Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Baking?? Its a piece of cake!

First a disaster with chocolate ice cream... now cake??? What I life I live!

Again the story starts at a super market where two teenage girls ( me and cookie monster) decide to shop a bit. This time we are the little-smarter girls... a promotion from the not-so-smart status for me! We made a shopping list and walked around searching for what we needed ONLY. Until for some weird reason, we came across the aisle where cake mix was stocked up. It is a crime to have such beautiful pictures of the cake on the box! That to chocolate cake! This is too much for a chocolate lover to bear! We just lifted a box of cake mix and came back. We were going to bake a cake that evening!

We had the mix, now we needed 3 eggs, vegetable oil and butter. We went to the market which is in our hostel itself to buy all that. We finally exited the store with 10 eggs (because they came in packs of 10) and canola oil! That part of shopping for the cake didn't quite turn out right! Keep the canola oil in mind. It had an important role to play in the entire baking session.

Anyways, off we troop into my kitchen. The team of bakers are ready. Time to see how good macho, clueless and cookie monster were at baking cakes! Finally we start.

Step 1: Put the cake mix in a bowl

That was pretty simple. We didn't screw it up

Step 2: Break 3 eggs and pour the contents of the eggs in the bowl

The breaking the eggs part of it was fine. But pouring the contents in a bowl part was.... well.... um... not quite right. None of us were that good at breaking eggs. Clueless managed to spill lots of egg white on the table, while I managed to break the egg and drop bits of the shell into the bowl along with the contents!

Step 3: Add half a cup of vegetable oil and 1 and one fourth cup of water in the bowl
Well.. guess what... we didn't have a measuring cup or any other cup which was remotely that size! And I guess none of us had prior cooking experience and so didn't know how to measure the water and oil in aby other cup! Finally we did some weird calculation with some weird logic to get what we thought was the desired result.... but that result was far from desired...

Step 4: Beat the batter at high speed for about 10 mins

Ask anyone. They'll tell you how bad I am at reading instructions. I thought we had to beat the batter at a low speed... So clueless and I sit beating it in turns. for about half an hour. It was then that we realised that we didn't obtain the desired results from the previous step. We added a bit too much of oil. After so much of beating, there was still a thin layer of oil on top of the batter. *sigh*. So much for our logic. We decided to try another logic. We broke another egg (this time all the contents went into the bowl properly! yay me! :D) and started beating again. The batter looked a bit better now. But there was still a thin film of oil. So clueless takes a spoon and tries to remove the excess oil. She was pretty successful in that mission. Finally the batter was ready. By now, the kitchen was in a huge mess with egg white and chocolate all over the table and our hands were covered with chocolate batter. My jeans got a taste of it too! Just imagine the state of the kitchen with 3 girls who know nothin about baking, trying to make a cake!

Step 5: Bake

Initially we thought we would bake the cake in two batches. We thought the vessel we had was not big enough to bake the entire pack in one shot. But we managed to pour all the batter into the vessel, so there was a change of plans. The cake would be baked in one go. We pre-heat the oven, set the timer and leave the vessel inside. Now comes the waiting part. The instructions stated that we had to bake the cake for about 30 mins.

30 mins later: pricked the cake. It was still gooey. We set the timer for 30 mins more

60 mins later: pricked the cake. It was still gooey. We set the timer for 30 mins more

90 mins later: pricked the cake. It was still gooey. We set the timer for 30 mins more

120 mins later: pricked the cake. Still gooey. Now we suspected something was wrong.

After two hours, the area we pricked was gooey. We removed the vessel to investigate. And guess what we discovered! Along the circumference of the vessel, the cake was baked properly, it was just the centre of the cake that was gooey! I think the vessel we took was too deep! The vessel wasn't even a baking pan! It was just a stainless steel bowl! :P

I had lost all hope. But apparently clueless and cookie monster had not. So we all tried to remove the gooey part in the middle, so that only the baked portion was left. Half the goo went into another vessel, and half into our stomachs (well... not clueless... she wasn't that excited about eating the goo! It was mainly me and cookie monster :D). We called ann@ to come and try the cake.

Our first taster, ann@, soon arrived. Her verdict.... IT TASTES GOOD! (yipee!) Clueless, cookie monster and I had a mental thing about this cake because we added Canola oil in it! Initially when we just liked the batter off our fingers, we thought we tasted canola oil. We have absolutely no idea what canola oil tastes like. But we still thought we "tasted" canola oil in every bite. (you have no idea how many times we uttered the word "canola" during our baking session!) Even after tasting the baked caked, all we could think of was canola oil!

Ann@ could not taste any canola "flavour" in our cake. She didn't know we added canola oil to it. After that I lost my mental thing about the oil and pigged out on it. All this time we were simply scooping out stuff from the centre of the bowl and putting it in another vessel. Then ann@ came up with a bright idea of removing the cake from the vessel onto a plate to see how it turned out! And here was the biggest surprise of all.. The shape of the cake was fine! It was a bit hollow at the centre. But it was a two -in-one cake. It was a normal cake when it was on the plate, but when turned upside down, it was a bundt!

Our second taster, puttas was also happy with the cake. She just seemed to think that jam would make it taste better. Unfortunately, we thought otherwise! The third taster of the cake was h2o. She loved the cake and when she was half way through her first piece, we just let slip that we added the famous "canola" oil in the cake. Not surprising that she didn't ask for a second helping!

