Unlike a lucky few, I did not have the opportunity of attending the grand Diamond Jubilee party held on the occasion of my high school’s 60th anniversary. The Queen Elizabeth College [QEC], founded in 1950, is one of the oldest girls-only school in Mauritius with the reputation of holding the best academic record on the island. While it has consistently produced dozens of laureates every year, the school has significantly marked the life of each and every Cato Vert in many more ways than mere academic performance.

From the very first day she puts on the trademark green uniform, the QEC student feels not only the prestige of belonging to the school but also has the responsibility of maintaining the immaculate image of a QEC girl. I remember being given a copy of the school rules and regulations at the start of every school year but in spite of the high degree of discipline from our remarkable headmistresses, I have only have happy, care-free memories linked to the school: the computer lab where I used to hide to escape Physical Ed classes, the library with its enormous collection of books [internet was not that common back then], the chemistry lab, the hall every we used to sit for exams and hold parties afterwards, the unused swimming pool, the toilets where some use to spend hours getting ready for their private tuitions.

My QEC Days

As more memories come flooding in, I recall with nostalgia the annual events that used to get everyone excited weeks in advance, the most important one being the announcement of the Higher School Certificate [HSC] results. Sports day and Prize Giving Day were equally important celebrations that required weeks of intense organization and rehearsals. I should also mention our wonderful teachers who played a prominent role throughout our life as QEC students. Be it the exciting physics practical sessions or the boring accounts classes where everyone would sleep with their eyes open, teachers would always be cherished part of my QEC memories.

Last and not least, I should say hi to all my QEC friends, especially to Catherine, Corinne, Nema, Praveeta who still manage to keep in touch after so many years. This year, the QEC anniversary has been celebrated by Old Elizabethans all over the world; pictures of QEC girls gatherings in UK, France, Germany and Australia have been popping up on my Facebook feed all day. In keeping with the festive spirit, I am posting this “QEC green” almond flavoured cake, adapted from Cake Journal, and dedicated to the entire QEC family.

“QEC GREEN” ALMOND CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Cake

100g unsalted butter

1 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

2 tbs almond meal

1/2 cup full cream milk

1 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp green food colour

For the Frosting

100 g dark chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 oF. Grease and line the base and sides of a 6-inch round baking pan with parchment paper.

  • Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well until creamy consistency.

  • Add almond extract to mixture and beat well.  Sift flour and baking powder into another bowl. Stir in almond meal.

  • Fold in flour mixture alternating with milk into egg mixture, ending with flour. Add green food colour to cake batter.

  • Carefully fold in so that green colour is evenly  distributed or leave random streak of white batter for a marble effect.

  • Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.

  • Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes the turn out on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Heat cream in a pan.

  • Coarsely chop dark chocolate and place in a bowl. Add hot cream and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

  • Spread the chocolate ganache over the cooled cake and leave to set at room temperature. Makes 12 to 16 pieces.
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