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THE ACCIDENTAL SPICE CAKE

I woke up feeling so frustrated. So I baked. However I’m pretty bad at it. It is one of those things I try to practice but can never follow instructions to the tee. My emotional vulnerability takes over me when I bake to feel happy. As I put my cake in the oven I knew that I had screwed it up. Again. So I walked away from the kitchen after testing my cake thrice within 15 minutes, and feeling disappointed at the thin, soupy texture. Before leaving the kitchen, I had turned the oven off because I knew the outcome was going to be poor – plus, I thought that the oven could have exploded owing to the high temperature.

But I did not take it out, knowing fully well that someone else might say that I never learn from my mistakes and would glorify my flaws. So I left it as it is. Three hours later, my Didi brought this cake to me straight out of the oven and the colour looked so warm and pretty. Probably the remaining heat must have changed it completely. It looked like something you’d bake after many failed attempts. I got something right. There are cracks of course, but for the first time, as cliched as it sounds, the scars remind me to stay positive indeed.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta let it be.

This is a spice cake containing nutmeg and cinnamon. I wanted to go for something decadent, and had decided to make a garnish with chocolate and nuts but gave up halfway. Not bad, not bad at all.

Active Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 3 1/2 Hours

Yield: Makes 8-10 Servings

INGREDIENTS

2 CUPSALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
1 1/2 TSPGROUNDED CINNAMON
1/4 TSPGROUNDED NUTMEG
1/2 TSPSALT
2 TSPBAKING POWDER
3/4 CUPSUGAR
4EGGS
3 TSPVANILLA EXTRACT
3/4 CUPVEGETABLE OIL
3/4 CUPHOT WATER

STEPS

Step One: Mix the Dry Ingredients

Sift the all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Add the exact quantities of baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. For precision, level the flour in the cup.

Step Two: Mix the Wet Ingredients

Mix oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Whisk them all until the batter thins out, then add hot water and continue whisking simultaneously.

Step Three: Transfer the Liquid in Bowl 1

Pour the wet mixture to the bowl containing dry ingredients. Whisk properly till small air bubbles appear which will help the cake to rise. Do not overdo it. If the batter is soupy, add more flour.

Step Four: Bake at 200 C.

Transfer the cake batter in an oven dish and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 100 C. Check the texture with a toothpick after 25 minutes. Let the cake rest in the oven for another 2 1/2 hours (approx.) if it is still soupy. As this is a thin batter, the remaining heat will solidify the cake batter surely but slowly. Do not turn the oven on.

by Aishwarya Khanna

Aishwarya Khanna covers food, films and travel on her website: ghee and maida. Please see this section to know more about her.

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