Pineapple upside-down cake. Same soul, many lives.

I am not a religious girl, but neither am I an atheist. Sometimes when people around you have very concrete religious or non-belief sentiments, you tend to stay away from any extremes. I guess that is what happened to me. So may be, I am a non-conformist believer. Somewhere in the middle. Unsure but stable.

But one thing I have believed since I was 15-16 years old is the theory of souls. In one of Brian Weiss‘s books, which I read back then, he had said that the same group of souls travel together. Relationships may change from life to life, but the souls are the same. I found this concept highly interesting. Many a times, some people feel very close, though I might be meeting them or talking to them for the first time. A same set of people re-occur in my dreams. And some dreams are so vivid and so traumatizing, that it feels that I am re-living a moment lived before. Many a times, I have looked into the eyes of a stranger and  thought ‘I know those eyes.’ Its eerie at times even to myself, but it feels real. May be a figment of my imagination, may be someone I have known in my past life. Or something else.

I don’t openly talk about these things to anyone, except my grand-mom, because she believes in the re-incarnation theory like most devout Hindus do. But in a very different way. I believe in lives we have lived before and she believes in lives yet to come. It is the same, but from different perspectives.

So a couple of days back, I had a conversation with a guy about Past Life Regression. I know him through a food group on facebook, and haven’t met or spoken to him ever, just chatted with him. We were talking about how at times we feel instantly connected to some people, and hate some others, almost immediately. He explained it quite convincingly, and in his own words : “That’s explained in two methods – one scientific and one metaphysical. the scientific one explains it through the concept of thin-slicing – essentially, your brain collating the properties of all the people you’ve ever liked, and disliked and taking a sample from your brief exposure to the new person, comparing it against that data and coming up with an instant judgement – the same process works when you’re standing in the middle of the road and a bus is coming towards you – the instant judgement. the metaphysical explains it as your aura sensing the others aura and making a judgement.”

I was slightly disappointed that he did not say that it was because of someone or something I knew from the past lives, but what he said makes more sense. Past life or not, I love the connections my brain (I can call it soul, but calling it brain to be realistic) makes. It gives me a sense of belief. In the world and in myself.

Ok, so that was it. Don’t worry I am still sane and heading over to my office after I finish this post. I am still your regular 9-5 girl, but just with a bit of *belief* . In this life and the others.

If you are comfortable with talking about it, i would love to read your feelings and thoughts about past life and other theories. Let me know in the comments sections. 🙂

another piece

On a lighter, brighter side is this upside down pineapple cake. With dried fruits, or tutti-fruity speckled like gems in the gaps. A moist decadent sponge cake beneath the tropical flavors of the pineapple.

pineapple cake

I used canned pineapple, because it is easier and I love the syrup soaked pineapples for baking purposes, but you can very well use fresh sliced pineapples cooked in a sugar syrup till tender.

Arrange pineapple slices

Pineapple Upside-down cake

What you will need:

  • 6-8 pineapple slices, with core removed
  • softened butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp dried candied fruits or cherries
  • 100 gms all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 100 gms soft butter
  • 100 gms caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs

What to do :

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC / 400ºF.
  2. Generously grease a 8-9 inch cake pan with softened butter. Sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar on the greased pan.
  3. Snugly arrange pineapple slices on the pan to make a circular patterns and the dried fruits or cherries to fill in the gaps between the pineapple slices and in the centre of each pineapple slice.
  4. In a bowl. take the flour, baking powder, baking soda, soft butter, caster sugar and eggs and whisk or beat with an electric beater until the batter is smooth.
  5. Add 3 tbsp of pineapple juice/ pineapple syrup to the batter to thin it a little.
  6. Then pour this mixture over the pineapples in the cake tin and gently spread it evenly. the batter will only just cover the pineapples.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, then ease a spatula around the edge of the tin, place a plate on top and, with one deft – ha! – move, turn it upside-down.

slice of cake

Notes :

  1.  Remember this is an upside down cake so carefully arrange the pineapple slices and choose the best ones.
  2. This cake can also be served with some vanilla whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Rutvika Charegaonkar

Tres Leches Cake (Three Milk cake)

Chocolate has always been my favorite when it comes to cakes, but one in a while, there comes a cake which takes you totally by surprise. Its that time when you have to put down everything you are doing and concentrate on the cake. Grab it by spoonfuls and let the flavors create havoc on your taste-buds. That’s exactly what happens when you put a spoonful of juicy, milky piece of tres-leches cake in your mouth. You don’t want to let it go.

This tres leches cake is basically a sponge cake and it means a cake with three types of milk in Spanish. Whole milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk. Even four, if you use some heavy cream or whip up some cream to make the icing. Oh the goodness of milk. Very healthy too, mind you 😉

When we were at our cousins house in US, we got this cake from a departmental store. 3 pieces amongst the four of us. 3 big pieces. 4 spoons. Gone in 2 minutes. We were so hooked on to it, that for a long time we contemplated driving back there and getting another batch of the sweet milky cake. With a cherry on top.

Nevertheless, the very next day one of our friends claimed to know a baker, who used to make tres leches cake regularly in their bakery in Downtown Chicago. I immediately called her up and took this god-damn-fantastic recipe from her. Even without the milk topping, this one is classic ultra sponge cake.

The type and varieties of milk available in US is slightly different from the ones that we get here, so I had to make a few changes to the recipe. Their stores sell evaporated milk in cans just like we get condensed milk here. But Indians have been making sweets out of evaporated milk for ages, and it can easily be made at home.

It is better to make this cake at least 4-5 hours in advance so that the milks has time to settle down. By nature, the cake turns out quite sweet, but you can very easily alter the condensed milk quantity and substitute it with evaporated milk to make it less sweet (see note).

A very soft, juicy (juicy? yeah!) cake with many air bubbles. That is what gives the cake a light texture even after being soaked in three kinds of milk.

Tres leches cake

Tres Leches Cake (Three Milk Cake) recipe

Serves : 10-12 people Time : 40 mins + 35 mins baking time

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