Late at night, if you sneak into our home, you will hear two different rhythms of loud snores ( Pepper and me)interspersed with some woofs and sniffles( Biskit).You will find bracing winds breezing through the open doors and windows and all three of us curled up on our large and comfortable bed.
Come close and nudge me…hard. Nudge me again and when I blearily open my eyes, ask me how to make THAT Chocolate Cake. Sit back and listen to me spout every word written below…OK, almost every word written below!
This cake crept into our home some years ago. My daughter came home with a big chunk of this heavenly delight and after I got over that nyaah feeling ( it was MUCH better than the cake I had been baking for the past two decades), it was only a matter of some sustained nagging and reminding before her friend emailed this recipe. I have made a few changes, and I have baked this cake about 678 times with resounding success. My friends, the girls’ friends, friends of friends, classmates, and hostel buddies, snooty gals and snot-nosed kids, family members and dogs—everyone loves it.
Its basically mixing a dry mixture into a wet mixture and then baking it to perfection. I use my temperamental microwave oven. It has a convection-micro mode and though I have no idea of the temperature etc, 25 minutes of whirling the mixture in that contraption does the trick.
The Dry Mix…
Maida—2 ¾ cups
Cocoa—2/3 cup ( don’t make it ¾ cup…it becomes a different cake)
Baking powder—2 tsp.
Coffee powder—1/2 tsp ( my idea..coffee complements chocolate, in small doses!)
Sift this mixture THRICE ( ignore this at your own peril) , and keep aside.
The Wet Mix…assemble in cake bowl
Sugar—2 cups, powdered
Oil—I cup ( I was reading the blog of this coconut lover, who uses coconut oil in cakes. I draw the line there..and yes, no mustard oil either..Bengalis, take note).
Sour milk—½cup yoghurt and ½ cup milk mixed.
2 eggs to be whisked separately and kept aside.
Start the oven to begin the pre-heating bit.
Using a hand mixie, whir the wet mix into a nice, gooey fluid. Add the whisked eggs and whir it some more.
Add the dry mixture in three installments, with a lot of whirring in between. Since the flour tends to escape into a fine brown cloud over the cake bowl, I stir the dry mix with a spoon and then begin whirring with the hand mixie.
When the dry mixture has been added, you will find that the oven is also ready to start baking.
Add one cup of boiling hot water to the cake mix, whir away as if your life depended on this step, and immediately shove it inside the oven.
While it bakes for 25 minutes, clear up the kitchen, find a clean knife or a knitting needle (its always the latter in our household!) and give the empty cake bowl to any waiting children/dogs to lick clean.
When the knitting needle comes out clean, when the house is awash with that baking aroma, and when you cant wait any longer, take out your cake and let it cool for some time.
Slice up the warm cake and enjoy—with tea and coffee, with vanilla ice-cream, with friends and family.
A spicy variant—learnt from the great Nigella herself—reduce the maida by ¼ cup and add a tablespoon of red-chilly powder. Add a tablespoon of rum to the wet mixture too. Bake up an amazing hot cake for adult guests. Serve with cream or ice-cream and watch the eyebrows go askance!!