Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Story behind the Chocolate-Cake-Recipe-for-Dummies.
Tried and tested. And true.
So the story begins like this.
Last month, I was home in Singapore for my mother's birthday. I decided I wanted to do something special this year. Instead of getting her a present, I was going to do the un-thinkable -- bake her a cake!
Now, if you know me, or have read my past cooking entries, you know that I dread cooking. I like to eat, don't get me wrong, but I like to have food appear magically in front of me, piping hot and ready for chow. In return, I am most willing to do the clean up, however big the mess in the kitchen. And if you've seen the J-man cook, you'll know I REALLY am game to clean up.
So back to the story. I embarked on this lofty grand plan of baking a cake, but i really wanted the simplest possible recipe. I consulted my long-time food provider P (ie my ex-housemate), i researched the internet and finally settled on this Chocolate Cake recipe. Chocolate. Everybody likes chocolate right? Sure-win formula!
Then came the NEXT obstacle. I have not stepped into her kitchen for years. I had no clue what ingredients or equipment I needed. So i had to concoct a story. I was also going to attend my friend's wedding at about the same time as my mother's birthday. So i told my mother that I was charged with baking a cake for the bridal party. It never crossed my mind she would find it strange why they would ask a non-baker to do that, instead of just buying one.
In any case, she bought the story.
So she got out all her baking equipment, we went out shopping for the ingredients, and she even watched me while I baked!
That night, she invited our extended family over for a family reunion dinner because I haven't seen my aunts, uncles and cousins for a long time. While she was busy preparing a feast, i roped everyone in on the surprise. When dinner was over, everyone gathered in the living room while my mother was busy washing up (that woman never stops for a minute!) My uncle called out to her and told her to stop for a moment to chat. Meanwhile, I hid in my room, cake in hand, candles waiting to be lit.
When she walked out, we dimmed the lights and brought the cake to her!
She stood in front of the cake, surprised but beaming as we sang her the birthday song. When the song was done, we told her to make a wish before she blew out the candles. She closed her eyes, but after a second or two, burst into tears. Actually she bawled rather loudly, and frightened my baby niece in the process.
It was a few minutes of extreme awkwardness for everyone; and for me, it was the hardest thing to see. I tried to give her a hug but had to walk away because I was about to burst into tears myself. It was supposed to be a joyous celebration! I knew in my heart what her birthday wish was -- for me to come home. It didn't help I was leaving in 2 days.
I'm still tearing as i write this :(
But, long story short. This is a really simple recipe! If i can do it, so can you! Thank god for cake mixers! I know it's not the most complicated, mind-blowing, delicious cake, but for me, it's a leap from Betty Crocker's Pre-mix brownies. Although I did use powdered sugar instead of castor sugar at one point.
The picture above was my second attempt at the recipe. Much. Better.