The ‘Green’ Vanilla sponge

I love cakes, like simply love them. Any flavor, anytime, any mood. My sister in turn loves cooking, she is learning now; and she is now bitten by the baking bug. This is to say that she is crazy about baking, and she wants to bake something for me each time she sees me. It’s her new hobby – to make me the prime sensory evaluator of anything she places on the plate.

So, this Monday morning, she didn’t have to go to college, and I was at home as was mom. And she takes out this packet of a special Vanilla sponge cake, which comes with small toppings of icing sugar and sprinkles. As I said, I love cake, in all its myriad flavors and hues. So far as it is edible and palatable, I will have it.


I was recently in Mumbai and bought this small bottle of lovely blue food color. Now if you are somebody who has ever gone hunting for food colors, you would know that blue color can often be an endangered luxury. The market is full of red, yellow and green food colors and finding anything beyond that is a matter of sheer luck. Moreover, finding liquid colors is becoming more and more difficult these days, all you get is powder colors. But I got this blue color. I even saw a Biryani food essence, and I have no idea how it would be made and how it would taste. Like, how do you extract the biryani flavor into an essence and what do you really add it to? I am curious for sure. But, for now, let’s talk about the cake.

My sister has been obsessing over the blue color and she has been dying to put it into something and test it out. we have been considering making some tiramisu for sometime now. She hasn’t had much of it, but I love it. Sweet tooth, you see. So, one fine day, my sister is making blue colored tiramisu in her dreams! That is how obsessed she has been with that bottle of blue color, which she hadn’t even seen until Sunday!

And what does she choose to add it to? The cake mix she was using for making the vanilla sponge! the batter was already golden-ish, yellow-ish. And she adds about 2-3 drops to it. And what happens then? The batter goes blue. No. Not at all. It goes green. GREEN! GREEN!

What’s done cannot be erased. And I was hoping it had nothing to do with the flavor. So, I keep quite and let her go about her baking. And the cake is ready. It looks like dudhi-ka-halwa, the dessert we make out of the otherwise quite hated vegetable called as the bottle guard. I have no idea why it is called bottle guard, it won’t fit into any bottles, with all its curves. Look at the picture carefully, and tell me what are the chances you wouldn’t mistake it for dudhi-ka-halwa/lauki-ka-halwa. Slim chances, I would say.


But the icing sugar and sprinkles are good. I love it. The cake is soft, moist and spongy, like sponge should be. It tastes delicious vanilla. Good heavenly cake for breakfast. Amazing start to a Monday, I would say.

Here is something I realized as I was eating the cake. Our brain has notions that have been fed into it over the years of life out of our experience and/or knowledge. For instance, if I say strawberry ice cream, you would conjure an image of a bright pink scoop, maybe with some pieces of bright red strawberries on it. But what if I serve you a cup of bright lemon yellow colored scoop of ice cream and tell you it is strawberry ice-cream, how would you feel? You go on, try to trust me, take a spoonful, and it actually tasted like delicious rich strawberry ice cream. But the problem is, you won’t really be satisfied. Because the visual perception is saying something else. The eyes feel it is mango ice cream or saffron ice cream, maybe. But the flavor is strawberry. In this confusion of the tongue and the eyes, the mind is not satisfied and is unable the actual reality, because the perceived reality is different. That’s what happened to me. My eyes said this is lauki-ka-halwa or some other green colored cake, but the taste buds confirmed it was vanilla.

But as an experiment, it was great. like super tasting. Pillsbury has never really disappointed me with any of the cake mixes. So much for blue color!





Penny for your thoughts!