Here is a cake which my mother baked for our anniversary last month. Yes, my parents were here with us for a visit. A visit I wished to cherish both for us and them. They arrived in October, when we were at the tail end of our concert rehearsals. Post the concert, I was looking forward to share the winter time with both aai-baba. A time span, from the month of October till mid January, would have given me quite a nice time with them to create memories which I could cherish always. However, there were other things planned for all of us. Of all the things I experianced during their stay, I would like to remember this carrot cake 🙂
When I was a kid, aai baked a lot. With time and other commitments lined up, she opted for other things. Baking took a back-seat for her. On our anniversary, she asked me to help her don her baking apron on again. I happily decided to guide her and made up my mind to give her all the support and motivation she needed to bring back baking into her life during her stay with us. However, this was the only cake she could bake with me and my wish to train her…. still is a dream. I hope someday, we manage to steal some time together and play together with our baking tools.
2 cups of flour sifted with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1.5 tsp of baking soda
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar(you may add half a cup more if you like it more sweet)
2 cups of grated carrots
1.5 tsp of mixed spices or just cinnamon if you prefer that alone
Aai added chopped nuts and raisins too….this is optional
For the Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup of cream cheese
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of icing sugar
Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Aai preferred beating and folding manually. She used a wooden spatula instead of my electric cake mixer. She whipped the eggs till they were frothy. To this, she added the sugar and beat constantly till a consistent mix was ready. To this, she added the oil, a tablespoon at a time and mixed again with a constant speed. This was followed by the sifted flour in portions and folded. Finally the grated carrots, nuts, raisins and the vanilla extract made their way into the bowl to be folded into the batter.
Pour this batter into a pre-greased cake tin and bake for till done. My oven needed 50 mins to bake completely. Cool the cake and free from the tin. Cut the cake into two slices.
For the frosting: Mix the butter, cream cheese, sugar and the extract. Use this mix as a frosting between the sandwich and top it on top as well.
I had candied carrots ready for the cake and they dotted the cake beautifully. To make these all one needs to do it cook the couple of tablespoons grated carrots in quarter cup of sugar mixed with a tablespoon of water. When softened, bring the carrots out and sprinkle soft sugar on it. Place in an air tight jar for later use.
We had our weekends busy with our dance rehearsals and other technical work needed to make it a grand success. I was looking forward to this concert as well as it was the first time that I would share the same platform with my father(who had never ever been a part of any musical let alone any dance concert). Here he performed with our troupe as the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of our town graced the occasion. A moment to be cherished indeed!
I was awaiting the concert to end for reasons to be more happy, Diwali was just a few days away, P was celebrating his 16th birthday and it was after many years that I had my parents sharing these joys with us. We relaxed back to our routine with work during the day and planning for Diwali as well as the birthday celebration with our friends was chalked every day. Both Diwali and the birthday celebrations were grand and I must mention I must have tired both my parents with the hard work during that time.
For P’s birthday, I baked a chocolate cake with hazelnut spread and topped with his favourite Ferrero Rocher and Kitkats. This cake is my next post. Here is the spread we prepared for the party.
I am afraid it is a long post. More of pictures than writing. Photographs have been an integral part of my experience. They have reflected all my feelings during my parents stay. The later part of the stay was bit of a shock…very much a nightmare. Every night I shut my eyes to shun my mind from the thoughts of Baba being unwell. However, each morning I woke up to the reality which had broken us down. Baba was in the hospital as he had suffered a stroke. Everyday was a mere vacant time which we filled in with the daily chores of cooking, washing and hospital runs. Work had taken a secondary part in my life. I was just trying to be as strong as possible for aai. To help her through this process and accept the facts as they come to us. All these while, I had been thinking of so many people I adviced in the past to be strong in difficult times and never had I realised that it is damn struggle being strong. I tried writing down my feelings but very soon I started losing energy. There had to be something that could keep me going. I looked around…cooking was not possible, I was not at work either to keep my mind distracted..as I looked around, I visualised few things around. There was no way I would give up and stop trying.
I could not sell out myself by saying I was alone…I was not..I had my family with me, my friends and the beautiful world around too. Recalling Robert Frost’s words “The best way out is always through.” I started capturing some moments I experienced everyday. It is my visual journal and it actually helped me through it. These are a few moments I gained strength from. My parents are back in India. They travelled back to India a month in advance and Baba is in a rehabilitation centre recovering very well. I know some of his mobility may not come back, but one good thing is he received the immediate medical attention at the right time. I had wished for a time spent well with them, very much like any other daughter would have wished for. However, I had a different share….looking after poorly Baba, helping aai stay strong during the difficult time and supporting my siblings at a distance with assuring phone calls and watsapp messages! We were going through a lot of emotional turmoil.
As days passed and weeks passed, Baba gained some strength. His vital signs were stable. The doctor and the rest of hospital staff did a remarkable job bringing him back to life. My idea of spending time with my parents had taken a different shape altogether. What remained now was to see him progress to a strength enough for him to atleast remain lying on a stretcher and fly back safely home. We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us….that is hat I read somewhere. All these days, I have tried being positive and courageous….Today, I wish him a life full of good health and happiness. Sharing the best moment with this post and the best cake my aai has baked till date..I hope you all like it too.