Wishing all of you who stopped by to read this space a very happy and joyful new year! Here’s hoping that you make some wonderful food (and other) memories in 2013. In all aspects, 2012 has been a very eventful year for me, we took mini-vacations to some beautiful cities, I came back to Bangalore, found an apartment and lived on my own for five months (living alone is no fun I assure you), was lucky enough to have some good opportunities at the workplace. But the best part was the fag end of the year when the hubby came back to Bangalore and we both let out a collective sigh of relief. No more living out of suitcases and traveling back and forth from Bangalore to Rotterdam.
The last couple of weeks have been a complete roller coaster. I would be putting it mildly to say that we feasted and cooked and ate till we had enough. We met up with friends, spent some fun time with family and felt very blessed at the end of the year.
In the midst of all this celebration, here in India, we had an eye-opening moment when a rape case shook people up to the core and forced the government to take action. The press has been lapping up the story of this heinous gang-rape and reams and reams of newsprint have been devoted to the rape victim and the public outcry. It took a sordid act of monstrosity and the indomitable spirit of the victim who fought back to her last breath for people to wake up. Perhaps with the present spotlight on rape cases, people’s attitudes and a derogatory mind-set may take a change for the better, or at least I hope so.
In the wake of the events of last week, several people toned down their New Year and festive celebrations. I decided instead to dedicate our celebrations to the spirit of the victim and many like her and to the sheer force that propelled students and common people to take to the streets and protest.
We had several friends over for lunch and dinner and vice versa, in the week following Christmas. Much before the Christmas week, I was mulling over the idea of baking a traditional plum cake, or a Christmas pudding, but then I am not a big fan of fruit-filled cake, and prefer layered cakes with frosting, or a dense mousse or a cheesecake. The only fruit cake I like is my mom’s carrot and date cake that she bakes every year on Christmas and Easter.
So as somewhat of a compromise for not baking a fruit cake, I made this rum-soaked cherry sponge layered with chocolate cream. I call it my Boozy Cherry and Chocolate cake.
At a post-Christmas lunch, my friend brought along her flour-less Swiss roll, which was unbelievably melt-in-your-mouth-light and delicious to the last crumb. I am going to make it my mission to get this recipe and replicate this someday. Here’s a peek:
Boozy Cherry and Chocolate cake:
(adapted from “Baking from my home to yours”
2 cups (minus 2 teaspoons) of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup icing sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup pitted and coarsely chopped cherries
Rum soaking syrup:
3 teaspoons white rum
2 star anise
100 ml fruit juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 gms dark chocolate
2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces (room temperature)
1/2 cup of halved and pitted cherries
- Butter and flour two 9″ cake round pans. Heat the oven and 170 C.
- Sift the dry ingredients together.
- With a hand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute each after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the chopped cherries into the batter.
- Add in the dry ingredients, mix with a spatula and scrape down the side of the bowl.
- Divide the batter into two 9″ pans.
- Bake for 30 minutes or till a thin knife comes out clean.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let the cakes cool.
- Heat the juice, sugar and rum in a saucepan.
- Add the star anise and keep heating till the mixture thickens.
- Take off the heat and let it cool.
- Boil the milk.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, whisk the yolks with sugar, cornflour and salt until the mixture is blended.
- Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk and add the remainder slowly in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand.
- Whisk in the melted chocolate, then the pieces of butter, till fully incorporated and smooth and silky.
- Cover the cream with a plastic cling film and refrigerate until chilled.
Assemble the cake:
Slice the 9″ cakes in half horizontally preferable using a tight wire, since a knife may cause jagged edges when the cake is sliced. On the surface of each slice (4 slices) brush the soaking syrup using a pastry brush. Once all the syrup is used up, cover each slice with the chocolate cream. Using a spatula, evenly spread the cream on each slice. Place each slice on top of each other. Top the final layer with the halved cherries.