My Lockdown Battenburg cake
Mousumi Biswas

MY LOCKDOWN BATTENBURG CAKE

My entry for the contest  

Category _ A real Incident 

Title _ MY LOCKDOWN BATTENBURG CAKE


   It all began while I was waiting for my turn in the waiting room at the doctor's  clinic few months before the lockdown . I was flipping aimlessly through the pages of a glossy magazine. Suddenly,I chanced upon a picture of a sumptuous cake . It looked very much different from any other cakes I had seen . It had alternate pink and white squares with a tempting cream and strawberry topping . The recipe too was given on the page . I began to read the recipe . 


        Quickly, I took out my phone from my purse and giving a quick clandestine look across the the waiting room to see if anyone was looking or not , I clicked a picture of the page to read the recipe later. Keeping the phone back , I went  to my reading , ignoring the sly smile of the old man sitting opposite me.  


The cake had struck a note somewhere.


   The corona virus had struck the world with a vengeance. Everything had come to a standstill . One day , while cleaning up the clutter  in my phone ,I found, the picture stared back at me . 


      I went through the recipe and the picture I had clicked.  The history of the cake seemed to be so interesting that I got more and more curious to dig in . It was a cake originally made to honour the royal wedding of prince and princess of Battenburg . 


  " To commemorate this , I will make it as my anniversary cake this year , I thought ." 


    The chef in the video moved her hands deftly . Not a drop of sweat trickled down her neatly trimmed brows  . Her designer dress had no crease at all . Her glossy hair was tied up in a neat ponytail . Not a lock of hair was out of place . The pots and pans in the kitchen , were neatly arranged . The colourful modular kitchen seemed to be the coolest and happiest place for her in the whole world . 


    It was a tutorial on battenburg cake or chessboard cake as she said it was also called . I didn't know whether to look at her antics and enjoy her facial expressions or to concentrate on the method to make the cake . 


    Rolling her eyes and clicking her fingers , she explained the procedure in detail . I was awed by her voice modulation and facial expressions which changed like a chameleon . The smile on her face and twinkle in her eyes kept never seemed to leave her once . 


   Her multi tasking abilities were spell bounding .  My jaws almost dropped to the ground seeing the agility with which she cracked the eggs, whipped up the ingredients and mixed the batter , chopped and cut the nuts and did the icing on the cake . My heart almost skipped a beat when she held up a bowl of stiffly beaten egg whites over her head . I almost cut my finger chopping the nuts like the lady in the video . 


   I had a tough time keeping my focus on antics in the tutorial . I had to rewind again and again to check out on the missing steps . It was too testing . My patience was giving way . At one point of time,I even thought of giving up . But as they say ," Failing is not the worst thing in the world . Quitting is . " 


    Now coming to the recipe, I had wanted to bake this cake for a long time, ever since I had first seen it at the doctor's clinic. The two flavoured cake incorporated into one into a chessboard design intrigued me . Being fond of baking , I was adamant  to try it . 


      Eager to impress my family with my baking skills , I embarked upon the cake making mission with a vengeance. As I didn't have all the ingredients required for the recipe , as shown in the video, it being the lockdown time , I decided to give my own tweaks and twists to it . 


     The ingredients for the vanilla and the chocolate cakes were measured out and mixed . In an enthusiasm to emulate and match the hostess's agility , I almost forgot the leavening agent , only to remember well in time and evade a major catastrophe . The house was filled with the aroma of the freshly baked goodies .  " My gosh! What do I do with all these cut trimmings of the cake ?" My head rattled seeing the yellow and brown cut pieces . 


   The video hostess had not mentioned anything about that . May be she had no issues with food wastage . But I couldn't let them go in the thrash . 


   Like a diligent student, following the teacher, the cakes were cut and glued together with jam , and made into a single cake . Then it was frosted and decorated with the crumbled up trimmings , not to let anything go waste. 


    At last after a long and tiring tryast with the ingredients,  pots and pans, my maiden Battenburg cake  was finally made .


 Now it was time for the beauty to be decorated , frosted ,plated and enjoyed.


  A photo shoot session followed . Till then no one could touch the cake . It was shot in proper light and from various angles to get the  checker board effect right .  


     The pictures were shared virtually among friends in the social media . My heart swelled up with pride at the positive comments and thumbs ups emojis pouring in. 


    The yellow and brown checker board design unfolded when the cake was finally sliced and served . 


    Though a bit disappointed that it didn't match the finesse of the cake in the tutorial and didn't look as perfect as the one shown in the video , I was happy that atleast I had tried made a fairly good job of it . 


   Wow ! You have done a fantastic job , " said my husband admiring my creativity and endeavour . 


Feeling encouraged , I proudly gave a pat on my own back for my efforts  . 


   


  I really appreciate the  hostess for looking so fresh even at the end of the video . Her lips retained the gloss even after talking nineteenth to the dozen .  


   


    By the time I had finished making my lockdown cake , I was all flustered and drenched in sweat . After cleaning up,I just wanted to rush to have a cool shower .But the satisfaction after enjoying the piece of art was like 


      A Battle well  fought


      And a victory well deserved

MOUSUMI BISWAS

DELHI

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