Friday 22 June 2018

Guest Blog - Shauna Black - A Taste Of Chocolate

Have you ever read a book and loved it so much you wanted to live in that world? I haven’t visited either of Universal Studio’s Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter, but their success attests to the intense craving many of us have to immerse ourselves in imagination. (Or, maybe we’re really all just little kids inside that like to play pretend!)

Unlike the silvertongues in Inkheart, we can’t literally step into the pages of a story, but there are other ways we can bring the magic of our favorite books to real life, even if we don’t have oodles of money to spend on building fancy theme parks.

One thing I like to do is pick a food mentioned in a book and try my hand at making it. I’ve fixed bandana splits from The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson. (No, that isn’t a typo. It’s bandana splits. If you read the book, you’ll get it. ;-) And the chocolate river (ie, a fountain) from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Do you realize how many references there are to food in books? So, if you like to cook, grab your apron and step into a little slice of fiction with me:

One of my favorite dystopian books is Matched by Ally Condie. Throughout the course of the book, Cassia learns how to become independent from a government that controls everything: down to the type and amount of food you eat!

At the beginning of the book, Cassia goes to her Matching Banquet, where she will find out the identity of the person the government has decided she will marry. Since this is a special occasion, Cassia and her parents are served a delicious meal described as "...a dance, as though this is a ball as well as a banquet." (I love that description!) The crowning jewel of the meal is the chocolate cake with fresh cream.

Since we don't live in that strait-jacket society, we can eat chocolate cake whenever we want! (As evidenced by the size of my waistline.) But you might want to serve it at a fancy dinner to get a real feeling for the book. (After you've read it, of course—which I highly recommend!)

Whenever I need chocolate cake for a birthday, special occasion, or that midnight chocolate craving :) I pull out this old family recipe. It makes a cake that is moist and spongy without being too light or too heavy. Add a dollop of whipped cream, and it's heaven on a fork!


(Note that I’ve tried to convert the measurements to UK units for your convenience. Hopefully, I did it right!)

Matchmaker Chocolate Cake

1 cup (240 ml or 8.1 fl oz) buttermilk

(If you can’t find buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp or 15 ml of lemon juice to regular milk and allow to sit a couple of minutes before continuing with the recipe.)

1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking soda (bicarbonate soda)

3 cups (375g) flour

2 cups (450 g) sugar

1/2 cup (65 g) cocoa

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

1 cup (240 ml or 8.1 fl oz) vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup (240 ml or 8.1 fl oz) boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius or gas mark 4) and grease and flour a 9 in x 13 in (about 22 cm x 33 cm) baking pan.

Mix together buttermilk and baking soda. Set aside. In a large, separate bowl, combine flour with sugar, cocoa, and salt. Beat in oil, eggs, and buttermilk with a mixer on low speed. Add boiling water and mix well.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50 or 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool, then serve with freshly whipped and sweetened cream.


What about you? Have you ever tried to recreate an experience from a book, just to spark that little bit of magic in the real world? Share your thoughts with me! I’d love to hear about your creativity!

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