Last weekend I had my son Jake back home from boarding school for a special visit. It was his 17th birthday and there’s no way I was going to let him stay away from me that day. Jake is my oldest son, and he is only going to boarding school in Perth ( some 1800km away from us ) this year for his final year. He aspires to going to university and he just wasn’t getting the education and drive he needed at our local school. I’m not bagging the school, but it wasn’t right for him for this very important year. It was quite honestly one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. We are a very close family unit and Jake is very close to me. He has been incredibly homesick, and it is hard being so far away from him. Our house is so much quieter without him around, and his little brother Jesse misses him terribly.
I take my hat off to all those families who, for whatever reason, have had to send their kids off to boarding school. We all love our kids, and as a parent, sending them away is such a hard thing to do. To get the phone calls at night saying they want to come home, and needing to be positive and upbeat enough to give them the encouragement they need is so difficult. But we do it because we want the best for them, because time passes and we know that we need to sacrifice a little to give them the best we can. I’m still not sure if we’ve done the right thing, but I know we’ve tried our very best, and he deserves the best we can give.
Every year I try to do something special for my kids in the way of a birthday cake. I famously eliminated from Masterchef last year making a Rainbow Cake for my son’s last birthday – one I shouldn’t have really attempted with such little time. That cake, as much as I’m proud of it, still haunts me. Even though so many people email me asking for the recipe and sending me pictures of cakes they’ve made inspired by that cake, I felt it was time to make a change.
Jake’s two favourite desserts are Chocolate and Cookies and Cream. I’ve been making a Cookies and Cream cheesecake for a long time now (here’s the recipe if you want to try it out) and it’s become a real family favourite. I’m not entirely sure where the original recipe came from as I’ve been making it so long and it’s hand written into my personal recipe collection. It’s been tweaked throughout the years to how my family love it. So I decided to make his cheesecake, and turn it into a birthday cake. It turned out better than I expected actually, I wasn’t really sure if the cake would come together – but I have to say, the addition of the chocolate cake actually improved the flavour of the cheesecake! Topped with dark chocolate ganache it was decadently delicious! He loved it, and so did we. I honestly couldn’t stop eating it (and actually made myself sick on it) and it looked amazing.
So the weekend went far to quickly, and Jake is back in Perth again, but the cake was loved, and it helped make his birthday special. I hope that I get to keep making those cakes for my boys for many years to come. I think I’ll have to mention that to their wives-to-be when the time comes! Ha!