After only one meeting of the Market Deeping Clandestine Cake Club, I had to be excused from the second inaugural get-together. I was distraught, as this meeting's theme was 'Death by chocolate - no calories spared'. Now that's my kind of theme. I planned a chocolate Devil's Food Cake, with a double cream and melted chocolate filling which could double up as the icing, to be finished off with dark and white chocolate curls. However, my chocolate feast was not to be, as the meeting date had to be changed and I was unable to go.
But, I still made cake...
It was deliciously dark and moist, and just scrumptious, if I do say so myself. Possibly the best cake I've made in a long time. I didn't bother with the double cream and melted chocolate filling in the end, as that required a trip to the shops - instead I went for a buttercream standby. Which did the job, and did it well.
50g cocoa powder
275g caster sugar
2 large eggs
175g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
Blend the cocoa powder and water - I suggest using a mini whisk to make sure there's no lumps.
Beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together, then add to the mixture - I needed to gently add a little flour at this point to stop the mixute separating.
Sift in half the flour, bicarb, and baking powder mixture, then stir in half the chocoaltey water, then the rest of the flour, and the rest of the liquid.
Divide into two prepared tins.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 35 minutes until springy.
Once cooled, sandwich together with filling - which was butter and icing sugar blended until smooth and creamy. I never measure ingredients for my buttercream, I just rely on a little finger dipped in to taste.
I missed Cake Club as I was staying at Ragdale Hall Health Hydro for two nights. This was a special treat to myself, using the money I saved up from making quilts over the last two years. I went by myself and simply spent the time relaxing, reading, getting pampered, and spending time doing nothing.
In these days of non-stop hectic stress and pressure, we've forgotten the importance of doing nothing. Of appreciating silence, time to think, time to stop and let our minds wander. It was really hard to concentrate on relaxing, which is such a contradiction - it was hard work. I have so much on my mind, so much to fret and worry about, that it was almost impossible to relax. But I enjoyed the time to myself, away from reality, away from everything for just a couple of days.
The spa itself is amazing. There are several lounge areas to relax in with a book (I finally finished Sophie's Choice by William Styron, and also read Switched by Amanda Hocking), plus two main pools, a steam room, jacuzzi, sanarium... and the thermal spa area. This is a circular glass-roofed area filled with ferns and plants, surrounded by a variety of spa rooms: the rose sauna, the scent room, volcanic salt bath, thought zone, candle pool, colourflow cave, and the waterfall pool which flows outside - this was wonderful in the rain, as the warm water steamed upwards... Every possible way to relax is catered for. Dinner, lunch, and breakfast was all of a five-star hotel quality, every member of staff was brilliant, and the mud wrap dry floatation treatment was devine. I could stay there forever.... The weather was dreadful, and rained pretty much constantly - but I was cocooned away from the world and didn't care how much it bucketed it down.