Friday, June 26, 2009

Cappuccino Cake, by an aunt in the making...

Indians have this obsessive compulsive urge to be related to everyone they see. From childhood we're encouraged to call everyone, and I mean complete strangers, as 'mom' or 'big brother' or 'big sister' or 'aunt' or 'uncle' or something appropriate based on their age and sex. The mailman, the greengrocer, the brother's friend, his mom, the neighbors, random person on the street, everyone- we're all just one big happy family, apparently.

This is not something we even think about; its second nature. But there are moments when it hits a person. Take me for example.

For years as I grew up, all these moms would bring their younger kids up to me and introduce me as the kid's big sister. These kids, being Indian, would of course, solemnly accept this new relationship and things sound all cute and rosy up to now, don't they? Then it happens. One day, some blind b...I mean, some nice lady will drag her kid over and say "Say HI to Aunty!"

I mean, what?

All I want to do at that point is say "Listen, you little punk. You call me aunty and you wont live to grow up." But no, I have to smile a sickly sweet 'aunty' smile and 'feel the love.'

So, that's where I stand on that....until now. Now I'm going to be a real aunt. I tried to pull one over my sister-in-law M by telling her that a paltry two or three or twenty six year old gap need not be unnecessarily solemnized with fancy titles and such- just introduce me as an overgrown playmate. But she's not buying it. As soon as that baby arrives, they're going to hypnotize it into calling me 'aunt'.....

...and well....I think I'm gonna kinda like that, you know. Heh heh. I made this Cappuccino cake and frosted it with Deeba's curd cheese frosting. I don't drink coffee; I have it rarely when I want something to soothe a headache, but I do love the smell and flavor in baked goods. And I made it since everyone is coming over.....

....this weekend, we're having the 'Valagapu'- the traditional Hindu function that is carried out to bless a pregnant woman in her 7th or 9th month. A simple event- just some fancy clothes, elders blessing M, slipping bangles onto her hands, a feast with five types of flavored rice.....and we'll be hosting this.....gonna disappear for a while. Work, work, work!

Cappuccino Cake

2 cups flour
1.25 cups fine white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tablespoons, heaped, instant coffee powder
200g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 170 C.
Beat the sugar and butter in a bowl till pale. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside. Mix the coffee powder in the milk in a cup. Alternate between the flour mix and the milk+coffee and add to the batter, mixing just enough to incorporate it. Pour into a greased baking tin and bake for 50 to 55 mins. Allow to cool.

Frosting: (Deeba's with a few tweaks)

1/2 cup curd cheese (made from hanging yogurt for 24 hours)
1/4 cup cream
5 to 6 tablespoon white sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp butter

In a medium bowl, whip all the ingredients until smooth and spread onto the cake.


  1. Aw, I think the family thing is sweet :) I get more irked when the little ones don't have respect for me! Ha ha ha.

    Have fun on the Valagapu! I'm sure now they've seen this they wishes you could've brought it!

  2. The family thing IS sweet- its when you suddenly transition from 'big sister' to 'aunt' that you begin to question the wisdom of it ;)

    I didn't get that last part, Mark, but thanks! :) And I feel you on the sassy kids issue- once I was left agape when a kid who barely reached my knee looked up at me and said "What DO you know?"

  3. Congratulations on being a real aunt!!!
    I understand the obsession to be related to everyone, it's like people are not satisfied with having an already ridiculously large family, but they want to keep expanding it with strangers! hahahah where I'm from it's the same thing!

  4. Filipinos are the same ... everyone is Aunt or Uncle. We also have a filipino mocha cake, so I wonder if your cake is similar. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on the bakewell tart. I've enjoyed your blog and your writing style is fab.

  5. Thank you very much :) Glad to know we have so much in common!

  6. Mia,Congratulations on being a real aunt! Or should I say Finally! :) And the cake looks really delicious! :)