Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Think of the Devil....

And the Devil is back! Of course I assumed you were thinking of us :D Here we are - back. Yes, the same couple with an opinion about everything, with unscheduled breaks, but tons of food as always.

*warning - long post ahead*

Like I said, the Atlanta floods affected us and the carpets got soggy, messy, stinky - well, you know how it is when your kid spills some really dirty water on the carpet and spreads it across? Only, we were thankful we don't have kids yet to add to the confusion! Anyway, A ended up having an interview the next day. Ya, he 'chose' the early morning slot. So, I ended up moving the couch, treadmill, TV with a broken tv stand - yes it collapsed on me as I tried to move it all alone, valiantly, a big book shelf - with a fat Dorie Greenspan book (which was the ONLY thing A was concerned about that night) and the dining table all in my pajamas in front of random strangers who stood by watching without helping - they were my old apartment's fab maintenance crew. Phew! There is more.

After this, I ran up to the bedroom which was filled with more stuff to find A's suit. Now, which researcher in a ratty Chemistry lab wears suits? So, he has none, almost, apart from his wedding ones. And you know what we all do with our wedding suits and saris. We pack them away safely. I spent 2 hours extricating a suitcase and then searching for a suit that fit him. He's lost over 30 lbs since then. And then ironing it. That was some night. We went out for dinner late in the night and slept at a friend's house. Early next morning, the Dorie Greenspan Guardian Angel from my house left for his interview while I stood on still soggy carpet wondering what next. The rains lashed Atlanta for a good 2-3 days and the carpet, in spite of a huge blow dryer and professional drying, refused to dry. It took us about 2-3 weeks to get the house back to normal. By then, we'd found a new apartment to move into, a month later. Yes, we moved. To a bigger apartment, a more residential area.

A week after settling in, I finally opened this blog and found a ton of messages/comments. Thank you so much for being concerned about us. There have been a lot of things apart from just the floods. Job hunts, grad school applications, sickness and a lot of other disappointments, but at the end of it all, we are still together (Amma, this filmi line is for you :D) and still cooking and fighting after over a month of eating just upma and bulgur and couscous.

Oh, A? A lot of you were concerned about A. There was quite an event in his life. The Yankees won the World series after 5 long years. So, A was thrilled beyond words. He has recorded this game and watches it EVERY morning before he leaves for work on mute. Silent admiration. He just watches it mutely. I almost expect him to cry every day and it hasn't happened as yet. I promise to keep you updated. Also, he watches it every night before sleeping. And I did notice he has this blissful smile as he sleeps. He spent one whole week pumping his hands in the air, saying OMG or using other expletives that I cannot write in this space. It is quite hilarious and irritating to watch him suddenly stop whatever he was doing and go: "Man! I've waited for this for so long!" and then, stand in silence reminiscing the moment and then shaking his head and going back to what he was doing. Of course, it hindered our settling down. Don't you get mad when you are holding this huge painting standing below this guy who suddenly stops drilling the nail and just says something weird?

Yes, that is all A can talk about. Not about the flood, the moving, the struggles. Nothing. Nada. Yankees it is. Anyway, way before the whole flood happened and we were invited to someone's house, we made this absolutely scrumptious Devil's Food Cake.


The person canceled our invitation because of a personal tragedy and we were left with this huge cake. We were going through some bad times and we both just decided, on an impulse, to eat it ourselves. Everyday, after dinner, we'd settle down with a large piece and do nothing, not even talk except for some guttural sounds to show appreciation towards chocolate. I wish I could bring back that strength, that zest and that bliss right now when I need it.

However, I could certainly bring back the recipe. This recipe makes three 9 inch layers. We decided to cut it by 2/3rds. We planned to bake the whole thing and then cut it into 3 layers. However, we found that we could cut it only into 2 layers. So, I'm guessing we went wrong with our measurements somewhere. Therefore, posting the original recipe with the measurements given in the book. Also, we added some baking chocolate along with the cocoa to enhance the chocolate flavor. Our additions are given in italics in the ingredient list. Here you go!



(Adapted from 'Great Cakes' by Carole Walters)

For the cake

3/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa and baking chocolate (1/4 cup cocoa + 1/2 cup baking chocolate - melted)
1/2 cup hot water
3/4 cup cold water
2.75 cups sifted cake flour (We used regular whole wheat AP flour- sifted)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter - room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar (We used regular granulated sugar)
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed (we used a mixture of regular granulated sugar and brown sugar, only because we ran out of brown sugar)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp strong coffee ( We always add this to our chocolate cakes following Ina Garten's tip)

Chocolate Whipped Cream

This book has a large section just on toppings and though the recipe for this cake asked for fudge frosting, we decided to frost it with some whipping cream. Here is the recipe.

