Social media was making me unhappy.
I mean, I am not actually unhappy. Overall I think I am quite content – my family, friends, my home. My life. It has its ups and downs but it is generally pretty good. Yet sometimes I still feel that something is missing, somewhere between the heart and the belly button.
I’ve really been thinking about this for some time now. What in earth do I have to be unhappy about? Seriously! And I feel a bit ridiculous, when I think about how lucky my life really is. I don’t live in a war torn country, I don’t have any life threatening ailments, I have love in my life, I am safe. All the fundamentals. I even have luxuries, a fancy camera, a kitchen aid! Yet, I am ashamed to admit, I still feel somewhat dissatisfied.
It dawned upon me just the other day. I don’t how I came to realise this, but it hit hard.
Yep. Dear old Instagram. I love it, but the thing that sets it apart from it’s sister site, Facebook, is that you can follow people you are not actually friends with. I used to see this as a huge positive. An ongoing source of inspiration from people who are smart, creative, and enthusiastic. What I didn’t realise, is that all of this inspiration wasn’t actually inspiring me. Instead, it was making me feel my life was rather boring, and dare I say, inadequate.
Pretty as it is, Instagram can only really offer you a tiny snippet of somebody’s day. Just a teensy tiny speck. That amazing achievement, new pair of shoes, cool party, special meal. What my brain was failing to see, was these little moments are just highlights, not the whole story. What’s missing is the reality. The the bits in-between. Everyday banalities, dark days, illness, fatigue, and all the other very normal parts of life. The bits that we all experience, but do not ‘share’ with the world.
Somehow I didn’t realise that my life is exactly the same. Thus, so is my Instagram account. Achievements, new shoes, yep they’re all there. And my reality is hidden from view. Envy, my dark secret, was causing me to digest information incorrectly. How absurd to compare your life to another’s! Ultimately we are all just humans, and each of us want the same thing. We want to be happy. This was a much needed revelation to me. Like everyone else, my life has light and shade, and plenty of colour. Best to concentrate on the things in life that give me joy. Baking is high up on the list.
This was a birthday cake for Stanley, a man who almost always asks for a ‘Safeway Cake’. Yeah, you heard me correctly. He loves them. I have made this Chocolate + Beetroot cake on numerous occasions – and he is a big fan. Given that I already had beetroot in the fridge (and I really didn’t want to purchase another Safeway cake) I thought I could whip this one up for his birthday today and share it with you too.
Out of respect to Stanley’s special day I have not healthified this recipe – I will tackle that on another occasion, maybe my own birthday.
Perhaps you will see a lovely photo of it on my Instagram account..
Chocolate + Beetroot Cake
Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater
Preheat your over to 180 degrees C.
Start by roasting the beetroot. Place the whole beets in tin foil and wrap them individually. Place in the oven to bake until tender all the way through. This time will vary greatly depending on the size of your beets – mine took 1 hour.
When cooked, peel the skin off the beetroot and cut out any remaining stems. Place in a food processor and blend to coarse puree. Weigh out your 200g and set aside.
Melt your chocolate and pour in the espresso and butter. Whisk to combine.
While the chocolate mix is cooling, sift together the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Set this aside in a mixing bowl.
Separate the 5 eggs, whisk the yolks until foamy then mix them together with the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the pureed beetroot.
Whisk the whites in a clean dry mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in the sugar. Gently fold this mixture into the chocolate beetroot mix until combined, then fold in the flour/cocoa mix.
Pour the mixture into a cake tin lined with baking paper and bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Allow to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a cake platter.
3 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp natural yoghurt
1 1/2 Tbsp hot water
Melt the butter in a bowl, stir in the cocoa and icing sugar and whisk together with a fork until smooth. Whisk in the yoghurt then the hot water. Use a spatula to spread roughly over the cooled cake.