Baking a lucky cake

Many bakers do it better together.

Many bakers do it better together.  

THOUGH IT'S not yet time to deck the halls with boughs of holly, the season to be jolly is just around the corner and Hotel Aadithya is getting into the Christmas spirit by starting on their fruit cake so they'll be ready, armed and baking by the time the carol singers descend.

And taking a cue from Santa, the chefs have roped in their own army of little helpers. About 20 children from four schools in the area swapped their maths and science classes for an afternoon of tossing, blending and fiddling with cashew nuts, figs, prunes, raisins, ginger chips, kiwi and a host of other ingredients, led by merry chef Jesupaul who believes that children bring good luck to the cake, and the season.

The three-foot high chefs made up for any deficiency in their cookery skills with oodles of enthusiasm. First, they politely made a dignified circle around the table piled high with a kaleidoscope of chopped dried fruits and nuts with their tall white chef-caps perched securely on their heads and plastic gloves in place, surrounding actress Sandhya, of Five Start fame, who joined in the festivities.

Then rum and brandy, the final ingredients, were uncorked and poured over the mixed fruits, after which all the children just pushed in their hands and started stirring. K. Damodaran, Principle of MGR Catering College, gave the students a mini-chemistry lesson while they elbowed each other for room at the fruit-laden mixing table, explaining how the fermentation the duo provides is necessary for a perfect slice of fragrant, dark and moist Christmas cake.

Before you accuse the chefs of being fruitcakes for starting so well ahead of Christmas, remember that this cake, like wine, gets better with time.

The children's 25 kgs of soaked fruit will be put to use a month from now when the Aadithya chefs use it to whip up 110 kegs of cake for the season. Chef Jesupaul's also promised to send them some once he's done so they can not only have their cake, but eat it too.

By Shonali Muthalaly

Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

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