuits offset the general creamy sweetness very well.

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The caramel was thick and exquisite, though in retrospect I can say (with a heavy heart) that one layer would have sufficed and would have also been less heart-attack inducing.
However, if you have an extreme sweet tooth and absolutely no history of diabetes- go right ahead 🙂

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In the end, we did it 🙂
Banoffee pie success.

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So now you know how to make Banoffee if you’re ever without cream, though I pray that you never suffer such great tragedy.

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Have a happy cream-filled day you’ll 🙂

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