This happened almost 10 years ago. It was around two months since our wedding. We went out for dinner, had a good time, got out of the restaurant. Our car was parked a bit far. We were walking towards the car park and suddenly I stopped… there was a dog standing on the way. Now dogs and me go a long way back, we dont have a history of getting along.
I’ll give you a little bit background info. Like I’ve told you before, I’ve an irrational fear of almost all animals, especially dogs. I’ve told this to Jose also during our courtship, but he has never seen it firsthand till then.
Coming back to the story, I refused to take another step because of the dog. Jose tried convincing me that he will cover me and take me safely to the car, but I wasnt ready for that. This happened for quite sometime. A watchman of a nearby shop was watching all these things and he decided it was time for him to get involved in the whole drama. He entered with an opening statement “you should trust your husband and go along”!!
Not to mention my irritability at unwanted opinion and advice, that too from a stranger. What increased my agitation was that, Jose got charged hearing his words. You cant blame him also, we were newly married and the thought of his wife not trusting him didnt sit well with him. It was his turn to make another big statement, “if you dont trust me in such small matters, how will you trust me in bigger things”??
Meanwhile a small audience gathered around us to see the whole “thamasha”. I tried whispering to Jose that we will have the “discussion” about trust once we reach home, now he can take me back to the hotel and I’ll wait there for him. Since it was very early days of marriage, he wasn't very familiar with the very popular memo of all time “listen to your wife, she is always right” ;)
Well, it went on for sometime and he slowly understood that he was loosing the battle. Finally, to the utter disappointment of the crowd, he took me back to the hotel.
Fast forward 10 years, when he sees a dog when we are together, he doesn't even bother asking me whether I want to try going that way, he immediately changes the route ;) But I should give it to him, because he converted me from a non-fruitarian to a person who at least eats some fruits. It happened vice versa also, I lost some battles and gained some with him. Whoever said “choose your battles wisely” said it correctly. I think this statement holds true for a peaceful married life.
We celebrated our 10th anniversary on Jan 16th. If you are wondering, why I chose to tell you about picking your battles rather than talking about “everlasting love”, I didn't want to be all mushy here ;) Ok, I’ll say this much… he still makes me feel like the twenty something girl who asked her fiance coyly, “am i pretty” , I think that should sum it up ;)
I didn't think much about the special cake for the occasion. I was sure, I’d be making this cupcake. We both like this very much and every time I ask him what he wants special, he asks me to bake this for him.
We love the caramel icing and it pairs well with this vanilla cake. The cake by itself is fluffy and has nice crumbs. Addition of praline takes it to the next level. I usually make this with the eggless vanilla cupcake, but I wanted to try a different recipe this time and chose this one.
Hope you will like it.
Here is the recipe..
Cake recipe adapted from here
For the cake
- 1 cup Unsalted butter (16 Tbsp softened)
- 2 1/4 cups Sugar
- 3 large Eggs (@ room temp)
- 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract/essence
- 3 cups Plain flour
- 3/4 tsp Baking powder
- 3/4 tsp Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Buttermilk (refer notes for substitute)
For the icing
- 60 gms Unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Light Brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Milk
- 1.5 cups Icing sugar
For the praline
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup Chopped cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp Water
- For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 180 C, 10 mins before baking. Line the cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar, beating until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating the first before moving on to the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the vanilla extract/essence.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter mixture, starting with the dry and ending with the buttermilk in 3 additions.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake tins, lined with cupcake liners (refer notes). Bake for 15-17 mins or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before you frost them.
- For the icing:
- Melt butter, brown sugar and milk, till the butter melts. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Let it cool for 5-10 mins. Add sifted icing sugar and mix well using a wire whisk or wooden spatula. The icing is of spreadable consistency.
- To make praline:
- Heat sugar in a non stick pan with 1 tbsp water, when it start caramelising, add chopped nuts. Make sure the nuts are coated well with the caramel. Pour the praline onto a baking/parchment paper. Let it cool. Crush them using a rolling pin.
- Once the cupcakes are cooled completely, you can spread the icing on the cupcakes using a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the praline on top as soon as you finish the icing. Keep aside for 10-15 mins for the icing to set.
1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes
1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt
For eggless version, check out this recipe
To make it as a cake:
Grease and flour (or coat in baking spray) a 10-cup Bundt pan and set aside.Spread in the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you are making it as cupcake, make sure, you leave enough space for the cake to rise, this cake tends to rise well, so spoon the batter accordingly. I got 27 medium size cupcakes from the above qty. You can store the iced cupcakes at room temp, in an airtight container for 2-3 days, unless you live in a very humid place. If the icing tends to harden while spreading, loosen it with a bit of hot milk. If you feel the icing is too sweet, you can add a pinch of flaky sea salt to cut down the sweetness. I thought this cake with the icing was a bit on the sweeter side, but Jose found it ok. If you dont prefer it too sweet, I suggest you make salted caramel icing.