Craig and I have a favourite cookie recipe from the inimitable VEGANOMICON, by Isa Moskowitz. They're little anise-almond cookies, and you take a Black Mission Fig, cut it in half, and squish it into the middle of the cookie before you bake it.
They are delicious and addictive and a little bit fancy.
Last week, Craig was trying to think of what kind of cake to make for me for my farewell party. I suggested adapting the koala nose cookie into a cake. Craig was thinking the same thing-- so we knew it must be a good idea! If it worked, it would be delicious and surprising and more than a little bit fancy, because cakes are–of course–fancier than cookies. But of course, this time, we wouldn't have the gentle hand of Isa guiding us along. We'd have to figure out how to get all the flavours working together on our own--
Luckily for the party guests, Craig took over the whole operation, developing the recipe first with cupcakes. We dunked the figs into the batter (my idea), making them not quite koala noses, but rather fig surprise cupcakes. With delicious aniseed frosting and crushed almonds on top, Craig's new flatmate Meri declared them "a CRACKA!"
Then he decided to make a full-on vegan cake for me as well. Basically Craig spent the entire weekend in the kitchen. Rather than dropping the figs into the batter, though, he used them as decoration on top (which I think would have been lovely on the cupcakes, too. I rather regret dropping them into the batter, because even though I love fruit surprises in cakes, I think they would have made especially lovely noses.)
Check this out.
It was three layers, with aniseed frosting in between each layer. Decorative chocolate frosting, figs and crushed almonds on top. Often vegan cakes are tasty, but a bit thin, because they don't rise as well. But this cake-- it was a good 4.5 inches tall.
Beautiful and really really delicious cake. Craig is so good at these things!
The farewell party was lovely as well. Many dear friends came out, though many could not, and we talked and had drinks. And I at least, enjoyed myself very much. In fact, we were having so much, we forgot to take pictures until the last guests were leaving. But here's one of Caddie and Brendan and Craig.
Caddie and Brendan are not only friends I haven't seen in about a year, but they were also the only folks to take on the story-telling contest (other than me and Craig), so they won the whole lot of prizes! Two bookshop certificates and a whole jar of Herts (TM) Green Tomato Chutney, which was homemade by Craig using a recipe from his great uncle Geoff. Pretty awesome prize, if you ask me. I think Craig named it Herts because Geoff lives in East Hertfordshire.
Sunday night was fun, but it was also a little sad, lots of goodbyes, and this week has continued that trend. I'm looking forward to seeing Ben and Monika–I leave for New Zealand on Friday!– but I'm not excited about the even bigger farewells that still await me here in Sydney.