Why baking is no cake walk and a sinful Devil’s Food Cake

You know what the food bloggers and the recipe book writers don’t pen down. Or the TV food show hosts don’t show. All the stuff apparently done by the little green men. The weighing, the measuring, the locating of ingredients, the washing, and the other million things that go into cooking or baking. Here is an expose. By someone who does not have little kitchen elves/fairies on standby.

Devil's Food Cake
Devil’s Food Cake

So there I was, about to leave on a jet plane, last Sunday, for a crazy work week.  With a family lunch to attend to before. And maniacally determined (despite the husband forecasting certain doom) to bring a cake for dessert.

For the easier to follow recipes, please look up David L.’s Devil’s Food Cake, draped with chocolate ganache from Joy of Baking.  The following is a true account of how EXACTLY I made it. Not all what I would recommend you do.

  • While having your morning cuppa, leave the eggs and butter out to come to room temperature
  • Treasure the last minutes of peace in a long time to come
  • Have toast for breakfast because you are the only one in the family who has that brand of multigrain bread and you have to get through it before you travel for the week
  • Hunt for mad for the measuring cups and spoons. Curse yourself for misplacing them
  • Locate and drag all the dry ingredients to the dining table. Cover table with newspaper because it is easier to dispose the paper than to clean the table
  • Realize you don’t know where the sieve is and tell yourself that you really should not bake when you have to travel in an hour
  • With the one ¼ cup you have found, measure out 1 ½ cups AP flour. Add 9 tbsp cocoa powder and  ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp baking powder. Sieve together
  • Feel happy but puzzled that the recipe does not use sugar
  • Find out that SOMEONE has put the butter and eggs back in the refrigerator. Groan. Take them out. And will the eggs to warm up soon
  • Go put in your shoes (into the suitcase) and remember to pack in the various cords and chargers for the hundred electronic devices you own
  • Look for a book to read on the flight. Grumble about how you have nothing to read. Pick a Terry Pratchett to re-read
  • Feel nagged by the husband who, after showering after his early morning tennis match, is ready to leave
  • Realize that the recipe does use sugar after all. Feel really hassled because you have lost the only measuring cup you had. Hunt for it. Locate it in the packet of flour which you had put away. Moan
  • Switch on the oven to 180 c to preheat
  • Remember that you have do not have a print of your travel papers. And that the home printer is out of ink. Take a deep breath and carry on
  • Decide to use one tin even though the recipe calls for two. Because you don’t own two of the same size. Grease and flour the largest 9 inch spring form tin that you do have
  • Weigh out the 113 gm of butter, feeling rather pleased about the kitchen weighing scales
  • Cream butter and 1 ½ cup sugar till light and fluffy, for about five minutes. Add two eggs, one by one to it
  • Open a packet of fresh milk. Spill some. Wipe. Measure out 2 cups of ¼ cup of milk, and 2 cups of ¼ cup of water. Lose count of the various ¼ cup and wish you were better at math and at counting
  • Alternate adding batches of dry ingredients and milk to the butter-cream-egg mix, stirring in between
  • Pour in the batter into the tin and stow it into the oven
  • Wash bowls etc. Shower super-fast
  • Check for doneness at 25 minutes mark. Put it in for another 15 minutes
  • Realize you don’t have time to make the ganache and pack in chocolate, butter and cream along with golden syrup to carry
  • Take the cake out of the oven, and wait for it to marginally cool before lugging it, tin and all, along with your luggage and laptop and work files into the car. Feel like a superhero
  • Sit with warm cake for the journey to sis-in-law’s and keep sniffing at it
  • Beg sister in law for a glass bowl. Realize that she cannot find any of her measuring cups. Empathize
  • Chop what you hope is 150 gm of dark chocolate
  • Heat what you think is 1/2 cup cream and 1 ½ tbsp butter and switch off before boiling
  • Add milk to chocolate and stir slowly till melted. When all of the chocolate does not melt due to the cream not being hot enough, place bowl in some hot water. Add dash of golden syrup even though the recipe does not call for it because you want to
  • Spoon ganache over cake and spill some on the kitchen counter. Refrigerate cake
  • Overeat at lunch cos’ of all the stress
  • Eat two pieces of cake cos’ it’s so good
  • Convince SIL that you cannot help with the cleaning since you are so bushed
  • Further, convince her that she needs to click some good snaps of the rather non-photogenic cake which you will shamelessly use for your blog. And could she please use her pretty china with that dear flower pattern?
  • Take a short nap on the couch
  • Wake up when the cabbie calls for directions. Brush out your hair (you have not had the time to do so all day) and bid tearful goodbyes
  • Carry a small slice of the cake with you – a little sweet something to make it all worth while  
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