This week we are celebrating a birthday. A decade of Mackensie-Leah.
Birthdays always give cause for reflection, a marking on the calendar of life the year that has passed and the year still to come. But ten years? Ten years stop you in your tracks, because ten years is an awfully long time.
Ten years ago I traversed the passage into motherhood in the brutal way that only an emergency c-section affords. I stumbled and fought my way into motherhood through unsuccessful breastfeeding, very little sleep and a move across the country; broken in like a wild horse is trained to accept its rider. I was bewildered, wide eyed and speechless.
Today, ten years later, I am quieter, calmer and toasting my survival with a cup of tea and a slice of Peanut Butter Mousse Cake, because this bringing up of small humans deserves it just rewards.
Pretty Girl at ten is the exactly the same as Pretty Girl at nine and even at eight, but also completely different. There are things in her life now that are simply impossible, like remembering to pick up her clothes and put on deodorant. Things happen in her world that fall just short of being a minor crisis like not being able to find her homework bag, or being one and a half minutes late for anything. My pleas for calm and reason in these moments are generally met by a deafening silence, and a look that yells “I am clearly misunderstood”.
This child cannot remember the manners I have been trying to instill in her for the last ten years. Manners like “look at me when I talk to you”; “greet adults when you see them”; “say MAY I not CAN I”; “do not eat with your fingers” all of which make me question her ability to retain basic information. It is a worry that is instantly negated when she is able to, without fault or doubt, sing and play the cup song from Pitch Perfect ; a skill that took her less than thirty minutes to learn.
This child wants to play and sing and dance and her over dramatic rendition of poetry will make you laugh till you cry. But then, on other days there are glimpses of the lady that hormones are intent on changing her into. Those moments catch in my throat because I think of her getting married and leaving my house, and it all feels too soon because we just gave away our last Barbie DVD.
This ten year old girl is my grown up child. It is an accurate oxymoron that defines the basis of her whole existence and by extension ours. Navigating the next few years seems particularly daunting, and I fear there will be a much greater need for cake.
But yes my sweet girl, a grown up cake like this one, because I totally get that you are now way too old for a theme cake. Duh!
Happy birthday to you my dearest, dearest Pretty Girl.
A note on this amazing cake. It requires great effort and a lot of dishes to make. A layer of chocolate cake, topped with a layer of caramel, topped with a second layer of chocolate cake, topped with a thick layer of peanut butter mousse and covered with a layer of chocolate ganache. Decorated with chocolate balls and spun sugar. It is however, utterly and completely worth it.
Such is my level of devotion to cake that I have a board on Pinterest entirely devoted to amazing cakes. I think this one will be a perfect fit. You can follow my Amazing Cakes // board here:
Follow Sam Taylor // Pomegranate Days’s board Amazing Cakes // on Pinterest.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 250 ml (1 C) cake flour
- 65 ml (4 T) cocoa powder
- 10 ml (2 t) baking powder
- 250 ml (1 C) white sugar
- 2.5 ml (½ t) salt
- 125 ml (½ C) sunflower oil
- 125 ml (½ C) boiling water
- 250 g light brown sugar
- 150 ml (⅔ C)cream
- 140 g butter
- 250 ml (1 C) peanut butter
- 125 ml (½ C) icing sugar
- 250 ml (1 C) cream, softly whipped
- 250 g dark chocolate
- 250 ml (1 C) cream
- 65 ml (4 T) white sugar
- Place the egg whites in a clean bowl. Add the salt. Beat untill stiff and set aside.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl. Add the egg yolks, oil and water beat using an electric beater until well blended, about 3-4 minutes.
- By hand, gently fold the egg whites one third at a time into this mixture.
- Pour into two baking pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray and lined on the bottom with baking paper.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180˚C 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the sugar, cream and butter into a small saucepan.
- Bring to the boil stirring continuously until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Allow to boil for a further 3 minutes.
- Place the peanut butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat well until the peanut butter has softened and creamed and the sugar has dissolved.
- Fold the cream into the peanut butter and set aside.
- Break the chocolate into cubes and place in a heat resistant bowl.
- Bring the cream to the boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Do not stir but leave to stand for two minutes.
- Whisk the chocolate and the cream together until well blended.
- Leave the ganache at room temperature and whisk it every ten minutes or so until it thickens.
- Place the sugar into a non-stick frying pan in a thin even layer.
- Heat the sugar over low heat, do not stir.
- As the sugar beings to melt, slowly pull it all together and stir.
- Continue to cook the sugar over a low heat until it caramelizes and turns golden.
- Remove from the heat.
- Using the back of two spoons, take a bit of the sugar and squeeze and pull the spoons apart until the sugar begins to form long strands as it cools.
- Place one layer of chocolate cake onto a cake stand or serving platter. Trim the cake horizontally so that its top is level.
- Place the outer ring of a loose bottom baking pan around the cake.
- Spread the cooled caramel onto the cake, evenly all the way to the baking pan edge.
- Top with the second layer of chocolate cake.
- Add the peanut butter mousse and even the top.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator to set (at least 1 hour, but even overnight if making ahead)
- Remove the cake pan.
- Cover the cake over the sides and top with a thick layer of the chocolate ganache.
- Decorate with chocolate balls and caramel sugar.