When in despair…

When in despair, I bake. Regular readers of mine know about my craze love of baking.

Well, we had a rather hectic weekend, with some friends who came over today for lunch. Now, I am the sort of person, who can manage calling people for dinner – because it gives me plenty of time to cook – but when it comes to lunch, I go crazy – no way can I cook and put together a decent meal by lunch time. So I had to resort to what my friend L, does. Cook a day in advance.

So I dedicated Saturday to cooking and only cooking. Only to end up stepping out for grocery shopping and getting back totally exhausted. So cooking, officially started only at 4:00 pm.  Once I had a few pots bubbling, sizzling on the hob, I decided to get a start on the cake. Now, I had this brand new Bundt cake pan, which I absolutely had to try out. And baking is something I always do when we have someone over. These are the few times that I get to bake and force it down someone else’s throat – apart from hubby’s and daughter’s – so I don’t let such opportunities go 🙂

So once I had finalised on the cake I was baking, based on the size of the pan I had, I started measuring out ingredients while at the same time, trying to ensure that none of the bubbling sizzling pots turn into burn out pots.  I had never tried out Bundt cakes before, so was quite excited, plus I was making a struesel coffee cake – and I love cakes with struesel topping. Who am I kidding – I love all cakes 🙂

So after I had all the whisking and the mixing done, while ensuring that none of the dishes got burnt, just as I was about to pour the batter, I realized that the batter was way too thin. On re-checking the recipe, turns out that it called for 4 cups of flour and I had most certainly not added 4 cups.. Now, I had no idea how many cups I had added, but with a few mental calculations and the memory of how full the packet of flour had been, I came to the conclusion,  that I must have added just one cup of flour. So bravely, added 3 cups, mixed a bit more and hoping for the best – was about to tip it all in, when I realised that the batter was most certainly more than what the tin could hold.  I nearly collapsed then. Now, I know that I am successful at baking – ONLY because I follow the recipe to the dot – make no changes at all. Here, I already had made a few changes – replaced sour cream with fat free yoghurt, in an effort to keep the calories in control, replaced walnuts with pecans simply because we like it more and had added 3 cups of flour, assuming that I added just one. And now it just won’t fit! Clearly, I had got the size of the pan wrong – or I had added too much of something.

Praying hard and hoping that it was the former, I baked them in 2 pans. I have never prayed so fervently, ever! And lo and behold, this is how it turned out 🙂 Delicious, even if I say so myself :)It tasted better than it looks, which is more than what I can say for the food that I cook 🙂 Hubby helped himself  to the cake, last night while it was hot and declared that he was falling in love with cakes  and now, that was a compliment from somebody who does not even like cakes 🙂

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On another note, as a lot of you are aware, I have been job hunting.. To say that I have been unsuccessful so far, would be an understatement. Now, I don’t even find jobs that I can think of applying to. When I started off, a lot of recruitment agents called, most of them wanting to know if I am willing to relocate.. now even those have stopped – but today, as I was searching – the word ‘bakery’ caught my eyes.. Some advert for a job in a bakery had crept in somehow.. is that some kind of clue? Do you think I should switch from IT to baking ?

PS : Crafty, I saw your message when I was all sad and was waiting to see how the cake turned out – hoping against hope that it would be edible. Your hugs certainly helped 🙂 Thank you!!!!!

Edited to add the recipe. Tara, as per your request 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda together and set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and 2 cups white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and beat until well combined.
  3. Pour half of batter into Bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture on top of batter in pan. Add remaining batter, and sprinkle with the last of the nut mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

This was the original recipe – picked up from allrecipes.

The changes I made were

1. Used margarine instead of butter

2. Replaced sour cream with low fat yoghurt

3. Used one cup of white sugar and one cup brown sugar instead of 2 cups of white. And made the struesel sprinkling with brown sugar entirely. These were based on the comments at the website. And it tasted awesome 🙂 So if any of you do try it – please do let me know how it went.

Undomestic (un)goddess?

