In a life full of uncertainty, with no idea of a future and regrets of the past, perhaps we find the smallest of comforts in food. In knowing that mixing the ingredients in the right proportion and letting it cook for the right time will give you exactly what you want – assurance.
It’s a feeling that beats the crap out of everything from leaky springform pans, to demanding bosses, from chequered relationships to uncertain futures. And even if it is only for a few hours, even if it is a sense of false belief, for that brief period, you are empowered – in control, in charge of creating something that will match your expectations.
Chefs – amateur, professional and otherwise – can fill libraries about kitchen disasters. It’s true that the kitchen is as big a landmine as possible. But there is also a comfort in thumbing through pages of a recipe book, knowing that there is no randomness to the dish you make. Cooking and baking are as much art as science and for those who sucked at art, there is comfort in the certainty of numbers, quantities and proportions. You can, at any rate be convinced, that there is no dice being thrown around in the kitchen.
Perhaps it is this certainty that draws human beings to food in the way that it does. There is the issue of nourishment and our super-developed brain that helps us vocalise and memorise what we see around us – sights, smells, tastes – along with the ability to replicate those memories. Perhaps that is why food is so integral to every rite of passage in the human life. Perhaps, that is why, in all the uncertainty of life, we can still find solace in knowing that if you mix eggs, sugar, flour and butter and leave it in a heated oven for a period of time, you will have soft spongy cake.
Lemon Drizzle Cake (adapted from the BBC Good Food )
225 gms butter (salted or unsalted)
225 gms + 85 gms castor sugar (Separated)
4 large eggs
225 gms self-raising flour
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and dust / line an 8-inch springform / regular cake pan
2. In a bowl, beat the butter, 225gms sugar and lemon zest till pale and creamy. It’s best to work with butter that is a little hard.
3. Add in the eggs one by one. Whisk each one till it is mixed properly before adding the next one.
4. Fold in the flour by the teaspoons, fully incorporating one batch before adding the next.
5. Pour the batter into the tin and smooth it with a spatula.
6. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven time), till a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean.
7. Leave the cake to cool on a plate. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice along with 85gms sugar. Once the cake is warm, make small perforations on the surface using a fork and pour the lemon juice-sugar mixture over it.