Last week, I raged against the onslaught of autumn, but as the seasons change, my resolve has weakened. I’ve submitted to September and its chilly mornings and nights and my legs are once again clad in 60-denier tights.
I’ve always loved this time of year, but as I get older, I find it pretty bleak – after all, everything’s dying. And don’t hate me, Swansea, but you’re pretty grey at the best of times so it’s no wonder that I find the colder months so difficult. As the temperature drops, so does my mood.
And anyway, autumn, once the underdog of the seasons, is a bit basic bitch nowadays thanks to pumpkin spiced lattes and Instagram.
I’m definitely with Sathnam on this one.
I was once enamoured with mists and mellow fruitfulness, but I’m failing at fall this year. I’ve been blackberry picking (a first for me as a born and bred city girl), but my attempt to turn them into a crumble left a lot to be desired. It turns out that even if you’ve written a cookery book, you can still mess up a basic pudding. To be fair, I was playing around with coconut flour (which is the wildest I get these days) which was bound to end in tears, but I was still pretty annoyed with myself.
That’s the thing: when our social media feeds are so well-curated, anything less than perfect just won’t do. But, perhaps failing once in a while is a good thing. That’s what I’ve learned from listening to How to Fail, Elizabeth Day’s hugely enjoyable – and thought-provoking podcast. If you haven’t listened, you should.
As much as I really wanted to share a recipe for blackberry crumble, it still needs some work, so here’s a tried and tested cake which I promise will work.
Chocolate and tahini cake with frosting
For the cake
150g brown sugar
350g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
400ml unsweetened soya milk
75ml rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing
3 tbsp tahini
For the frosting
200g dark chocolate
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
150g icing sugar
50ml plant milk
Heat the oven to 160C. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, then grease the bases with a little oil.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cocoa powder, aquafaba and milk and stir. Add the oil and stir and then the tahini and stir again. Divide between the tins and bake for 25 mins or until fully risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. While you wait, start preparing the frosting. Melt the chocolate with a little of the milk, either over a bowl of water or in the microwave, then let it cool for a few mins. Sift the cocoa and the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the melted chocolate and the rest of the milk and stir. Whisk the aquafaba, fold into the mixture and keep mixing to make a thick frosting. Use this to sandwich and top the cake.
This will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.