I am back in Mumbai to the chaos, colors and my comfort zone. Overall the last 5 weeks in Paris have been quite enriching. There were days in the beginning when I did feel lost and missed home, but then the city seeped into my subconsciousness and I enjoyed the days. Paris is enigmatic and callous at the same time. The entire city is like a museum and each street is filled with art galleries and boutique shops. But also with thieves and drunkards. With gourmet food and fashion icons, but also with ragged clothes and foul smelling subways. Paris receives about 27 million visitors per year but still is the 5th topmost place in the world for pickpockets.
But as I said, my time in Paris was wonderful. I was on guard at all times , but I came back without :
- Losing my passport, money and or anything valuable
- Breaking any beautiful art piece or glassware in my host Danielle’s beautiful home
- Gaining any weight after a month long buttery French Pastry course
- Taking any medicine of any sort (not even a headache, even once).
And meanwhile, I had some amazing times when I:
- Tasted almost 50 different types of French pastry from the chefs in school and also from Hermes, Laduree, Lenotre and some more.
- Made awesome friends from atleast 10 different countries
- Went first time to a kickass night club at the Champs Elysees (that was my first time in not only that club, but in ANY night club. Yeah.
- Tasted foie grass, grilled rabbit and Julia Child’s famous beef bourgnion in the school.
Eventually I realized that :
- Mona Lisa at the Louvre is not that great. And plus you can only look at the painting from a 15 feet distance . The idea of her painting in my head sounds more gorgeous than the actual painting.
- Eiffel tower on the other hand is so incredibly beautiful at night that I could stare at it for a long time, and look at it with longing for it to sparkle.
- The French folks are somewhat arrogant, and no one will talk to you before you say Bonjour. No matter if you said Hello/ Hi, or you are in a hurry; the world halts before you say Bonjour/ Bonsoir (that is good morning/ good evening)
- All pigeons in the world are just the same. Look at this otherwise dainty Paris street :
The school, Le Cordon Bleu Paris was pretty cool, although I have some complaints about the format. That will come up in the next post.
In school we once made a sponge cake with buttercream frosting and they showed us good techniques for doing the frosting. But surprisingly just three of us from the group of thirty had frosted a cake with buttercream before. And I had done it just the week before leaving, so it was easy for me during the practicals. We had to lift the cake in left hand and frost it with a spatula in the right hand, while rotating it around. We hoped that no one would have any accident while frosting, and thankfully no one did. But, while putting the tall cake in the fridge for cooling, one girl (a very dear friend of mine), bumped it to the upper rack and the cake got a slope on one side.Never-mind, such accidents happen, but it tasted delicious!
Hot Chocolate cake with Chocolate buttercream frosting
What you will need:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup hot chocolate (I use 1 cup of hot water mixed with 5 tablespoon of hot chocolate powder)
1 and ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 and ¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 and ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk, preferably warm
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup salted butter , at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot chocolate; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.ith an electric mixer (either hand or stand), beat eggs for 1 minute.
- Add milk, butter, and yogurt. Beat until well-combined.
- Stir in vanilla extract until incorporated.
- Add hot chocolate mixture, and stir to combine.
- Add flour mixture, and stir in until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
- Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack until room temperature.
- The cake is now ready to frost and assemble.
- For the frosting, take cocoa powder in a large bowl. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
- Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
- Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, whisk for about a minute or beat for about 30 seconds with a hand mixer. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
- Add vanilla extract and combine well.
- If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
- Once the cake has completely cooled down, frost one of the cakes with buttercream with a spatula. Then put the second cake on top and cover it generously with the buttercream. Store at room temperature.
- Decorate with buttercream drops on top.
- You can also bake the cake batter in one pan and then cut it horizontally to frost in the centre and assemble back.
- The buttercream can be stored in the fridge for upto a week. Just whisk it well before using.
- I used salted butter to make the frosting, but if you use unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the buttercream so that it does not taste too sweet.