Baking a cake can become difficult, if you do it far away from home…
Even an Easy Cake might not be as easy at it sounds. When you’re far from home, when your oven isn’t the one you were used to, when the kitchen you find yourself in isn’t the one you had chosen years ago…
‘Easy Cake’: you had given it that name years ago, but suddenly it’s become anything but easy.
So you have shoved your treasured recipe notebook, which you had brought with you in your suitcase, to the back of the bottom drawer in your new kitchen: a drawer which does not contain your cake-piping gadgets, nor your favourite cake tin. It’s a tiny drawer, but it’s stuffed with memories.
What’s in that drawer…
Along with your recipe notebook, you buried a chunk of your previous life in that drawer: your old house, your old kitchen, your old memories. You’re not going to open the drawer for a while, just as you’re not going to open your blue notebook, filled with your recipes, notes and scribbles.
Opening the notebook would mean opening up the floodgates of your memories. It would mean opening up a dinner with friends, a New Year’s Eve party celebrated in a tavern, a Carnival celebration, an Easter Monday garden party, a Christmas dinner…It would be like opening and leafing through pieces of life…reading recipes of dishes prepared with love and shared with loved ones, right in the deepest heart of your life.
Then one day you open it, because you want to note down a new recipe which you have recently discovered and shared with new friends, in this new life, in this new home, in this new kitchen. You open the notebook and you read the ‘Easy Cake’ recipe. And at last, you realise that it’s become easy again. Because your heart has become simple once more. You have let go all the elements that made the cake ‘heavy’ and difficult to make, and you realise that all the touching memories inextricably bound to your favourite recipes are your most precious jewel that you will always hold in your heart, wherever you go, wherever you end up…
We all have an ‘Easy Cake’. It’s just that sometimes our heart makes extremely simple things appear so difficult…
Recipe for my “Easy Cake”:
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 130g sugar (the original recipe says 250g but that’s rather too much for me J)
- 80/100 g butter at room temperature
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp baking powder
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 250 g jam (your favourite)
- Sieve all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, and baking powder.
- Add eggs, butter, oil, vanilla essence and lemon zest.
- Beat with an electric beater until frothy.
- Pour the mixture into a cake tin lined with baking paper which has been previously wet and squeezed out
- Randomly place spoonfuls of jam on the mixture: it doesn’t need to sink in (kids love this part!)
- Bake at 180° for about 25/30 minutes.
Elisa is Italian and she lives in Sydney. You can read the Italian version of this article in her blog.