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The Waldorf Astoria is credited with inventing the red velvet cake, or rather claims to do so. In 1943, a cookbook by the name "Joy of Cooking" came up with the recipe for a re velvet cake. Other sources point to the Victorian era for the origins of this delicious dessert. Despite all the claims, the red velvet cake has become a luxurious preference all over the world.
The velvety texture of this cake comes from the interaction of cocoa powder with the coarse flour, which allows the crumb to become soft and refined. Modern recipes call for a combination of acid and cocoa, to allow to cocoa to bloom, and this makes the velvety texture lighter to taste.
Chef mixing cocoa powder in the cake batter. Image source: Photo by Sorin Georghita on Unsplashunsplash
The other origins of the red velvet cake point towards the second world war. Since food was rationed out, luxuries like cocoa powder were not available easily. So, women took to using beetroot juice to get a deep red color in their cake crumb. The use of vinegar contributed to the acidity and buttermilk was added to contain the density. The cocoa content was minimal. That is another reason why the cake has a unique shade of red to it.
Red velvet cake is also considered to be a successor of Devil's food cake, which is an extremely rich cocoa based dessert. It is made from Dutch-processed cocoa, which is darker than regular cocoa but less bitter. This almost black cake is a delight to chocolate lovers because of its smooth texture.
Ermine frosting is made from cooking milk and flour with sugar. Image source: Photo by Owen Bruce on Unsplashunsplash
The most popular frosting options for red velvet cakes are cream cheese and ermine frosting. Ermine frosting involves flour and sugar cooked with milk till it reaches a certain consistency. Cream cheese frosting is cream cheese mixed with sugar and a pinch of lemon to reduce the rancid taste of the cheese. Red velvet cake with either of these white frosting options is most popular during Valentine's day when it is regarded as a romantic staple for couples in love.
Keywords: Red Velvet, Cake, Baking, Frosting, Origins
To survive the Covid-19 pandemic, families the world over are trying to strike balance between daily routines and other more emotionally-laden and inspirational activities that go well beyond their daily schedules in order to counter massive disruption to their everyday life, say researchers.
For many families, life has become more precarious, anxious and accelerated.
“Rather than a combination of strategic activities and well-planned decisions, we found that when normality is disrupted abruptly, family care looks more like an intricate improvised ‘dance’,” said Dr Pilar Rojas Gaviria, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
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Although there has been a lot of talk about how COVID-19 has “slowed down” family life, the study in the Journal of Marketing Management by researchers at the University of Birmingham, University of Melbourne and Adolfo Ibanez University in Chile argue that this is not the case for every family.
The teams found that when facing unplanned disruptions to family life, such as Covid-19, while some families may enjoy more free time because they are not commuting, others face unprecedented situations, such as disrupted careers, caring for others and suffering from the loss of income.
“We should avoid assumptions about families being affected in the same way. Many families are struggling with mental health while others are coping well. Many have lost friends or family members, others have not,” said Gaviria.
Particularly, families who already deal with more intensive care needs – such as those who have a family member with a chronic health condition – must ‘dance’ their way through unplanned disruptions such as the Covid-19 crisis.
In their study of families living with diabetic children, they discovered how, in the midst of chaos, each family finds its own style to ‘dance’ through their life constraints by alternating ‘grounding’ and ‘aerial’ activities.
The authors also found that that this process often occurs instinctively and invisibly, and is usually lead by one family member who “orchestrates” resources and talents at hand to help their family develop its ‘dance’.
“In keeping that ‘dance’ going, it is essential for the family to balance ‘grounding movements’ with ‘aerial movements’ that soothe, inspire and motivate family members,” explained Gaviria.
For instance, both ‘grounding’ activities – such as knitting, gardening and baking – combined with ‘aerial’ activities – like becoming a helping hand in the community, supporting local shops, fisheries and farms worked well to comfort families.
The aim, said Gaviria, should be helping families gather resources for movement (energy, time, focus, hope in the future) instead of telling them how to move by setting very strict rules that not everyone is able to follow.
“The organisations should aim to better understand the needs of individual employees and their families and think about how they can support them by acknowledging that these needs are different and that they evolve through time,” the authors wrote. (IANS)
Now that most of us have adjusted to the new normal of being confined in our homes and working remotely, one area that has kept creativity alive and brings cheer to otherwise monotonous days is cooking.
Some people have surprised us with their culinary skills, with delectable pictures being posted on their social media profiles. What has stood out during these quarantine times is baking, with banana bread being the latest internet trend.
According to Google Trends, internet searches like ‘How to bake bread at home’ and ‘Banana bread’ have seen over 100 percent spikes in the country, during the lockdown period.
Baking is a deeply engaging activity where all members of the family can pitch in right from measuring the flour to popping the batter in the oven. This World Baking Day, engage both the eldest and the youngest members of your family in the process and have some fun.
