As I write this, I’m still getting used to the silence at home. Silence from the absence of the pitter patter of little feet moving about everywhere, the chitter chatter coming from the little mouth which is the best music I have ever heard and the clitter clatter of toys and musical instruments in the play room.
It’s been nearly seven months since Hari started playschool and put his tiny footsteps into the real world, a world outside his cocooned home. It was also my first step in learning to let go and allow my baby to thrive and develop his own identity and individuality and realize that as much as it is important to protect and envelop your child it is equally important to empower him with independence, little by little, step by step.
While I’m still getting used to letting a piece of my heart going away from me, the realization of fleeting time dawns and it’s Hari’s 3rd birthday already! I woke up a little before dawn on the 10th of March 2012, shut myself in my study and indulged in deep contemplation about my life with our most precious being that I had brought into this world. He had grown into a little boy from the infant I had nurtured in my womb. He was slowly coming into his own and his intense curiosity about everything around him, deep love and affection for everyone around, joyous nature and playful spirit that lit our lives each day! Nevermind the fussy eater and light sleeper that he is and the toll it takes on me! That should be saved for another day altogether! And it was as if time flew past and I remembered my paternal uncle’s words when he saw my two month old in his cradle and said “before you know it he will be off to school”! How true!
I was shaken by this reverie when I looked at my watch and calculated the time left for the birthday party to begin. Both the sets of grandparents had arrived! The uncle and aunt and all his friends with their parents were slated to arrive in a few hours! The cakes I had baked and iced were resting in the refrigerator. The decorations and other tiny preparations were yet to be done and with all this in mind, I set to get ready with much excitement, preparing myself for the day ahead!
When I started to plan for Hari’s party, I was stumped for the lack of an idea for the theme! Hari (as of now) has no favourite cartoon character as he hardly watches television. I thought about him dancing and singing! This boy loves to sing and dance and can live on music! Then the idea struck! Hari’s Music And Dance Birthday Party!
The birthday party had a lot of music and dance, games centred around Hari’s favourite rhymes, ceiling danglers made of musical notes and the number three, coloured baloons and ofcourse food!
Last year, I got away with making a simple yet one of the most delicious cake I have ever made. This year as I become more aware of my son’s distinctive tastes, I’m better equipped to cater to his needs. One constant amidst his ever changing tastes is chocolate! More specifically dark chocolate! This boy savours the darkest chocolate with the same enthusiasm that one would eat a milk chocolate! When, I asked him what cake he wanted, I already knew the answer! Chocolate cake!
Being a mother changes so many aspects of your life and at times even points of view. For the first time ever, I iced my cakes with food colours. How could I refuse my little angel with the most adorable curls and sparkling eyes asking me specifically to make him a drum cake and a cake with pink roses! He eats healthy most days of the week or I could say most days of the year with absolutely no junk thrown in and fresh meals made with organic wholesome ingredients. I thought to myself that maybe once a year, I could relax my rules a bit and bring in some fun elements.
The result was three cakes to feed 80 to 90 people, a chocolate cake made with cream and caramel icing and decorated with musical notes in keeping with the theme of the party, a drum cake in keeping with the theme and the return gifts which were a set of drums and a cake with pink roses and the number three in keeping with my little darling’s request and to signify his age!
My baking expeditions did not end with the party. I had to make cupcakes to take to school and I happened to make 72 of them, 46 for the school and the rest for home! I used my never-fail, best ever chocolate cupcake recipe and iced them with basic buttercream studded with a gem each, adored by children and adults alike!
Eggless Chocolate Birthday Party Cake Recipe
I doubled this recipe and made one 11” square cake and two 9” round cakes. I have used cream icing but you could use a butter cream icing as well and use your imagination and creativity to decorate the cakes.
400 gm (2 3/4 cups) plain flour (maida)
60 gm (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
60 gm (1/2 cup) castor sugar
800 gm (2 cans) sweetened condensed milk
500 ml (2 cups) milk
200 gm (1 cup) butter, melted
3 tsp vanilla extract
Grease and line a 11” square, 12” round or two 9” round cake tins with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl put in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and mix with a whisk or a beater.
In another bowl put in the condensed milk, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade/300F.
Mix in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat with a hand blender until well combined.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour, until s skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Sugar Syrup To Wet The Cake
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) water
1/4 cup sugar
In a saucepan mix the sugar into the water and cook on medium flame until the syrup comes to a boil.
Allow to cool completely.
The Whipped Cream
500 gm (2 cups) cream (ready to whip rich soy cream or heavy whipping cream)*
6 tbsp icing or confectioners sugar (only if using unsweetened whipping cream)
In a chilled bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Mix in colours (preferably natural) if required.
Assemble the cake:
Once the cake is done, cool on a cake rack. Place the cake on a cake board or a serving plate. Pour the sugar syrup carefully over the cake to moisten and wet the cake.
Spread the cream evenly over the cake. Pipe the remaining cream with decorative icing. Cool in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
* Since I don’t have access to good quality whipping cream, I used Rich cream as I was baking for a large crowd and couldnt afford to take risks with icing accidents. I normally use buttercream or fresh cream whipped this way for icing my cakes.