I’ve always envied people who know how to bake. My boss’s wife makes this amazing home-made cakes, which he usually brings for us during his birthdays and they are always yummylicious. I, on the other hand once tried baking a cake 5 years back and accidentally set the oven to microwave instead of convection – a realization which took place only after I smelled the cake burning and was horrified to find the so-called chocolate cake take a shape that looked identical to dog shit. I still made my guests that day eat the central, unburnt portion of the “cake” and that was the last time those guests ate at my place ever since.
Of late, a colleague and expert master cake-baker recently inducted me into the world of pressure cooker baking, which I didn’t even know was possible. She makes these delicious sponge cake in her pressure cooker, which I find is way better than the commercial cakes you find in the market. She gave me the recipe and soon, I made my first eggy-smelling, centre-portion-undercooked cake but I didn’t lose heart and even after that disaster, I made four cakes in a row – each of which turned out to be better than the previous ones.
This one was a simple, sponge cake made in the pressure cooker, thanks to my microwave oven conking out for a long time now. I didn’t know that you could use the pressure cooker instead of an oven and thanks to another of my colleague lending me a separator and a baking dish, I could bake many cakes in a row.
The recipe for this sponge cake is pretty simple:
Beat 3 eggs (I am so lazy, I did this directly in a blender of the mixi), 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup refined oil, 1/4 cup melted butter and 1 tea spoon vanilla essence.
Sift 1 cup flour and add 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add this to the blender and let the mixi do your dirty work for a bit. Add milk if it gets too dry down there (milk is protein, not lubricant – sorry, this is due to too many “Finding Nemo 3D” ads I’ve seen on the internet these days)
Line your baking tin with oil or butter. Add the contents of your blender. Put the separator at the base of the pressure cooker and place your tin on top. DO NOT add water inside the pressure cooker although if you want to ignore this warning sign I saw everywhere on the internet, you can go ahead and tell me how things go.
Bake on high flame for 5 minutes, then lower the heat and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the gas (can you believe LPG cylinder is now going to cost Rs 750 in India! No wonder Mamata walked out of the UPA 2, I would have done the same ) and don’t open the lid for another ten minutes.
Do that usual toothpick/knife in the centre thing, although 45 minutes is waaayy too long enough to cook a lousy cake – and if it comes out clean, your cake is ready to eat – although you might want to let it cool down first, if you don’t want a burnt tongue to begin with.
This was the second chocolate cake I baked and although it looks like a brownie, it was pretty moist and yummy, if I say so myself:
I forgot to take a picture of the cake and had to make do with taking a photo of the cut pieces inside the tupperware jar. Thats why the depth in the photo, if you are perceptive enough If you want to make a chocolate cake, my guru said that you have to reduce the flour to half a cup and add another half cup cocoa powder. This cake cooked sooner than the earlier one, and thats because of less flour, my guru again said.
The next cake I baked was a Marble Cake. Now, this was my favorite cake back in college days and although it didn’t taste nearly as perfect as the delicious Kerala bakery ones, I still feel happy with all the swirls, which is done simply by making figure 8′s with a knife.
So now that I became fairly confident in my ability to bake, at the very least an edible cake, I decided to try, what was originally a banana bread, which later turned out to be a banana pound cake of sorts. Either way, the crust was the best part and now I am looking forward to making other cakes, especially a rum soaked raisin cake of which I am told, takes at least a week’s time for the soaking to be done.
Now, these are no way, by far the best cakes you have seen on most blogs. But for me, I have come a long way from baking a dog-shit lookalike cake to edible, yummy home-made cakes. The next thing I want to learn is how to put the icing on the cake, of which I am sure my first few attempts will look like a real car accident. But here’s to learning from mistakes, of which at least, I am an expert.