Thursday, April 17, 2014

The joy of baking

 When I was a kid I read a chapter in History about the Industrial Revolution in Britain. It lead to the division of labor. There were a lot of advantages in that but it had some disadvantages too. One of them that seemed to be illogical was that it deprived the labor from the joy of creation as he is not the only one who is finishing the work. And it took me to bake one good big chocolate creme cake to understand the meaning of " joy of creation". When I finished the layering and frosting of the cake I felt divine. All the hard work and the painful whisking seemed worthy when I looked at my soft, fluffy chocolate cak ecovered with shiny buttery frosting. I felt like a craftsman who has created something and was finally enjoying the divine feeling from staring at that little piece of work!!!!

For me baking is a lot lot tougher than cooking. It may be because I haven't made pastry ever before. So my first attempt was miserable. I made lots of mistakes. I completely ruined my whipped creme. And in hurry the mixing bowl fell from my hand and turned into pieces ruining my entire dish. Then I tried again and over whipped my creme and made butter out of it. But when I made the cake yesterday...I felt a lot better. I learned from my mistakes. And this is one of the advantages of self teaching method. You get to know your mistakes way before you succeed and you learn to undo them.
The cake I made is a basic chocolate cake. Nothing so fancy about it. This is my mother's recipe that I followed. And for the frosting I followed a video in you tube. Here I made mistakes too. I pour oil more than which was needed which made my cake way softer than its supposed to be and I broke it while getting out of the baking pan. So another thing I learned is that blindly following recipes does not help you in any way. Try to understand the recipe because every ingredient there has their own importance and significance and measurement. If you understand them then you can upgrade them according to your need and that's the way to make your own recipes. Change, experiment and create!!! Its a whole new world and the kitchen is your workshop. Go and reinvent yourself.
So the points that I have to remember the next time I try to make a pastry:

  • Pour oil in installment. That will make me pour the right amount and prevent the cake from being greasy.
  • Don't overwhip the creme. Be careful when it starts to set in.
  • Always use a pastry brush to brush the baking pan with oil. In that way you will not take much oil or butter.
  • Always ground the sugar before pouring it. It will make it more fine and frosting will be easier to make.
So thats it. These are the mistakes that I made and learned from them. What did you learn from your mistakes.

Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 and a half cup of granulated fine sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 and a half tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coffee
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
vanilla essence

For the frosting:
1 big bar of chocolate
2 cups of butter
vanilla essence

  • Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vanilla essence.
  • Now pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture in 3 parts and mix well to make a good batter.
  • Pour in a baking pan. Put into the oven and bake for 30minutes.
  • For the frosting first melt the chocolates using a double boiler. That is first boil water in a sauce pan. Place a heatproof bowl over it and put the coarsely chopped chocolates in it. Stir until the chocolates melt into a smooth liquid.
  • In a bowl take the butter. Whisk with a whisker or use a hand blender.
  • When the butter turns smooth and fluffy put the granulated sugar and mix again.
  • After some time add the melted chocolate and vanilla essence and whisk until butter is fluffy, smooth and super creamy. As you will whisk you will see that the butter has started being creamy like a whipped cream and will start growing in quantity. 
  • After baking the cake let it cool to the room temperature.
  • Put it out of the baking pan and slice from the middle.
  • Pour the frosting there and place the other sliced portion on it. Now pour the rest of the frosting above that slice.
  • Put in the fridge to set the frosting.
  • Before serving take the cake out of the fridge and set aside until it comes to room temperature. I prefer to do this because the frosting tastes good and soft in that case.
Thats it for today. See you next time!!

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