It’s my uncle’s birthday today. He would have been seventy-four. He died very suddenly on Midsummer’s Eve two and a half years ago. I was debating whether or not to drive down to the bonfire at the beach when the phone rang. I came so close not to answering because the number was withheld and I assumed it would just be another telemarketer. It was a nurse. She asked my name and if I were next of kin to Jens Grenaae. I wasn’t prepared to hear that he was gone. Ill, yes. In hospital, yes. But not gone. I went into the bathroom because it had the only window facing west and I looked at the Midsummer sunset, a riot of gold and pink and purple, and I wept at the thought that he would not see this beauty. Would never see another sunset, hear the patter of the rain on his window, the clouds scurry across a summer sky.
There were many things my uncle and I did not agree on. He was, in his worst moments, a grumpy invalid and a racist, homophobic misogynist. But he was always there for me. He understood me and accepted me for who I was. The year my grandmother died I was in France, but I came home to visit her as much as I could. One day while I was there, I was on the phone to my best friend. We said goodbye, like we always did, with a, ‘Love you.’ My uncle laughed at me and said it was ridiculous. I was a very emotional twenty-year-old and I turned to him and snapped, ‘So what? It’s not my fault our family is emotionally stunted and can’t say it to each other.’ He didn’t respond to that but, from that day on, for the next sixteen years until the day he died, he ended every phone call to me with, ‘Love you.’ When I gave his eulogy I spoke about how, when someone dies, we regret the things we never told them. I said, and it was true, that I had no such regrets with him. Because he always knew how much he meant to me.
He gave my son the only soft toy he ever cared about; a teddy bear from Rødovre Ice Hockey Club. My uncle played for them when he was younger.
This cake was his favourite. You can buy cheap ones in every supermarket and when we cleaned out his apartment, we must have found ten of them.
Next time I will use a small spring form and make it taller.
You will need:
80g soft butter
100g dark chocolate
Mix the marcipan and sugar together and add the butter. Cream it together until it has a uniform texture. Add the eggs and flour a little at time, taking care not to over-mix. I’ve been told it can separate if you do.
Bake for around 20 minutes (this is Wonder Oven again) at 180C.
Once it’s cooled, melt 100g of chocolate over a bain maire and spread over the cake.
Leave to cool and enjoy!
It might be thin but it’s still delicious. Since it was a birthday celebration we also had hot chocolate with whipped cream.
I took the recipe from Claus Meyer’s lovely cake book, I just left out the strawberries and put chocolate on top instead.