My sister-in-law Sara has a small gourmet food store in Conwy, Wales called Jackdaw Fine Foods. On Saturdays she brings in two homemade cakes to sell by the slice. After enjoying a slice of each and wallowing in their sweet, creamy goodness I realized I couldn't remember the last time I'd made a cake. Returning home I told Charles I was resolved to bake a cake. All he asked is that it be a chocolate cake. I dug into my new America's Test Kitchen cookbook for a recipe.
What could be more chocolate-y than Chocolate Blackout Cake? It is layered together with chocolate pudding which keeps the cake super moist and not so tooth rottingly sweet as it would be with icing. For visual texture the pudding-iced cake is covered with chocolate cake crumbs. The photo I took isn't the best so you'll just have to trust me.
The pudding recipe alone is worth making, but combined with the cake and served with a dollop of ice cream this recipe is a keeper. I think the secret to the richness is the cup of coffee in the cake, it adds a level of complexity and helps cut the sweetness of the sugar. I can't wait to make this cake again!
I am slacking with this blog thing. Sorry. I've been awfully busy in the past 2 weeks with all sorts of travel and then catching up at work. The good news is that I've been super productive. The bad news is I haven't really had a moment to myself. Some highlights from the past two weeks:
Exploring Manchester and surviving the UEFA cup fan invasion
The train ride from Manchester to Glasgow. Perfect weather and beautiful countryside to see from the train.
Glasgow - my first time back in 20 years and I'm so in love with this city.
Dinner at The City Merchant, Glasgow. Regional Scottish ingredients from land and sea. Delicious!
The drive from Manchester to Conwy with my co-pilot Nuvi. She didn't let me down.
A quiet glass of wine and dinner at The Castle Hotel, Conwy. The shrimp and chorizo sausage risotto did not disappoint.
Three restful nights at the Castlebank Hotel, Conwy. This small B&B has everything I need - comfortable rooms, soaking bathtub, restful sitting room with gas fire perfect for curling up and reading in, delicious breakfastss and dinners, wonderful hosteliers, and internet connectivity!
Lunch with Roger and Beryl at the Dutch Pancake House & Water Gardens. Enjoying a savory pancake of welsh bacon and cheese and talking for hours before shopping for 6 goldfish for Roger's garden pond.
Spending time with my nieces - eating ice cream, running along Conwy Quay, exploring the Butterfly Garden at Bodnant Gardens and more! They are so entertaining, articulate, clever and funny. They also ran me ragged with soccer, jump rope, running and more.
Dinner with Jill at Boysgallen Hall. Scrumptious! I can't wait to come back here and enjoy it with Charles.
Finally getting inside the Liverpool Arms pub on Conwy Quay. Now that it has gone smoke-free it is safe to enter.
Seeing old friends and feeling completely at home in Conwy, my home away from home.
Just seven days, a mere week - that's all! Just a week until I get to Conwy in Wales and see my nieces Mim and Daisy, my mother-in-law Jill, my sister-in-law Sara and the cast of characters that makes this small town in North Wales my home away from home. I leave tomorrow for a conference in Manchester followed by a quick trip to Glasgow before I pick up the car and head to Conwy on Friday night.
I'll be on my own on this trip which shouldn't be a problem except for one small thing. It is the first time I will have driven solo in the UK. I wasn't too worried about that detail. I've driven the route from Manchester to North Wales countless times before. In fact, I haven't really had time to think about the trip and all the logistics because I've been busy with other trips and tons to do at work. But Charles was worrying for me. To make sure I had a co-pilot he got me Nuvi, a GPS from Garmin. Now I'm all set for 10 days in the UK just me, myself and Nuvi.