Fallen Chococolate Cake, A Sick Baby, And Solace in Baking

Last week, Jahan came down with a terrible cold. She had a high fever, which probably persisted for a day longer than it should have because I was fretting as mothers are wont to do. On Monday afternoon, haggard after taking care of a sick baby, carting her to the pediatrician's office, pleading with her to eat something, anything, even fries, for god's sake, I heaved a sigh of relief when Rebecca came over. With Jahan fitfully napping, I began to bake Fallen Chocolate Cake featured in Bon Appetit. Slowly, as the day wore on and the cake took shape, I began to feel better. The sense of being overwhelmed began to recede. "Babies gets sick all the time, right? She's just fine. It's just a fever. We're fine," I kept saying to myself (and to Rebecca, who good-naturedly agreed with my ramblings, validating and encouraging me by turns).

This new-found passion for baking came on rather strongly, I must admit. One day, I baked banana bread and blogged about it, and almost immediately afterwards, I was drawn to baking, which I previously detested. Part of the reason may be that I have found I am not dreadful at it, which is to say I am a better baker than I had previously anticipated. The other, and I suspect the more pertinent reason may be that I have discovered baking to be a stress-reliever for me, much like cooking (and writing). It is the distraction it provides from the rest of the day, from the daily pressures of being...well, me...paired with the tangible results I see in the form of a rising cake, thickening heavy cream, the happy faces of the people I love when they taste it, which makes it so rewarding. It allows me to forget about everything else and devote my attention completely to a piece of paper with just a few different ingredients whose chemistry upon combining together creates delicious results. And this is why I feel rested despite being on my feet stirring, chopping, frosting, et cetera, while cooking and baking.

The cake turned out great - you all must try it. It is rich and smooth and creamy. The chocolate melts in your mouth. The whipped cream frosting is a wonderful accompaniment to the richness of the chocolate. And it's beautiful to look at. 

Before I could serve dessert, however, there was that little matter of cooking dinner.  So I cheated and served something that required minimal preparation - shami kebabs with roti (ah, the hardy roti - it requires a post of its own) and a cucumber and red onion salad. Jahan woke up, ate a little, and even had some dessert. We were fine. Just fine.    

Photos by Rebecca McCue