Sweet cravings

Sweet cravings
Everyone usually has a fantastic story to tell when they share their cooking and baking journey.

But I started cooking and baking because I was bored and needed to do something to keep myself busy. And in the one-and-a-half year that I’ve ventured into the culinary world, I’m proud to say that I’ve learnt and improved a lot.

No one in my family is an exceptional baker. I have a few cousins who bake, but no one has a professional touch to it. My mom is an expert at making exotic seafood dishes and that’s something that I’ve not managed to crack into yet. I guess it’s the mother’s touch also that makes the food taste so good, so I’ll let her take over the department and I’ll stick to my baking skills.

Baking for me has become a stress-buster. I completed my aerospace engineering and when I was waiting for a job opportunity, I decided to refer to the internet and try something of my own. I found this blog called ‘Joy of Baking’ and that has been one of my greatest inspirations to try more recipes. I’ve experimented with a lot of ingredients, learnt about them and used them in my baking. Initially when I started, I found it easier to make cupcakes than jump onto a full cake.

The first attempt that I ever made was to bake a blueberry muffin. I referred to multiple websites to get the recipe and to my surprise, it came out really well. My friends loved it and that’s when I decided that I want to continue doing this. When I whip the cream, it gives me the satisfaction of venting out my frustration and it’s a good workout too!

I would invite my friends over and tell them that I’m planning to bake this or that, and they would come back from work a little early just to taste it. It makes me very happy when my work is being appreciated — it makes me want to experiment more.
But like every other baker who has experimented with recipes, I’ve also had my fair share of disasters.

Since my first attempt at the blueberry muffin was successful, I thought I’d take up the challenge of making a blueberry cake as well. I found some blueberry jam in the fridge and decided to use that directly for the mix. I didn’t realise at that time that there would be a lot of preservatives added to the jam, so the final result came out to be a fudge cookie. But my friends were really sweet to have had it and loved it at the same time. There was no taste of blueberry in it but it still tasted so good!

I know that my work is not perfect and I have a lot to learn. But I would love to take it up professionally and make people happy with my baking. Maybe, one day I’ll know how to go about it and take it up!

I’m sharing a recipe for ‘Red Velvet Cake’ that’s a popular favourite amongst a lot of us. Traditionally, the red colour in the cake was given with the help of beetroot. Since we get food colouring to buy otherwise, many prefer to use that. But using the beetroot gives it a different taste — you’d be surprised to know that you can’t taste the beetroot at all because you keep adding chocolate to the puree as well. The secret ingredient is some apple cider which enhances the cake and gives it a velvety texture. It’s a simple recipe that anyone can make at home and have a great time.



Ingredients

Flour 250 gms

Chocolate powder 50 gms

Sugar 150 gms

Beetroot one medium-sized

Apple cider vinegar 1 tsp

Baking soda 1/2 tsp

Eggs 2

Butter 150 gms

Milk 50 ml

For frosting


Cream cheese 50 gms

Custard powder 50 gms

Method


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Start with boiling the beetroot in 100 ml water in a pressure cooker for five whistles. Then process the beetroot along with the remaining water and sugar in a food processor or blender to obtain the beetroot puree.

Add chocolate powder to the puree.

Beat the butter till you get a proper creamy texture.

Mix the flour and baking soda with the chocolate-beetroot puree and beat in the eggs.

Gently fold in the butter and milk. Add 1/4 tsp curd (optional).

 Keep folding the batter till it becomes silky smooth and just before putting it in the oven, mix the apple cider vinegar. This should be added in the end for the velvety texture.

Bake for 20 minutes. The cake is ready when a fork easily comes off the cake.

To make frosting


Beat the cream cheese till you get the silky points.

Prepare the custard as per your desire and beat it in slightly with the cream cheese.

Start adding tsps of sugar as required.

Add the frosting to the cake and refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Prebitha Staphney Abraham
Home baker

(As told to Anila Kurian)
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