Monday, December 5, 2011

Chabela Wedding Cake (Hannah and Kate)

photograph by James Hayes-Bohanan

In the movie Like Water for Chocolate, Tita and Nancha make a traditional wedding cake for Pedro and Rosaura’s wedding. People still use this recipe today to make the traditional Chabela Wedding Cake for the extravagant traditional Mexican wedding. Although 40% of Mexicans are catholic (Pearce), Mexican’s still have their own specific traditions for and during the wedding. Mexican weddings traditions are still encouraged for Mexicans. Kate and used the following ingredients to bake our Chabela Wedding Cake:

English- Ingredients
Español - ingrediente
1. Flour (3 Cups)
1. Harina
2. Baking Powder (1 Tablespoon)
2. Polvo de hornear
3.Baking Soda (1/2 Teaspoon)
3. Bicarbonato de sosa o de soda
4.Salt (1/2 Teaspoon)
4. La Sal
5. Unsalted Butter, softened (2.5 Cups)
5. La Mantequilla
6. Milk (1 Cup)
6. La Leche
7. Vinegar (add to milk as needed)
7. Vinagre
8. Eggs (11)
8. El Huevo
9. White Sugar (2 cups)
9. el azúcar
10.Vanilla extract  (1 Tablespoon)
10. El extracto be Vainilla
11. Lime Juice (zest 6 limes)
11. El jugo de lima

            When we got the recipe we did substitute one thing. Instead of using the original buttermilk, we mixed milk and vinegar together, and let it sit for 5 minutes, but other than that, we followed the instructions to prepare our cake.
            After we preheated oven to 350°, we lined the bottom on the round pan with parchment paper, and greased the bottom and the sides. Next, we mixed the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, we mixed the sugar and the butter together until it looked fluffy. After mixing for a while, we added in the eggs and the vanilla extract. After that, we slowly added in the other bowl with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Lastly, we separated the batter in three separate pans. Onc the batter was distributed, we baked them for 25 minutes. Once the cakes were in the oven, we made the curd (which didn’t come out right) by following these instructions:

            To prepare the glaze, we whisked 8 eggs together in a heatproof bowl and then added the sugar and the lime juice. The only problem was that the kitchen we were using did not have a double boiler. We tried to create a double boiler with two different sized saucepans but our little invention failed and the glaze ended up all over the counters in the kitchen. After that incident, we gave up on the icing all together because we had run out of ingredients. We went to Roche Bros. and picked up a bottle of microwaveable glaze and put that on the cake instead. We layered the cakes and put glaze in between each one and lime zest. We added the glaze to the top of the cake as well and then topped it off with the zest from 3 limes. We tried as best we could to poke holes into the cake to let the glaze drip down into the middle, but we did not have a dowel and the glaze was not hot enough to make its way down the smaller holes we created with the end of a spoon. Since we were not able to use the dowel method we did not have to let our cake soak for 10-15 minutes like it said to in the directions. Making this cake was overall an interesting experience for the both of us. It was hard not being in a familiar kitchen and that was definitely a major setback. But we persevered and were able to make a cake that was presentable and edible.
            There are many different traditions that go hand in hand with Mexican weddings. One tradition is giving the woman you want to marry a ring of promise. It can be given to the bride a year before the actual engagement ring is given and shows a sense of long term commitment to one another. If a woman accepts the promise ring, they are accepting the idea of becoming engaged to whoever gave it to them (Pearce). While researching the tradition of the Mexican Wedding Cake, we found that it is actually a very old tradition and this “cake” is actually baked in the form of a cookie. These cakes that are actually cookies became popular in 1950’s and 1960’s in Mexico. They were not only made for weddings but for other special holidays like Christmas. These cakes come in many different varieties, depending on where it is made. It first started out as an Arab tradition and then spread throughout Europe. These cookies are usually round or oval in shape and take very simple ingredients to make. Sometimes fruit or chocolate is added to the cookies to make them more flavorful and less plain looking (Williams). We did not find any information regarding the cake that was made in the movie, but we are sure that it is or was a tradition in Mexico at some point. As time goes on new traditions are developed and that is where the Wedding Cookies came into play.
            This recipe relates to the movie because it is the first recipe made in Like Water for chocolate. It is the first recipe Tita makes that shows her true emotions and how she really feels about her sister marrying the man she loves. When they make the cake for Rosaura’s wedding, Tita cannot help but cry because she is so heartbroken about the whole event, and she longed for the love of her life. Tita’s crying causes tears to fall into the batter of the cake and then causes something almost unrealistic to happen. When the ceremony was over, the guests proceeded to the area where the dinner and the cake that Tita made, were being served. Since Tita had cried into the cake batter, everyone who ate it felt heartbroken as well and they all longed for the loved ones they had lost. This was one example of magic realism in the movie. Tita’s mother of course thinks that Tita has purposely poisoned the cake so that everyone would be sick. Little did her mother know it was pure magic from her daughter, Tita’s tears.
            This movie was a love story that showed how much it takes to win back a loved one that you have temporarily lost. It also shows how traditional Mexican families were back in the day because Tita was not allowed to be married, all because she was the youngest in her family. We are sure that some families probably still pass down similar traditions but things are a lot more modern these days, and not many people would do what Pedro did to Tita anymore. It just goes to show how close a family can be and how willing some families are to hurt ones they love, all because they want someone to take care of them when they are dying.

Works Cited
Carrasco, David. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures the Civilizations of Mexico
       and Central America. Oxford: Oxford University, 2000. Print.
Like Water for Chocolate [Como agua para chocolate]. Screenplay by Laura Esquivel.
       Dir. Alfonso Arau. Perf. Lumi Cavazos, Marco Leonardi, Regina Torne.1992.
       Burbank, Calif.: Miramax Home Entertainment, 2000. DVD.
Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate: a Novel in Monthly Installments, with 
      Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies. New York: Doubleday, 1992. Print.
N.LN, Meagan. "Chabela Wedding Cake: Baking Like Water For Chocolate." Scarletta 
       Bakes | Bake. Laugh. Eat. Repeat. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>.
Pearce, Lois. "Mexican Wedding Traditions." Wedding Planning and Free Wedding Checklists,
       Bridal Information, - Plan Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception
       with Checklists and Planning Guides. 2010. Web. 08 Nov. 2011. <
Williams, Martha. "History of Mexican Wedding Cakes and Ideas." Free Articles Inc.      
        Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>>.

1 comment:

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