On the bus, a first-year tells his friend how to invite a date to a formal:
“You write her an invite on a blue sheet of paper in silver ink. Not white paper, blue. And then she answers, on pink paper, in gold ink. She’ll invite you to tea.
“If you get there and she serves you just tea? Forget it, not gonna fly. You get tea and a slice of cake? She is interested, but has some doubts or a story and it’s all complicated. But if you get tea and home-made apple pie… dude, you’re in. She’s yours and you’re looking at shelling out for two tickets.”
I wonder what happens if the girl serves home-made chocolate gingerbread. I’m thinking cold fear at the prospect of having to talk to her to figure out if she wants to party.
For those of us not looking for a date, though, it is far from fear-inspiring. In fact, it is comforting during these damp March days to curl up on the couch with a mug of tea and a thick slice of dark, spicy cake. Doesn’t hurt that it’s full of chocolate and so moist it’s almost chewy. In the best way: this Nigella Lawson cake is for good, sticky fun.
Whether that’s preluded by gold ink on pink paper is completely up to you.
based on a recipe by Nigella Lawson
- 90 gr butter
- 60 gr dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp cater sugar
- 200 gr keukenstroop (Nigella calls for half golden syrup/ half molasses or black treacle; all are hard to buy in the NL. Plus, I tried it with the molasses, and preferred the syrup)
- generous pinch of ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- generous ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp warm water
- 1 egg
- 125 ml milk
- 140 gr plain flour
- 20 gr cocoa
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a 22 cm cake tin with parchment paper or silicon foil.
Put the butter, sugars, keukenstroop (or golden syrup and molasses/treacle), cloves, cinnamon and ginger in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Heat gently until the butter has melted, mix well. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the water. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the dissolved bicarbonate of soda and the milk. Stir for a minute or two to allow the mixture to start cooling, then leave for five minutes or so to cool more. Stir in the eggs and mix well. Add the flour and cocoa and stir until just mixed.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 40 min until risen and firm. It will feel a little damp underneath the set top: that’s what you’re looking for.
Cool on a wire rack, remove from pan and eat. Keeps for at least three days in an air-tight tin.