My very least favourite interview question is ‘where do you see yourself in five or ten years time?’
I don’t think there’s really a good answer to this question – you either end up suggesting that this job would just be a stepping stone to bigger and better things or that your master plan is to steal the job of the person who is interviewing you.
And, more to the point, I’ve never been one of those people who really knows where they’re going in life or has a clear vision of what their future self looks like.
If you’d asked me on my 20th birthday, or even my 25th birthday, what I would be doing today, my 30th birthday, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had a clue.
Well, I might have been able to guess that my day would start with a (slightly stale) chocolate cupcake but that would probably be about as far as I would have got. I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that said cupcake would be liberally smothered in peanut butter whipped cream as I only discovered that I didn’t detest peanut butter about a year ago.
I feel like I should have some deep and profound thoughts about turning thirty; I don’t have any whatsoever. As with so many similar milestones, you get there and then shrug your shoulders and wonder what all the fuss was about.
A few days ago, I read an article online by Elizabeth Wurtzel called ‘I Refuse to be a Grown Up‘. When I was a teenager, all those years ago, Elizabeth Wurtzel was impossibly glamorous in the way that can only an angst-ridden fourteen year old girl can understand. I don’t agree with all, or even most, of the article but this paragraph:
“Sometimes, maybe even a lot, I say things that are ridiculous. Sometimes I am ridiculous. There are worse things.”
This is pretty much how I want to live my life whether I’m in my twenties, thirties or eighties.
I don’t really have any concept of what the next few years will bring. Unlike when I turned 20, I at least have a few ideas of what I’d like them to bring but life so rarely unfolds in the way that you expect that it seems pointless to waste too much time worrying about it today.
Especially when there are birthday cupcakes to be eaten.
This is my usual chocolate cupcake recipe; it's produces a pretty firm and sturdy base with a nice rounded chocolatey flavour. The whipped cream frosting, adapted from a recipe in the Sprouted Kitchen book, is a bit lighter than traditional buttercream and far less sickly which, clearly, means that it's perfectly possible, if not encouraged, to eat more than one.
- 50g (6 tablespoons) cocoa powder
- 190ml (2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons) boiling water
- 150g (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 225g (1 cup) golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 200g (approx 1 1/2 cups) einkorn flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of sida
- 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 240ml (1 cup) whipping cream
- 75g (1/3 cup) icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 150g (2/3 cup) peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F (fan) and line a baking tray with paper liners. Mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water and stir until smooth. Set aside until cool.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the chocolate mixture and the eggs and continue beat for a couple of minutes until incorporated. Fold in all of the dry ingredients and pour the mixture into the cupcake cases.
- Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting.
- Whip up the cream either with a stand mixer or an electric whisk (or by hand if you're feeling energetic). When you've got soft peaks of cream add the sugar, to taste, the vanilla and the salt. Continue to peat until you have firm peaks and then gradually add the peanut butter - this will deflate the cream a little.
- When the cupcakes have cooled, pipe your whipped cream onto the top. The frosting won't stay as firm as traditional buttercream so you probably don't want to ice your cupcakes too far in advance. Saying that, the one I ate this morning had been made and frosted on Sunday...
Cupcakes adapted from these chocolate curry cupcakes
Peanut butter whipped cream adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen