Having an oven has been one of my great desires. Whenever I saw those lovely cake books promising excellent results with colour pictures, I felt that nothing could go wrong.
I imagined creating delicious black - forest, butterfly cup and marble cakes with beautiful iceing and a Christmas cake with its distinctive rummy flavour.
Finally we bought the oven. The minute it entered my kitchen, I was itching to turn all my imagination into reality. The inaugural honours went to a batch of chocolate brownies which came out perfect.
From that time, there was no stopping me. I tried the Chrismas cake and it turned out just the way it should. But soon I found that some of my cakes were not really coming out so well despite my strict adherence to the recipes.
My family were quite 'fed' up of my cakes and started politely advising me to accept defeat. It did not work. They tried enlightening me about the cost and energy spent in baking at home, they felt it was time I realised that it was not worth the initial trouble and later disappointment. This too had no effect upon me. Soon they made faces and began to find excuses for not wanting to taste my cakes.
This is a no bake cheese cake( now a days I am not so bad in baking cakes)
It really hurt and I felt there was a bias just because my cakes were homemade and unprofessional. I stopped requesting them to try the cakes. Instead I ate whatever I baked. I put on a lot of weight, but I also put on a brave front, although I was terribly frustrated (on both ways of course). Then, one day, I decided to try my hand at baking for just one last time. If it failed I would never try again.
I could not take my eyes off the picture of a cake called "quick- mix chocolate and walnut cake". It was a simple recipe and I found my hopes soaring high as usual.
I didn't have some of the ingredients mentioned but I was determined and walked to the neighbourhood shop. The shelled walnuts were not available so I bought un-shelled walnuts. It took me almost an hour to shell them and chop them into fine pieces.
I cursed myself for my obstinate nature, not realizing how non- productive this whole exercise might turn out to be. The picture of my husband and children sent shivers down my spine. I pushed all these negative thoughts aside and super imposed rosy pictures of my beautifully turned - out- cake.
Luckily my husband was late for lunch. I thanked God for small mercies and pushed the cake mixture into the oven. I waited with bated breath and prayed to all the known and unknown gods .
When I took the cake out I was shocked to see it resemble a quick - mix - leather cake rather than quick -mix - chocolate walnut cake. With no clear plan in my mind, I embarked on my "operation camouflage".
I fed the leathery cake into my mixer to get a powdery mass. I then made some sugar syrup and mixed the powder into it and kept stirring till it left the sides of the pan. All the while I was trying desperately to control my tears. I poured the mixture into a greased flat tin and cut it into pieces after it had cooled.
The children returned from school sniffing gingerly the aroma of chocolate still hanging in the air. They assumed the 'usual', but when I showed them the walnut fudge, it disappeared in no time.
They said that if I sent the recipe to a magazine, I would surely win the first prize. They advised me to give up my obsession for baking cakes and 'stick' to making fudges.
Should I mention in my recipe for chocolate fudge with walnuts that one must first fail to make it as a cake for the best results ?
(One of my Middles written and published years ago).