when i was young and had only just begun, me and my brothers of three did not know shop bought cakes existed. our mother spent an afternoon each week making batches of sweet tasting treats which we would happily devour after school. i do not think she did it from a healthy stand point but more from a keeping her housekeeping budget in check. after all my parents were tres young to have four children and they had to watch where and how the monies were spent. that being said, i do believe my mother's home baked goodness were filled with love and although we probably never said so at the time, it made us feel cared for and nourished our worn out school bodies as well as our souls.
one of my most favourite things was 'drop deads', now to some they maybe a fairy cake, or perhaps a cup cake but to us they were known as drop deads. the story goes, i believe, somewhere way back in our generations there was a dearie, i like to think she was a great great auntie dearie but truth be told, i do not know. she would make her little cakes without measuring ingredients, throwing in things by eye, a true baker i have no doubt. however her clan would cry, "oh no! one day we will just drop dead because of something she happened to throw in there" or along those lines and so it stuck. the little cakes of happiness for generations became known as 'drop deads'
this week i asked my mother if she could send me the recipe as i was fast approaching being very grown up and as i had 2 out the door, 1 on the threshold and 1 with a few years to go, i did feel it was time i found my baking gene (better very late than never ever). this of course has been brought about by paying close attention to everything i put into my body these days, and in turn this has led to paying close attention to what is going into my lads of three as well. my mother kindly supplied the recipe, herewith below
preheat oven to 350 degrees
6oz of butter
6oz caster sugar
6oz of self~raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon of baking powder
3 large eggs
place the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat together until nice and smooth. put into small bun cases in baking tray and place in oven on the middle shelf. 20 mins should be plenty of time for baking but do check a bit before
(if you want to make them chocolate drop deads, add 2 rounded tablespoons of cocoa powder mixed with 4 tablespoons of hot water to the mixture and beat in)
for icing, slowly melt dark chocolate and spoon over the cooled drop deads, allow to set and volia!
yesterday, i donned my baking cap and set about changing the recipe to be dairy free and not include refined sugar. it was a truly easy switch out.
* instead of butter i used 'earth balance original spread' (which is vegan, dairy free and free of most things like soy i believe but you would have to check the label)
* instead of caster sugar i used coconut sugar which is a really wonderful alternative to refined sugar, made from the coconut flower buds and actually has some nutritional goodness in it. it does make things more 'bran coloured' but apart from that, having tried a lot of things out there, i would plump for this every time
* added 2 small handfuls of dark chocolate chips
(next time i am thinking i might add a banana to the mixture)
(i am thinking to make them gluten free you could swap out the flour for your own tried and tested alternative)
i think though for me the small miracle was not that my tweaking of the recipe worked and the drop deads came out of the oven smelling and looking just how i hoped they would (which actually really is quite a huge blimen miracle) but the fact that, me, Tif, the non baker, or when i had to be a baker was a crappity crap one, is now finding it not a chore or a 'its doomed before its begun' train of thinking. no, its noting, the more i have practiced (alot), the more i have succeeded (gradually) and the more i have learnt about what i am putting into my body (tough learning), the more i am seeing the positive changes which have come about. that there, is the perhaps the smallest but greatest miracle of them all.
once again, the proof is in the eating and although i must confess my mother's drop deads look way more delicious with their icing on top, and mine look almost bran like because of the coconut sugar, they tasted pretty darn fabby. i am not a true test though, my lads are the true test. our #4 sniffed and asked suspiciously if there was fish in the ingredients (fish being high on the old dinner menu most days now and hence his fears) so i ignored him and turned to our #3, who picked up the cake tin and took a deep breath after which he said "smells just like Ma Bear's cakes" and tucked in...
right then and there, a higher compliment could not have existed. i made a mental note to keep him in my will for the time being and "yes, why not, of course you can have two" :)