Those three months and Kiwi Cupcakes with frosting

Last year around this time, I got pregnant. Which means that we were busy doing the hoo-hoos and haa-haas, very enthusiastically. Since then there hasn’t been much hoo or haa, but that’s a different story. (Now I seriously wish that no kids are reading this and neither is my mom or mom-in-law.) But anyway, it is an understatement to say that life has turned upside down since last April.

A few days back I found a letter I had written to myself. Last year this time. I often write letters to myself. Kind of a diary entry, but it works as if I am looking at the issue from a third party point of view. There, in that letter, I was telling myself to take it easy. It had been three months since we were trying to get pregnant and each time I got my periods, I would be immensely depressed. It felt as if I was killing the babies each month. I know how incorrect that statement is. I know. I know. But somewhere it just felt very bad. I would frantically chart my menstrual cycle in various apps and find out the “fertile” days. And coerce my husband into having sex as a rule on those days. Not that he minded it, but I had turned into an obsessive compulsive sexter, for those days of the month. For the first 10 days of the month, I would read up on all websites advising ‘how to get pregnant’ , and then later on obsess over ‘are you pregnant’ type webpages. I would dread each day as my periods got closer and any sign on PMS would make me cry. It was a very taxing time, let me tell ya.

My mom would keep telling me that it takes time, be patient. My husband would say, our bodies are not machines, have faith, it will happen soon. But I felt very low. And it is such a situation that couldnt even be discussed with anyone outside your innermost circle. At that time. To top it, my best-friend, my closest cousin and my sister-in-law : all were pregnant! Not me. Just not me.

I laugh at the insanity of the situation now, it feels stupid to look back at that version of myself, but I still shudder when I remember how I thought the worst was going to happen to us. And I had reached that conclusion in just three little months.

Later, when we registered with the gynaecologist’s hospital for delivery, the nurse excitedly told me that in India, December January is the busiest period in the hospital as it is the best “season” to have a baby. Most couples plan it that way, to have a baby in winter. And I thought to myself – “How the hell do they do that?”. How do they know when they will get pregnant? That answer still eludes me.

But anyway. Now I am hoping that when planning for the second child, I wont be so paranoid. Or I just might be. Because I will soon reach the big 3-0 in a year and half. Sigh.

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And I still don’t bake that often, my little one keeps me on my toes all the time. But these gorgeous kiwis in the market and eventually in the fruit basket made me want to bake. Urgently. And what could be faster than cupcakes?

Kiwi cupcake closeup

Kiwi Cupcakes with Kiwi buttercream frosting

What you will need :

For the cupcakes –

  • 1/3 cup mashed kiwi – about 2 kiwis
  • 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites

For kiwi buttercream –

  • 1 kiwi, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced for decoration

What to do :

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C and line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake paper liners.
  2. Remove the skin of the kiwis and mash it with a fork to make 1/3 cup mashed kiwi. Add milk and vanilla to the mashed kiwi and keep aside.
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder .
  4. In another bowl, cream butter and all the sugar till light.
  5. Add the egg and egg white to butter and incorporate well.
  6. Now alternately add flour mixture and kiwi mixture to the cream butter and eggs. Start and end with dry ingredients i.e flour.
  7. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes till a skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops are golden.
  8. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let them cool completely before frosting.
  9. To make the buttercream, cream butter till its light. Add 3-4 tablespoon of mashed kiwi, 1 tablespoon at a time. (Ensure that the mixture is creamy and not watery).
  10. Add vanilla and icing sugar and mix well.
  11. Taste and add some more kiwi or icing sugar as per taste. But add kiwi cautiously or the mixture will get watery.
  12. Decorate the cupcakes with buttercream frosting and half a slice of kiwi.

Kiwi cupcake platter

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