I’ve always wondered at what point you finally become ‘grown-up’. Is it when you leave home? Get your first job, find a partner, buy a house, have children, raise children or lose someone you love? At all these points, I’ve felt denial, although outwardly grown-up activities, inwardly I feel exactly the same as my 20-something self. I remember my mum turning 40 and thinking (at the age of 11) that it was properly, really, truly old and the closer I get to 40, the less I feel like that perception I had of them. I think I feel it most, not with financial decisions, or career related decisions, but faced with tricky situations involving the children. The horrible realisation that what I say, how I handle it, is shaping another entire human being and I sure as heck don’t feel grown-up enough to handle it! Although of course, I do. We all do, because we have to, and that, I suppose is what makes us grown-ups.
On a lighter note, the other thing that I realise defines me as an adult, a true grown-up is finally being old enough to not understand modern technology and trends. Yes, I own an iPhone, and even (as of today!) a FitBit and I can use a computer, the smart TV and set up email accounts. But, my limit has finally been reached. Now, if you have a child between the ages of about 5 and 10, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft, and if you’ve heard of Minecraft then maybe you’ve come across ‘Stampy’. Stampy Long Nose plays Minecraft, films it and ‘narrates’ (for want of a better word – see, definitely getting old, putting things I don’t understand in inverted commas in a sneering, dismissive manner), punctuated by the world’s most annoying laugh, and uploads the videos to YouTube. My 6 year old then spends hours, and would probably spend her entire life, eschewing food, sleep and any human contact if it weren’t for me periodically locking the ipad away in ever more devious hiding places, watching these videos. She LOVES them, she LOVES Stampy; and I simply don’t understand it. It struck me the other day that this is the children’s generations’ equivalent of Rock and Roll to the parents of the 1950’s or Punk, or all the many ‘modern’ trends that appall or discombobulate parents and force them to refer to them in inverted commas. I admit, I just don’t get it, and my excuse? It’s because I’m finally a grown-up!
Anyway, here’s a recipe for a lovely warming ginger cake that I baked this week for a 90th birthday. It smells incredible as it’s baking and the really moist, indulgent flavour and a rich chestnut colour combined with a fresh, zesty, lemony frosting is a wonderful winter treat.
For the cake:
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
375g self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
340g black treacle
For the lemon frosting:
250g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
Splash hot water
3 tbsp lemon curd
– Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan and grease and line two 8” round cake tins
– Cream together the butter and soft brown sugar in a stand mixer until really light and fluffy.
– Combine the flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon in a bowl (I use a balloon whisk rather than sifting)
– Combine the milk and black treacle in a jug
– Beat the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time.
– Add half the flour mix, followed by half the milk mix, then the other halves and mix until combined.
– Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for around 35 minutes in the pre-heated oven until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
For the frosting:
– Beat the softened butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until super fluffy, adding a splash of boiling water if the mixture seems dry, then beat in the lemon curd.
Once the cake is completely cool, split each cake in two and layer generously with the filling, dust with icing sugar and scoff!
As the cake is nice and moist, it should last well in an airtight container for up to a week.