The last few days I have been reeling under a sense of helplessness. As have been many others. A school in Connecticut, a bus in Delhi, different situations, different countries and the same loathsome, monstrous nature of the human rearing its head. Being in a position where I can do little except e-mailing the principal of my daughters' school or voicing my opinion in certain online places, the helpless feeling has been gnawing my innards. I question my existence, my inability to do something to better the situations and all I have been feeling is immense sadness. Every time I have tried to sit down to write something here, words have seemed inadequate and meaningless.
However when you are a parent, you learn to have faith, to hope, to look forward and then make a cake for the one who turned nine. You also learn that cooking and using a lot of butter helps in that direction. Now husband-man says that it is the banana which has the chemicals to make you happy but I think it is butter aided with loads of sugar which actually does the trick.
In the last 21 days of my attempt to make more inglish-vinglish recipes, I have bought and used as much butter as I would have probably done in a whole hunk of a year. I have never really been a very "butter" kind of person. Those creamy sticks do not turn me on and except for a lick of Amul butter here or a smear on my toast, I choose to stay away from them. Of course if I had chosen salads instead of cookies and brownies, the butter story would be different. But then what is inglish-vinglish if not an ooey gooey chocolate cake or a buttery cookie? For everything else there is alu posto.
Now many of you who read me know that I not the best of bakers, nor am I the worst of bakers. I mean I was worst, but not anymore. I have mastered enough control on my ADD to stick to 1 Cup of AP flour if the recipe says "1 Cup of AP Flour". Earlier I would have translated it to 1/2 Cup of Wheat Flour plus 1/4th Cup of Flaxseed Flour and then skipped the baking soda.
But I still have enough fear of beating butter and sugar to creamy or egg whites to stiff peaks. I try to avoid any recipe that asks for egg whites to be separated and dutch processed cocoa to be bought. Well, I also try to blame my incompetency to the absence of a shiny Kitchen Aid but guess no one has fallen for that yet.
Last week I baked this Chocolate sheet cake from Pioneer Woman.And I tell you it is the easiest and best chocolate cake I have ever made. It has loads of butter but not a single step that instructs you to beat butter and sugar. Easily my kind of cake. It is also really, really, really good. And that frosting on it is to die for. Being a sheet cake it is not that thick and makes 20 to 30 squares depending on which size you cut it. I think it is the best cake you can take to a party or potluck.
We kept a large portion of the cake cut in squares in the refrigerator and ate it over 5 days. I would warm mine to make the frosting ooze. BS , LS and the Dad like the cake cold though. If you have not soaked your dry fruits in rum (like me), give this cake a chance. Chances are Santa might just fall for it.
What you Need For the Chocolate Sheet Cake
AP Flour -- 2 cup
Sugar -- 2 cup
Salt -- 1/4tsp
Cocoa -- 4 tbsp heaped
Butter -- 2 sticks (1 stick Butter=8 tbsp=1/2 cup=4oz=113gm)
Boiling Water -- 1 cup
Buttermilk -- 1/2 cup
Eggs -- 2 whole beaten
Baking Soda -- 1 tsp
Vanilla -- 1tsp
Note: If you do not have buttermilk, the original recipe suggests you make your own. Here is how --
Mix 1 tbsp of vinegar or lime juice with 1 cup of whole Milk. Let it sit until it curdles about 8-10 minutes
What you Need for Frosting
Pecans -- 1/2 cup Finely Chopped
Butter -- 1-3/4th stick
Cocoa -- 4 tbsp
Milk -- 6 tbsp
Vanilla -- 1 tsp
Powdered Sugar -- 1 cup less than 1 pound
Semi-sweet chocolate chip -- 1/4th cup
Baked it in a 18 x 13 sheet cake pan
How I Did It
In a wide mouthed mixing bowl, add 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, and 1/4tsp salt. See, no sieve or anything. Cool isn't it.
In a saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter. To it add 4 heaped tbsp cocoa. Stir together.
While butter is melting, start boiling a little more than 1 cup of water. Once you have mixed the butter+cocoa, add to it 1 cup of boiling water. Allow the whole mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir. Mix so that the flour mixture mixes uniformly with the coco mixture.
In a measuring cup, pour 1/2cup buttermilk. To it add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour+chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan(18 x 13) and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the frosting/icing. I started around 10 mins after the cake went in the oven.
Chop pecans finely. Melt 1 whole stick + 3/4th of another stick of butter in a saucepan. Add 4 tbsp cocoa. Add the chocolate chips. Stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add 6 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla.
Now add the sugar. Now this cake is pretty sweet so I went less on the sugar in frosting. I used about 1&1/2 cup less than 1 lb of confectioners sugar. You can adjust this according to your taste. The original recipe asks for 1/2 cup less than 1 lb sugar. Mix uniformly to make a ooyey gooey chocolate frosting. Add the pecans and mix again.
Once the cake is done, take it out and pour frosting over warm cake.
You can eat the cake warm or cold. We liked it both ways.