2 cups Heavy Cream
1/3 cup Confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder

If you find your cake to be very sweet, go ahead and reduce the sugar in the whipping cream.

1. Put the cream, sugar and cocoa in a large well-chilled bowl. Its recommended that you chill the bowl you are going to whip cream in, and the beaters (if they are hand beaters) in the fridge for a good 20-30 mins. However, this recipe asked for mixing these ingredients (NOT beating/whipping them) and covering the bowl and then chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour.

Very conveniently, we missed the chilling for one hour step. We just chilled the bowl and the beaters and then beat the whipping cream :D It turned out okay!

2. Remove from refrigerator and beat cream until thick. Add liquer if you wish, at this point. Once the cream falls in soft mounds when the beaters are lifted in air, it is ready.

Now for the recipe for the cake itself:

1. Make sure the racks of the oven are in the lower and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter three 9 inch round pans. Line with wax paper and butter the wax paper.

We just have one 9 inch pan and thanks to mis-measuring, we found that all our cake batter fitted that pan : so we baked just one pan.

2. Put the cocoa in a small bowl. Slowly add hot water and stir until smooth. Then, blend in the cold water and keep it aside.

3. Sift flour, baking soda and salt thrice. Keep aside.

4. Place butter chopped into 1 inch pieces and beat until it looks smooth and light in colour. Basically, cream it.

5. Add the white sugar, 1 tbsp at a time and make sure it blends well into the butter before adding the next tbsp. Repeat this with brown sugar.

6. Keep scraping the sides of the pan as you beat. Add the eggs, one at a time at one-minute intervals. Add the vanilla extract too.

7. Add the flour mixture and the cocoa liquid alternately into the egg mixture. The flour should be divided into three parts while the cocoa liquid into two parts. This process should begin and end with flour. Make sure that before every addition, the previous addition has been blended well. Once its all blended, beat for 10-15 seconds more.

8. Transfer batter into buttered pans. Smooth surface by tapping on counter. Place two pans on the lower shelf of the oven and center the third pan on the upper shelf. Bake for 25-30 mins or until cake comes away from the sides of the pan and the top is springy to touch.

9. Once done, remove cakes from oven. Let cool in the pans on the cake rack for 10 mins before inverting the cake. Make sure to take off the parchment paper.

We cut our cake ( which was just one layer!) into two, once cool, and then used chocolate whipped cream to spread between the layers too. Then, place the other layer and slather the whipped cream. We garnished the middle of the cake with 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and then drizzled chocolate sauce over the top to make it look jazzy.

Okay, not jazzy. We ruined the icing in some places and wanted to cover it up :P in an artsy way!

For the chocolate sauce:

1/2- 1 cup chocolate chips/baking chocolate
Some sugar (if unsweetened baking chocolate). We used semi-sweet.

Just melt this in the microwave and keep stirring until smooth and shiny. We added a little milk to dilute it for a sauce to serve the chocolate cake with. I just poured some of this sauce in a ziplock bag, cut a corner and drizzled the sauce over the cake! Easy.


We found this gem of a book for cakes called 'Great Cakes' by Carole Walters on sale at TJ Maxx. We picked it up solely because it sold for $5. This book has been quite a treasure and we've tried out 2 recipes from this book and they both have worked out brilliantly well. So, if you see this book, grab it.

This cake was rich, indulgent and sinful to say the least. This also stays for a long time in the fridge. Explains how we ate it for a long time :) After literally 3 months, I can still feel the taste and my mouth is watering as I write this post and edit these pictures! We are not great at cake decorating as is obvious from the pictures. So, I just slathered chocolate whipped cream to make it look rustic (a better word for badly decorated :P) and dripped the whole cake with some chocolate sauce. I also served it with chocolate sauce to ourselves :D You should totally warm the cake for 15-20 seconds before eating it. There is nothing, nothing better than a warm gooey chocolate cake. Really. Nothing. Not even the Yankees' win, by the way.

With the new house, we have new neighbors and a huge community that we can pass off baked goods to, so, here's to more baking and more cooking. Also, new house = new, big patio = better pics, so yayyyyyyy :D

Want another peek? Yes, you do. I know!



Nags said...

nandu!! I can imagine how that cake will be like a huge and tight hug! it looks amazing :) i am glad the move is over and now you guys can focus on other things. let's talk soon.

Soma said...

You guys are such a tease ;-) first I have that smile on my face while I reading about A's yankee mania and then I just finished my dinner and scrolled down to the Devil.. yes you guys are devils, you tempt us who are trying to keep in shape. Now in a bigger place , you have place for me right? As I told you before we are serious about the Atlanta move when P & T are in college.

oh boy glad to see u back, and hopefully no more soggy carpets, no more moves and sicknesses.. only good food and the blog;-)

SJ said...

insane S-oh u poor poor kids, I am sending you guys a big, steaming bowl of Kathrikai Masiyaal THAT my dears is SO much better than this cake of yours'.

sane S- thanks a ton for this recipe. If N is giving u too much trouble just send her here.

