It was a rather poignant and sad day for me last Friday, as after two and a half years, I am changing jobs and leaving my spiritual home of Melbourne to return to my Queensland roots. My mother is very happy about this, and I have had some wonderful messages of support from friends "back home" for my homecoming, but I am on some levels confused and unsure. Regardless, there had been some seminal events in the past couple of months which made me decide that it was time to move on, so that my destiny remains within my control, and all roads led back home for now.
Of course, I had to have a farewell cake - it would have been the ultimate irony if, after making leaving cakes for everyone else, I did not have one. My selection of cake was driven by practical matters - that is, what did I have in the fridge that I needed to use up, and what could I make that didn't require me to buy anything else?
I landed on a cake that I have wanted to make for some time, being the Toasted Almond Tea Cake from Sky High - Irresistable Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne. I painstakingly converted the recipe into a double layer cake because I only had 3 eggs left (and those measurements do not divide easily, I can tell you).
Ultimately, I ended up with a single layer which I had to slice in two, because when I was unmoulding my cake layers, one of them hit the side of the cooling rack and disintegrated. As it was already nearly midnight, I was really tired and had already had the trauma of saying farewell at my secondment job that day, I promptly burst into tears. However, the practical side of me took over, and I refrigerated the surviving layer overnight so that it would be firm enough to divide into two the next morning.
After slicing the cake in two, I slathered it with warmed, strained homemade berry jam:
and instead of the lemon curd used in the recipe, I filled the cake with pastry cream left over from Andrew's Martini Cake the previous day:
then popped the "lid" on (note where my slicing efforts went somewhat awry with the "air vents" in the roof):
and iced the cake with the recommended amaretto glaze, using amaretto that I have carted with me since 2001 when I received two complimentary nip bottles with dinner on the island of Murano off the coast of Italy while on a European tour holiday:
You can find the recipe for the full triple layer tea cake here. It is a delightful cake, and it is unfortunate that I did not have the ingredients to make it in all of its glory.
To all the wonderful friends that I have made during my time in Melbourne, thank you for making my time here so special. This is not goodbye - rather, it is a necessary absence while I move on to the next phase of my life, and when the stars align, I will be back. In the meantime, I will of course be back to visit whenever I can, and you are welcome to stay with me should you wish to escape "up North" for a while.