Remember when I told you I was going to run the Hong Kong Half Marathon? Well…….. I did it!! I actually did it!
What originally seemed like a fantastic idea between four friends, seemed like the most ridiculous decision in the world as we met at 7.30am last Sunday morning. We were nervous, no actually, not nervous, terrified! We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, the squat toilets were disgusting, and what were we doing up this early on a Sunday anyway?
Running numbers on, standing with the crowds at the start line, our nerves were replaced with a buzz of excitement. We attempted to join in with the count down for the start but our Cantonese skills, which can just about cope with counting up, just weren’t up to counting down. We shuffled towards the line, then broke into a steady run. For about the first 10k I was breezing along thinking this might not be too bad after all. Then it got hard. Incredibly hard. The route runs along highways, over fly overs and through the tunnel under Victoria harbour. It’s not flat by any means, and many of the roads are completely inaccessible to supporters so theres no one at the sides cheering you on, no familiar faces to look out for.
I ran with my friend Becca who was amazing in getting me to the end. When I got to about 17K and I was still running, I knew that I had to push myself to run all the way until the end, but oh my gosh that was a challenge!
As we neared the final 1000m of the route the streets started to fill with people, clapping, cheering and pushing us on. We struggled through to the finish line, huge grins on our faces, legs screaming in pain. Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling, I couldn’t quite believe we’d done it and I was so thrilled we could finally sit down!
Hannah and I show off our nervous smiles before the race!
The team all set to go, trainers tied, running numbers on.
Matching orange hair bobbles so we don’t lose each other!
Anyway, enough about running. On to more important matters; lets talk about cake!
After the race we went back to Corinne’s for a celebratory barbecue and a much needed, but probably ill advised, glass of bubbly or two.I brought along a cake to celebrate because, frankly, a celebration is just not a celebration without cake!
The cake in question was this; four layers of malty sponge, sandwiched and coated with a dark chocolate ganache, all topped off with Malteasers. Lots of Malteasers!
The Poires au Chocolat recipe produces a cake that tastes a little bit like eating Malteasers, only with the added bonus of cake. The sponge is flavoured with a little bit of Horlicks, the taste is subtle, but it’s there. The whole thing is then wrapped in a layer of Malteasers, with the dark chocolate ganache stopping everything from becoming too sweet.
Cutting the cake proves to be a little challenging. Malteasers scatter, rolling off the plate, across the table and, occasionally, onto the floor. Be prepared with a few extra hands ready to catch any chocolates making a bid for freedom!
(adapted, barely, from Poires au Chocolat)
for the cake
130g caster sugar
2 large eggs
130g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons boiling water
for the ganache
200g dark chocolate
200ml double cream
300g Malteasers (approx 2 large sharing bags) to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Grease and line two 6 inch cake tins.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in one egg, then beat in the second.
Sift in the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and Horlicks. Fold until fully combined.
Add the milk, mix well, then stir in the boiling water.
Divide between the two cake tins.
Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown on the top, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Carefully slice the cakes in half to give you four layers.
Now you need to make your ganache. Break the chocolate up into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl.
Gently heat your cream until just below boiling point. Give it about a minute to rest, then pour it over the chocolate. Stir rapidly until all the chocolate has melted and you have a wonderful dark, rich ganache.
Now it’s time to assemble the cake. On a small plate begin to layer up the cake, putting a thin amount of ganache between each layer.
Coat the whole cake in a thin layer of ganache, then pop it in the fridge to set for a few minutes. This will stop any cake crumbs coming out onto the surface of your finished cake.
Finally, cover the cake thickly with the rest of the ganache.
Before the ganache is fully set, press your Malteasers into it to decorate.
Begin at the bottom of the cake, work across in a line, then down the other side. Keep going until the entire cake is covered.