Infertility is a cause that will always be close to my heart. I know the pain of failed cycles, of month after month of negative tests, of doctors shaking their heads and explaining that fertility just isn’t something that comes naturally to you.
I received an email a few weeks back from Kara, the campaign manager at the UK Infertility Network, telling me about their first National Infertility Awareness Week, October 28 – November 2, 2013. One in six couples are dealing with infertility, and its something that is rarely talked about. I know that fertility treatments are gaining in popularity (especially in the States) due to celebrities coming out with their stories of treatments, adoption and surrogacy, but infertility is still a topic that is largely swept under the rug.
The thing that’s so neat about the UK’s NIAW is their Great Cake Bake. They are encouraging supporters to do one of three things:
1. Host an event: Throw a bake sale, put up some flyers, decorate and deliver some cookies. Everyone loves baked goods, and people will certainly have their eyes opened to the reality of infertility if the awareness flyer is attached to a cupcake!
2. Bake a cake: the Infertility Network website is hosting a Calorie Gallery – they want you to bake something delicious and submit your photos. I’m tempted to whip up a cake with that adorable logo on it…but something tells me none of my family will eat a cake with a sperm swimming across the top
3. Buy a cake: for those of you who are baking-challenged, have zero time, or just have no interest in whipping something up, NIAW is offering virtual cakes. If you want to lend your support without firing up the oven, you can purchase a “cake” online for a variety of different denominations. The Infertility Network gets your monetary support, and you don’t need to worry about dirtying your kitchen.
Now, I can hear you saying “I’d love to bake a cake!”. Because, dear readers, I know you’re all as amped up about baking as I am. So, just in case you’re not sure where to start, I’ve whipped up a sample for you (and attached the recipe).
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp ground coffee (I used espresso)
1 cup hot water
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. If you’re making your own buttermilk, combine milk and lemon juice and let sit. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix in buttermilk. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until combined. Mix ground coffee into hot water, then incorporate into the batter. Mix until well blended (it will still have a few lumps). Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes (I baked 6-inch cakes, so they take less time).
3/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
splash of vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp strong coffee (or 1 shot espresso)
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Melt the chocolate chips either in the microwave or over a double boiler. Let it cool briefly, then add to the butter, along with the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half the icing sugar (slowly, or you will end up covered in it). Pour in the coffee, then add the remaining icing sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add some milk (or more coffee). If you’d like it thicker, add more icing sugar.