Category Archives: Law

Coconut Layer Cake

After all my stressing and preparation for my viva voce examination (read earlier whining here), results came out on Saturday – and I passed! Yes! Finally, I’m an enrolled Advocate in Bangladesh!

The first thing I do? Bake a celebratory cake, duh!

I can’t go out in all my lawyery awesomeness on an empty stomach now, can I?

Coconut Layer Cake with Coconut Buttercream topped with Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Coconut Layer Cake

Makes one, triple layer 8 inch cake – it wouldn’t be a celebration if it was any less than three layers!

This recipe has been adapted from two Hummingbird Bakery recipes – after a slight accident with the original coconut custard frosting and filling (the less said, the better), options had to be reassessed. I sent out my hungry, cake-anticipating friends to gather ingredients for coconut buttercream frosting instead. Ingredients were acquired, butter was very tentatively and briefly zapped in the microwave to soften (time restraints, I had no choice!), and the show went on!

Ingredients:

For the cakes:

120g unsalted butter, at room temperature

400g caster sugar

360g plain flour

1½ tbsp baking powder

40g dessicated coconut

¼ tsp salt

3 large eggs

260ml coconut milk

100ml whole milk

½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)

For the frosting:

160g unsalted butter, at room temperature

500g icing sugar, sifted

50ml coconut milk

For the decoration:

80g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1 tsp unsalted butter

half a dozen strawberries

a handful of toasted flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3, grease and line three round 8-inch cake tins.

2. Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, dessicated coconut and salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix the ingredients together until you get a sandy consistency.

3. In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the eggs, coconut milk, whole milk and vanilla.

4. Keeping the electric mixer on a slow speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the mixture of dry ingredients. Mix until the two are combined.

5. Divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are a lovely golden brown, bounce back when the tops are pressed lightly with a finger, and a skewer comes out clean in the middle.

6. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, before turning them out onto a wire rack and leaving them to cool completely.

7. While you are waiting for the cakes to cool, get on with preparing the decorations and frosting. Wash the strawberries and pat them dry to get rid of all excess moisture. Line a flat plate with cling film to have it ready for strawberry landing.

8. Place a heat-proof bowl over a pan of boiling water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl and let the two melt together, stirring occasionally. Once melted, take off the heat.

9. Holding the strawberries by their green stems, dip them into the melted chocolate and twirl around until they are covered in chocolate. Lift up and twirl to get rid of excess chocolate. Place on the cling film lined plate. Once you have covered all the strawberries, place the plate in the fridge and leave to set.

10. Now, onto the frosting! With an electric mixture, beat the butter and icing sugar together until the mixture comes together (this may take some time, be patient).

11. With the mixture on low speed, gradually add the coconut milk. Once the coconut milk has been incorporated into the mixture, turn up the speed to high and mix for 5-10 mins. Make sure to use a rubber spatula to occasionally scrape the bottom and sides, to make sure everything is well mixed. Once the frosting is light and fluffy, it is ready!

12. Fill and frost the cake layers with the frosting, then decorate with the chocolate covered strawberries and flaked almonds.

13. (Optional) Once you have eaten a substantial amount of cake, dance around the room on a sugar high, singing “I’m a real lawyer now!”. Heck yes, baby. I am.

Lawyered!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orange and Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake

After a few weeks of indecisive flitting between hot and cold, the weather in Dhaka has taken a turn to the sultry. Back to fans and humidity-enlarged hair. Alongside the sultry heat is a somewhat (read: very) tumultuous feel in the air. Dhaka is not a happy city right now. As to the causes of unhappiness – voicing public opinions seems to be a health hazard these days, so I’ll stick to the neutral subject of cake. Everyone likes cake, let’s all be happy for a moment. Sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of scrumptious sponge cake. Scroll down for the recipe below if my blogging banter is boring you (I won’t be offended, it’s for the cake – I understand).

Enough said.

Hartal season is in full swing, and we are currently in the middle of a three day spate. With my Bar Council Viva Voce Examination around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity for me to utilise this time off work and revise. Today, I had all the intentions of buckling down and losing myself in all the intricacies of criminal and civil procedure (hah!). I sat down with my revision guide and was greeted with the enlightening words of encouragement in its introduction: “Destiny favours the brave. So do not be afraid of the oral test, however don’t show over-smartness before the Viva Board.” Got it. Brave, smart-but-not-too-smart.

But then…my 6-year-old cousin came to visit, with a gift for me. A grand total of three whole strawberries and the expectation that I must bake something wonderful because “stowbewies are my favourite”. As she gingerly transferred the strawberries from her small palms into my own and then looked up at me with an expression that said please-turn-this-into-cake, I realised that my hartal-turned-revision day was inevitably going to turn into a cake day instead.

Enjoy.

Orange and Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake

I adapted this recipe from Mary Berry, changing the flavour of the sponge slightly to give it an orange kick that I think teams up quite wonderfully with the strawberries.

Slice of Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature

225g caster sugar*

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Grated zest of one orange or 1 teaspoon good quality orange extract

225g self-raising flour**

2 teaspoons baking powder

A pinch of salt

To finish:

Double cream, whipped

Strawberry jam

Three fresh strawberries, lovingly given

Icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, grease and line two round 8-inch cake tins.

2. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs and orange zest (or extract) to mixture and beat until well combined.

4. Add flour, baking powder and salt to the mixture and gently fold in until incorporated.

5. Divide mixture between prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden and the tops bounce back when lightly pressed.

6. Once cakes have cooled, sandwich together with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Decorate with fresh strawberries and sifted icing sugar.

Every day is a cake day

*I have not yet been able to find caster sugar in Dhaka. I make my own by processing granulated sugar until I am happy with the fine-ness of it!

**Self-raising flour is also quite hard to come by. It is ridiculously easy to make your own though: 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 200g plain flour. Whisk together, then sift together. I usually make a whole lot in one go for ease of use later on! It should be noted, the composition of American self-raising flour is slightly different, with the addition of salt too – see Smitten Kitchen entry on how to make it here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jurisprudence and Moonwalking

In recent weeks, my nearest and dearest have been subjected to my incessant blabbering about my Jurisprudence essay. Most of it complaining, the occasional claim to a breakthrough…but really, most of it – complaining.

I’ve decided to put it aside for a while and work on other things (mainly for sanity’s sake). Unfortunately, my unconscious has a sadistic sense of humour. A sense of humour which resulted in me having a Jurisprudential dream last night.

These are times of low.

It involved a confrontation with academic X, whose theory I’ve chosen to critique for my essay. I bump into her in the halls of my law building and the following conversation ensues:

Me: I’m doing my essay on your theory.

X: (rather worried) Really? Hmm, well I think we should have a chat. Just to make sure you’re not getting it all wrong…

Me: Yes, of course.

Fuzzy recollection of me trying to explain my ideas, and then…

X: Well, what you really must remember to do is Moonwalk.

Silence, followed by an unconvincing nod. I try to look as if I know what she’s talking about.

Me: Yes…

X: (unimpressed) Do you know what Moonwalking is?

Jackson related comment would be inappropriate here, I guess.

X: (sighs, waves hands about impatiently) It means you have to walk back on your argument. Re-trace your steps. Make sure you’ve considered all the possible viewpoints. Keep going back until you get it right.

Me: Ah. Yes. Of course.

*

Moonwalking in Jurisprudence: probably the only (un)contribution to the world of legal philosophy I shall ever make.

Even then, I suppose the real credit can only go to the man himself:

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,