When I started college, I was told that the friends I made here would be my friends for life. 10 years after finishing my degree and leaving the security of the library, the lecture hall and, if I’m honest mostly the college bar in NUIG, I am happy to say that those wonderful ladies are still in my life.
A lot has happened in those 10 years. We have spent weeks, sometimes months not speaking in person as life got in the way but we have always had the ability to come together (usually with wine in the mix) and catch up as if no time had passed. There have been first dates, break ups, new houses, emmigration, weddings and now, a brand new chapter.
On Friday morning at about 4am, one of those amazing girlfriends gave birth to a beautiful, precious and pretty perfect new daughter. Baby A made her entrance into the world a little later than expected. She was comfy where she was. I will admit to shedding more than a few tears of happiness when I got a text from my friend telling me her news. And I have shed another couple as I have seen pictures of the beautiful little lady.
In a couple of weeks we will all have a reunion as one of the girls is home from Australia. And we will get to meet the newest member of the gang. We will celebrate her arrival and raise a glass to a happy and healthy future. We will hug her mum and dad and tell them how wonderful they are and how stunning their baby is.
In the mean time, I think this cake is a perfect celebration cake for her arrival. Enjoy it with good friends, laughter and celebrate those around you.
Baby A – I can’t wait to meet you and let you know that as well as all of your aunts and uncles and cousins – you have another gang of ladies who will do anything for you. Welcome to the world. Its great to have you here.
This cake is a simple sponge from Rachel Allen’s Bake book. The recipe is here – just don’t make the rhubarb cream – unless you want to of course!
I doubled the quantities and made 4 cakes. I only ended up using 3. When you split the mixture, place in a large bowl before putting in the baking tin & add the food colouring, mixing well to ensure that it is evenly coloured.
Allow the cakes to cool completely and level off for stacking. Have your cakes ready before you start your icing as it sets very quickly.
American Frosting – again this is from Rachel Allen’s Bake book. Quantities will make enough to ice a 3 tier cake.
You will need 2 egg whites, 425g caster sugar and 100ml water.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Ensure that the pot is large enough to hold a large bowl.
Place the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl & whisk with a handheld electric whisk until very stiff peaks form. Place to one side.
In a separate saucepan ,dissolve the sugar and water. Bring to a low boil for 5-10 minutes. You will know it is done when the liquid is thick and syrupy and at the thread stage. THis means that the last few drops that fall off a spoon form one long thick thread.
Once at this stage, pour the syrup into the egg whites, beating continuously. Place over the simmering water and beat for about 15 minutes until the icing is crisp white, thick and meringue like.
At this stage, you will have to move very quickly as the icing will set very very quickly.
Ice your cake as you wish. I used a palette knife to spread between the layers of cake and to spread around the sides and over the top. I also used a 04 star piping nozzle to decorate the top. A tip is to have a jug of just boiled water close by to rinse your palette knife. This will keep a smooth finish to the icing.
Set aside for about 15-20 minutes before serving. THe icing will crisp up nicely on the outside and will remain smooth and creamy inside.
PS – I was trying to ignore the fact that I haven’t blogged in an age. Life has been very busy – I competed in a few races, my first triathlon, spent a week in France with my family & celebrated my brothers engagement to the loveliest girl ever. I have the best of intentions to blog regularly. But life gets in the way sometimes & I am enjoying just spending time with people. Please be patient.