Talking about her book How to
be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking
Nigella Lawson had once remarked that ‘Baking is the less applauded of the
cooking arts’. Traditionally, baking has been seen as a housewifely activity,
and in the male-dominated industry of professional cooking, it has often been relegated
to the back-burner. However, I have always felt that baking gives the most
sense of satisfaction. There’s something about the feeling when you see your
cake rising in the oven, or when it turns out perfectly, without sticking to
the cake tin… Try it and tell me if you disagree!

There is a certain amount of
science behind baking, so stick to the recipe you are following. Any sort of
baking requires ingredients taken in exact measurements. Some recipes ask you
to blend an egg at a time in the cake mixture; while others may ask that you
whisk the eggs first and then add to the batter. This affects the way the cake
turns out, so go as per the recipe on hand. Remember that baking powder starts
acting as soon as it comes in contact with the wet mixture. So the time between
mixing the cake batter and putting it into the oven should be minimal, else the
cake won’t rise as much.
And finally, sometimes despite
your best efforts your cake may not turn out perfectly. But let that not put
you off baking forever! Honestly, there is no greater joy… Having said all
that, here’s a recipe for a basic Vanilla
This recipe serves 12 people
(depending on portion sizes)!
You’ll need:
  • 3 Eggs
  • 200g all-purpose Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g softened Butter (I use salted butter. If you’re using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the dry mix)
  • 10g Baking powder
  • 5ml Vanilla essence or 1Vanilla bean, scraped

How to:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease
    an 18cm cake tin and sprinkle some flour in it.
  • Sift together the flour and baking
    powder; set aside.
  • Beat the butter; add sugar and
    beat well together.
  • Whisk the eggs separately and then
    add to the sugar and butter mixture. Add vanilla essence.
  • Add half of the dry mixture into
    the wet mix and using the cut and fold method, blend well using a wooden
    spatula. Add the remaining dry mix and blend well. There should be no lumps.
  • Transfer the batter to the cake
    tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remember that ovens are a bit temperamental, so
    you’ll need to keep a watch! The cake is done when a knife inserted in the
    centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to
    cool on a wire rack.
  • Turn it out onto a serving plate
    or a cake stand. Slice and serve – plain, or with some cream or chocolate sauce
    (or both)!



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