It’s been one heck of a week. Happily, I’m taking next week as leave to get my head down with PhDing but sadly, that means that several big projects all need attention this week so I can have time to myself to tackle the introductions to each of my chapters. And that’s assuming that I finally finish my bloody literature review this weekend… I’m stuck on my section about face expression processing. I’ve started off with a bit of Ekman and the basic emotions debate with a little bit of a look at the universality idea, and then I want to go into a general introduction to how expressions are processed and I’ve got two massive papers that do that but… But. They were written in 2002 and 2003 respectively and I just think that’s too long ago, I need to bring this further up to date. But then I’m arguing against myself that an overview of the processing theory is by its very nature a background, and the bones of the ideas have been the same for a long time… I don’t really have time to search for new literature at this stage but this is nagging at me. What I should do is write it with the papers I’ve found, add a note to Nicky that I’d welcome a hand with bringing this part up to date and then move on to the (20 odd!) specific face-y studies which make up the rest of the section. And that’s what I should have done last weekend, but didn’t, which is why I’m behind now again.
*sigh* Still, I’ve made a cake. Of course! My favourite bit of escapism at the moment is leafing through Dan Lepard’s ‘Short and Sweet‘ book. It’s an introduction to baking and as I’ve said before on here, I have a lot of respect for Dan and his recipes: they always work, to a Delia-like level of reliability but there’s always a bit more of an exciting twist than you get with the conventional cooks. Like today’s cake – I know I’m a novice at this, but I didn’t even know you could make cakes with wholemeal flour, let alone come out with something as luscious-looking as the illustration suggests:
Plus – cinnamon cake with blackberries. To slip into Masterchef parlance, that’s a slice of late summer of a plate.
Cinnamon cake with blackberries
(Adapted from an 8″ recipe here.)
- Eggs 2.3 each
- Caster sugar 112.5 gram
- Golden syrup 28.1 gram
- Wholewheat flour 84.4 gram
- Baking powder 0.5 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons
- Cold milk 112.5 ml
- Punnet of blackberries
- Double Cream
- Icing sugar to finish
- Butter and line a 6″ round cake tin, and heat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4 (same for fan-assisted).
- Using the whisk attachment on an electric mixer*, beat the eggs with the sugar and syrup until pale and thick, and the mixture falls like thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.
- Sift the wholemeal flour, baking powder and cinnamon once, tipping back any bran that the sieve collects. Add the milk to the beaten eggs and whisk, then add the flour and whisk again until just smooth.
- Pour this into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes (if you need to stop it burning, cover the top of the cake with foil for the last 10 minutes). When a skewer inserted comes out clean, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Lightly whip the cream, halve the blackberries, then slice the cake across horizontally and fill with a layer of each. Lightly dust the reassembled cake with icing sugar.
* In my case, this was done at 6:30am so I snuck out to the garage with the mixer so I didn’t disturb the household any more than I already had done with the clatterings and bangings of sorting out cake tins at stupid o’clock. Goodness knows what the neighbours must think!
I honestly didn’t think this was going to work – the mix was so thin, more like pancake batter than cake mix. But I trusted the recipe, and look! Isn’t that lovely?
Happy weekending, everyone 😀