I personally think this was a wonderful result for first time bakers. It was not perfect. It was very far from perfect. But it tasted wonderful and thats quite an acheivement. Here are a few pictures of the cake we baked!

Tada! Here it is! The wonderful cake we baked! (the centre of which is a bit hollow! :P)

The untensils used to beat the batter, prick the cake and finally to remove the goo from the centre!

This is the bowl in which we baked the cake. Too deep isn't it? Not the right bowl to use if you want to bake the entire batter in one batch. Maybe ok with two batches. I'll find out soon ;)

The famous canola oil... standing there looking so innocent when it actually ruined the appetite of many... for some weird reason... oh well.. the cake tastes fine and thats all matters to me! If no one else likes it then good! i can eat it all myself!

Oh yes. How could I leave out something which was a little more famous than the canola oil??!! Remember all the goo we removed from the centre? Well, lots of it got dumped pretty unceremoniously into the pan in which we beat the batter originally. Its got goo and bits of cake mixed and had the dark chocolate colour. I have no idea who gave this mass of goo its name. It was done when I was out of the kitchen... Now behold.... the most famous of all.... presenting.... THE CARCASS!

Think it looks like a "carcass"?? Maybe not. But that was its name nevertheless. "carcass" and "canola" were the most frequently used words that evening!

Maybe i'll try my hand at baking some other time again. Maybe next time I'll try to cook pasta! That ought to be an interesting experience!


Clueless said...

oh dear god...i still cant get over the carcass thing!! that pic still scares me to shit whenever i see it!! i keep thinking of deer on the highway, hit by a car and everything bursting in flames and this being the end result...ugh! :/

but the whole cake fiasco was hilarious!!! seems we always manage to get mixed up with some kind of misadventure or the other, eh?? Only this time, we're recruiting more people!! Join the partay!! :D

double head said...

Rule No.:1 While shopping stick to the shopping list

Rule No.:2 the pictues on the cake mix boxes look so good, of course they do, they want you to buy the mix.

Rule No.: 3 never expect your cake to turn out like the picture on the box (same goes for beauty creams too!!)

Rule no.: 4 if you violate Rule No.1, and buy something else atleast read the label and find out what else is needed to complete the recepie and buy them in the same shop.

Rule no. 5. Egg comes in a box of 10 is a myth. It can come in a box of 6 too. If you are in India, you can buy just one egg from the shop.

Rule no. 6. Never break an egg. Gently tap the shell and call out the contents. You don't want the residents of the shell to gush out in fear. (Eggs are living things, life science nerds please note this)

Rule no. 7. First egg contents then oil and water and emulsification process. Egg is a good emulsifier for oil/water mixture. Chemists know this, may be not life scientists!!!

Rule no.8. Beat gently to mix, afterall you are beating living things. Kill them gently, have mercy!!

Rule No. 9. Canola is also a vegetable, but no one believes this. You cannot cook canola but you can take the oil out. It is Ok to use canola as long as you hide the oil bottle from the potential cake eaters and also seal your lips.

Rule no.10 (most important). Your oven should be in working condition to bake the cake. Let us say you need to bake the cake at 250 degree celsius for 30 minutes, you can not achieve the same results by doing it at 50 for 180 minutes. Logic does not work here. Common sense does!!!

Rule no.11. Never ever flip a cake, it is bad luck. It really is, ask any german or gerwoman

next time print this 11 rules and keep near you before you even think about buying cake mix. Don't curse the canola, it is harmless lah!!!

double head said...

Hide the cake picture from the PILSBURY boy, he will have a heart attack. May be if you start a cake mix company, you can sneak into the super market at night and stick this picture in all the competitors cake mix boxes to boost the sale of your product!! yeap, that is the right strategy

AnN@ said...

when you told me you had a surprise for me, i thougt it was pizza! seeing that you 3 dudettes had baked a cake was really a surpirise :) next time, i'll help you crack the eggs! can't wait for the pasta adventure ;)

Macho Girl said...

our next fiasco (whatever that is) will also have more members! maybe we shud form the "food misadventure" club! Wot say? me president and u vice president? or the other way round? :P

#double head
the 11 rules to bake a cake!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... (pause to take a breath).... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......

Thanks for those hilarious guidelines! i better print out a copy of this and paste it on my notice board! Life science nerds will learn someday. after all... we survived a module on organic chem! And thanks for that wonderful marketing strategy! don't tell anyone else! shhhhhhhhh!

hmmm... maybe we can make pizza the next time! and thanks for the help in cracking the eggs! I am terrible at that! dropped pieces of the shell in the batter! :O
And the pasta adventure will soon follow!

double head said...

"food misadventure" club???

Instead, how about

could be a name for rock group you know

double head said...

3/4 th of the NUS centenary coffee mug is one cooking cup. let the misadventure begin with pizza and pasta (maanaththai vaangathe)

H2O said...

The cake was as wonderful as ever until you told me the "canola" part of it..LOL...every bite after that seemed to be dripping in canola!! must follow all those 11 rules...they were hilarious!!!! Good Work Double head!!!

Macho Girl said...

#double head
hmmm... thats not a bad name!! we shall consider it. unless of course we actually learn tocook someday!

thanks for the tip abt the mug :D

haha. got something against canola oil???? tooo bad for you!!! the cake had absolutely no trace of canola oil! shows how fertile ur imagination is!!!