So this is it, this is what freedom tastes like!
Two days ago, I left medical school and can I tell you, the whole week leading upto it and the mere matter of hours since I physically left the building have been one long emotional roller coaster! Which is only fitting as that is what the last 4 years have been. One whirlwind of emotion after another. There were times I thought I’d never get to this point and a few were I thought I didn’t even want to. Time is the only thing which will tell us now whether I’m going to like it, this side of the tunnel, as it’s done and dusted now.
Wow. I’m still a little delirious I can tell you! The enormity of that hit me before my last ever shift in A&E when I froze to the spot in the Costa coffee in the foyer of my hospital and needed a double espresso to kick start me into making my way to the basement to complete my medical (undergraduate) education. Luckily, with quaking legs and pounding heart (and a quick pep talk from a foodie friend via text!) I made it through the day and actually ended up actually enjoying it.
The following day, all I had to do was hand in my portfolio then me and Hungry Hubby (who had taken the day off as I felt I might need some emotional and/or physically support that day) could go and celebrate. We went for lunch, did some shopping and we talked like we’ve not done in so long. The weight of oppression had lifted from my shoulders – I no longer have to worry about the stresses of carrying out a full time degree and two jobs – and I felt relaxed, contented, optimistic and hopeful for the dawn of a bright new era. I guess this is what accomplishment feels like.
Of course, this monumental occasion would be marked by baking a cake – that, my friends, is a given! The choice of cake was one that came to me earlier last week – it was one of those “duh!” moments when the right answer hits you right in the face so of course, what other cake could I possibly make now after all these years of fighting the odds, making it through tough times and making positives out of big ass negatives than the (drum roll please) Hummingbird Blueberry Cake!
You see, I had a total disaster with it a few years back (as have many, I’ve since come to learn – check out the reviews under the recipe if you don’t believe me!) when I turned it out of its Bundt pan and found only the top two inches had cooked – the rest ran all over the floor as raw uncooked batter! A horrible, horrible expensive disaster! I don’t think anything else has gone quite so spectacularly wrong in my kitchen… So of course, having conquered the seemingly impenetrable force field that is undergraduate medical training, I felt ready and willing to face my foe once more!
With the degree finished, the cake was chosen and 7 weeks “off” to get underway, all I needed was to bake and blog. Here’s where Hungry Hubby stepped in as my Knight in Shining Armour. He knew how frustrated I was with my camera (or “crap’n’click” as it had affectionately become to be known) so having just told me how proud he was with me, how well I’d done all on my own to get through medical school he blew me away by telling me he wanted to buy me a DSLR camera as a graduation gift!
And we could go buy it in the morning! :’). He’s not a man to spend a compliment unwisely so I was already touched and thrilled by his words – the gift, however, pushed me over the edge. A little tear of emotion trickled down my hot cheek and the biggest hug ever was given! I did not sleep that night.
It was the gloomiest, darkest day or pelting down rain in Liverpool that next day – but it did not stop me having my own little “blog shoot” at home. I was just so eager to use Nicky the Nikon (yes he got given a name ;) ) that I carried on regardless of the lack of natural light. Which, by the way, I now understand in a way I did not appreciate with the crap’n’click!
I’m thrilled to report also, that the cake was well behaved and baked beautifully (yet still took an hour to cook despite me making a half-sized version for fear of a repeat like last time!). I used cream cheese in place of the sour cream as I would have an awkward amount left having made the frosting if I had not but that was my only tweak. This half-sized batter *just* fitted into my 20 inches round Bundt (a silicone one) without spilling out on cooking.
The frosting, however, is my own favourite cream cheese frosting. You just melt an equal amount of white chocolate, allow to cool to room temp then beat in an equal amount of cream cheese. Taste and add lime juice if too sweet and the cheese not sharp enough. Add icing sugar if the chocolate isn’t saccharine sweet. It really is the only way to use white chocolate in my book. I used 125g of each cheese and choc here.
I suggest you are relaxed when you swirl the frosting into the cake – its impossible I get a fully smooth finish but I rather like seeing the strokes from my mini cranked spatula. That’s what home baking is all about. It is a tender-crumbed, moist and vanilla scented dream cake (when it works!) and the frosting really finishes it off perfectly – you need that creamy, dreamy but tangy unctuousness to pair with the vanilla scent and the blueberry pop. I think that if ever we are able to taste a colour, then blueberry will surely be the taste of blue.
Thank you Hungry Hubby for your love, support and patience during these challenging years, I love you more than you can know (but I suspect you do know ;) ). And thank you to all my friends (foodie, virtual & real) for being there to live through every tortured step of my dramas with me and celebrate with me when things have come right in the end – you girls and guys mean more to me than you can know :)
I guess we can say this is what success tastes like?
If you want to try this cake for yourself, do read the reviews in the link here after the recipe and bare in mind I’m not the only one would couldn’t get it to cook! Bake at your own risk and know two things – it needs a huge tin to fit all that batter in (bigger than the recipe states) and it takes an hour to cook a half-sized version – checked after 45 mins. Slow and low is the way with this blue baby!