Having been a child in the 80s/90s, there are so many things that I look back on with fondness.
I remember watching the Goonies or the Never Ending Story when we caught up with our family friends. Having ridden to their house on our bikes – with our stack-hats on, of course, and with our bikes decorated with spokey dokes.
Weekends we’d be up early to watch Rage, watched while we simultaneously ate our breakfast and read the cereal box. After morning sport, my brother and I would ride to the local milk bar to buy a Bubble O’Bill or a packet of skittles (a ruse, I later realised, for it was my Mum’s way of getting us out of the house so she could catch up on housework without children underfoot).
I remember making mixed tapes for long car trips – where the Bangles and Boys 2 Men featured heavily. Countless books were read – the Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew and Choose your own Adventures being my favourites. Our birthday parties were held at McDonalds – with their famous icecream cakes – while “special” family dinners saw us indulge at the all-you-can eat Buffet at Sizzler – where I always made the mistake of filling up on their cheesy toast first.
As for food – I perhaps look back on this era more with nostalgia, than fondness. French onion dip was in strong supply, as was the cabana / cubed cheese combination skewered onto toothpicks and served in an orange. We had Kraft macaroni cheese probably too often, and a Vienetta for dessert was always a welcomed treat.
And then there was the ol’ chocolate ripple cake that my Mum would create on special occasions. Biscuits sandwiched with whipped cream, topped with a crushed up flake or some fresh strawberries.
So perhaps I was feeling a little nostalgic when I decided to create my own version of the ripple cake for last year’s Father’s Day lunch. Jazzed up with cherry liqueur and topped with cherries, strawberries and mint, this version had all the hallmarks of black forest cake with minimal fuss.
I flavoured whipped cream with a little cherry liqueur, along with some cocoa powder. I dipped chocolate ripple biscuits in the liqueur too, before sandwiching them together with the flavoured cream to create a log. I then covered the cake with more cream, and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before decorating.
Maraschino cherries, sliced strawberries and fresh mint completed the cake, along with a drizzle of melted chocolate and some crushed flake. Then it was back into the fridge until it was time to serve.
The cream softened the biscuits beautifully, turning them from crunchy biscuits into a no-bake cake. Resulting in a dessert that was most certainly fuss-free to pull together, but still rather impressive.
And what a delicious trip down memory lane indeed! Now, where’s the cabana….