Then I added the sugar, which had been ground once.
And then the eggs
And finally, the cocoa mixure.
Once that was done, I added the sifted flour with the baking powder, the soda and the salt – alternating with the sour milk.
I had preheated the oven to 180 degrees, and initially put the cake in for 30 minutes (according to the book!) but it was wrong. I panicked when the cake came out 30 minutes later all wobbly and looking very unhappy. So I popped it in again at 200 degrees for another 15 minutes. A tense 15 minutes later, the cake came out looking fine! Once it had cooled, I cut it horizontally in half so that it could be iced in the middle and bunged it into the fridge.
By the time I started on the tiramisu it was 10pm. I wanted to make something that I was completely familiar with before going into the unchartered waters of icing the cake.
I minced about ¾ cup of celery, 1 cup of green capsicum, and about half a cup of spring onions. I added 1 cup of mayonnaise (the fat content was killing me, but I tried to justify it to myself by using mayolite!) some salt and pepper and mixed the whole thing up. The mixture looked too dry to me.
And since I had never made this thing before, I was nervous. I called Amritakka (one of my many gastronomically advantaged aunts) and asked her for advice. The mixture was fine, but the olives were not. Urgh. 20 minutes of my time wasted. She said I had to make something called aspic first, set the olives in that and then pour the mixture in.
It was time for Farida to come again ( YAYY!!) so she chopped the palak ( that i had squeezed all the water out of the night before) and crumbled 1 and a half kilos of paneer into it.
I heated the cream until it was simmering gently, and then poured the cream over the chocolate. I mixed that with a spoon until it combined to form a nice dark chocolate smooth sauce.
By then, the icing was done. I spread a little bit in the middle and then sandwiched the two halves together. Then I poured a dollop of icing on the top and worked on the cake – dipping my knife in hot water to smoothen it out.
In the meanwhile, Farhad sliced and buttered the garlic bread. He kept calling out to me from the dining room to advise him on how to do it, but I couldn't leave the cake. When I finally came out, he had come up with an innovative idea of buttering garlic bread - by stacking it up vertically as he buttered it!
How it managed to stay straight, I have no idea.
The icing had come out fairly well and i decided to decorating the cake with spun sugar, a very pretty edible dessert decoration that i had seen both in Ritu Dalmia's book and more recently on MasterChef. Spun sugar is basically caramel that is spun around something to create thin threads. I took a cup of sugar, and a cup of water and let it boil for 10 mins, stirring continuously. At a certain point, it will suddenly darken into a molten toffee - like colour. At that point, I took the pan and shock cooled it in a tub of ice and water. The temperature dropped drastically and we were able to spin threads around Farhad's hand. I dont have pictures of this, because it was so hot and we had to be really careful. Also once its shocked , it cools really quickly. The end product was quite worth the effort and my burnt finger.
The cake done, I rushed for a bath and then Farhad and I put all the numerous dishes into the car. It was a 15 minute task - getting all the dishes from the kitchen to the car.
It was a crazy 2 days. But it was all worth it when we pulled the surprise off perfectly and Bappa was completely thrilled. I think the party was quite a success!