So after a weary return home on Sunday evening, I baked him a flourless orange and almond cake (see pics). Two hours to make; two minutes to devour!
It’s amazing what memories a single word can conjure up. Say the word "cake", and I'm in a happy mood instantaneously; salivating even, if it's chocolate mud! Then again, I’m happy to devour every scrumptious crumb of pineapple upside-down cake, bundt cake, tea cake, cheesecake, wedding cake, carrot cake, pound cake, sponge cake...
Anyone from Bombay reading this? Have you been to Venus Bakery near Mount Carmel’s Church, Bandra, recently? Do they still sell the cake with the four coloured squares? Back in the ’80s, these cake bars (their version of a Battenberg cake, I think) were sliced and served at every party. A favourite with the kids thanks to the four squares of chocolate (brown), strawberry (pink), pistachio (green) and vanilla (yellow). The only quandary: which tempting square to taste first?
And of course, I can’t forget the Christmas cake. Strangely enough, Christmas cakes were never baked at home – everybody took theirs to the local bakery. Till today, I have no idea why! On December 23rd evening every year, Nana Evelyn and Mum would measure and mix the ingredients – candied peel, dry fruit, semolina, spice, flour, eggs, butter... On Christmas Eve, dad would take it to the Bazaar Road bakery with our name and address (no telephone number in the 1980s!) centred on the cake batter. In a couple of hours, the Christmas cake was collected. The heady aroma of spice and brandy wafted through the entire D’Monte Street house. But only after returning from Midnight Mass on St. Peter’s grounds, was the Christmas cake cut. Every slice bejewelled with glace cherries, candied peel and plump sultanas. Delicious!
Last but definitely not least is the Birthday Cake.
|C1 blowing out the candles on her Princess cake|
|C1's Ladybird cake (3rd Birthday)|
|C2 with his Choo-Choo Train cake|
|C1's Spring-theme cake (4th Birthday)|
The“family party” was a cacophonous celebration of cousins, candles, and of course, cake! Unlike nowadays when parties culminate with the cake-cutting, our parties kicked off with cutting the birthday cake to a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”. After that, the snacks were served: chips (crisps), and boiled gram (chickpeas), ribbon sandwiches and samoas all washed down with a glass of kala khatta Rasna (cola-flavoured cordial). Then, party games of Musical Chairs, Statues and Pass the Parcel (where only one winner got a prize) followed by some "doof-doof" disco dancing till we dropped. And the party was deemed a success!
How were birthdays celebrated when you were a child? Does any particular birthday stand out in your memory? Do you like to bake your cake and eat it too? Which kind of cake is your favourite?