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I don’t get to meet her often. We live miles apart. I don’t even get to text or email her much. I blame it on our busy lives, sigh. Sometimes, weeks pass as months, before I dial in her number and hear her voice. I feel I am getting lazy. And on rare occasions, I even miss wishing her on birthdays, anniversaries and festivals. But I know she knows me. I know, she doesn’t mind this a bit. I know, she wouldn’t hold this against me. For time is constant between us. She is my companion.

But whenever we get a window of opportunity to catch up, we can pick conversations without gaps. After, having spent years of growing up together, we can discuss everything under the roof – the old, the present and the road ahead – life, work, money and social norms. Anything and everything. She is my contemporary.

And almost always, her timings are perfect. She knows exactly what to say when I fret. She knows when to back off and not interfere. She is patient when I want to talk aloud. She corrects me when I am wrong. She inspires me when I am lost. She is my friend.

Recently, I went to meet one of my dearest friends, who lives in SanDiego. We hugged, laughed, watched movies, cooked, exercised, rejuvenated and cherished old memories and counted new ones. It had been a while since I last saw her – in-fact two years – the longest gap so far. But in those two days, not for moment it felt so.

K is an excellent cook and extremely good baker. Her gourmet cakes are out of the world. She loves making specialized cakes for kids. Also, she qualifies as a cake artist. And being a cake novice, I couldn’t resist a chance to get started with my baking lessons. She had once gifted me a refrigerator magnet along with a bag full of Chocolates, that she picked from her recent visit to London. The magnet read What can get better than a friend? Nothing, but a friend with a chocolate. To this we added – What can get better than a friend with a chocolate? It’s a friend with a chocolate cake. To commemorate out little find, our little quote and my baking request/wish, we baked a chocolate cake.

This recipe is straight out of the Hershey’s cocoa box – simple, easy and fast. Just perfect for a beginner like me. We followed the recipe to it’s last word except mixed dark chocolate cocoa with some unsweetened natural cocoa to balance out the bitterness. And the cake turned out better than brilliant. Thanks K!

Cake ingredients – cocoa, all purpose flour, eggs, oil, sugar, baking powder, soda


Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl


Add egg and milk to the ingredients and use a stand (cake) mixer or spatula to mix by hand


After getting required consistency, grease the cake pan and pour the liquid cake mix


After baking the cake for 35 minutes, let it cool completely

 

Cut cake into slices


  • Preparation Time: 20 min
  • Baking Time: 35-40 min
  • Recipe Level:  Easy
  • Serves many
  • Source: Hershey’s
  • Cuisine: Baking and Confectionary
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fine sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups of all purpose flour or maida
  • 3/4 cup of Hershey’s cocoa or similar
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Method:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F for 10 minutes. Grease and flour cake pans (Greasing instructions in notes, below). We chose a bundt cake pan.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Sift the ingredients with a sieve.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the ingredients.
  • Beat the ingredients on medium speed in a mixer, for about 2 minutes until you obtain a semi fluid-ish consistency.
  • Boil a cup of water in a microwave or gas. Pour boiling water into the mixer to thin the batter. Beat the batter in mixer once more.
  • Now add the contents into the greased pan. (Greasing instruction in notes, below)
  • Set the timer for 35 minutes on the pre-heated over. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Use a tooth pick and insert it in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is baked completely.
  • Let it cool for 10 minutes before you remove the pan from the oven.
  • If cooled, place the cake pan onto the wire racks.
  • Once the pan is completely cooled, use a knife to edge out the cake from the sides of the pan. Now, put a clean kitchen mat, and turn the pan, upside down so that it can be now placed on the mat.
  • Decorate the cake with frosting of your choice or just serve warm pieces of cake with chilled ice-cream
Serve warm slices of bitter-sweet cake with ice-cream

 

Mad Notes:
  • Greasing and flouring instructions: Use a small cube of butter and warm it up. Now use finger tips and massage the butter on the sides and floor of the baking pan. After greasing, sprinkle a large pinch of flour on the pan. And spread it around by tossing and turning the pan (without actually touching the spread flour with hands). After an even coating, turn the pan upside down to remove any extra flour.
  • Sifting helps to obtain fine ingredients and reduce relatively bigger chunks that may be present otherwise.
  • Instead of cake stand mixer, you can also choose the stir the batter contents into a liquid, using hand spatula. it just takes added effort.
  • If you don’t have vanilla essence – you may also choose to use mango, rose essence.
  • You may add 1 more egg if you prefer a porous texture.
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