Wednesday 20 October 2010

The gifts of the year . . .

Cottage Garden by WS Coleman

I think one of the most beautiful miracles of all on this lovely earth we've been given, is how wonderfully our gardens reflect the passing seasons . . .

What could be more appropriate in early Spring than the sight of pure, white snowdrops amidst the grey and dullness of the waning winter?

And then . . . as the days lengthen and warm up, they are followed by pretty little crocus and yellow daffodils . . . a tiny taste of the joys to come . . .

Next come the bluebells, which mirror the skies of early Summer . . . and then . . . as the days grow even warmer still, we feast our eyes on the reds, pinks and oranges of high summer with it's roses and many other blooms . . .

In time they give way to the softer, mellower hues of crystanthemums and dahlias . . . until then . . . with the year itself . . . they fade and pass on . . .

The most wonderful miracle of all is that this beautiful pageant of colour in the garden will return with the spring and begin all over again!!! An eternal never-ending round . . . Heavenly Father's plan . . .

There is always something to look forward to!

I read in the news this morning that the winner of that £113 million whom hasn't come forward to claim the prize as of yet is a little old woman whose husband has binned the ticket, and they have been unable to find it! She had the numbers written down in her notebook, and saw that they were the winning ones . . . but when she asked her husband for the ticket, he had already gotten rid of it! That's one man in this country whose name is now "mud" I'll wager! Can you imagine? They did find a winning £10 ticket in the bin when they were looking though! Hmmm . . . somehow, I don't think it will make up for the loss of £113 million!! I seriously doubt he'll be put in charge of the tickets again!

This is something that you don't see very often on here. Chocolate Cake. Todd hates chocolate cake. I, on the other hand, love it. I don't make it very often though coz I end up having to eat what I can myself and give the rest away . . . sigh . . . sometimes a gal's got to do what a gal's got to do . . . .

*Double Chocolate Layer Cake*
makes 12 servings
Printable Recipe

Can you say "To Die For"? Repeat after die die die for...deliciously moist chocolate cake with a gorgeously rich and delicious chocolate ganache coating....

3 ounces fine quality semi sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (well shaken)
3/4 tsp vanilla
16 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 TBS caster sugar
2 TBS golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F. Lightly grease two nine inch layer pans. Line bottomms with parchment paper and grease the paper. Set aside.

Finely chop the chocolate and put in a bowl along with the hot coffee. Let stand, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Sift together the dry ingredients, stir in the sugar and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are thick and lemon coloured, about 5 minutes with a hand held electric mixer. Slowly beat in the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Mix well. Add dry ingredients, mixing only until they are combined. Divide batter between the two prepared baking pans and bake in the centre of the oven for one hour up to one hour and ten minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. When cold, run a knife carefully around the edges of the pans and invert onto the racks. Carefully remove the paper.

For the frosting chop the chocolate finely. Bring the cream to a boil along with the syrup and sugar, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate pieces and whisk until melted. Cut the butter into pieces and whisk in a bit at a time, until melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is of spreading consistency.

Sandwich the layers together on a plate with some of the ganache and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and around the sides of the cake. This cake keeps well, covered and chilled for 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Wonderful!

And if Chocolate Cake doesn't do it for you, check out The English Kitchen today, there's a delicious Cinnamon Pudding Cake over there. ☺


  1. I too love the organized beauty of the earth...what a great planner He is! I love chocolate too, wish I was there to share it! ;D

  2. Marie, that cake is completely wonderful looking. I can almost taste it!

    Love ya my friend!


  3. Oh dear, Marie, how you do have to suffer for your art (or is it a science?). Chocolate cake - fancy having to put yourself outside of that!!! My German friend was just telling me about her trip to the home of the Sachertorte, Vienna, and how she couldn't take even a tiny one home because it cost 18 Euros. Daylight robbery. No, I know this isn't a sachertorte, it was the ganache frosting that reminded me.........

  4. Hi, Marie! Each day I try to take moments to appreciate the little wonders of every day, to appreciate the joys each season brings. The is much to sing praises for! Like your chocolate cake too... LOL! ;o) We LOVE us some chocolatey goodness now & then. I was thinking last night how it's been a while since making that wonderful chocolate-Guinness cake a la Nigella Lawson...mmm.. Just wanted to swing by and say Hi! Busy week here, and I'll be out for a bit tomorrow, then Friday the plumber comes... I'll send you a note--LOL! Hope you have a great rest of the week there, all of you. LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  5. I was thinking the same thing about the seasons this morning. The sun was rising and the light was peeking through the leaves of the gigantic tree in our front yard. Each leaf was glimmering in the light and it was kind of misty. Oh! I loved it.

    I want some of that chocolate cake. It does look divine. Rich and deep. Mmm.

  6. Beautiful pictures, yummy looking cake, and unbelievable story about the trashed lottery ticket.


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