Last week I went to the Quarter in Hanley for coffee and cake. This was a thank you from friend and fellow writer #Elisia Green for my first edit of her short story collection “13”.
The Quarter was the perfect choice. It’s different, a bit quirky and holds all sorts of arts events, from live music to writing workshops.
It has a mention in Mel Sherratt’s latest bestseller “Hush Hush”, so it’s just the right place for a pair of writers..
And a reader too as Elisia’s nine-year old daughter came too. Xanthe is reading and enjoying “City of Secrets” and wanted to meet the author!
It was great to catch up and the cake was delicious. My choice was coffee and walnut –a particular treat. We never have it at home as Mike doesn’t like walnuts. Like all favourite foods there is more to this cake than just the taste. There are memories too. Coffee and walnut cake was the one my mother used to bake for our birthdays. At first, she would follow the traditional Polish recipe which produced a dense very moist and heavy cake. After a while however she modified this so that there was a bottom layer of walnut cake, followed by a layer of coffee butter cream then a layer of sponge cake which was topped by more butter cream and decorated with walnut halves.
I haven’t eaten that cake for years, but even the thought of it bring back memories of birthday parties, a pink seersucker party dress, which my grandmother had made, blowing out the candles and playing party games like pass the parcel, blind man’s bluff and postman’s knock.
My memories of childhood are particularly vivid at the moment as I am working on Mum’s memoirs and as I read what I’ve transcribed from the tapes my sister-in-law made, more and more incidents come to mind. Mostly they are stories Mum told us about her journey from Poland to the UK in WW2, but some are incidents from my childhood, things I remember about being brought up in Bristol.
As for the cake, if I was going to bake it then this would be the recipe I’d use, from Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from Heart and Home. Need I say more, this cake was also one from her childhood! https://www.nigella.com/recipes/coffee-and-walnut-layer-cake