Don't stick a cold knife in a warm cake!
A lot of things can go wrong when you bake a cake. It can have cracks on top. It could sink in the middle. It might adamantly refuse to leave your tin.
“It was put in an oven too hot. The oven was not hot enough. And the last one probably wasn’t put in a tin that was well greased,” Achu Kurian gives us a logical explanation for every one of these pastry mishaps in her new book Cakes, Desserts and More published by Westland. At 52, and acquainted with her oven mitts for well over 30 years now — most desserts are a piece of cake for this home baker extraordinaire.
The heady aromas of freshly baked chocolate sponge and cookies filled her family home in Thiruvalla, Kerala, from as far back as she can remember. “I had three sisters and four brothers, and we’d spend our days racing each other for the mixing bowl, while waiting that one long hour for my mother’s cake to be brought out of the oven,” she recalls. Later, she got married and her mother-in-law who was a stickler for aesthetic presentation taught her the art of plating. So this book, in a sense, is a compilation of decades worth of recipes (over a hundred) tweaked to perfection and traditional wisdom passed down. “It’s got so many classic dessert favourites from over the years, as well as some sentimental ones from when I was a child, which I went on to make for my son and daughter,” she shares.
Take for instance, the ‘refrigerator cookie’ that goes into the fridge before it hits the oven or her ever-ready platter of Chocolate Biscuit Delight. “I suggest people start with the latter because it takes 30 minutes to make, and you don’t need to bake it,” Achu offers a beginner’s list as we walk through her vast glossary, which covers cakes, icing, savoury and sweet snacks as well as thirst quenchers. So as we turn the pages, we find everything from Black Forest cake to Blueberry Scones to Ginger Pop! First-
time bakers can take heart in the fact that all the ingredients are locally available.
Cakes, Desserts and More, Westland, Rs 499.