Millions of stars show up; the glow of the moon soothes minds and hearts; everyone is a lot calmer and preparing to fall asleep; and there is no rush anywhere on the streets – that’s how midnight looks like. And there is something magical about the midnight breeze – it is always very comforting. Midnight also means P.M turns to A.M. – leading to the technical end of a day and the start of another day. That’s why it is the most preferred time since ages to surprise someone. The night is definitely the time to sleep but not on special occasions.
With the phrase “midnight surprise”, it’s generally birthdays that come to mind. And I have quite a chaotic story to share with the world.
Occasion: Mom’s 40th Birthday
Venue: Our Home, Kolkata, West Bengal
Date: 9th February 2017
Time Taken: Almost Half The Day
The most important thing for a birthday is definitely the cake. I really had big plans in my head regarding this special day. I and my sister started scouting the market a month before collecting various decorative items for that day. From my mom’s favorite polka dot printed curtains to the posters of her favorite movies- we were collecting many things to give her a grand surprise.
But the biggest surprise that I wanted to give her was baking a perfect cake for her like she always did for us. My mom has always been a master-chef – no one can beat her when it comes to cooking any kind of food & dessert. She says she finds her freedom in the kitchen which is no less than a temple to her.
Therefore, I started my research regarding cake baking and presentation. After watching a few Sanjeev Kapoor, Tarla Dalal, and Masterchef shows, I understood one thing very clearly that – “baking a cake is no less than meditation”. It requires a lot of patience and cannot be excelled in a day. Therefore, I joined a baking class (25 days before 9th February) so that I don’t mess up the whole plan of the big day. With every passing day, I was gaining confidence with my baking lessons and used to impart a lot of “gyan” to my little sister as well.
For someone like me, who has seldom boiled water, made tea, or at the most sliced the fruits – baking a cake was definitely a great challenge and I wanted everything to be just right. Ultimately, the big day arrived and everything was going as planned. We booked a nice restaurant where we sent dad and mom for a romantic dinner together. While she was away, my sister and I started with the decorations of the home with new photo frames & home decor items.
I zeroed on “Tiramisu Cake” and prepared the batter and arranged everything properly. I pre-heated the oven and the trick of a Tiramisu Cake is that one needs to bake it not more than 25 minutes. The first challenge that occurred is that – I skipped checking the exact time when I inserted the cake mix into the oven. So, that led to either over-baking or under-baking – I am ashamed to even remember!
Ok fine, after baking the cake layers, this recipe requires coffee mixture and I asked my sister to bring coffee. (Everyone at my place is usually fond of tea and thus, coffee comes only when coffee loving guests arrive). At 8:30 P.M. On a Thursday (the weekly off for local markets at my home town) she said that she had forgotten to bring coffee. I couldn’t even scold her as I already missed the “oven-timing”. Going to the neighbours and asking for coffee was the only option left and I did just that but maybe God was in no mood to help me that day. And then there was “load-shedding”. A Tiramisu cake requires refrigeration also and there was no way that I could refrigerate it.
So, now, both of us were engrossed in “looking for opportunities” to make something out of what we have on our platter. After searching on Google for at least half an hour on “how to make tiramisu cake without coffee?”, “how to make a cake without electricity?”, we were jaded. Google gave us options of “pressure cooker cake” that can be prepared on a gas oven easily. But Google didn’t know that even easy recipes require time and after what happened even with half a training from a good baking class – my confidence was really low.
I was pretty disheartened and my brain almost froze. To spend time during a power cut, I was scrolling through Facebook and found an ad of “Ferns N Petals” that featured a lip-smacking image of a cake. (Thanks to consumer studies and monitoring online behavior) Suddenly, I could see light at the end of the tunnel. I visited their website and started searching for “Tiramisu Cake”. The images soothed my depressed soul and the best part is I could see the notification of “Midnight Delivery” just beside the cake. I went ahead and placed the order. (Finally, God was listening to me.)
My mom and dad arrived around 12:30 A.M. And were literally spellbound with the new look of the home. And when I brought the Tiramisu Cake out from the refrigerator (yes, the electricity department felt pity for us and decided to revive it by 11 P.M.), my mom couldn’t hold her tears. She couldn’t believe her eyes that her daughters have grown up so fast and planned for such a heart-warming surprise. Well, we never told her the whole story!
However chaotic it has been, no incident goes without teaching us a lesson or two. I learned that “practice makes a person perfect”. I also learned that “always start with small steps”. Tiramisu Cake is one of the most difficult cakes to make and I shouldn’t have opted for that in the first place but Ferns N Petals came as a saviour to me. Its timely midnight delivery service helped save the day(midnight) for me!