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Thursday, December 8, 2011

My first baking experience ~ Gourmet chronicles


Each time Nigella Lawson sizzled in her feasts/bakes/bites on TLC (Travel & Living Channel) with her exotic desserts most of which included sinfully delightful chocolate cakes/mousse/truffles and what not, my mouth watered and my hands itched a way too deep, to step into the kitchen and get into action myself! Very unlikely of me at any other time, I would say! I have lil inclination towards cooking but somehow Nigella Lawson managed to bring out the dormant zaaika in me and made me bake my first cake ever on my birthday on 4th December'11! So before I start with my first ever baking experience, let me thank my gourmet guru, Nigella and my guide and best friend, my mother!

So what did I bake? A very simple egg-less chocolate cake which demanded most minimal ingredients! And that is how I preferred it, considering the fact that I was baking for the first time and I did not want to hit the top that fast! Now before I start on ‘how’, let’s gather the ingredients. As my mom advises me time and again, ‘Before cooking, make sure you have all the required ingredients and vessels by your side. Not only does it save your time, but also the results will be rewarding.’

So here goes the list of ingredients:
  • Finely milled wheat flour (Maida) – 200gms
  • Powdered sugar (2 full cups, approx 300gms)
  • Fresh unsalted butter (250 gms)
  • Milk maid (2 tablespoons)
  • Baking powder (11/2 teaspoon)
  • Baking soda (a pinch)
  • Coco powder (11/2 table spoon)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Vanilla essence(1 teaspoon)

As I have used pressure cooker and not microwave to bake my cake, my method could be slightly different from the conventional baking style. So here goes the instructions:
  • First, put the pressure cooker on the stove. Prepare a thick salt base inside (about 1.5 cm thick) and spread the salt evenly. The purpose of using salt as a base here is the heat will be transmitted uniformly and will prevent the cake from getting over baked or burnt. Also salt absorbs any moisture content within the cooker. Now turn the gas on and heat the cooker for about 40 minutes on medium flame. As , 40 minutes is ample time to prepare the cake batter.
  • Now bring on the powdered sugar and add it to the melted butter. Mix them well until the final outcome is a beautiful creamy paste. You may also use a blender for this. However, I did it with hand.
  • Then add the baking powder followed by a pinch of baking soda. Again stir the mixture well. Make sure the paste is smooth sans any unevenly mixed ingredients.
  • Now add the cocoa powder and then a lil vanilla essence and blend it again. Once the paste exhibits a rich and brown texture, start adding the flour gradually as you blend the mixture. You may also add some milk maid (if you want to). I added some to make the paste a little thinner but creamier. Or you may add freshly whipped cream.
  • At the end add some milk to the lovely choco smelling smooth brown paste in order to get a consistency similar to that of Dosa batter. Remember, the batter should not be too thick. So now that your batter is ready, the next stage is baking.
  • Your pressure cooker is already preheated now. Now take an aluminum tin (aluminum tin is the best choice when baking in a pressure cooker). Grease it well with butter and sprinkle some flour on it. Now, pour the batter uniformly into the aluminum tin. Place the tin inside the pressure cooker and close the lid. Please do NOT put the whistle.
  • After 40 minutes, open the lid to check the progress of your cake. Take a fork and prick to see if it digs into a liquid batter or a baked one. If the batter is not baked yet, your fork will contain a sticky paste in it. So keep the baking going for 15 minutes more. Otherwise, your cake is ready. But do not open the lid immediately. Let the cake simmer in the cooker for some more time, till the surface of the cake hardens with the heat keeping the inner baked content soft.
So after your long wait, the simplest egg-less choco cake in the world is ready, waiting for you to dig into it! Trust me, my experiment turned out to be a success. Am not self praising myself. My neighbors can vouch for this fact that my cake really turned out to be good.

What I figured out in this entire baking episode is: Baking is no rocket science. But then what is, is knowing the consistency of the batter, the baking temperature and the time the oven/stove needs to be turned off. One can also add a few chocochips, roasted almonds/walnuts or some powdered rice crackers or biscuits even to the batter. Improvisations can be many and also creative. I did it the simple way as I was baking for the first time. Next time, will post a recipe on brownie.....Till then, let me learn more, bake more and prepare many more delectable desserts before I share them with my readers!

P.S: Oh! By the way, this is how my cake looked :D

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Subhorup Dasgupta said...

Very detailed instructions and tips for pressure cooker baking, something I have never tried. Looks delish.

December 8, 2011 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Manasi said...

Wow, looks yummy! would try making for my 2.5 year old :-)

December 8, 2011 at 7:21 AM  

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