A sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla and a stressful birthday

The years and the pounds are piling on. I wish the pounds here denoted currency. Alas, the expanding figure in the mirror tells another tale. I turned a year older this last week. Apart from the usual pressure of having a great day and a fabulous time (I get super stressed when people, bright eyed with curiosity, ask about my non-existent celebration plans), there were two other issues weighing on my mind. One, of course, is my actual weight. I have reached that age where it is impossible to want to eat everything I want, not ever see the inside of a gym, and still pull of ‘charmingly petite’. I rationally know that exercising releases endorphins, but those can’t even begin to fight the intense depression brought on by putting on gym clothes. I genuinely wonder who the gym wear designers have as muse. And why is she starving herself? I want to hunt her down and stuff her face with cupcake.

Gooey Cinnamon Cake
Gooey Cinnamon Cake

Wardrobe and treadmills aside, the other thing bothering me this birthday was the big question of the cake. The house was divided – many people thought that I should bake myself one (during the middle of an ultra-busy work week?!) and some thought that others should bake me one. The office folks bought in one from the store and I had to run around a bit to avoid the cake smash. I want to know who invented the obnoxious tradition. I bet it is that disgusting gym-wear-designer-muse lady. What does she have against me?! When I am stuffing her face with cake, I’ll make sure I get plenty into her hair. Sweet will be the taste of revenge.

Coming to the point of this post, it so happens that I have a bunch of family and dear friends who celebrate their birthday in October. My baby sister, a day before mine and my sis-in-law three days later. Baby sis, this year, is in another city, so we had to be content with virtual wishes. Sis-in-law, bless her heart, invited us to birthday lunch on a bright Saturday, thus allowing me a blissful weekend morning pootling around the kitchen, baking. Very generously, she had me cut the cake with her, with people signing for the both of us. So I did end up baking my cake and eating it too. Two slices, at that.

This was my second time baking the cake. The first time from David L’s blog and this time directly from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Oh, did I rave about the book already? My brother gifted me a copy just in time for my birthday. It was only fitting to pick a recipe which is connected to both my favoritest bloggers. Even though I had Deb’s original recipe, I was compelled to look up David’s version. And that’s how I was reminded that you do not need to wash the bowl between mixing the two layers. Did I hear you say yay?

I halved the recipe – after trying to determining the difference in surface area of the recommended 9 by 13 inch pan that I don’t possess with the 9 inch spring form that I wanted to use. Some intense math (and googling to reacquaint myself with the pi) followed, and I had to rest a while to recover. If you are a stickler, the arithmetic worked out to 5/8. If you ever figure out a simple way to use 5/8 of an egg (twice), let me know. I simply weighed the egg whites and yolk of a single egg and split it into two for this recipe.

Cookie Layer

  • 1/4 cups (95 gm) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons (57 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/8 cup (75 gm) sugar
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/8 cup whole milk

Soft Gooey Layer

  • 1/8 cup golden syrup
  • 1/8 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod (or ½ tbsp vanilla extract)
  • 6 tbsp (85 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (112 gm) sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 egg
  • 5/8 cup (77 gm) flour

Cinnamon Topping

  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Bring the egg and butter to room temperature. Prepare your pan, by fitting it out with foil and generously buttering it. Preheat the oven to 180 c.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a stand mixer or your hand held, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Whisk in the egg and milk. And then slowly, the flour mixture. It will result in a very thick batter, which you will need to dollop into the pan as the first layer. Spread using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the golden syrup and vanilla. I scraped an entire vanilla pod into the mix. Cream the butter, sugar and salt together till light and fluffy. Alternate between adding the flour (in one thirds) and the liquid mix (in halves). The batter will feel lighter than the first one. Spread it over the first layer. Mix in the ground cinnamon with icing sugar and sieve over the cake. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

This cake is truly ridiculously gooey and crumbly. The two slices I had, released more happy hormones than two hours of exercise. Had the gym-wear-designer-muse lady happened to wander by, I would have been polite enough to offer a large generous slice, sans any smashing.

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