Hello folks, I’m back! Happy new year? Question mark, because that’s probably not in place, given that’s it already February. Ha! But hey, it sure is a happy new year for us, and of course I’d like to share our happiness with you. Because what is it that they say: love and happiness gets bigger when shared. SO the major change in our lives is…
We’re a family of three! Our little baby girl Elma Clémentine arrived on the second last day of the old year. There, before my eyes and in my arms, was this bundle, so tiny and perfect, and you get to call it your own. Perfect from head to toe. And thus, I was made a mom, and from the get go I felt that this was going to be the best job I’ve ever had. They always say that you can’t express in words how much love you experience when you first meet that little bundle. And, what can I say, it’s true. This love is bigger than everything you’ve known before, bigger than you. It makes you complete and at the same time so very afraid and worried of almost everything. This instant love fills your heart and at the same time, it feels like heartache, like your heart can never be light again. I was filled with the sudden longing to be the best version of myself, for this new life that we’ve created. It also made me marvel at the miracle of life: suddenly, i got the love, devotion and sacrifice my parents must have invested into me. And I was eft utterly humbled. The many times you didn’t appreciate the parents. And now you inexplicably love so suddenly, unconditionally and fiercely that it makes no sense, and you know that you’re probably in for some worries, for the rest of your life. And you want to protect this new life, with all that you have and all that you are.
In a nutshell: Tears of joy are frequent and the determination to enjoy every second with little love is the result.
I’m sorry for the chaotic words. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, all very much a whirlwind, a beautiful chaos. But the sleep deprivation – however beautiful our cuddle filled nights now may be – definitely pays its toll on your speech center, social skills, writing skills – and many other skills, for that matter. But it doesn’t matter, because there is she now. (And aren’t those little fingers, chubby cheeks, tiny feet and thigh rolls just so delicious…)
So before I rush off to tend to our little big love, I’m sharing this delicious cake recipe with you. It’s a simple cake, not pretentious. Something old-school about it, granny style. It’s also the first thing I baked since little one arrived – while little one was watching and listening to the eggs beating and the chocolate being chopped, with her big, wise eyes. And it made it hard to concentrate on the cake and probably stretched the whole baking process unnecessarily so, but hey, at the end of the day you have a baby to cuddle and smother in kisses – and a cake to celebrate it with. So there, that’s what I call a win-win.
Also, don’t be fooled, because this might be a simple cake (in taste and looks), but it’s also quite labor intense. A proper labor of love. Just like all the good things in life that are worth having.
Meaning: you need to grate the Zwieback (which I believe is some kind of “rusk” in English, though I’ve never come across the product in any of my English based recipes and cookbooks, which, come to think of it, is rather odd…). And you also need to grate your milk chocolate. Grate it, guys! Finely. Yup, messy. And you potentially need to toast and skin hazelnuts (if it wasn’t for your fabulous mom who brought you some from Italy, fancy-shmancy…).
So here’s to new beginnings, a new life, a new love – and cake.
Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Cake
100 g butter, soft
175 g sugar
4 egg yolks
175 g milk chocolate (I used Lindt Milch Extra), finely grated
125 ml cream
4 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 knives point baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
175 g hazelnuts, grated
100 g Zwieback (rusk), grated
1 tsp. baking powder
Some toasted and skinned whole hazelnuts for decorating, optional
Preheat the oven to 180° C. Cream the butter until soft, add sugar and egg yolks. Mix until the mixture is creamy and light. Add the grated chocolate and cream. Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl, together with the salt and the pinch of the baking powder, until soft peaks form. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar to the egg whites, whip some more. Combine grated hazelnuts, Zwieback and baking powder. Now Combine the wet mix, dry mix and egg whites by folding everything together carefully. Fill into a prepared (buttered and floured) cake (loaf of about 28-30 cm or round shape of about 22 cm diameter) pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the whole toasted hazelnuts on top. Bake for 15 more minutes, or until a stick inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool and remove from the pan. Serve naked or with whipped cream.