Its birthdays and birthdays in the family from January to May, April being the month of three birthdays and one wedding anniversary, July the month of 3 wedding anniversaries within 10 days! The kids' birthdays, more often than not, are celebrated at home. We normally keep it to a small group of their 'best-friends' at that point of time. The group was pretty much the same for the past 5 years and has changed only recently with my son's new all boys group. He had wanted all of them invited for his 9th birthday along with the old friends. He loves to have people over and we had to temper his enthusiasm.
He cried loud enough to scare the pediatrician in the hospital when he was born (turned out he was just very hungry!!!). He made me cry when as a 4-year-old, he never asked me to pick him up as Amma had a baby in her tummy. He is my staunch supporter most of the times when he senses me and hubby having a difference of opinion. He is a big foodie and loves to serve even water in style. His bed time reading - my recipe books a good number of times. Loves to draw sketches of cars and has plans to sell them to the Tatas no less - the first model to be sold to him. The little entrepreneur put up a lemonade stall, replete with a board which read "Rowjee's Lemonade Stall'' of front of our house last summer.
He has taken to reading detective stories and the outcome was this on our front door...Notice the logo and Bond.'A' Bond on the right:-)
Father-in-law has a home appliances store. Anirudh often accompanies him to the store. A customer had once asked if there were any 'offers' if he bought a television. Son seriously replied "If you buy a television at our store, you get the remote control free''. The then 6-year-old was kidnapped in his dream. He told the kidnapper that if he let him free, he would sell an air-cooler at a discount of 50% to him! He had once told me with tears in his eyes that he would keep on collecting my pictures. The moment I die, he would paste them all over his room! Well, I did not know if I had to laugh or cry!!!
Back to the cake - it is a very important part of the birthday and we discuss ahead what cake it should be. I try to make it in line with whatever is his current fad. It was once a Racing Track Cake , a Helicopter Cake the other year and this year a Beyblade cake (surprise, surprise!!). I tried to make one with a small beyblade drawing on it as. It turned out quite sloppy looking (me artistically challenged) but still the boys thought it was cool to have a beyblade cake and a home-made one at that! Notice (hard!) the 'L' in the middle which stands for a Lightning L Drago. I made this cake a vanilla sponge with almond, chocolate and whipped cream filling.
I normally bake 2 cakes for the kids' birthdays. A chocolate cake doesn't fail to please most kids, so played safe and baked a Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake too.
This cake is from the The Food Librarian's blog from here. This is one very easy and quick to put together cake, stayed quite moist even after almost 40 hours of baking it.. the last tiny slice was still moist and good. The recipe has both oil and butter in it, which adds to to the moist quality. Makes this a good make ahead cake for a party or a picnic. The original recipe has cinnamon in it, I have skipped it and added a dash of coffee. Feel free to tweak it to your taste and preference.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (nope, the cake was not too sweet)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I skipped this)
1/2 cup buttermilk (Refer note below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules(optional)
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
Procedure : Preheat the oven to 190 degree C / 375 degrees F. Grease a 12'' bundt pan. I greased mine very very generously with ghee and dusted with flour. Put butter, water, oil, and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.(I added the coffee granules here) Meanwhile, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Then, add the buttermilk and baking soda. Mix together the eggs (and cinnamon if using) and vanilla in a small bowl, and add to the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes or till a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan. I left the cake in the pan over night. My bundt cake once broke when I tried to invert it 15 minutes after baking. I don't think I will ever do that again.. safer to cool the cake in the tin for a few hours and then invert.
To make the buttermilk: Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to half a cup of room temperature milk. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, it will curdle. I used plain synthetic vinegar and it worked fine for me.
I have frosted the cake with dark chocolate ganache . You will need
For the ganache:
Cream( I have used 25% fat, Amul) - 2 Cups
Dark chocolate chopped - 2 1/2 cups
Unsalted butter - 1 tablespoon
Suspend a large fine meshed strainer over a suitable vessel. Bring the cream to a boil in a heavy and thick bottomed saucepan. Stir in the butter. Add the chopped dark chocolate. Whisk gently till the chocolate dissolves. Strain the ganache using a spatula to push it through the strainer. Straining will help get a smoother ganache with minimal air bubbles which means a smoother finish to the cake. Pour the ganache over the cake when still warm. If the ganache thickens before you use it, heat carefully in a microwave and use.
The cake sliced beautifully, was loved by the kids. I personally am very partial to cakes and brownies made with melted chocolate as compared to those made with cocoa. If you do not have any such strong preferences, please do bake this cake, you will like it for sure!
P.S: Forgive the pics as I just could not get them right a little late during the day. I love chocolate but taking pictures of chocolaty stuff - naaw.. HELP!!!