Continuing with honoring mothers during the month of May, it is my pleasure to introduce Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton. Both mother and daughter are writers and co-authored a book called While the Bombs Fell. It is the story of Elsie’s experience living through the bombing of England during WW2.
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry book.
The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision. Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.
Robbie writes two monthly posts for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends. Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.
What follows is Robbie’s story:
My mom turned 80 three years ago. She has never had a party and so I decided to throw a party for this ‘big’ birthday. She chose a flower theme and everyone in the family helped with different aspects of the arranging. One sister sent out the party invitations and coordinated the responses, another brought the fruit punch, and my dad went with my mom to choose flowery material and made all the overlays for the tables. I hired the outside tables and chairs, organized the food, and made the birthday cake.
This cake was a big undertaking. One of my younger son, Michael’s, favorite stories when he was three, was about a witch called Winnie who through a huge birthday party for herself. Winnie creates a 10-layered birthday cake, and each layer was a different flavor. I remembered this story (which I had read many times) and decided to make a five-tiered cake with each cake a different flavor. The theme of the cake would be flowers.
I set about making 30 hibiscus flowers from fondant (sugar dough) to decorate this cake. I used a variety of colors including pink, purple, yellow, orange, and red. I baked the four layers: the first and largest was a fruit cake, the second was a hummingbird cake, the third was a vanilla and chocolate marble cake, the fourth was a chocolate pudding cake, and the fifth was a strawberry jelly cake. Each cake had a different icing. I used royal icing for the fruit cake, cream cheese icing for the hummingbird cake, dark chocolate ganache for the third and fourth-tiers, and strawberry flavored buttercream for the top layer.
The day before the party was a marathon of icing and assembly with the hibiscus flowers being added to the final product. I was pleased with the final cake and mom was thrilled.
Recipe for hummingbird cake
Ingredients: 3 cups (1 cup = 250 ml) white cake flour, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon, ground cinnamon, 4 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 1/2 cups sunflower oil, 1 can (400 grams) crushed pineapple with the juice, 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecan nuts, 5 large, mashed bananas, and 2 teaspoons vanilla essence.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a deep 30 cm cake tin (must be deep as this cake is soft and will break if it is thin). Mix the sifted flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and cinnamon together. Add the oil and combine. Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in the pineapple with its juice, nuts, bananas, and vanilla essence. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. The cake will be firm and not move when you move the tin back and forth. Allow to cool and turn out onto a cake board.
Recipe for cream cheese icing:
Ingredients: 250 grams firm cream cheese, 250 grams butter (softened) 2 cups icing sugar, sifted, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and combined. Add the icing sugar slowly and beat between each addition. Finally, stir through the vanilla essence.
Thank you, Bernadette, for this opportunity.