I bake. Therefore I am.

Baking is second nature to me. I love to bake. My kitchen is always stuffed with tons of cake-decoration goodies. They can be stored for a long time (empty the cake decoration contents in an air tight mason jar and keep in a cool place). You can also invest in different food colors/ gels. If you’re creative, you can play so much with the colors and textures to create something magical every time! I will share some easy n interesting cake decorating techniques later.

Getting back to my story…

Nothing beats the sweet n warm aroma of a freshly baked cake. One of my earliest memories is the excitement of getting a home-made cake by ammi on our birthdays! The love that goes into baking a cake can be truly felt in every bit of it. Once you start baking you’d realize the happy face of the person having it, is an instant cheer-up and totally worth the effort! 🙂

Now I am unstoppable! I bake for any occasion or without any reason. Be it for Birthday or Anniversary or Eid, to welcome a neighbor or to cheer up a friend, when Pakistan’s playing a cricket match or when I am craving for some comfort food!

With cooking you can be innovative and go with your intuition but with baking, you have to be precise. Eventually it’s the precision, patience and the way everything mixes together that result in creating something wonderful and delicious.

I’ll start off with the easiest and my most trusted chocolate cake recipe…  It’s quick n simple and perfect for a chefling!

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 6 oz flour (maida)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 oz liquid milk
  • 5 oz cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey or golden syrup

For the Frosting

  • 2-3 packets Cream
  • Cocoa Powder as required. You can melt some good old Cadbury Dairymilk bars for additional chocolaty flavor
  • Castor sugar as required

Instructions:

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Start off by pre-heating the gas oven. Keep the oven door closed and the temperature set at 200- 220 °F
  • Grease a baking tin with oil or butter, dust with flour, tap out excess, and set aside.
  • Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and castor sugar together and keep aside.
  • Separate the egg whites & yolk and in a large bowl start by beating egg whites with an electric beater (medium to high speed). You should be patient and keep going till the egg whites start to form soft peaks.
  • Then add the egg yolks and beat again at medium speed for about 3 minutes.
  • Add milk, oil and honey. Continue beating at medium speed.
    By this time you should have a foamy and slightly stiff mixture.
    Add in the flour mixture in three portions and keep folding it in with a baking spatula or a wooden spoon.
  • Once all the flour mixture is folded in, start the electric beater and mix well for about a minute or two at low speed. The cake mixture should be properly mixed and smooth by now.
  • Pour the cake mixture in the baking tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes at 180°F.
  • Once the cake is baked invert it on a plate and let it cool. (I leave it for an hour at least).

Take a break! 🙂

Important Tips for mixing:

  • Don’t experiment with the sequence of ingredients.
  • Once you have added in the flour mixture don’t overdo the beating.

Important Tips for baking:

  • Don’t keep opening the oven door just to check on your cake (I know the smell is very tempting!) It brings in air, lowers the temperature making the cake not rise properly.
  • Check the cake after 25 minutes and see if the cake mixture in the centre appears wet.
  • If it still looks wet close the oven door and let it bake.
  • If the cake looks done insert a toothpick in the centre and see if the toothpick comes out to be clear. (A clear toothpick is an indication of a cake that’s ready!)
  • If the toothpick is slightly wet close the oven door and bake for another 5 minutes and check again.
  • Cooling the baked cake make the crumbs way more manageable. Never start frosting a hot cake!
  • Time to do the perfect messy frosting!
  • Beat the cream well (medium to high speed) till it is thick and stiff.
  • Add in cocoa/ chocolate and sugar. Beat again.
  • Put the frosting in the refrigerator and let it cool for some time.

Sometime later…

  • When the cake is cool cut it in half very carefully.
  • Pick up the top half with a big spatula and keep it aside (make sure you do it gently and don’t break it)
  • If required, trim off the top with a sharp knife to create a perfectly flat layer.
  • Soak the bottom half with some pineapple juice (I use the one in the pineapple tin). This will make the cake extra moist and it will melt in your mouth with every bite!
  • Layer the cake using a spatula and spread out the frosting about 1″ before the edge.
  • Put some pineapple chunks on top of it.
  • Carefully place the top half back on the bottom.

The final touches…

  • Create a crumb layer. This layer will seal in all the crumbs before you are ready to decorate your cake.
  • Using the large spatula start spreading the frost at the top of the cake and then working down the sides, create a thin and smooth layer of frosting over the entire cake.
  • Put it in the refrigerator until the frosting sets. (About 30-60 minutes).

Now it’s time to frost! (For best results it’s important to work with cold cake and room temperature frosting).

  • To create that perfectly messy frosting look pile on a very very thick layer of frosting with your spatula. (The secret to get it right is there must be a deep layer of frosting to create the texture and swirls that make it look so good).
  • Once your layer of frosting is on, take the back of a spoon and begin making swirls and crests in the thick layer of frosting.
  • Continue until the whole cake looks swoop-y and delicious.
  • Add some chocolate sprinkles on top!

And we are done! Next time skip the idea of buying a cake! Treat your loved ones with a yummy chocolate cake and share some smiles!

Happy Baking! 🙂

Mehwish is an architect by profession who loves cooking food that is delectable, beautiful & memorable!