Excuse me for stating the obvious, but exams are stressful. As many people will testify, I stress a lot more than most, not for any particular reason, but simply because I am a Worrier. A Worry Warrior if you like. In the past this has led me to various extremes of behaviour, up to and including stressing about somebody else’s essay, discovering the inner Asian in me and napping in the library, and crying publicly at a YouTube video. Or even just being told the content of the YouTube video. It was very sad.
However, what I tend to turn to the most is baking. This activity has led most of my housemates, bar the lonely gluten-free one, to love me a lot more than I deserve, mainly because I bake selfishly; other people getting to eat stuff is usually just collateral damage of my stress. It has also led various friends and relations to coin new and lovely words which I have made liberal use of, such as procrastibaking (avoiding work by making cake), and panicaking (not being able to concentrate because I’m panicking, so making cake to calm myself down). These, I could get a PhD in.
To which end, I have been developing various speedy cupcake recipes which are great because they are neither complex nor too time consuming, so your brain can rest whilst relieving pent-up library stress by beating something that isn’t going to hurt you back. One of these is coffee cake. I figured this would also help me concentrate, because it has caffeine in it. Whether this applies or not I can’t say, but psychologically at least, it helps me.
100g soft light brown sugar
150g self raising flour
3tsp instant coffee
100ml boiling water
For the icing:
170g icing sugar
50g granulated sugar
2tsp instant coffee
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy, then add eggs and flour in small amounts alternately, beating as you add.
2. Mix coffee and water together, make sure it is well dissolved, and add to cake mix.
3. Spoon into cupcake cases, put them in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until risen and slightly browned.
4. For the icing, put butter, sugar, coffee and water in a pan and heat until sugar has dissolved and you have a syrupy mixture. Remove from the heat. Sift icing sugar into a bowl, and pour syrup mixture in. Mix well, allow to cool and thicken, then, once cakes have also cooled, ice them liberally. Icing makes all the difference.
5. Hide from housemates, or be generous and distribute amongst them. You will regret it though.