The Sweet Tooth

“Everything is a little better with some red velvet cake.” ~ Me

   For a moment, imagine that delectable taste of sweetness. Envision taking that spoon of the chocolate trifle, and the cool combination of the delectable cake and cream is wholesome to your taste buds. If you disagree with me I’ll just have to make you a chocolate trifle and get you agree. Unless you don’t have a sweet tooth – in which case, what are you even doing here?

   Ah wait, don’t go just yet, maybe I can tempt you with a couple enticing photographs and sweet talk about desserts? I promise you won’t leave this craving something sweet. Yes I know sugar is fattening, and too much of it poses quite severe health risks – I’ve heard debates on it and even did some research on it. I don’t want to delve into the science behind that though, let’s keep this a light topic for now, what do you think? 🙂 Surely on your cheat day you can take a sweet? (For the fitness junkies out there) 😉

   For those of you who know me quite well, you’ll know that not only I am the eager experimental baker, but I also happen to have a fairly sweet tooth. Given my Indian background and my being a Third-Culture Kid therefore, it means I’ve been exposed to two kinds of sweets – the all-known Indian mouth-watering sweets, and your truly Western scrumptious delights.

   I can list all the desserts I tend to adore and the list would be fairly long, believe me. Beyond that though, there’s my fondness for baking, particularly desserts – cakes, cookies, puddings, a fairly long list that’s expanding each year. In fact I’ve been baking for about as long as I can remember. When I was younger, my Mum used to teach me how to bake several dishes, mostly cakes during the ages of 11-12, and it was such a pass-time for me! I remember also the love of making the actual cake batter, and my friends and I would lick the bowl clean- suffice to say, we’re all still sane 🙂 Nostalgia hits me with the one I most commonly used to make; this recipe that Mum and I had found called ‘The Best Ever Chocolate Cake’ – and I was so sure that it was, with this very moist and aptly sweet flavour it had. Needless to say in the past 10 years my experimentations have gone beyond that recipe, yet it remains in the old diary back in Malawi wherein we’ve kept the ingredient listing, for sentimentality’s purpose.

   Interestingly enough, the true fondness of baking didn’t arrive until several years ago. Sure, I made the occasional cake every now and then, but it was in Dubai on a small family gathering, in which I wanted to explore with ingredients because I happened to have the time. In fact, I just so happened to make a strawberry trifle which luckily enough – given I was experimenting for the first time – turned out to be a big hit. And thus my baking-self hasn’t looked back.

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   It may sound cliché but baking is like meditation for me. Blending unique ingredients together to provide a delicious dish that will be the perfect end to a perfect meal, whether its a pudding, red velvet cake, or chocolate chip cookies even. I enjoy cooking a fair amount, but cooking and experimenting with lunch/dinner meals for yourself tends to get a bit boring. But baking? Its another form of art I cherish close to my heart.

   Don’t misunderstand me for gloating; I genuinely know I have a long way to go before I become anything near an advanced baker – I’ve had my fair share of failures in the oven; laughable situations of sinking and uncooked experiments. I would still consider myself between the beginner and intermediate level – especially considering I have a long way to go in acquiring the skills of decoration (I’ve been experimenting with jam jars and wine glasses so far). All I’m saying is that the journey in the kitchen has been truly gratifying, and I believe it will continue to be so. Currently my most popular and favourite item to bake is the red velvet cake, which admittedly, I did have a temptation to learn and master after watching the famous movie Premam. Those who have seen it will understand why. 🙂 Each time I saw that movie I had a craving to have a slice of red velvet cake – was that just me?

   But my sweet tooth goes beyond just baking; I have a love for desserts and can’t help but desire to have a taste when given the opportunity. Yes, I’m well aware that 2-3 sweets per day is unhealthy; but I’m not that bad don’t worry. In fact my Mum tells me often enough at this age I’m allowed to indulge more often than I do, but I’ve come to discover I enjoy it more 1: on holiday, and 2: when Mum makes me her oh-so delectable ‘gulab jamun’, which truly is irresistible believe me, and 3: when its not so often because then it truly is a treat. Amongst the Indian options, I have a ceaseless love for palada payasam, gulab jamun, carrot halwa, and of course, rasgulla – that’s a given. And the Western treats? Cheesecakes, trifles, sundaes – have to learn to make more of these! Ah, I’ve got a long way to go. Especially I think with gluten and vegan options. My best friend is gluten-intolerant, and I remember from back in Malawi when I used to want to bake for her it was a fair challenge. But what’s life without a bit of challenge? I think nowadays we’re fortunate – or maybe because I’m outside of Malawi – there are ingredients which make it very flexible to bake for individuals who have these intolerances.

   As you can see though, I’ve clearly got a sweet tooth and a love for baking. How about you? What’s your favourite dessert and do you indulge often enough? If not, go grab yourself a slice of red velvet cake, because truly my dear friend, everything does get a little better with some red velvet cake. 🙂 If you haven’t already, do check out my last blog post and let me know your thoughts.

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