I don't need to wear 3-D glasses to transport me directly into the centre of the film. All I need is to see food (particularly cake). If the film makers give me food I can relate to, coupled with a kitchen I can aspire to then I'm a goner, lost in my own personal foodie film heaven. Salivating.
I strongly believe that It's Complicated, the movie starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin and written and directed by Nancy Meyers, was made just for me.
Nancy Meyers's films, whether it's Something's Gotta Give, Baby Boom or The Holiday, always grab me. The films are visual feasts. Nancy is famed for using delicious decor (Diane Keaton's house in Something's Gotta Give is stunning) and sumptuous food plus the clothes always look cosy and coordinate with the decor. It's Complicated is no exception. In fact, it takes every film from before and increases it a notch.
Meryl Streep's character is Jane Adler. Jane has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for ten years and Jake is now married again. But at their son's graduation in New York they sleep together. Whoops. Then do it again in Jane's gorgeous house in Santa Barbara a few days later. Then meet at a hotel. What does all this mean? Is he an ex with benefits? Or, is she falling for him again? To make it extra complicated we also have Steve Martin playing Adam the architect who Jane rather likes too.
On Novelicious I recently wrote that people who cook or bake often foist the dishes on to people to show they care. Well, Jane Adler in this film makes an entire meal for her ex containing all of his favourite dishes. Roast chicken, mashed potato, sauteed string beans. With chocolate cake for desert. It shows she cares. In fact it lays her heart right open, which she's not entirely comfortable with.
The chocolate cake is a stunning creation which Meryl expertly ices with chocolate fudgy icing (I like to think she learnt from Julia Child). Luckily I didn't see this film at the cinema but on the smaller screen – I don't quite know if I could have contained myself seeing the chocolate cake so large.
The chocolate cake seduces you. Well, it obviously does me. And that is just what Jane Adler wanted to happen – but with Jake, obviously. But...does it get eaten that evening?
The cake recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website. I've made this cake a few times now and each time it does not disappoint. The only thing I do which is different, is to divide the cake mixture between three same sized tins, rather than one big one, which reduces the cooking time to about 20 minutes. I also grate some milk chocolate over the top, because there isn't enough chocolate already.