Hello, 2012

It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down to your hips.
~ Author unknown

Christmas has done it again. Rushed in and tiptoed out, leaving January in place of the Christmas tree. I know it’s already the 2nd, but I still feel surprised whenever I see the date on anything. Do you feel like you’ve arrived at 2012? I feel like I can see it in the distance, but I’m still on a boat bound for it.

I’m having to tell my hand to get with the times and write “2012” in my journal entries.

January! Already!

Are you still eating Christmas treats? I am, but there is no ham, no chicken, no Christmas cake. The one I am loving the most now is this spicy jar – Grandma’s potent hand-pounded shrimp and chilli paste, flown over by plane. It’s one distinct flavour that transports me instantly to a time in my life that involved mahjong, fried shallots, playgrounds and congee. Good memories. I am glad that I only need a teaspoon or two of it for each dish, so I expect it to last me through January at least…

I also wanted to tell you about this recipe I found the other day. I know many people are now in “diet mode”, having feasted excessively over Christmas. I, however, was in cake mode right after Christmas, though I did not want something too rich. I wanted good-cake-in-a-jiffy, and I knew that might be too much to ask for, even as I searched Google…

But I found it.

I found great-cake-in-a-jiffy in this cocoa and applesauce cake. It fell out of the tin in one piece, and it was moist, beckoning, gently sweet… I liked it instantly. This cake is strong enough for you to hold a slice of it in one hand and eat it like a sandwich (without spilling crumbs!), moist enough to ooze easily past your tongue and down your throat, light enough to have two slices in one go, and definitely delicious enough to make again. Thank you, The Pastry Affair.

And now I will leave you, readers, because I need to go and buy a chicken for dinner tonight. Friends are coming over, and I want dinner*** to be palatable, pleasurable if possible. ;-)

Have a beautiful day! Bake a cake to share soon, won’t you.

    1 1/2 cups flour
    3/4 cup sugar
    3 tbsp cocoa powder
    2 tsp espresso powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp vinegar
    1/4 cup applesauce
    1 cup water
    Preheat oven to 350°F (I preheated it to 180°C). Grease a 9-inch cake pan.
    In the greased pan*, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. Make 3 depressions into the flour. Place the vinegar into one depression, the vanilla extract in another, and the applesauce in the last. Pour the water over the entire mixture. Using a spatula, mix together the batter until smooth.
    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes**, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and cool completely on a cooling rack.
    [I dusted my cake with icing sugar, and served it with unsweetened yoghurt.]

    * I made the batter in a bowl before pouring it into the cake tin.

    ** Baking time may vary, depending on your oven – my cake was done in 25 minutes.

    *** [Edit] I was concentrating more on dishing up than taking pictures, but here are three photos of tonight’s dinner (thanks Jeremy for the first one!)



15 responses to “Hello, 2012

  1. Those shrimp look fantastic, so does the cake. We are definitely done with ham for awhile.

  2. What a lovely cake and lucky you-getting ingredients hand delivered like that! I had to laugh (out loud) at the quote! c

  3. Now that’s a cake with all the right attributes! Actually, reminds me a lot of a chocolate cake my Mum used to make a lot when we were kids.

    Best wishes for 2012 xo

  4. I’m with you – how did 2012 get here so fast. I like your analogy of the boat. :) You’ve got one cool Grandma to fly you food! Happy New Year Mel!

  5. My hand and my mouth both keep getting confused about it being 2012 already too, and I keep trying to write or say some weird mixture of the two! Happy new year Mel x

  6. Happy New Year!

    Maybe I should be in a diet mode… but while I am in Italy I won’t… a few more weeks of mega eating for me!!!!


  7. Yum!! Happy New Year – lets catch up properly ASAP! xx

  8. Alessandra – oh Italy is most certainly not a place to diet! ;-) Enjoy!!

    Soph – a very happy 2012 to you too! And yes, let’s! Just let me know when suits you.

  9. Om nom nom <3

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