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.