A new year! A time for resolutions. A time for new beginnings. Many people say new year's are overrated, as are resolutions. Personally, I think there is no harm in trying. A few weeks ago, I resumed posting on this blog. At the same time, my namesake and I were chatting. I told her that I would probably not resume the project 365 this year, but would probably think of writing once a week on this blog. Almost two weeks have gone by and I have not yet started. So, maybe this project needs a bit of tweaking. Just to keep things simple and to add a bit of variety, I'm going to go with 10 sweet baked goodies/Indian sweets, 10 savoury baked goodies/Indian snacks, 10 South Indian dishes and 10 North Indian dishes. So, that's 40 for 2014. Whatever else I post here will either be part of something bigger, or quite simply, a bonus.
The one big cooking related thing I started doing in 2013 was baking with A. It really all started with a book we brought from the library: Spot Bakes a Cake. We read and reread the book so many times that one day I just bought him a copy. It remains a favourite. In the story, Spot bakes a chocolate cake for his father's birthday. Usually, whenever A wants to bake a cake, it is chocolate. So far he has asked for a different cake just once.
On weekends, we build Lego sets or play with blocks, go out, play hide and seek or simply bake together. A likes the concept of baking. He loves the concept of sprinkles. And as is probably standard for children his age, he has almost no concept of patience. After I've put the cake in the oven, he'd come by every few minutes and ask, "Is the cake ready yet, Amma?", but when I finally bring the cake out for him to cut, if I ask him, "Would you like a piece?", the answer would most immediately be a "No". To him, cake is food. He feels he can ask for it in place of any meal. It is also his comfort food. Scraped knees causing many tears? Fear not. As long as one can quickly be given a piece of cake, there is no cause for worry.
This morning, we decided to bake. He wanted a chocolate cake. But I've run out of cocoa. We made do with what we had.
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
A pinch of Salt
10 Cadbury's Dairy Milk miniatures (or 50 g milk chocolate)
Sprinkles and Chocolate Chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Prepare an 8" round cake tin.
Melt the milk chocolate miniatures in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Beat well. Repeat this twice until the chocolate is melted and the texture is creamy.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg and beat again. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for 30 seconds. Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat until well incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Decorate with the sprinkles and chocolate chips (this is the part that children seem to enjoy the most). Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and then cut into pieces.
The result, today, was the softest, yet firmest, chocolate cake I've baked in a long long time. A had two pieces fresh out of the oven. I suppose having an able assistant makes all the difference in the world.
Happy New Year, everyone. My heart is filled with gratitude for the love you continue to show.