An old dog learns new tricks … Brownie Birthday ‘Cake’ recipe

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Talking of procrastination there is an interview of mine which is up at www.blogadda.com. Here’s the link. I must say that I was really impressed by the research which must have gone into their questions. Quite enjoyed answering them. Even if I took three weeks to do so.

Also the episode of The Foodie on Food Blogger Rushina of A Perfect Bite and some of us joining in at the end -Saee of My Jhola, Harini of Tongue Ticklers of Nonchalant Gourmand and me - will air this weekend. Timings Sat and Sun 11:30 am and 7:30 Pm both days.

I am not one for making resolutions. Still I did earmark this year as one where I would do stuff which I had wanted to do for while but had put on the back burner. No, not the sort of conquer your fears … sky diving, scuba diving with Katrina Kaif things of the movie ZNMD. Not the diving bits at list.

My goals were more in the area of conquering procrastination.

It’s been a good start so far. Some baby steps…largely in the area of food…but given it’s only the start of February the year looks promising.

So I baked bread. Finally.

After wanting to be a part of puja for more than a decade at Mumbai I served bhog in the local Saraswati Pujo.

And then I finally baked a dessert the other day. A cake on my birthday. Well a gigantic brownie masquerading as a ‘cake’.

This was long pending too.

I wanted to make the brownies before my birthday but didn’t work out. Then I made sudden plans to call friends over and we contacted them the day before my birthday. That is when I thought of making the brownie cake.

I saw how the brownie  was made when I went to the baking class at Le 15 Patisserie. We made Nutella brownies in class. I bought the expensive Belgian 53 % dark cooking chocolate chips from Callebout that they use from Le 15. I decided to skip the Nutella on K’s suggestion so that the taste of the chocolate wouldn’t be ‘diluted’. I already had the oven she had given me. I bought a cooking scale over the weekend too. Chose the manual one over digital as it was more hardy.

I didn’t have any more excuses left. It was time to bake.

So I started taking the equipment out about a couple of hours before people were scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. This after returning from a long lunch trip to South Mumbai. Was a bit chaotic to start as I suddenly figured out that there were no eggs in the fridge. Banu had used them to make kebabs! We called for eggs and a white chocolate bar. I begun mixing when I realized that I had only half the amount of castor sugar required. In went regular sugar and hence the crunchy bites of sugar that followed.

Masterchef Australia often spoke of the hazards of not stocking up on recipes before starting on a challenge. Well that  was not the only hurdle. Add to this reading every line of a recipe for someone who rarely follows recipes. Weighing each ingredient out on a scale for someone who doesn’t rarely uses even spoons to measure out ingredients. And then chocolate chips being taken out of the bowl by greedy hands after I weighed it out.

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Things fell into place reasonably smoothly at the end of the process. The toothpick went in and came out clean…the check that the brownie was ready.

K said that it tasted exactly like a Candies brownie which is my favourite brownie at the end of the day.

Here’s the recipe that I followed:

Ingredients:

· 70 g flour

· ¼ teaspoon baking powder

· 350 g castor sugar (in retrospect I’d add less)

· 150 g (3) eggs

· 175 g Cooking chocolate (I used the chips/ buttons)

· 18 g white chocolate (1 nestle white choc bar)

· 50 g crushed walnuts

· 170 g butter (I used Amul. I think a touch of salt is good in desserts)

· A few bowls and trays

Recipe:

· Mix the flour and baking powder and keep aside

· Add the sugar to the egg and beat/ whisk it till it becomes fluffy

 

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· Heat water in a flat frying pan. Then with the flame on, float a sauce pan with the with the butter and chocolates in it on the water.  This is called a ‘water bath’. Basically you are melting the stuff without using a direct heat source

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· Add the melted chocolate and butter mix to the egg and sugar mix and stir well so that the two blend

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- Add the walnuts

· Add the flour mixture into this mixture and ‘fold” which means gently swirling the flour into the mixture so that it goes deep in

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· Layer out the entire mixture into a 9 inch baking tray. Lick up the remaining mix

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· Put it into an oven for 30 min at 160 deg C after preheating it for 10 min at the same temp

· Do the toothpick test at the end …

And then a last minute snitch. We didn’t have a flat tray/ stand big enough for the cake and K went out and picked one. The plan was to place a chopping board against the baking tray, upturn, take out the brownie and then reverse the process with the flat stand to get the brownie out on the right side.

By then our first guests arrived…a bit early. I was on time but thank God they were there. Being more experienced they pointed out that I needed to thump the base of the tray and then take out the cake.

Except Houston there was a problem. Two thirds of the cake came out while a ring-like portion stayed back in the baking tray.

Which was fine if I was making brownies but this was supposed to be a cake!

Kurush and Bonnie took over. We scraped out the remaining portion and then did a bit of surgery and pushed the jigsaw piece in. The inherent gooiness of the brownie took over and the cake looked seamless and whole after the operation.

We covered the surface of the cake with more cooking chocolate buttons. They melted a bit into the warm cake and yet retained their shape to give it a slight kiddish look which is what I was aiming at.

And so my birthday ‘cake’ was ready. Guess I was now old enough to bake my own cake.

 

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The end result was really satisfactory. Texture, looks and taste-wise…stayed gooey the next day too. Hardly took any time or effort. The only thing is that I would add a bit less sugar the next time.

And this photo gives you the actual recipe which is broadly what I put above.

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We got our friend Kurush of Dalal Enterprises to cater for the dinner. I felt a bit awkward about this as he was one of the guests too. If I was going to trust someone else to feed my friends then it had to be someone good and special. And Kurush’s food fit the bill. So I started the call by saying “this is business not personal”…

We had a mini Parsi laganu bhonu with laganu achar, kachubar, rotli, Sali chicken with very luscious chicken pieces, patrani maachi with a nice hot chutney which was bewitching and mutton pulao daal with very tender meat and a daal which had our non Parsi largely Bengali group going mad.

mutton pulaodal sali chicken  patrani machhi

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Kurush’s number is 9820136511. He pulled this for me at a night’s notice. The food came in large cooking vessels in which one could reheat the stuff and serve. The fish was boneless which helped.

The leftovers a lasted a couple of days and some took the stuff back for their parents who loved it. What mattered most was that everyone who was there and some of their parents really loved the food and for this group…

Rounding up the evening was Banu’s kebabs which people just can’t seem to get enough of, Ozi cheese and olives and house gifts of homemade bacon whiskey (!) jam, whole wheat chicken momos and a cake in a jar from a Country Of Origin.

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Guess you are never too old for a birthday party.

Or to bake  a cake.

 

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