This is the story of the first chocolate cake I've ever made. Or atleast the first chocolate cake that I have truly loved. This is the story of a summer that really got me into baking seriously.
I'd just about written my final exams for the twelth grade when we had a host of house guests, who were all in Chennai to write their finals as well. Chaperoning them was my step mother's friend who had carried with her this cookbook that had some fascinating recipes, and she swore by them. Called the Mennonite Community Cookbook, this was a recipe book that barely had any pictures, but was a collective of recipes from across America from the Mennonite community.
From relishes to cakes to savoury baking to mains, this book had everything. And all I had for the longest time was a photocopied version of this book. (I finally bought the book two years ago)
So through the month, we'd pick out a recipe to try out in the sweltering heat in May in Chennai. Some nights we ate some delicious quiches, other nights we settled for deliciously simple cakes and some days were just simple mains that did the trick.
It was the name that did me in at first - red chocolate cake. I had a lot of questions such as why was it red? What made the cake red? Why was it called one of the easiest cakes to make?
In those days the Internet wasn't as fast as it is today. But I'd spend hours on "Ask Jeeves" to get the answers I wanted. I understood that red was a reaction that the baking soda had with the boiled cocoa. I figured that even though this was not a one pot cake, it barely took any time to whip up because it was made from simple pantry staples.
What I loved the most about this cake was the amazing crust that formed on top. Ok, I know that good cakes aren't supposed to be all crusty, but there was something so amazing about eating a crispy piece of chocolate cake.
Now, I must warn you, this is as cakey a cake can get. By that I mean it's got a lovely light crumb but is still on the denser side. It has a deep chocolate flavour, because of boiling the chocolate with some water and sugar and it keeps extremely well for a whole week.
This was a cake that became my go-to recipe when people asked me to bake a cake for them. I filled it with whipped cream and fresh fruits sometimes, good quality jam or good old chocolate sauce. This is the cake that went as a part of my sister's and brother's tiffin boxes. This was a cake that was made for my grandmother's tea parties.
Which is why I thought it was a fitting tribute to the Jaipur Marriott, because that spritzer filled with Kahlua really deserved a standing ovation on it's own.
I halved this recipe and sliced it in half. Then I spritzed my red chocolate cake with plenty of Kahlua and even added a bit of it to the ganache. The result was a super moist, delicious cake that really hit the spot.
You can of course, just make a plain old fashioned cake and take it to share with your friends
Red Chocolate Cake
From the Mennonite Community Cookbook: Favourite Family Recipes by Mary Emma Showalter. Available in India, US and UK
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Mix together and bring to boiling point. Cool.
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
1 cup sugar
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp teaspoon soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1. Cream butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy
2. Add eggs and beat well
3. In a separate bowl sift flour, salt and soda together.
4. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with water and vanilla and the cocoa mixture.
5. Pour into a greased tin and bake at 180 degree centigrade for 30 to 40 minutes
For the ganache
100 grams dark chocolate
100 grams fresh cream
3 tblsp Kahlua
Boil the cream and pour over chopped chocolate. Stir until glossy. Add in the Kahlua
1.Let the cake cool completely. Using a sharp knife remove the crusty layer (Save to eat later)
2. Cut the cake into two equal layers.
3. Brush the first layer of the cake with a rum and coffee solution. This will keep the cake moist.
4. Using a butter knife or a palatte knife, spread 1/3 of the chocolate ganache on it.
5. Put the second layer on top and repeat.
6. Using the remaining chocolate ganache fill the sides as well.
7. Cool and eat.