Although at times in my life I am happy to ride the rails, seek adventure, and revel in the joie de vivre of each day; the time for reflection and self-assessment is always close behind. These periods can be helpful: a congratulatory assessment of how far I have come toward a goal, and how far I have yet to go; or, they can be periods of self-doubt where I question every step I have taken and whether I will ever reach the end.
Here between congratulations and self-doubt lies the bittersweet crossroads of life: the consequence of being an adult in an ever-changing world, of being a woman with dreams and ambitions to make her little piece of the world a little more beautiful, and having an eternally-curious spirit.
Recently I have had cause to reflect on the direction of my career and how to juggle my love of words with my passion for health. At the end of this year I will graduate from my Master’s program. Once again I’ll be out in the world, no longer a student (for the moment…), and ready to make my mark on my little patch of earth.
At the end, at the beginning, in the middle of it all. I have to take a step, and I’m ready for the next adventure, but I just don’t know which path will lead to the happiest ending possible. I suppose that is the lesson of the crossroads; you have to make a decision, any decision, to work towards that happy ending, or risk standing still and never knowing where your life could have lead.
Tell me, dear reader, when is the last time you stood at a crossroads? How did you know which way to turn?
Bittersweet Chocolate-Espresso Bundt Cake
Makes one 9-inch bundt cake. This cake is not overly sweet. I didn’t want it to be, rather I wanted to serve a cake that you could eat for morning tea with a cup of coffee that wouldn’t be cloyingly sweet to your tastebuds, but satisfied the need for a little indulgence early in the morning (or late at night like my Dad…).
- 280 grams plain flour
- 120 grams raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
- 3/4 cup yoghurt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 75 grams dark chocolate, melted and cooled
- Preheat oven to 180ºC and grease a 9-inch bundt pan.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Measure yoghurt, milk, and cooled dark chocolate into a jug and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a large bowl place oil, caster sugar, eggs, vanilla essence, and instant coffee. Using a hand mixer on medium speed beat ingredients together until smooth and thick. This will take about 3 minutes. I set my oven timer just to make sure I beat it for long enough.
- Switch to low speed and add dry mixture in three parts alternating with the yoghurt and chocolate mix.
- Beat until smooth after each addition.
- Pour batter into bundt tin. This is quite a solid mixture but it will rise in the oven. Gently smooth the top of the mix with a spatula but be careful not press down or you will lose some of the air you’ve just beaten in.
- Bake cake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool completely before glazing.
Chocolate ganache glaze
In a small microwave-proof bowl place 3/4 cup of chopped milk chocolate. Heat in microwave in 20-second bursts stirring between each burst. When the chocolate is melted add 1/4 cup of pouring cream and 3/4 cup of icing mixture. Whisk until smooth and pour over cooled cake.