Coffee Crush

Homogeneous mass
following the scent of warm, diluted coffee
leading you to a chain cafe with its branded cups and its
falsely frothed milk.
Don’t you know that the best part is the rich, roasted aroma
of the beans being ground, finely, into a dust of awakeness and camaraderie and
the spike of toe-tingling caffeine that puts springs on your feet
and clocks in your head
– even without tasting.
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Fair Trade Bake Off!

In New Zealand, Fair Trade Fortnight is currently taking place – possibly why I have been doing so many human-rights related activities in the past week. To finish the fortnight off, my school is holding a ‘fair trade bake off’, where students get one free fair trade ingredient, such as cocoa, sugar, chocolate, coffee or bananas, and create a masterpiece at home. Then, tomorrow, everyone brings in their baking, and at lunchtime, Fair Trade representatives and teachers judge the edibles, divided up into 5 categories – Junior, Senior, Chocolate/Cocoa, Coffee and Banana and hand out prizes for the winning items. After that – and this is the best part – there is a bake sale!! Which means that the human rights group is both raising money and awareness for fair trade, and the girls and teachers at school can enjoy some top-notch baking!

As part of the human rights group, I have volunteered to help, and am missing 3rd period to help set up the baking, and to sell it at lunchtime. I have also donated an entry, which I am hoping will win something.

My cake has evolved, a lot. It started out as a coffee and chocolate cake, but I tinkered with the recipe because there is no way that any recipe should have 3/4 cup of cocoa in it – usually, the maximum is 4 tablespoons! Then, I added some ground almonds and replaced the sour cream with yoghurt to make the cake lighter and healthier. Rose essence, also an improvisation and a very rare commodity in New Zealand, gave the cake a special zest, and then it was in the oven.

Unfortunately, my oven is a bit of a disaster zone, in that the temperature is never right, so I always have to cover things with tinfoil so they don’t burn. This meant that as the cake rose, it got stuck to the tinfoil, and managed to mess up the oven, the cake, and the tinfoil. So I had a bit of a problem there, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed – you just turn the cake upside down and pretend nothing happened. But then a chunk of my cake stayed stuck in the baking tin, and I had to straighten the cake, so doing that was out of the question. I now made coffee icing in the hope that it could disguise things, but that didn’t really work, so I caramelised and caffeinated some coconut shreds and stuck those on top too.

Apparently, the end result tastes really good! (I wouldn’t know, since I don’t like coffee)

The Mirasol (sunflower in Spanish) doesn’t look so bad either, does it?
I’m proud.

Wish me luck in the competition!