There are some universal life truths that hold true no matter where you are:
Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones.
The line to the loo is the longest when you have to go the hardest.
You’re still confused about the use of the word ‘Lol’. Lol.
The day you wear mismatched socks will be the day you have to remove your shoes.
Really, my list is endless. But there is one that headlines this list –
Holi is life’s happiest festival. Hands down.
Holi preparations are on in full swing in Delhi. Pictured above (clockwise) an assortmeent of Holi colours, the Holika fire, traditional Gujiya at a sweet store and water guns on sale
What makes it so happy? It’s a reason to meet old friends, throw water balloons at innocent bystanders (yes you, who takes my parking spot) and of course drink copious amounts of bhang in pretty much every format (I had chocolate chip bhang cookies last year!) Lets also not forget, wet T-shirts are legit on this day.
And while for most late millennials, Holi is ubiquitous to whatever Coldplay was doing in Hymn for the Weekend, this day is more than just the visual of naked kids playing with colour.
Legend points to innumerable stories associated with the festival. For some, it’s a mark of love, for some, it’s the victory of good over evil. More importantly, it marks the bounty of spring and signals the end of winter. The use of colors is said to signify a joyous start to the year and is played by everyone regardless of religion or social standing. Heck, even a Pakistan province declared it a public holiday!
Flowers in full bloom in my garden
However, Holi for me is a time of abundance. Both in my garden and kitchen. It’s a time to be grateful for what we eat and what surrounds us. Think of Thanksgiving, on colour and steroids.
Cause no matter how old you are, you can tap into the naughtiest/nastiest phase of your childhood and get away with it. I tend to regress to the stage when singing ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ was acceptable. (Adding the customary) Lol. (And that’s how you use it!)
Beets from the backyard
In the spirit of the colourful and the cheerful (much like a technicolor SRK in KKHH) I’ve put together a happy treat for your eyes and your tummy.
Say hello to the Holi Springin’ Cake
Four layers of intense, almost red velvet cake with a light but delightful frosting and a happy chocolate ganache of a very special colour (drawing inspiration from the purple Holi of 04’, which made me look like a giant Teletubbie for a week)
The best part- it’s all natural! Here’s all you need to know about this baby:
- Spring is in full swing! Am surrounded by birds, bees and ofcourse flowers that are clearly multiplying in my garden faster than said birds or bees. I seriously contemplated making my own Holi colors this year. No seriously, I did. For all 5 minutes.
- Holi sweets are usually fried, heavy and usually have more sugar than this world’s oil reserves. Don’t get me wrong, I do love them. But I felt obliged to my burgeoning waistline to make something that feels a little less like a weapon of mass destruction.
- The deep red is all natural, thanks to a bumper crop of beets this kitchen garden season. I’ve got beets coming out of my ears and I’ve started looking like something out of a Roald Dahl book. I can’t think of a better way to use beets in cake. Cause you know, health stuff. Needless to say, you can’t taste the beets. Like really.
- Since the flowers are from my garden, I can vouch for their organic-ness and safety. Be careful when using flowers though, especially if you don’t know their origin or how they’ve been treated. I found this handy guide on using fresh flowers on cake.
Holi Springin Cake
For the Red Velvet Cake
1 cup flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup flavourless oil
1 cup fresh buttermilk
½ cup boiled and pureed beets *preserve some beet juice for frosting
- Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree Celsius. Grease two 6 inch cake tins and line them with butter paper.
- In a bowl sift the two flours, cocoa powder, soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the oil, sugar, buttermilk and pureed beets and mix well.
- Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and stir till fully combined.
- Pour into prepared tins and place in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely before you demold it.
For the Frosting
Heavy Whipping cream : ½ cup
Greek/Hung Yoghurt : ½ cup
Chopped White Chocolate : 100 gms
Vanilla Bean – 1
Roasted Beet Juice & Beet shards (reserved from the cake recipe)
Champagne/White Wine : 2 tbsp
- Whip the cream till soft peaks.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof vessel over a pan of barely simmering. water. This is called the bran marie process.
- Scoop out the seeds from the vanilla bean.
- Add the vanilla seeds and melted chocolate into the yoghurt. Whisk till it becomes smooth and fluffy.
- Mix a few drops of beet juice into the champagne/white wine
- Combine the whipped cream and the yoghurt mix and whip till well incporporated. Add the champagne mix and slowly combine until you have a pliable mix. Add in a few shards of beet for texture.
For the Purple Chocolate Ganache
- Chopped White chocolate : 75 gms
- Heavy Cream – 3 tbsp
- Reserved Beet Juice : 1 tbsp
- Heat the cream and beet juice till tiny bubbles appear. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn.
- Pull the cream off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until fully combined.
Slice the cakes into two halves so that you have four parts of cake.
Place the first slice of cake on a platter and spread about two-three tbsp of frosting. Smooth it out to the sides. Repeat this with all the layers, including the last one.
Drizzle the melted Purple Chocolate Ganache over the cake.
Finally, arrange fresh flowers on the cake, in any pattern or design of your choice. I went for the spring attack, you could go the classy or even the ‘naked’ way. The choice is entirely yours.
Happy Spring to you!