Vibaas said...

One look at the cake and i could not proceed with reading your post! I want that now :( I'm not that far away, u know..just 4 hrs from Atlanta :D

Welcome back!

A_and_N said...

@Nags: *huug* Will ping soon. Promise.

@Soma: You're welcome anytime. P and T will have a ton of baked goods waiting for them. A's promised to check on the fees thing for you!

@SJ: Waaaaaaa. I did this, btw.

@Vibaas: Nashville? If I come there, we should meet!!

Arch said...

Great to see you guys back, was hoping u hadnt given up on blogging...that cake looks absolutely delicious...I made your gajjar-matar, turned out so good...

A_and_N said...

@Arch: I made the green plantain sabzi from your blog? I forget the name. Long time back. I loved it. I added more tamarind though coz I love more tamarind :)

I'm glad you liked the Gajar Matar! And thanks for checking in, Arch

sra said...


Hope things are working out for you both now!

Indian Food said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manisha said...

Good to see you venting your frustrations about the Yankees. It could be worse you know - football instead of baseball. Now that game is insane.

The cake looks delectable. Make it for me when you come to CO, OK?

(Argh, posted previous comment from the IFR account which has a weird name - so deleted it and posting again. Sorry!)

sangeeta said...

heyy...this is the magical cake....i need this kind of a magic cake right now!!
about the decoration , as you say you are not good at it...i love such abstract decor...:) like natural expressions!!
addition of coffee powder works for me too..

Deeba PAB said...

Oh N,you devil you. Am glad you are back coz you crack me up BIG TIME!! Oh I had so much to say on every word you wrote here, rom soggy carpets to guardian angels...but the cake took my thoughts away.Slam dunk delish...but I still can see A watching the momentous match every morning (EEEEEEEKS) & you in Pj's moving stuff with random strangers looking, not doing. So glad you moved! xoxo

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Great cake! Glad to hear things are starting to settle down. Welcome back!

Gradwolf said...

ZOMG the cake is awesome!

kusublakki said...

WOw! This looks amazing !! Please Add this to my wish list when I come to ur place :)

Indhu said...

I am sitting at work and laughing my head off imagining you holding a painting and A laughing and shaking his head about the Yankees win... I would have loved to see the expression on your face... and the cake is mmmmmmmmmmmm.... I know I am going to buy something chocolate-y from the cafeteria at work.. thanks to you!

Cham said...

Hope this new house bring you back to the blogging world.
This devil makes me crazy- I love chocolate!

A_and_N said...

@Sra: Things are the same, but learned to move on :)

@Manisha: No probs about the previous comment! I'd love love to make this for you. Also, the football craziness exists. This year, he's into fantasy football also!

@Sangeeta: Thanks so much! :)

@Deeba: Oh I knew you will love the flavors in this cake :) And, thanks so much for the compliments.

@Gradwolf: Thanks :)

@Kusublakki: Sure thing!

@ Indhu: It wasn't a pleasant expression, I can say that for sure!

@ Cham: Absolutely :) Thanks for sticking along.

Nive said...

Maybe I will make this one for my friend and the other one for Ash?

Also, when can I come visit?

A_and_N said...

@Nive: Sure thing! :) And you can come anytime.

Ingrid said...

Yay! The Yankees won! Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! The YANKEES won! (Sorry, I was bonding with A over the Yankees glorious win over the arrogant Phillies!)

Glad to have you guys back and with cake! Very nice.

Many blessings to you and your new home!

A_and_N said...

@Ingrid: A was quite thrilled to receive this comment. He gives you a high-five! :)

A_and_N said...

@ Ingrid: Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In John Sterling's words..Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees Wiiiiiinnnnnnn!

I actually recorded the game and I see bits and pieces every now and then :) How are your kids doing?

Kitchen Flavours said...

Finally in the end happy to know that you guy's are safe and happy and still together (more filmy).....that's an awesome, delectable and scrumptious cake in celebration of everything....hope you regain strength to bake and cook more yum things....last...cakes makes me hungry dear....

R u there in FB?

The Purple Foodie said...

You are back, and how? With quite a few updates and a sinful Devil'd food cake- yum! I like your filmi line for your mom. That's what they want to hear, don't the? Hehehe

A_and_N said...

@Kitchen Flavors: Yes, I am. Will invite you.

@The Purple Foodie: They always want to hear that! :) And thanks a lot.

Shyam said...

