Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chocolate cake: Genesis of a humble All fun baking/cooking club

All fun baking/cooking club

Genesis: Almost 6 or may be 10 weeks ago (my memory has reached the saturation few years ago and now the stuff is declining quite fast, please bear with me on that) we just thought of baking a cake together. We means I, J and two other friends of hers. Idea was to have fun, we have done that with J's another friend P in Scotland and we had lots of fun. We wanted to have fun here too. I had an additional intention of "if things come out well, then we can have something almost every saturday morning".

Reason: Although we tried our best to find an upcoming, different kind of school for 'J', but soon I figured out the school does not live upto its claims, or they just don't know how to create a total difference. A very good, impressive building they have, they do have good student to teacher ratio, they do have additional nanny's to look after kids when needed, like when teacher is not there in class and so on, they do have a library and book's are provided to the students to take home, they do have a computer room with few computers for teaching IT to kids, they do have good play ground and finally the principal of the school is approachable. 

Well, how can I be so demanding and still rant about my dissatisfaction about school.
Because they still believe in black board to notebook education system, models, discussion, inclusion of students in their education is still not there, it is like throw and catch mechanism, teachers throw the words or write it on the black board, students catch them or write them in their notebook, this is the most convincing and easy method for teachers, students and parents who can see increasing evidences of their children print or cursive handwriting everyday in their notebook.

Children learn to read and write, calculate and memorise, draw and sing but they don't learn group work, team spirit, collaborations, problem solving skills, planning,  innovations and most importantly to ask questions and then think, find or create the answers. They don't learn to walk alone in the path of knowledge, they learn to follow and obey and not take decisions, they learn to criticise others but not the openness of accepting others as they are. And above all, Indian education system is still about getting good marks and is so bad to prepare an individual to handle  failure in lives.
Believe me half of the adulthood problems can be solved if these things are taught, handled, discussed, from childhood.

Specific reasons:  'J's school supports vegetarian lunch box rule and 'J' was bit confused (being coming from another country were there no such rules are imposed) and started bringing language like, "yikees that's fish, I don't like that!"

We are non vegetarians, and  still had our inhibitions for pork and beef because of the way we were raised an the Indian society we lived. Upon going out of India I learned to be more open and less judgemental to people's eating habits. It was a great revelation to understand that there can be differences in us and still we can be good friends. I want to pass that revelation to 'J' and not let her waste years to discover the wheel again.
So I wanted to have a chance and space we can discuss food in broader sense.

Cooking is a life skill I think, and as a mother the best I can prepare my child to be able to prepare her own meal and take interest in the ingredients that goes into that meal.

I was looking forward to mix up with other kids and have fun with them. Kids have extreme positive energy and I adore that. We the adults  while intrigued with minute details and demands of each and everything of life, their innocent smiles and exclamations  with genuine shine in eyes can be so relaxing.

First cake we baked:
Here is the recipe of the simple chocolate cake we baked on first day, lodged with lots of fun together;


White or white and whole wheat (mixed) Flour: 1 cup
Sugar : 1/2 cup
Eggs: 3-4 (depending on number of kids so that each of them can get chance to break one egg)
Baking powder : 2 teaspoon
Salt: a pinch
Butter: 1/4th cup
Milk: to make the batter thinner
Chocolate powder: 3-4 table spoons

Pour the flour, sugar, eggs, butter and salt in one mixing bowl. 
Each kid can take turn in that.
Stir the mixture properly.
Each kid can stir 5-6 times.
You can tell them the concept of folding and they might say it is like making bunny ears!
Finally add baking powder and chocolate powder.
Set the oven to 160 degree celsius and preheat for 5 minutes
Ask the kids to glaze the cake tin.
Pour the cake mix into the tin.
Put it into the oven and bake it for 25-30 minute.

Litmus test: a) the cake rises, b) you can poke a tooth pick or fork after baking and no sticky cake mix should be seen.

Bring the cake out. give 5-10 minutes to cool, cut the pieces and enjoy with the giggles of cake-hungry kids.

Note: When the cake was baking we talked about funny incidents on breaking eggs and they read some books together, I told them, how my mother used to make cake on gas using a pot which was kept on a sand stand.

We are baking happily ever after with more members joining in and with lots of support from other mothers.
Keep waiting for more news from our baking club in the coming pages. 


  1. Chandrima,
    I have the sand bath and perhaps we can use that once. A brief background, my mother bought it to bake a cake for me because I stood firt in class in my first grade. I cherish the memory of that and as no one else in my family are as attached to it, I brought it with me. What do you say?
    Nice pictures by the way. I think once the girls grow up you and S should give classes in photography.

  2. Hey Chandrima,

    I was directed to your post by my 'better' half. I can resonate with what you have to say about the school and the learning process.

    The cooking sessions have had a tremondous impact on A. Keep up the good work!!


  3. Thank you guys! BN you are great! of course we can try that sand bath baking oven once. My mother also had one but in her different lives of relocation that oven first broke and then disappeared, and interestingly after that my mother never bought electric oven after that so cake baking at home could not be experienced by my sister and brother!
    Venkat I don't know if you have noticed news papers are writing a lot about education system of India now a days. So may be our kids will get some benefit from that in coming years!

  4. just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

    Electric Baking Ovens

  5. Organizing a bake club, what a wonderful idea. What else did the girls bake ?
    Good that you said about the Indian education system. Here it is a common practice among the desi's to diss the Western education system as compared to India's. I had really thought that Indian education system had far progressed from our times, looks not much.

    BTW you can read this Mommy blog from B'lore She might have ideas about schools that you have in mind for J

  6. Yes, Bong mom this baking club is going very nicely. Girls and there parents are showing great interest and I am enjoying too. They have baked marble muffin inspired by your marble pound cake recipe, souffle, alu ka parantha and pizza so far.
    Yes, I am sure there are many parents in India who like the Indian education system and there are many parents in USA/Europe who don't like the education system there. This like and dislike is very much dependent on mental set up of the parents. I particularly like learning through exploring and would love to pass that to J too! Thank you for the blog link. But I am not based at B'lore.