Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trans-Continental Baking Experiment - A Chocolate Mud Cake

I have been baking cakes for a while now. Nothing fancy, nothing great, but just regular, simple cakes. I have had issues with them each time I moved, and I have ranted galore about that too. I must be settling in, because the baking has improved a lot since the rants. But yet, my cakes as always have been plain and simple, the way I learnt as a child. Equal quantities of sugar, flour(maida), eggs and butter, all beaten really well, a pinch of baking powder, a flavour additive if we like, and off in the oven to bake. And that is the way it is for me. Since I love chocolate cakes, I picked up a packet of dark chocolate melts from the supermarket on one of my recent visits. Behind it, was the recipe for a mud-cake. I have been for a while, wanting to try my hand at frosting a cake, something I have never done, but seeing the gorgeous cakes my hot-shot expert baker/blogger friends belt out, I have been wanting to have a go. The recipe I found was complicated, it needed a lot of things, and I was not sure it would turn out great. So I looked up for other options online, there were many recipes for mud-cakes, quite different from each other, and I was totally nonplussed.

And so I decided to take the smart route and mail them and ask for a recipe that had been tried. Most of them had not tried a mud cake, but 'A' graciously sent a link to a recipe she had used to bake cup-cakes. I tried, and frosted a cake for the very first time in my life. While the frosting turned out really well, and the cake tasted heavenly too, the texture of it flopped miserably, and I had almost no sponginess or pores within. The taste though was, purrrrrfect. I reported my results to the 'jury', and the experienced women, decided to tackle the issue head on, and each one of them decided to give it a try. 'A', Monika, Smitha and Trishna, got on the jobs, did a little bit of tweaking here and there to the recipes, and landed up with absolutely and delightfully perfect versions. The flurry of e-mails, and exchange of tips and ideas that happened over all of last week amongst the five of us, has definitely left me a lot smarter about baking. I say this with no qualms, that I am the least experienced baker of them all, and infact the worst of them lot. After my not-too-great first attempt, when each of the other ladies came up with such perfect renditions, I knew I had to give it another go, even if just to save my own self-respect. And I did, on Sunday. And would you believe it, my first try, did not bake properly, because we needed to go out, and I checked just the sides, which had been baked, but the centre was still completely wet. I realised this when we got back home at 8pm. All my Lindtt, dark chocolate down the drain. But by then I knew I could not rest till I got it right, so I got down to bake another one, just then, and was finally done with the frosting and decorating by a little after midnight. And had to wait till then to cut in and see if this one was good. And yes it was, just perfect.

It was the perfect culmination for all the fun we had learning about baking, small tips and tricks from each other. Five women, four different continents, Asia(Monu), Europe (Smitha), North America ('A') and Australia (Trishna and me) and one cake over a period of one week. It has been awesome fun, and the fact is we have branched out into a lot of other recipes and more. Thank you ladies for teaching me so so so many ways to improve my baking and taking the time and effort to share your thoughts, experiences, and actually trying out the cake. Hope we keep doing this, again and again.

Presenting you with my final product.

And just hop over to read about how 'A', Smitha, Monika and Trish baked theirs.


Smitha said...

GM, Every time I see that cake, I just want to gobble it all up!

It was such such fun, wasn't it? We should do it again :)

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

Amazing stuff, girls! I am not a regular on the other 4 blogs, but just checked their cakes. And now, I want some! :( This is all very tempting. This one with strawberries, then one with chocolate icing, one with a simple sugar topping. I want them.. waaa.. can you hear my whining? I'm so going to get after this one, once I get my hands on a decent oven. And then I'll post pictures and tempt you too. Hmph!

PS: this is an unhealthily long and whiny comment for someone claiming to be on a fitness plan, no? :D

Varunavi said...

Wonderful looking cake,my kids love strawberry and chocolate and strawberry is a excellent combo

'A' said...

I am soo sooo proud of you GM....I love your determination on getting this cake right. This has been such a fun exercise and bonding with all 4 of you.
This also took me back to the basics of baking which I think we take for granted and forget as we get use to baking about how all the small things make the big things come together.
I love the strawberry and cream touch..and I think you should add the slice picture too...your texture was awesome!

Piper .. said...

wow!!!!! That cake looks super awesome!!!!!!!!!! :):) what a fantastic idea this is - trans continental baking! Count me in too, next time - though I am not a baker at all - however the whole thing sounds so much fun!! :):)

Deeps said...

Namnam & I are having a ball here drooling over all the mud- cakes you guys have made... yum yum yum yum yum yum!!

AD said...

Wow, the cake looks gorgeous!! I too want to join your baking club :-)

Monika said...

I agree with A just the other day I was telling someone who told me that who she cant get baking right about u.... kudos to u GM hugs

and this was so much fun i am already looking forward to doing it again

Trish said...

This was so muchfun!!And like A and Mon said,I am so proud of you for not giving up!!!
Big group hug!
And Girl,your cake was delicious!!I loved it even more than my own!!

Chatterbox said...

That mud cake looks superb :)
It's my first visit to your wonderful blog and I absolutely wanna stay here to enjoy such yummy treats :D :D

D said...

Chocolate mud cake and strawberries!!! Two of my fave foods! Oh, how I hate you for doing this to me with that picture! Looks absolutely yummy!

Indyeah said...

you 5 are out to make the rest of us mortals drool na?
come on admit it!:P
post ke baad post all on cakes?
I cannot take any more of these posts!! have read all 5 and cant drool anymore:(
Unless of course one of you is sending some mudcake over :D

Passionate Goof said...

Smitha - I know exactly what you mean. :)

SAS - Come over and I will bake you a whole one. Fitness, does not mean deprivation, it just means portion control... so you are doing just fine.

Varunavi - Hey thanks!

'A' - I agree, it was such fun all the mailing and everything. Thanks a lot for all the tips you shared, and i will keep bugging you with my problems, all the time now. Thanks a ton for the encouragement.

Piper - Oh! Join in, I am sure after those cheese-cakes, these will be easy-peasy stuff for you.

Deeps - :) You and esp Namnam are most welcome.

Monika - Thanks so much, for being so appreciative Monu, thanks a ton.

Trish - Thanks you, thank you and more!!!!

D - It tasted sinfully like a little piece of heaven. Yumm!!

Indy - No no no, I wish i could share some with you, plan your honeymoon here, and I will bake you a whole huge one, promise!

Madhu said...

Looks just so yummy! I always liked cakes but was apprehensive. I slowly started baking simple ones...
Nice blog you have got here :)