Freedom of Choice, & A Chocolate Cake Recipe
When I watched The Avengers a few weeks ago, one scene in particular stood out to me. It was when Loki gave his evil speech to a crowd of terrified civilians, standing above them all. His speech spoke of freedom: how in his twisting mind, humans didn’t really want freedom, and that it actually brought destruction to us.
Don’t get me wrong, because I don’t agree with his idea that the human race should be governed by evil extra-terrestrials, but what he said about freedom did make me think.
The freedom we have today — the freedom our forefathers laid down their lives for–is far greater than a century ago. But, are we really happier? In terms of human rights and quality of life, we definitely are, but how about basic happiness? How many of us have experienced the simple joys our forefathers cherished– new clothes during festivals, or an extra hour to play outside?
I have heard from my mum countless times that many in her generation didn’t have much of a choice regarding this future careers. They were told by parents and well-meaning relatives that they could either be doctors, accountants, engineers, or whatever else guaranteed a good income then. They didn’t the privilege of being able to choose as we do now; they didn’t have the opportunity to seek out their passion, be it the colors of the world, the written word, or culinary arts.
All they had was one option, and that was to succeed. They knew that they would carry the burden of feeding a family one day, or perhaps already did, and so they worked hard to provide their loved ones with a decent life.
It seems scary, even unfair, for us to have to undergo the same thing; to have our bounty of choices suddenly stripped away from us. But the thing is, not all the choices we make are good ones. Who is to say that because one fancies cooking one day, that interest will carry a lifetime?
Yes, we have to chase our dreams, and yes, that should be a basic right. But at the end of the day, we have to make sensible choices, because whimsical dreams often don’t–I won’t say never feed hungry mouths. We can pursue still our passions, whilst remaining pragmatic, and make sure we don’t make silly decisions just because we can.
Taken from my mum’s large file of tried, tested and tweaked recipes, this chocolate cake is a family favourite, and one I love eating at any time of the day. It’s healthy whilst being oh so delicious.
As a child, cakes and pastries were all the same to me. I mean, if they are delicious what more do you need to know about them? They are both desserts after all and are made from flour. Well, there is a difference between them.
Cakes, in olden England, were used to substitute bread. So in short, cakes are a form of bread. Some examples of cakes are layered cakes, sponge cakes and pound cakes. On the other hand, pastries are light, sweet baked products such as pies, croissants and danish.
The difference between the two is that one is lighter than the other. Also, the main ingredient that differentiates a cake and a pastry is egg. Not all pastries need eggs, but all cakes must have eggs in them. In the end, both cakes and pastries are equally delicious and put a smile on our faces.
Make from scratch
- 175g dark cooking chocolate (small pieces)
- 160g butter
- 120g soft brown sugar
- 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites (use 5 if the eggs are small)
- 25g castor sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp instant coffee (dilute with 1 tbsp of warm water)
- 90g self-raising flour (sifted)
- 75g ground almonds
Grease and line a 29 × 11 cm loaf pan, and then grease the paper lining it. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Melt the chocolate (either over boiling water or in a microwave), and set it aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks individually, and beat well as you add each one.
Stir in the melted chocolate and ingredients for A, and beat them together until they are well blended.
Fold in the ingredients for B, adding the flour first.
Whisk the egg whites until they reach a soft-peak state, and then beat in the sugar until the eggs are light but stiff. Add this to the batter by gently folding it in with a ladle until it is properly mixed.
Pour the batter into the pan, and place it into the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool the cake for several minutes before removing it from pan. Enjoy!