This week I have had a bit of a quiet melt down. I’ve been feeling exhausted, extremely anxious, claustrophobic and unable to deal with anything that requires me to string two thoughts together. I assigned these symptoms to the hormonal fluctuations of the basta.d perimenopause and waited for them to pass. They didn’t……So with even more rising panic I made a call to the doc.
I don’t go to the doctor’s very often, preferring to self diagnose myself with cancer and other terminal diseases on Google. It’s a win win- you don’t have to wait on hold for 45 minutes listening to terrible keyboard music and some calm son of a b.tch telling you you’re number 25 in the queue or indeed divulge your symptoms to some nosey pants bossy receptionist. What the hell???? Whose horrible idea was that? I do NOT want to spill my personal problems to Sheila from No 65. It’s none of her blinkin business…….
The doc was no better either. She was clearly in a rush and wanted no more to engage with me and my hormones than I with the receptionist. I don’t think she looked at me once, probably a good thing as I was looking really, really rough……. with a brisk manner she enquired about my periods, how much exercise I did (obviously caught sight of my six pack/six rolls) and seemed particularly interested in whether I suffered with vaginal dryness or not????? Damn that dessication again…….
She advised there was nothing to do as she did not believe me to be in the menopause but sent me off with numerous printed sheets about said menopause, the one that she said I wasn’t in, and a ticket for a blood test. I felt deflated and quite lost as I flipped the receptionist the bird (not really) and left the surgery. I have to admit to a couple of “poor me” tears as I crossed the car park back to my illegally parked car.
Poor me tears are a dangerous game and I hurriedly kicked my dry ass. What had I been looking for I asked myself? Why did I expect an overworked doctor to sort it all out in ten mins? If this is just the perimenopause then I need to make some changes myself. I can’t go around with an epileptic hamster in my chest every day, screaming at the children when they are just engaging in completely normal behaviour- desperately trying to inflict serious harm on each other at every opportunity. In hindsight I have been working like a young sprightly thing and doing what my mother always advised against, well that and staring………..
I have been burning the candle at both ends and after having a flat out weekend, I then embarked on a even crazier week. I think that I just need to roll over Beethoven and accept that I simply can’t blaze a trail anymore. So what if it doesn’t get done. I am an old, balding bird no longer full of youthful stamina. If I do too much I get in an emotional pickle. I need to set realistic goals, slow down and eat the chocolate cake….sh.t…………. I’m f .cked…..
Chocolate and Caramel Cake
This is one of those Chocolate Cakes, those moments, when life should stop and time stand still, if not for the sake of my sanity then definitely for the sake of this cake…..A slice of this damp (a rarity these days) and deeply chocolatey cake with a cup of tea and some silence is tantamount to a spa treatment in itself. Pass me the robe and slippers.
Chocolate and Caramel Cake.
- 150 grams dark chocolate 70 % cocoa solids
- 250 grams unsalted butter
- 150 mls espresso strong black coffee
- 350 grams caster sugar I use unrefined
- 250 grams self raising flour
- 3 tbsps cocoa powder
- 100 mls buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 200 grams white caster sugar
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 200 mls double cream
- 175 grams dark chocolate 70 % cocoa solids
- 250 grams unsalted butter
- 350 grams icing sugar
It's best to make the soft caramel first so as to allow it to cool and thicken. Place the sugar and 2 tbsps of water into a saucepan and swirl around to help melt as much of the sugar as poss.
Place on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Caramel can be troublesome but be brave. Don't stir and wait until the mixture starts to turn a golden brown. I remove it straight away and wait for ten seconds or so to check it isn't ready as depending on your saucepan it can carry on deepening in colour even when off the heat. If it needs a little more colour then place it back on the heat until you're satisfied. Watch it well as it can burn so quickly. If it crystallises then bin it and start again with a completely clean pan.
Remove from the heat and add the cubed butter and cream. It will splutter but just carry on whisking to combine the lot and make sure the mixture is smooth and not grainy. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 170 C and grease or line with bakoglide two 20cm sandwich tins. Mix the dry ingredients for the cake in a large bowl or free standing mixer. Melt the butter, chocolate and coffee together in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Take it off the heat and beat in the buttermilk and the beaten eggs.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat well. Pour the batter into the tins and bake for about an hour or until the cakes are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Watch closely to check that the edges don't burn.
Allow to cool in their tins for ten mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing I simply put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until smooth.
When ready to put this baby together then spread a layer of the chocolate icing on the underside of one of the cakes and then a generous layer of the caramel sauce on the other. Gently sandwich the two together. Carefully spread the remaining icing on the sides and top of the cake. I decorated the top of my cake with caramel shards but chocolate shavings would look great or you could just let it speak for itself. It's more than capable.
Apply repeatedly to stressed and fractious face whilst repeatedly smelling the roses. Do it repeatedly.
Here are some more fabulous Chocolate recipes.
I have linked this Chocolate and Caramel Cake Recipe post with CookBlogShare, Friday Frolics, Recipe of the Week, Brilliant Blog Posts, We Should Cocoa at Tin and Thyme. and GreatBritishBloggersBakeOff.