This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Park meets Eleanor on the school bus. He wasn't keen on her at first. The way she dressed was a little out there and new kids traditionally get a tough time. She finally finds a seat on the bus next to him and after a while he notices she is reading his comics whilst he does. He slows down his reading and allows her to read with him. He lends her the comics. They have yet to have a conversation.
But already Park has noticed something about Eleanor. He notices that the comics come back to him smelling of roses. And he has noticed that this new girl, with her bizarre dress sense, smells of vanilla. Later, once they have got to know each other, once their shared reading has progressed to a friendship and a romance, Park tells her that one of his favourite things about her is that she smells of homemade birthday cake. He doesn't just say vanilla. He says homemade, birthday and cake. Three things which conjure up happiness, warmth and love.
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So many people have recommended Eleanor and Park to me, that I was scared of starting it, in case it failed to live up to expectations. But it didn't. It was wonderful.
So this week's feast is unique in that it's not actually based on a cake from a book. But a smell of cake from a book. This is a simple vanilla sponge recipe drenched in vanilla syrup. Make, bake and smell. It, too, is just wonderful.
Baking tin – I used a 23cm x 23cm (9" x 9") with a depth of aprox 4-5cm, electric whisk or wooden spoon, spatula, pastry brush.
For the sponge
170g caster sugar
170g self-raising flour
vanilla (essence, powder or pod) (I used 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
splash of milk
For the sugar syrup
50g caster sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 160 fan.
- Grease and line the bottom of the baking tin.
- In a bowl beat together the butter and the sugar until fluffy.
- Stir in the eggs.
- Beat in the flour and vanilla until well combined.
- Add a splash of milk, scrape the sides and bottom with the spatula, and mix again.
- Spread in the baking tin so it covers the bottom including the corners.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- While baking make the syrup by mixing the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Allow to cool down for a few minutes before adding the vanilla. Stir.
- After 20 minutes test the sponge by gently pressing the top. If it bounces back it is done. It will also be coming away from the sides slightly.
- Bring out of the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
- Tip out onto a wire rack.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the sugar syrup all over, allowing it to soak in then adding a little more.
- Leave to cool.
- You can either eat as it is or cut in half and sandwich together with jam, buttercream or fresh whipped cream. Or leave whole and spread with jam and sprinkle with coconut before cutting into squares. The possibilities are endless.
- Just make sure you smell a great lungful of that beautiful homemade vanilla cake smell. Gorgeous.