Alarming sign that I am getting old: it has been ten years since I started university, an entire decade since I first left the family home and moved north to Edinburgh. In some ways it feels like just yesterday, but then those days of student housing hell and dreaded essays seem like a different lifetime.
All my life I’ve been something of a homebird, but I never considered not moving away to study – I think my parents must have drilled it into me so much because they wanted me to have the opportunities they never had. I’m not sure if they intended me to end up quite so far away as I am now, but living far from home just makes those return journeys even more special.
Now a trip home has to be an expensive and well-planned affair. I miss the olden days at uni when I could hop on a train home after classes on Friday and be curled up on the sofa by 9pm. Then, as now, my mum had a tendency to spoil me rotten on my visits. She often used to bake this cake for me, and it was everything a teenager returning from student squalor could want – the comforting aroma of cinnamon, the splodge of chocolate in the middle, the lovely, moist, homemade sponge. I haven’t had this cake since I was a student, but made some in honour of the ten year anniversary – it’s every bit as tasty as I remember, but it would be even lovelier to be indulging back at home!
Cinnamon Nutella Cake
from BBC GoodFood
175g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp almond essence
4 tbsp Nutella (slightly warmed)
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line the base of a 20cm round cake tin.
2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, almond essence and milk into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy – I’m usually a fan of mixing by hand, but my muscles really weren’t up to this. It’s very quick and easy with an electric mixer.
3. Tip three quarters of the mixture into the tin and level it as best you can. Dollop or drizzle on the slightly warmed Nutella (I sat mine on top of the oven for a while, but I’m sure it could be microwaved for a few seconds).
4. Top with the remaining batter, then swirl through with a skewer.
5. Smooth the top, sprinkle with the hazelnuts and bake for 50-60 minutes.
6. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. Slice up and serve with tea.