“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me” ~ Audrey Hepburn ♡
Hello my frosted fairies! I hope you have had a wonderful week. Today’s post is something slightly personal and heart-felt. Yesterday, the 20th of January, marked 25 years since Audrey Hepburn’s passing. Audrey has had a special place in my heart and my life since the age of thirteen, when I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time. I was in complete awe of her; her voice, the way she carried herself on-screen, the elegance, grace and the way she exuded compassion. About a year after this discovery, I stumbled across my mother’s box-set of Audrey films; within this set were her well-known “top 5”, consisting of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Paris When It Sizzles and Funny Face. Later that evening, I sat glued to my laptop screen, and my love for Audrey blossomed!
I began to read about her childhood, watched documentaries (Darcey Bussell’s Looking for Audrey is my favourite!) and came to learn the hardships she had endured; abandoned by her father at just 6 years old, losing her uncle Otto to the Nazi’s in WW2, dancing ballet and delivering messages for the Dutch resistance in defiance of the Nazi’s to experiencing the life-threatening siege on Arnhem where Audrey was left so malnourished that her body never fully recovered from the severe levels of deprivation.
It is Audrey who I turn to in times of despair, loss and loneliness. Her smile, her beaming and buoyant beauty give me the hope that I can and will survive. Audrey’s extensive work with UNICEF is often overlooked in comparison to her life on-screen. When I visited the National Portrait Gallery in 2015, which housed an entire collection of stunning portraits of Audrey, I was left mesmerised once again. Her charitable, down-to-earth essence was juxtaposed with her silver-screen, CinemaScope immortality. She was, at once tangible, but also distant and perfected. The part of the exhibition that took my breath away the most was when I saw a pair of delicate of ballet slippers encased in a glass dome. These slippers were the ones that Audrey wore when she was training as a ballerina! 🎀
My Audrey adventures continued into 2016 when I visited the gorgeous city of Rome. This was a childhood dream come true. It has always been my top place to visit for as long as I can remember and when I watched Roman Holiday for the first time 6 years ago, my love was reignited. I planned the majority of the trip around the places that Audrey, Gregory Peck and Eddie Albert visit in the film; from the Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Colosseum, The Mouth of Truth to of course, Via Margutta 51 – Joe Bradley’s, (aka Gregory Peck’s) apartment.
Nevertheless, whilst my fascination of Audrey sprouted from a love of her in those infamous roles as Princess Ann, Sabrina Fairchild, Holly Golightly, Eliza Doolittle and many more, the everlasting love of Audrey truly resides in her kindness, compassion and strength of character.
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” ~ Audrey Hepburn ♡
This is a quote that I want to live by. At the moment, (particularly with the rise of social media) I feel as though everyone is wrapped up in their own bubbles, and the universe resides within our handheld devices. Inevitably, we begin to lose touch with reality and disconnect from those beside us. Simultaneously, I think it’s a question of growth. We enter this world expecting everyone to take care, nurture and protect us. As we mature, we face responsibilities; what life do you want to lead? what kind of person/character do you wish to cultivate and portray to the world? At the root of this is the act of selflessness. To think and feel the pain of others, show your support at times of distress. We can’t continue this self-involved, estranged existence.
Anyway, this Sunday’s post features a deliciously dreamy and indulgent chocolate cake, which follows Audrey’s own recipe! From reading many biographies and interviews, Audrey’s sons, Luca Dotti and Sean Ferrer mention Audrey’s love for chocolate. This recipe is from the book Audrey At Home (written by Luca Dotti – which I still haven’t managed to pick up but it’s definitely on my wish list), but I first stumbled across it on Liv Purvis’ blog . The cake itself is very rich and has a thick, brownie-like texture (best served with homemade whipped cream or a helping of vanilla ice cream)
300g of chopped dark chocolate
60ml of whole milk
120g of unsalted butter
8 eggs (separated)
200g of sugar
Icing sugar for dusting
Mixed berries for decoration
- Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C, butter and flour a cake tin.
- Melt the chocolate and milk in a bain-marie, then add the butter. Once all three ingredients have melted thoroughly, turn off the heat and start separating the egg yolks from the egg whites.
- Once this is complete, proceed by adding the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture.
- In a separate bowl, gradually add in the sugar to the egg whites – beating until they form stiff peaks.
- Gently fold this into the chocolate mixture and pour into the cake tin.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Once baked, turn off the oven, open the door and leave the cake for a few minutes to avoid cracking.
- Leave the cake to cool before adding the icing sugar and berry decoration.
Serve and enjoy with ice-cream, whipped cream or alone
Here are a few more pictures of the end result! ♡
Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below if you try out the recipe yourself. If you do, remember to send me a picture of your creations (my Instagram and Twitter accounts are @xxsophiebeth) and if you also adore Audrey, please share any special memories you have! ♡