Gosh, the last weekend of June! How did this month go by so quickly? Here’s a few things that caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 24.June.2017.
Vancouver is getting it’s first free street wifi! So if you’re in need of a phone-charge and some web surfing, head down into Yaletown.
On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):
I was on vacation this past week, and we really seemed to cram in a lot of work!
We filled all the holes and grooves with West System 105 epoxy (+ 205 Hardener) and covered any areas we thought would be affected by the under-mounted sink. I’ve never worked with epoxy before, so started on the underside of the counter, where I could make mistakes, knowing they would never be seen 🙂
When you see the big blobs of amber-coloured epoxy all over the wood, I must admit, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Would that amber colour remain? Would you see remnants of the epoxy on the wood? But it turns out the epoxy sands smooth very easily, so we ended up without any overspill on the filling.
We’ve CNC’d, stained and installed the back and sides of the kitchen counter. Do you like our ventilation holes?!
We wanted to make use of the 8020 grooves to hang curtains. We bought a strip of nylon glider, which fits into the grooves and cut some into small pieces, then screwed in a small hook into the centre. These act as runners along the length of the 8020!
I had a bit of fabric lying around the house, so sewed up a version of what we thought we might want, just to see if the runners would work. They totally do! So now the “real” curtains can be made, once I figure out a colour scheme.
Pictures from the week of 24.June.2017:
The Dragonboat Festival is on this weekend. Last weekend we had a rest-day (from climbing) and meandered down along the waterfront. We saw a few of the boats getting last-minute practice in. It was a beautiful afternoon to sit and watch the world go by.
Every year, a week or two before the day, I start asking Jonty what kind of birthday cake he might like. Either a specific cake, or general flavours. Usually, I get a generic response that often includes the word chocolate. So I was quite surprised this year when he said he might like a Battenberg Cake (he’s never been so specific before).
A What-en-what Cake? You know, those checker-board cakes!
Ah yes, I did know. I have never eaten one, let alone actually made one, but that’s what Google is for, right? 🙂
The classic Battenberg Cake has a white and pink checker board pattern inside and is held together with apricot jam and covered in Marzipan. It is most-definitely British in origin, making it a perfect choice for my British hubby!
When I started poking around online, my suspicions were confirmed – the pink portion of the cake is dyed with red food colouring. I prefer not to use artificial dyes, if possible. Also, my mind immediately went to a chocolate variety because, if you know Jonty at all, you know his love for chocolate.
And what jam pairs well with chocolate? You guessed it. And so began my Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake journey.
I’m not going to lie – this cake requires a tape measure, a calculator and a bit of patience. But I promise you it’s not difficult! The hardest part might be making your foil / parchment liner and really, that portion probably took me longer than necessary because I was multi-tasking while making it. The good thing is that it is absolutely worth the time and effort.
So, here’s my version of a Battenberg Cake, in a nutshell.
Start by prepare a 23-cm (9-inch) square cake pan:
Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake pan.
Cut a piece of tinfoil and a piece of parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
Fold the tinfoil / parchment in half, and then fold the centre over again to make a crease that is 5 cm wide. When you unfold the papers, the centre should pop up like a little tent. When you place this into your cake pan, this little tent will become the divider (see the pictures below).
Place this liner into your pan and start making the batter.
Make the cake batter:
The cake batter is a simple sponge cake recipe (so equal ratios of butter, eggs, sugar and flour). Half of the mixture is poured into one side of the prepared tin, and cocoa powder is mixed into the other half of the batter before pouring it into the other side.
Cream together some butter and sugar until it’s super light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. If you don’t, your batter may look like it’s curdling. If this happens, just keep beating the mixture before adding the next egg.
The vanilla, flour and baking powder is added and whisked until combined.
Transfer half of the batter into another bowl (if you have a scale, this becomes really easy) and add a splash of milk.
In the remaining batter, the cocoa powder and more milk is added, and stirred to combine.
Each of the batters is poured into its respective cake pan side, and is baked at 350 F for about 28 to 30 minutes.
Assemble the Battenberg cake:
Time to get out your tape measure! Measure the height and width of each sponge cake, and decide how much you need to trim off the edges, in order to make the cake a square.
My sponges were wider than tall, but I didn’t waste a lot of extra cake, so I decided to make my Battenberg into a 3×2 rectangle, instead of the classic 2×2 square. The choice is yours!
Warm up some raspberry jam and use this as a glue to hold the cake pieces together.
On a counter sprinkled with icing sugar, roll out your marzipan into a rectangle, big enough to wrap around the cake (so the same length + 4 times the width).
Spread jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one end of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake, then roll it onto the marzipan. Do this until all sides of the cake are spread with jam and covered with marzipan.
Trim off the ends, to make everything nice and neat, and to show off your great checker board pattern!
You can eat this cake right away, or keep it tucked in the fridge until you’re ready for it. We nibbled away on it over the course of 3 or 4 days, and it almost tasted better the longer it sat! We just made sure to wrap it tightly in parchment paper to keep it from drying out.
So, what was the verdict for this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake?
Jonty loved it, and said it tasted just as good as he always remembered!
Moira loved it, and actually wants to make it again, because she’s pretty sure she can do an even better job the next time around!
The classic Battenberg Cake takes on a twist, with chocolate and raspberry. Adapted from Baking Mad and Jamie Oliver recipes.
150 g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
150 g granulated sugar
150 g unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp milk, divided
1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
100 to 125 g raspberry jam (plus a few drops of water)
225 g marzipan
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the cake pan:
Grease the bottoms and sides of a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan.
Cut a piece of tinfoil and parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
Fold the papers in half, then fold the centre over again to make a 5cm overlap. When you open the tinfoil/parchment paper, you should have an inverted tent in the centre. This becomes your cake pan divider.
Place this into your greased cake pan and start making the batter.
For the cake batter:
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg into the batter before adding the next egg. Then add in the vanilla extract.
Whisk in the flour mixture until it is fully combined.
Transfer half of the batter into another bowl. To this, add 1 tsp of milk.
In the remaining batter, add the cocoa powder and remaining tsp of milk. Whisk to combine.
Pour each batter into its respective side of the prepared cake pan. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Let the cake pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sponges from the pan and allow to cool completely.
To assemble the cake:
Warm the raspberry jam with a few drops of water
Slice each flavour of sponge cake into equal sizes, trimming off the edges in order to make them square.
Place a chocolate and vanilla slice side by side and use the raspberry jam to glue the pieces together. Do this with the remaining pieces, making sure to alternate the colours.
Roll out the marzipan on a counter top lightly sprinkled with icing sugar. The size of the marzipan should be the same length as your cake and 4 times the width.
Spread more jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one edge of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake before rolling it over the marzipan. Continue to do this for the remaining two sides of cake. So the entire cake will be covered with marzipan, and held together with the raspberry jam.
Trim off both ends of the cake, to even them up. Place the cake, seam side down, on a serving platter.
Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the fridge before slicing.
This cake tastes even better on the day after baking. To store in the fridge, wrap it completely in parchment paper and place in a sealed container. It should keep like this for 3 or 4 days.
Enjoy this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake!
This was a week where the days seemed to fly by and we were suddenly at Friday evening, wondering where the week went! It was a busy one, with site visits and work meetings, climbing and training days, and a few days of van work. All in all, no complaining 🙂
Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 17.June.2017.
We’re in full-on kitchen mode! CNCing the butcher block countertop was a bit of a stressful moment (Jonty says that it was probably the most difficult cutting project he’s had to tackle, to date). But it worked, and it fits and we’re so happy with it!
This week has been spent making mounts to attach the counter top to the 8020 frame (it’s not going anywhere!).
The induction cooktop fits perfectly into its space, and so does the sink!
