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I had a nice long weekend. I took Monday off which combined with the fact that I finish early on Fridays meant I got nearly four days off. I took the time off to take advantage of the fact that P's exams have finished. I've also taken Monday, Tuesday and Thursday off next week, and we will be spending a long weekend with P in Oxford.

It was a lot of fun, especially as we could just relax and not have to worry about anything like work or revision. With some help P has now built her first magic deck, my friend Nick came down set up my drum kit properly and gave me my first drum lesson, so I have my first groove to practise, I messed about briefly on creatures 3 trying to teach the inoffensive things to defend themselves (with varying degrees of success) and just generally had fun and relaxed.

And yesterday with P's help I made a chocolate fudge layer cake. It's made it once before several years ago and its as gorgeous as I remembered it to be. It’s so rich and sweet that you can only eat in small amounts and with ice cream. Its about 4 inches high by about 7 in diameter. With two chocolate sponges covered in a chocolate fudge frosting. There’s about a centimetre of fudge between the two sponge layers, and about 1.5 to 2cm of fudge over the sides and top. I think calling it a chocolate fudge layer cake is not quite accurate death by chocolate fudge might be a more appropriate name. The cake practically radiates an aura of absolute sweetness.

I’ll stick the recipe up behind lj cut tags:

First the ingredients for the sponge:
8oz unsalted butter (+some more for greasing the cake tins)
8oz sifted self raising flour
6oz castor sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of strong coffee
(optional addition tried this time 2 oz sifted coca powder – worked well)
For the fudge frosting:
8 oz unsalted butter (chopped into smallish chucks)
1 lb castor sugar
4 fl oz double cream
4 fl oz evaporated milk
4 oz dark cooking chocolate
¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the cake part:
1. Preheat oven to 190 C
2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
2b. (if using the cocoa) Mix the flour and cocoa powder together
3. Beat in the eggs, putting in a tablespoon of the flour (or flour & cocoa mixture) with each egg.
4. Fold in the remaining flour (or flour & cocoa mixture), then mix in the strong coffee.
5. Grease two 8 inch (sandwich) cake tins with butter (we only had 6 inch tins at home but they worked fine) and divide the cake mix into the two tins evenly.
6. Place in oven for about 20-25 minutes until they are done.
7.Leave them to stand for a few minutes (preferably on a metal grill tray) and then cut the top of one of them flat (or at least flat enough that the other cake will sit on it happily (we had a centimetre gap around the edges of two cakes that the fudge easily filled up).
8. At this point the book I used suggested you cut each of the cakes in half. The layers didn’t look big enough to me to do this so I left them, I’ll leave it to you to decide.
For the fudge frosting (while the cakes are baking and cooling):
1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put it, the cream, sugar and evaporated milk into a medium sized saucepan.
2. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and stir the ingredients until the sugar dissolves and the chocolate melts.
3.Bring it to the boil and do not stir it. Leave it boiling until a drop of the mixture dropped into cold water forms a soft ball.
4.Leave it to stand for five minutes then add in the butter and vanilla essence. Stirring until it’s completely mixed.
5.Bring it to the boil stirring continuously and keep stirring for three more minutes while it’s boiling, then take it off the heat.
6. Leave it until you its cooled enough that you can spread it over the cakes using a knife. Or if you me get impatient pour it over the cakes and keep spreading back up on to the top using a knife and a spoon.
7.Leave it to stand in the fridge until the fudge cools and sets to how you want.

In other news my Dad has know bought his new car an Audi A4 Quattro. I think he's pleased with the 3.0 litre engine. This means I'm a little close to getting the Fiesta again. Of course we need to resolve the unreliable starting issue first. If it wasn't for the fact that the Micras not really suitable for regular motorway driving I'd probably keep it a little longer.


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