Glad you're back! :) I'm only a recent fan but a truly admiring of your writing, recipes and photos (ESPLY this choc cake - it's sinful!) nevertheless. Best wishes for a flood-free life in your new home!

Anita said...

Good to have you back!
I think about making this cake many times and then check myself. But a little sinning should be alright - devilish good it looks.

Ben said...

Oh! That looks sinfully delicious. I can put my diet on hold for 10 minutes to eat a slice of this cake :)

Ingrid said...

Hey,A! Guess what? This Saturday the Twins' baseball teams played each other! Devon you know plays up as a 14:U and Jalen plays their age which is 13:U.

LOL, it's the first time I sat quietly to watch them play. Devon's team beat up on Jalen's but Jalen had a GREAT game. He hit the ball well and had three web jem plays at first to get the outs. :) Devon was his usual self. Solid at short.

Btw, I have a photo of Devon in his football uni (& my youngest, Babygirl in her cheerleading outfit. Her squad won FIRST place in their competition! Yup, I've got athletic genes!) on my blog.

Thanks so much for always asking about them! :) Happy Monday!

Sheetal Kiran said...

What a delectable blog you have! I am a huge fan of devil food cakes and this looks like just what the devil would order!

Usha said...

The cake looks fantastic, a perfect treat for a chocoholic like me:-) Glad you both are doing well, all the best to you both in your new apartment !

A_and_N said...

@Shyam: Thank you so much! I do come to your blog, but hardly comment!

@Anita: Thanks a ton! Make it! Its worth it. I'm sure your son'd appreciate it ;)

@Ben: Ha ha :) Well, I must say its worth it!

@Ingrid: I'm guessing A will get back to you.

@Sheetal, Usha: Thank you so much, ladies. Appreciate it.

Cynthia said...

I laughed so hard when you wrote about A, especially when you said I almost expect him to cry every day and it hasn't happened as yet. :)

Bharti said...

I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for you guys!
What a strange time you guys have been thru! Hey, chocolate cake will get you thru anything! I wish it was in my fridge and I could eat it every night. Good to see you guys back!

Bong Mom said...

Good to see you back, that cake sure uplifted everyones spirits :) And yay to the new home, patio etc. about yankees not much "gyan" :(

Is this the same cake you were eating while you wrote the other post ?

Uma said...

that'a a lovely cake!! Too tempting. Nice post as always :)

Bharathy said...

Glad to see you back! :)..

Now words to describe that lovely looking thing you have here as pictures ;)..!!

A_and_N said...

@Cyn: It still happens everyday :|

@Bharti: Thanks! Its been weird, yes :)

@BongMom: Yes, this is the cake :) And ya, we're hopefully only getting better from here. Yankees? Don't worry, just don't tell A ok?

@Uma: Thank you so much, Uma!

@Bharathy: Thanks!

A_and_N said...

@Cyn: It still happens everyday :|

@Bharti: Thanks! Its been weird, yes :)

@BongMom: Yes, this is the cake :) And ya, we're hopefully only getting better from here. Yankees? Don't worry, just don't tell A ok?

@Uma: Thank you so much, Uma!

@Bharathy: Thanks!

Ramya Bala said...

the cake looks so moist n yummy...
heard from so many about the flood,cudnt see here though..me in ATL ;)

Ramya Bala said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Indhu said...

Hey N,

I have been meaning to ask you this for a really long time. I saw your "Project Ramekin" and I soooo need to do something like that. I love to bake and I usually give a lot of the baked goods to friends and co-workers. But occasionally, when I have a craving for something sweet, I don't want to bake 1 huge loaf. So, I was wondering how you guys manage to cut down the amount of the ingredients and bake a single slice of cheesecake. Are there any pointers? Or is it by trial and error?
Could you email me at indhukrishna@gmail.com?


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That cake looks devilish, indeed! What a droolworthy creation!



Aparna said...

I've been away for so long, was sure I would have missed a lot. So thanks for not posting too much. LOL

You both have been busy with a lot of excitement. But the plus is that things can only get better now.
I ean look at your gorgeous cake! That's a sign if there ever was one!

One tip. If the cake decorating (or not) isn't successful, you can take pictures of the prettier side! Works for me a lot. :)
Who cares as long as it tastes good. :D

Karine said...

Your cake sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing! :)

s said...

GREAT looking cake...just soooo chocolaty!!

Sakshi said...

I was reading so seriously the first few paragraphs abt flood, ur soggy carpet, broken TV stand etc until you mentioned the words Dorie Greenspan Guardian Angel....gosh now am all cracked up :)

Good to know you guys are back!!

Mandira said...

so decadent and delicious. I would secretly be glad if I had this whole cake to eat :)

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

that's a super rich and mouthwatering cake!! wish i had it :(