We were googling how to secure an under-the-counter mounted sink and saw that Ambassador (our brand of sink) sells these little aluminum mounts for attaching to a wood counter. But why buy a mount, when you can just make a mount! So Jonty’s had to manufacture mounts, as well. To be fair, he went to a few places around town, before giving up and deciding to just do it himself. 🙂
The next step is to use a waterproof epoxy on the exposed wood around the sink and faucet, and also fill in any knots and holes in the wood with this epoxy, too. We were pointed to the West System 105 marine epoxy, so hopefully next week we’ll be able to show some progress.
Once the epoxy is applied, then we can Osmo the entire counter top, and it should be finished!
Jonty had a birthday (!), we’ve been out climbing (!!) and the van is back (!!!). Really, it’s been a very good week.
Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 10.June.2017.
On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:
If you’re into climbing at all, I’m sure you’ve no doubt heard about Alex Honnold’s free solo of El Cap. For those of you non-climbers, Alex climbed the 3000-foot wall without a rope or harness. Jonty and I have talked a lot about this, it makes us both uncomfortable to even think about doing such a thing; my hands are sweating as I type this! I thought Tommy Caldwell’s article gave a great perspective of the event, both as another climber and as a close friend of Alex.
Vancouver is holding another mural festival this year! We cycled around all the 2016 murals last year (which reminds me, I need to do something with those pictures!) and we’re excited to see the new art this year! If you’re in the Vancouver area, it’s a great way to meander around the city and look at some great (big!) pieces.
My mother-in-law recommended The Muse to me. I just finished reading it, and loved it! I thought I had it all figured out, but was wrong until almost the last page.
Hallelujah! Moby returned finally! We picked him up from the shop on Monday – they did do a good job of fixing his nicks and cuts, even if it took three times longer than anticipated. We then proceeded to inch our way home through Vancouver rush hour (accidents on both bridges leaving the North Shore made for a very slow journey). But onto the fun stuff.
On Tuesday, Jonty was able to start on an MDF prototype for the galley with cut-outs for the sink and cooktop. It fitted perfectly to the galley frame. With the cooktop, sink and faucet a pretty darned good fit, so a few minor tweaks we think it’s going to be spot on!
And then it was time to work on the real thing! We purchased our wood countertop in mid-May, it was patiently waiting for us at Yew Woodshop until we had the van back. The slab of reclaimed Douglas Fir is about 2 inches thick, which after machining and finishing will end up being around 1.5 inches. The plan is to use the CNC to skim off the excess, ensuring that the resulting slab will be of uniform thickness and flat.
It’s always a stressful time – that moment right be fore you push ON. Thankfully there were no unanticipated issues, and we’re so so happy with the final result! Now we just have to sand and finish, make the attachment mounts and install the appliances 🙂
Pictures during the week of 10.June.2017:
We’ve been getting outside to climb two or three times a week, which has been really great. Our crag-of-the-moment is up near Porteau Cove, en route to Squamish. The crag is nice and quiet (which suits us) and has a number of climbs that are at a good grade-point for us in the early season.
The crag is about a 30 minute hike up an old logging road. If you have a good 4×4 vehicle, you can get all the way up there. A decent Subaru will get you half way up there 🙂 So a 10 minute hike up a decent hill, plus a small amount of bush-whacking, and you’re there!
We can hardly wait until Moby is ready for prime-time. The thought of enjoying an ice-cold beer and an unobstructed view of Howe Sound in our home-away-from-home sounds very, very appealing 🙂
May has come to an end, and so has my monthly photo challenge. It was my month of FROM ABOVE and today I have my downward-gazing recap for you!
In one way, May passed in a blink of an eye. Yet, looking back through the pictures, I find it hard to believe that all of these things happened in May! It’s funny how the perception of time changes. Good thing I have pictures to document it all 😉
So what did My Month Of From Above look like?
The May Photo Challenge took me…
… from cold weather to hot weather…
… from cherry blossoms budding to green leaves exploding…
… from climbing on plastic to climbing on rock…
… from cycling around town to lounging in the sun…
… from lots of good food to lots of good coffee…
… from gazing down at shoes to gazing over mountaintops.
And just like that, we’re into June and a new challenge word! This month is all about EXPLORE and you can check out the details here.