Fair warning: Ode to friendship ahead. Things are about to get mushy. Maybe even teary. There’s no sayin’. You have been warned.
This little cake here was born last week, to celebrate the birthday of one very special person. 25 years of shared summer adventures, cups of tea, hikes into unsuspectedly nudist corners of the countryside, vicious games of Clue and Hotel, fried eggs, French fries, mosquitoes, sunburns, swimming pools, and cheese (in no particular order).
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my first memory is all of 20 years old, of wee Annie on her bike with little side wheels and a helmet, all curls and freckles. The nineties were a glorious riot of adventures, imagination, sleepovers and berry picking.
The latter was probably among the best things summer had to offer. After two months of running endlessly wild and free in the forest and continuously soaking up sun and water and laughter in the pool, September brought a bounty of blackberries, tumbling into our purple-stained little hands like so many little jewels.
It was utterly pure, unconfined bliss.
Those golden days shaped a friendship that has withstood the harshest tests of time. The blackberry brambles have dwindled, the unexplored paths in the woods left for the next generation of adventurers to discover – but to me, we remain unchanged. Eternally eight years old, conquering the world together. Some things never fade. Some memories are forever young. An inspiration, then and now, an unerring, unfaltering source of courage and solace.
There are no words. Years upon years of endless conversation, deep into the night, and now there are no words that will suffice.
Let’s leave it at thank you.
To summer, and friendship. They’re all your really need in life.
Berries & Cream Cake
Servings: well, I could eat it alone, but let’s say 8
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus overnight cooling
You will need:
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup berry preserves
- 2 1/2 cup blackberries, when in season, or raspberries or blueberries, when not
- 230 gr, or 8oz, Neufchâtel cheese
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup cream
- slices of pound cake, enough to cover the base of your cake pan twice over
Combine the 1/3 cup of water, honey and lemon zest in a small sauce pan. Heat while stirring to dissolve honey, then set aside to cool. Add lemon juice.
Combine the 1/4 cup of water, preserves and berries in another sauce pan. Cook over medium low heat until it begins to thicken. Set aside to cool.
Beat the cheese and sugar together.
Beat the cream until until stiff peak form, the gently fold into the cheese mixture.
Cover the bottom of your cake pan with a single layer of pound cake, cutting up piece where necessary. Sprinkle half the lemon-honey mixture onto the cake. Top with half the berry mixture, then cover with half the cream mixture. Repeat.
Refrigerate over night (cover with plastic wrap to avoid cracks… I didn’t 😦 ).
Top with fresh berries to serve.