Deepa had tagged me quite a while back to list out my ‘domestic horrors’.  Well, that should not be very difficult for me, should it? That’s what I do 🙂

The only tough thing, would be , to ‘choose’ what to list out here.. I do have a bunch to choose from, you know 🙂 What can I say, domesticity and me were(are) poles apart. The only reason, I think I am enjoying being an SAHM is thanks to my busy blogging life 🙂

1. I actually started to cook by myself around the time that I started work.. Most of it was restricted to Maggi 🙂 One time, a bunch of us decided to ‘cook’ properly. We put rice and dal into separate containers in the pressure cooker and waited. After a couple of whistles – according to one of us- we opened it , only to find that the rice had overflowed all over and it was a right mess! That was the end of our ‘proper’ cooking 🙂

2. The only thing I could profess to cook reasonably well was aloo paranthas.. I love them and was quite good at them. So the first time, that I was in the US, I decided to treat my friends to aloo paranthas.. Well, I had no idea that the smoke alarm could go off, with all that cooking in oil and when it went off.. I almost jumped out of my skin! I was not sure if the police had landed on my house or what? Thankfully, one of us had an idea and managed to calm down the smoke alarm with a wet towel.. That was actually quite scary – for me – at that time 🙂

3. Well, they do say that when you get really competent at something – you will be able to repeat your successes without much ado.. Well, it is quite clear that I have not reached that level of success in cooking, at least. I am someone who can mess up even the simplest dal – and not have a clue as to what went wrong! The other day, we had some friends over for dinner and I made my tried and tested Dum aloo and Baingan ka bharta – only to realise that both turned out totally non tasty! And I have no idea what went wrong! Thankfully, we had some delicious starters  – store bought and delicious cake – made by yours truly as well as some homemade strawberry ice cream, to save the day. Needless to say the leftovers had to be thrown in the garbage – it was salvageable 😦

4. We have had a lot of unpalatable meals that have been turned out by me. But the one which took the cake was a meal by our cooks – we had decided to do ‘core competency outsourcing’  as cooking was not the ‘core competency ‘ of either of us 🙂 . In the stream of cooks that we had, one time, we had a couple coming to cook for us. The lady used to do most of the cooking and her husband would give her company. She was a vegetarian but he told us that he could make a wonderful egg curry.  And since it had been some time since we had it, we asled him to make it for us. Normally, I tell them how I want things cooked. Most of the cooks we had were Gujaratis and cooking without sugar was anthema for them. While I cannot stand sugar in savory dishes.. So I used to give them strict instructions as to how I like things cooked. Now, this time, he was totally insistent that he knew how to make it -‘ just let me do it – you will love it, everybody loves my egg curry’ sort of thing.. So I let it be. We got home that evening – starving, only to open the dish and almost pass out.. In the name of egg curry was a gooey mass with some signs of onions and tomatoes ! He had broken the eggs – 6 eggs into the onion and tomato gravy  – and it looked horrible !!! That was the most horrible disastrous food that I had even seen! He surpassed even me in terms of cooking fiascos!! We did a takeaway that night.

5.  Another time, another maid, another disaster. Now, no matter how bad I am at cooking, I am quite paraniod about making sure that all the burners and hotplates are turned off. One time,on my way back home, with daughter, as I entered the corridor leading to my flat,  I could hear the fire alarm ringing away.. I remember thinking – oh looks like somebody’s left something on! The fire alarm in our apartments where quite sensitive – it used to go off when I iron clothes! And as I entered into the flat – I was greeted with thick black fumes! I almost had a heart attack!. Here I was with my 9 month old daughter and the house is all black! Husband was out of country and for a minute I did not know what to do. I somehow managed to leave the door open, and ran inside to check it out. My cook had left the hotplate on with the pressure cooker on it. The pressure cooker’s safety valve had gone off and the contents where charred black! Thank fully as we did not have a gas burner – nothing was on fire. The black smoke was coming from the pressure cooker! I was so so angry with my cook! That was the last time she worked for us! It was just pure luck that the only thing damaged was the pressure cooker!

Listing down domestic disasters just reminds me that I have to lot of work pending – in the ‘ domestic area’, so I’m off to do it now. I am not tagging anybody – mainly because I am too lazy to get all the links and put it here.. So consider yourselves tagged 🙂 All of you 🙂