I go back to school this week and I’m filled with mixed feelings. The holidays have been great and I don’t exactly feel like going back to school, but at the same time I’m excited because it is my final year of school. After this year I’m pretty much free to do what I like, how I like and where I like. I know that this year is going to be very big for me.
Firstly I’m turning 18 in July, which means that I can finally get my driver’s licence. I’ve got my learner’s licence and have been practicing my driving for quite a while now (definitely not enough though). I wouldn’t say that I am the best driver in the world, because I am far from that, but what works in my favour with my driving is that I’m a very calm person and so I don’t get stressed on the road. My mom decided to give me her car because she is due for an upgrade. She’s going to get a car that has more space for family members. At the moment my sister, my brother (in his car seat) and I squish tightly together in the back seat like sardines in a can.
I feel like I have now gone completely off topic and on a tangent (just writing the word tangent makes me not want to go back to trigonometry at school). Anyway, next reason why this is a big year, is that is that it is my final year of school which means that next year I will be going off to study something specific. My dream is to study design at this school in New York City called School of Visual Arts. There are multiple reasons why I would like to study in New York, most off all because the school is absolutely amazing but also because there is so many opportunities abroad and especially in New York. I hope I don’t sound naïve and actually I think that I am, but already Zanita (who has a blog that I contribute to) is moving to New York. She offered to help me in any way she could to get me there and also that if I moved to New York she would set up an office for me. Another perk of it, and now this is one of my faults that I seem to live very much in my head, is that the school year would begin in the middle of the year next year. This means that I will have six months free. My dream is to intern at another blog called Sunday Suppers (check out this blog you guys!) for those six months in Brooklyn New York. So it would all work out so perfectly and I hope that I am not jinxing anything now because I don’t want anything more than this opportunity of a lifetime. This is something that I want more than anything and I am very anxious to apply this August I need to apply with various different items including 15-20 drawings (I have been practising my drawing skills non stop for quite a while now), an essay, my school marks and a few other things. The part that makes me nervous is first of all being accepted and second of all being granted a scholarship. I cannot afford to go to this school without a scholarship and so this is where my marks come in. I have to score a certain amount of points on a system, which my school doesn’t follow. When my marks are converted they seem less than they already are because the standard seems to be much higher at my school. I am so nervous. People in general aren’t very helpful or positive about it either. Whenever I tell them they either say, “So what’s your back up plan if that doesn’t work out?” or they just look at me funny and say “Hmmmmmm.”
In between in all of this I must not forget about my precious blog. I’m actually in the process of redesigning my blog to make it user friendly, so watch this space! I hope my blog grows and flourishes this year even more so than last year. There are these awards, called the Saveur Blog Awards, which begin in February I think. Basically this is the most prestigious food blog award and I would like to apply this year. In order to win I need people’s votes, but what can help me even more is if I get recommended by a previous winner and I just so happen to know one. I don’t want to ruin his or her identity because it may ruin my plans. I’ve been being really nice to this person for quite some time now and I’m hoping my hard wok will pay off! I do genuinely mean well in being nice, really. I’m not as nasty as I have just made myself out to be. The person seems very kind has an amazingly beautiful blog his or herself. I guess I just would really like to have this opportunity. The awards are all online, but then if your blog is good enough to make it to the finals, you get to go to the actual awards hosted in New York city.
As you can see this is going to be quite the year for me but I think that I have just got to take it one day at a time and not work myself up about these things. Just focus on the present and what I can do now to better my chances of reaching my dreams. Anyway right now I’m just going to eat away my worries and have a slice of chocolate and almond cake.
This cake is the perfect balance between a light chocolate cake sponge and a decadent dark chocolate and creamy topping. It is rich and sweet with the perfect addition of toasted almond flakes for salty flavour and crunchy texture.
Chocolate cake with toasted almonds
- 115g dark chocolate
- 85g room temperature butter
- 175g dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 185g plain flour
- 125ml full cream milk
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g dark chocolate
- 2 tbs room temperature butter
- 50g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a 23cm round baking tin.
Melt your dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water on a medium heat. Stir occasionally so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Once the chocolate has melted, leave to one side for the moment.
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until well combined. Next add the flour followed by the melted chocolate and milk. Mix until a smooth batter forms. Add the remaining ingredients, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
Pour into your prepared baking tin and place in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes. By that time it will have risen slightly and formed a slightly golden crust. Poke with a toothpick to test if it is cooked all the way through. If the toothpick comes out clean remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the cake tin.
Prepare your topping minutes before assembly.
Melt your dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water on a medium heat. Stir occasionally so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat and add your butter. Mix well. Leave to one side.
Place your almond flakes in a pan over a medium heat and toast until golden brown. Stir them regularly so that they don’t burn. Once roasted/ toasted remove from the heat.
Place your cake on your serving dish. Top with a generous dollop of your chocolate topping and then using a flat knife, spread across the top of the cake. Sprinkle with your toasted flaked almonds.