Today I came across a quote that spoke to me on many different levels:
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you com alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
And then I found another quote:
"In quoting others, we cite ourselves." - Julio Cortázar
In the words of Bernie Kropp of The Incredibles, "Coincidence? I think not." (Or perhaps it could be - after all, I was looking at a compilation of at least 50 quotes.)
I told myself a few days ago that after the last cake I made, the oven mittens have to be put away, the spatula kept securely in its drawer. No I may not touch the butter, cookies are for eating and not for making tart crusts. Chocolate should be kept cold, not thrown into a warm bowl to be reduced to a delicious puddle.
Just 3 more weeks, a petrifying thought, yet in equal measure exciting. Just 3 more weeks and life will go back to normal. To the normalcy of 8 hour sleeps, indulging in fiction and not research papers, to step out of the front door into the embrace of fun activity without every step taken being leaden with bricks of guilt.
Just 3 more weeks. Time is ticking away. The countdown is starting to hit a desperate note. A pile of notes beckons yet here I am still typing. Forgive me for from this point I shall hurry.
Decoration: Pocky sticks of strawberry and chocolate in their respective shades of bright pink and dark brown to be arranged side by side around the borders of a freshly frosted cake. Focus of the cake. Ribbon optional.
Cake: A mixed berries yoghurt cake. Fluffy, fruity, pocky-cake-worthy. This echoes the strawberry pocky.
Filling: Chocolate cake that has been reduced to crumbs, mixed with a generous amount condensed milk and a spoonful or two of milk. Tastes like fudge but with texture; a great way to use up leftover cake apart from making cake balls. I confess that I made cut-out chocolate cake hearts to be baked with the yoghurt cake batter but I totally forgot about their existence. Baking when I'm barely awake always results in a mishap or two - yet I never learn.
So here's the recipe, have fun!
makes a 5 inch cake
For the cake:
2/3 cup mixed berries yoghurt (feel free to use plain though)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
For the filling:
leftover chocolate cake, crumbed
For the frosting:
3/4 stick butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
pinch of salt
4 boxes of pocky
Bake the cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare three 5 inch round cake pans.
Combine the eggs, 1/4 of the yoghurt and vanilla.
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low speed until combined. Add the butter and remaining buttermilk and continue to mix until everything is moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 minutes after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
Divide cake batter evenly amongst cake pans and bake for around 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool cakes completely.
Make the filling: Mix the chocolate cake crumbs and enough condensed milk to form a paste. Add a splash of milk to loosen if too stiff.
Make the frosting: Beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar and salt and beat until light and fluffy.
Assemble the cake: Trim the tops of the cakes if necessary to make them flat. Take the first layer of cake, spread half the filling on top, place the second layer on top of the filling, spread the remaining filling on top and finish with the last layer of cake.
Frost the outsides of the cake with the frosting. It will just be a thin layer but that's sufficient for getting the pocky to stick to the sides. Arrange the pocky sticks around the sides of the cake. Refrigerate cake until frosting has firmed up before serving.