Now that the Christmas hubbub is ( nearly ) behind us and the new year is peeking around the corner it seems only natural to reflect and reminisce. Of course, a certain smell or taste can instantly stir a memory and transport you to another time and place.
For me, the smell of freshly cut grass whisks me to the lush field behind my Primary School on a summer Sports Day. Unfortunately I was the chubby child, who came in second from last, red-faced and puffing.
For Mr Love it is the taste of Milo – a chocolaty, malty drink that can be enjoyed hot or cold – that sweeps him away to his tweenage years spent in Kuala Lumpur. Whenever we come across it in a supermarket he insists on singing the Malaysian Milo TV commercial song at me.
And so, as Mr L is battling the cold and dark here in wintry London, I decided to set about whipping his fond Milo memories into a cake.
The result was a tender-crumbed and lightly chocolate and malty flavoured sponge, offset with a sweet vanilla butter cream. I then drenched the whole of the frosted cake with Milo to create a rich crunchy coating.
175g self raising flour
1 Tsp bicarbonate soda
100g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
150ml sunflower oil
100g Milo powder, add enough boiling water to create a paste
100ml whole milk
2 tbsp golden syrup
140g butter, softened
280g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1-2 tablespoons of whole milk
Preheat oven to 180C/ 160C fan.
Grease and line two 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tins.
Sieve the flour, cocoa and Bicarbonate of Soda into your waiting bowl. Add in the sugar and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the syrup, eggs, oil, Milo paste and milk. Beat well until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the two tins and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from oven, leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.
To make the butter icing, place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft and light. Gradually sift and beat in the icing sugar then add enough milk to make the icing fluffy and spreadable. Sandwich the two cakes together with the butter icing and cover the sides and the top of the cake with a scant amount of icing. Leave to set and then spread the whole cake with a second layer of icing. Sprinkle with copious amounts on Milo, throwing it at the sides until the cake is carpeted in chocolaty crumbs.
Wishing you health and happiness in 2013,