Girl wakes up the next day, in a considerable state of excitability to ask boy if he loved the cake. Boy rolls over in bed and says, "yeah, it was good". No emphasis to the good. A very weak, curious "good". A sheepish good, a spurious good. The kind of good that makes you wonder. Hmmm. Girl prods boy further. Boy diplomatically locates several far fetched ways of suggesting that the cake was not particularly amazing. The nerve! Can you imagine!? He didn't like the cake. I was aghast. Can you believe that lips so angelic and sweet looking could be the bearers of so unseemly and high handed a cake verdict! My mind was racing, there could only be one explanation: the boy was clearly wrong. I tried the cake again after this little declaration from my so called 'beloved'. The cake was gorgeous. Madly gorgeous. Wildly gorgeous. Gorgeously gorgeous, damn it. Even the girls at the Wholefoods House around the corner who I usually drop some treats off to raved about it. Poor Dan, he has clearly lost his culinary way. For those of you have not, here's the recipe:
The Controversy Cake:
An adaptation from Jude's Coming Home to Eat.
1/2 cup rolled oats (I used gluten free ones)
1/2 cup white spelt flour (next time i'll replace this with coconut flour for a moister cake)
1/2 cup muscovado
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tspn cinnamon
80g diced unsalted butter (the best you can find)
1 1/2 cups of pecans and brazils (or any nut you look, raisins etc would work well too)
125g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup rapadura
2 tbspns brown rice syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tspn vanilla bean extract (I am out of the paste and I am not liking the essence as much)
1 cup white spelt flour (I used white rice flour because I had no white spelt, it was fine)
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
2 1/2 tspns baking powder
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn nutmeg
1 cup milk (I used Bonsoy, there's a little malt and Jobs Tears in it which is why this cake is not entirely gluten free, use a regular soy if you're dairy free, or any other milk, coconut would work well I think)
2-3 pears, washed, skin on, diced.
The Preheat is 170 degrees. Grease a biggish regular cake tin or springform tin and line with baking paper. The crumble mix sits on top of the cake and also gets mixed thorough out (Jude is a Renoir of cake texture, I wonder if Danny likes Renoir). To get your crumble happening, put the oats, flour sugar, coconut, cinnamon and butter in a bowl/food processor. Combine it until it is sticking together in a nice consistency. Don't combine too much, it's a piece-ish chunky type cake. Add your nuts and set aside.
With the aid of an electric beater, mix the butter and sugar until a creaminess forms. It's really pleasing when it does. Add the eggs one at a time, Jude says, and beat well after each addition. Then in go the vanilla, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, finger, milk. Mix by hand and then fold the pears through with half the crumble mix (minus what you've already nibbled). Spoon into your baking tin and spread over with the remaining crumble mix. 70-80 minutes later you have your cake. Jude advises us to check it at 50 minutes, and if the crumble is browning to much, to reduce the heat to 160 degrees.
And there you have it. The Wholefoods Girls told me it made a beautiful, wholesome afternoon snack with a cup of milky tea. So there. They loved the richness of the nuts and the texture they lent to the pear speckled delicateness of the cake. It's a very sustaining type of treat, and not too sweet, it'll fills you more like a meal than a dessert.
I think baking beautiful food is its own reward. It normally rises up like a gentle vapour from a deep and generous part of me that wants to nourish the people I love and see them truly enjoying themselves. The next few cakes I bake, however, are going to contain a heady dose of my new secret ingredient: spite.