To create delicious baked goods we spoke to experts at Flipkart to suggest baking essentials that go a long way in the kitchen:
Convection ovens, microwaves and more
While baking is easier with an OTG oven, there are other simple substitutes that can be used if you do not have an OTG handy. Microwaves and Gas Tandoors are perfect substitutes for a convection oven. If you own a Gas Tandoor, you can bake anything under the sun from pizzas to cakes. Gas Tandoors are the easiest and the lowest maintenance equipment for baking. Additionally, Microwaves can also be used for. However, the ingredients and process might alter slightly.
Blending wet and dry elements
Immersion hand blenders are key to combine the dry and wet ingredients into a smooth creamy texture. Hand blenders allow the batter to mix together in a uniform consistency without any lumps or air bubble that might hinder that perfect end result.
Processing for uniform texture
Food processors are a blessing, especially when you are rolling a dough. While hand blenders are suited for cakes, food processors are suited for breads, biscuits and scones or even fluffy pancakes. There are many varieties of food processors in the market depending on their auxiliary attachments and functions.
Miscellaneous baking paraphernalia
Baking is enjoyable when you absorb all the elements in it – right from choosing the correct apron fabric to choosing the right mixing bowls. The science behind choosing the right bowl is that copper and glass binds the egg and gives a creamy texture without making it grainy. Besides the electronic equipment, there are various tools that one might need for baking. From basic tools like measuring cups, spatulas and mixing bowls to aprons that protect you from getting drenched in flour, these items are essential for making the baking process smooth, streamlined and efficient.
The extra oomph
Icing on the cake adds to the extra oomph, makes it goey and presentable. If you’re baking a cake, decorative ingredients such as sprinkles, cherries and fruit can be added to add to the flavour and increase the beauty quotient. For savoury items such as pizzas and pastas, mozarella cheese is the way to go. You can be creative with your decorations depending on what you are baking.
For the perfect icing on the cake
With summers in full swing, it is imperative to store the baked products properly. You must store cakes and icing separately to ensure the end product doesn’t get soggy. Also, make sure the unfrosted cakes and items like pizza dough are stored in a plastic wrap or airtight containers. This adds to the shelf life and keeps the structure of ingredients intact. (IANS)
This is the season when everyone is looking forward to some plum pudding, Christmas cake and mulled wine. If you want to be everyone’s favorite this year, you can spread the love with some self baked goodies. Sous Chef Vijesh Modi from The Deltin, Daman shares the secret recipe to a perfect Panettone.
4 Tbsp Warm Milk
14 G Yeast
100g Caster Sugar
250g Butter, Softened
5 Medium Eggs, Lightly Beaten
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
Grated Zest of 1 Orange
500g Strong White Bread Flour,
Plus Extra for Dusting
3 Tbsp Dark Rum
100g Good-Quality Candied Lemon And Orange Peel, Finely Chopped
For The Topping
30g Whole Blanched Almonds, Roughly Chopped
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
1 Tbsp Egg White
1 Tbsp Icing Sugar
Grease a panettone tin (see Tip) or a 20cm deep cake tin, or use a panettone case. Place the warm milk in a bowl and add the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar and leave for a few minutes. Put the remaining sugar in a large bowl and beat together with the butter and vanilla extract until really light, creamy and pale. Stir in the lemon and orange zest. Add the eggs a little at a time until all are well incorporated. Spoon in a tablespoon of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle and beat this in with the eggs. Place the flour in a large bowl and mix with a good pinch of salt and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture then the butter and egg mixture, folding in with a large spoon to make soft dough. Knead for 5 mins in the bowl until it all starts to come together. It will be pretty sticky dough at this stage.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a further 10 mins, until everything has come together and you have a very soft and stretchy dough. Add a light sprinkling of flour to the surface and your hands as you go to stop the mixture sticking, but try not to add too much. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place for 2 hrs until doubled in size. Place the raisins and sultanas in a small saucepan with the rum and heat gently for 5 – 7 mins until the fruit has absorbed the liquid and is plump and juicy. Set aside to cool.
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When the dough is raised, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another 5 mins. Gradually knead in the soaked raisins, sultanas and chopped candied peel. Shape the dough into a ball and pop into the prepared tin. If using a 20cm cake tin, wrap a layer of baking parchment around the outside of the tin, to come up about 5cm above the rim, and secure the paper with string. This will help contain the dough as it rises. Cover lightly with cling film and leave to rise for another hour until it has risen to the top of the tin or paper.
Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Adjust the oven shelf to the right height. Mix together the almonds, caster sugar and egg white for the topping and gently brush over the top of the panettone. Place in the oven and bake for 40 – 50 mins until golden and risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before dusting lightly with icing sugar and cutting into wedges to serve. (IANS)