Memories are a strange thing sometimes. Some of them we end up suppressing or hiding in the furthest recesses of our minds that it takes us completely by surprise when they resurface. It was my father’s 5th death anniversary last week and I was shocked when I realised how much time had passed since, and how my life has changed as a result.
This year I chose not to wallow in the past or be consumed by morbid thoughts of finality. The past 18 months have taught me that life is too short to dwell on regrets. Fess up and move on! My relationship with my father was never a smooth one, but there were instances when we bonded and these became essential building blocks of my persona. The love for collecting stones, fiddling with tools, over-thinking and over-planning, inability to ask for help, inability to say no, and last but not least, the shameless ability to indulge in Mommy’s cooking. Daddy had his list of favourites, and I had my own when it came to family dishes, and these lists did not always overlap. He loved all the soupy dishes she made, whereas I abhorred them, and still do. But anything involving mangoes, seafood, and chocolate were irrefutable, well except perhaps the portions and who got first slice rights.
My mother’s chocolate fudge cake was the first cake I ever bake on my own. Mommy, as always, never did anything by the book and inducted me into the world of baking with a complicated chiffon cake, instantly turning me off baking for the next few years. Then she discovered a wonderfully simple chocolate fudge cake that one of her friends brought to a potluck. Both Daddy and I fell fudgegily in love, and at the risk of sounding gooeyly corny, it was love at first bite. Mommy got hold of the recipe, tweaked it over the years and when I took over, I continued the tradition. It is my go-to magic cake when I am feeling blue and have a soulful need to indulge in chocolate, comfort and goodness that an ordinary candy bar won’t satisfy.
There is nothing fancy about this cake, but it means the world to me. My mother’s warmth and love lives through this cake, and whenever I find myself in need of indulgence that I won’t regret the next day, this is it. Daddy had diabetes and was not supposed to have too much of it, so he justified his kitchen forages as engineering necessities… I have to straighten out the edges. Those words come to mind each time I slice into the cake and this is how I chose to remember him this year.
You know I am not a food blogger, but this simple recipe is worth sharing and I hope you find as much joy in it as I do
Linda’s Chocolate Fudge Cake
1.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Khalua
3 Tbsp dark baking cocoa
6 Tbsp drinking cocoa (e.g. Nesquick)
1.5 cups milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp instant coffee or 1/4 cup espresso
250 gms butter
Fudge topping :
1.5 cups powered sugar
4 tbsp baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk
Cream the butter, add eggs and sugar gradually, followed by vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into a greased pan.
(NB: This is a very messy cake once the icing comes on, so I prefer to use a ceramic or oven-proof glass dish so you don’t have to transfer anything).
Bake a 190C for 50min.
Once the cake is done, pour the Khalua over it and allow to cool. for 10 min. In the meantime, place all ingredients for the topping in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour over the warm cake and allow to settle. Top with chocolate chips or nuts (or both) as you wish. I have tried using Bailey’s or bourbon as well. It comes down to a matter personal preference.
My mom would have loved this cake! She often used Khalua in lots of desserts.
It’s such a mom cake, and I think that is the best part about it. There is nothing pretentious in this cake, just a whole lot of loving!
As usual I enjoy reading your well expressed thoughts, feelings, even that with which I disagree.
Clearly there is a cultural magnetism to family in yours which is not so strong in mine, and it is beautiful, it seems to exact a price.
When my parents passed I was thankful for so much and so many good things. Examples of industry, peace, integrity, balance, respect, self control that so few have, were mine. My view is that to be dark about their passing would not be honoring that they taught me to acknowledge truth, but to be thankful for what was good, and to choose to affect others in an uplifting way.
Wallowing it seems, centers on self.
I have no idea an what date either of my parents died, I do smile at the memories of their birthdays, those I the memories they would prefer.
Thank you for sharing not just the tender thoughts of your parents but also embracing the joy and life they brought into your life. We try to live in the light and use the shadows to learn and define. This is one of the most valuable lessons you have taught me over the years.