Category Archives: Cakes and Bakes

Wacky Vegan Cake – Chocolate

vegan_cake

This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays.  

Last week, I was here with the glimpse of this cake. This week, it’s the cake itself.

Presenting a cake that has survived some really hard times, the ‘Wacky cake’ aka ‘depression cake’!

During the Great Depression, families ran on food rations and tight budgets. Things like milk, eggs and butter weren’t easily available. Dessert was a luxury. But instead of backing down because of the lack of ingredients, people started experimenting with what they already have. A whole lot of new recipes were born in this era and this vegan cake is one among those.

Another recipe that comes to mind is the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits. That was also born at a crisis ridden time (during WWI). Eggs weren’t available and since these biscuits needed to be shipped troops in Australia/New Zealand, long shelf life was also a concern. They came up with what they had and so a truly amazing recipe was born.

Closer to home, recipes for rava idlis were born during WWII when rice was scarce. MTR brand claims so :-).

Coming back to the cake here, its usually sprinkled with icing sugar and presented just like that. But I was in a mood to make something elaborate. So here is a vegan cake with a non-vegan (butter cream) frosting.

I am signing off this month’s Blogger Tuesdays with this recipe that has a long history. Something that tells you good things survive despite the hard times…

It’s been a pleasure coming here for the whole of this month. Thanks a ton for the opportunity and hope you have enjoyed the series as much as I have.

Thank you!

wacky cake

Recipe Source: Savoury Sweet life

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp flavorless oil like sunflower
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 cup water (I added 1 tsp instant coffee powder to the water)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Grease and line an 8″X 8″ pan. (I used 9″ round pan since that’s what I had).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients. Whisk until its combined well.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out free of crumbs when inserted in the middle.
  5. Once the cake is cool, sprinkle icing sugar on top and serve.
  6. I have used a simple butter cream recipe. You can check out the recipe here. I have doubled the quantity to cover this cake and used M&M and melted chocolate are for decoration.

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Tips & tricks of cake baking

vegan_cake

This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays.  

Hi all,

This is Rajani again, this time with tip and tricks ideas for cake baking.

I was baking the cake above. As usual, I went from baking to patting it down to cooling to freezing. That’s when it came to me that there are some standard things I do whenever I bake a cake. And that deserves a post on its own.

So here are my rules/tips/tricks/methods when it comes to cakes.

Please share yours so that we can all learn.

#1: Follow the recipe instructions. No elaboration here :-)

#2 : Never try a new recipe when baking for an occasion. Trust me on this one!  Be it guests visiting, gifting the cake or taking an order, stick to your tried and tested recipes.

For me, it’s this recipe from Joy of Baking (It’s the same as Hershey’s with very minor changes) for chocolate cakes. For yellow cakes, I trust The America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Hot milk cakes also from the same book are quite good and reliable.

#3 : If you want an egg less cake, try an egg less recipe. There are a lot of reliable egg less recipes, it’s better to bank on them than figuring out how to replace 3 eggs in a recipe. Replacing one egg is fine, but it’s not easy if you are replacing two or more.

When it comes to egg less cakes, I try this chocolate cake recipe adapted from Maria’s Menu and this cake from Sharmi’s passion for vanilla cakes. You can add 1/4 cup cocoa to the vanilla cake recipe to get an egg less chocolate cake.

#4: Always grease and line your pans. Keep a bunch of pre-cut parchment paper ready for your pan size. I use oil for greasing, its way easier than butter.

#5: Bake a day in advance. That way there is no pressure on the d-day and the cake develops more flavor (especially chocolate cakes with coffee in it) in the extra time. If possible, make the frosting also the day ahead.

Suggestion: Don’t apologize for your cake. Your cake may have its own pitfalls, but apologizing profusely and pointing out the flaws is just going to make people focus more on the drawbacks. The minute you say that the finish is not great, they concentrate only on the finish. The cake may not have matched your expectations, but saying it yourself is going to make the receiver feel bad, as if they have been given something substandard.

So, be open to reviews/feedback, but stop pointing out the minor flaws out. Be proud of your cake and concentrate on beating your own best. (I am talking about people who are not confident about their creations and feel that the cake could have been better. Not about major flaws).

Now, to the tricks to get a moist cake.

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Follow the recipe and bake your cake. I prefer keeping the cake right out of the oven on top of a cool burner. It naturally acts like a cooling rack.

The cake might have a slight dome when it comes out. You can bake for a longer time at a lower temperature (extra 10 min, may be at 160C ) to get a flat top, but I gave it up after trying a couple of times and getting no great results.

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Place a clean towel on the cake and very very carefully, pat and press down the top, making sure that the pressure applied won’t break the cake.

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Leave the cake to cool in the pan itself on top of the burner or a wire cooling rack for at least 5 minutes. If we try to take out the cake off the pan when it’s really hot, it might break into pieces. A bit like taking idlis out of the pans when they are hot. Hence this wait time.

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After 5 minutes, take the cake out of the pan. I usually keep a cooling rack on top of the pan and carefully turn it upside down.

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My wire rack doesn’t have any ‘legs’. So I keep it on top of a plate. The crumbs fall on the plate, so it’s easier for me to clean up as well.

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Take the pan off and peel off the wax/parchment paper.

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Again, I use the burner top for cooling the cake. And I prefer keeping the pan inverted on top of the cake. It prevents the cake from drying out, or so I honestly believe!

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Once the cake is cooled, cling wrap it two times. You can use parchment/wax paper or aluminium foil as well, you might have to use cello tape to seal the edges. You need to keep the cake in a zip lock or plastic cover so that it doesn’t get damp.

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Store the covered cake overnight in the freezer. If you notice, my freezer has lines running, so I have kept the cake on top of a flat surface.

Make sure you don’t keep anything else (not even another cake) on top of the cake until it’s frozen well. Most frozen cakes stay good for about 2 months. You can prepare and freeze the butter cream as well.

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Let the cake defrost at room temp for a couple of hours (with the cling wrap on). When it’s time to decorate, decide whether the cake is moist enough to skip simple sugar syrup. It’s your call, totally. If you want a real moist cake, sprinkle some sugar syrup on the cake.

If going for a layer cake, cut the cake into two using a sharp knife or a cake leveler. Fill it and frost the cake. I almost always place the bottom layer on top as it will have a flat surface. A palette knife is the best for frosting and a turn table makes the job much easier than it would be otherwise.

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Once you have frosted the cake, dip the palette knife in hot water and run it around the cake for a smooth finish. Clean the cake board with a slightly wet kitchen towel or a paper napkin.

Decorate as you wish.

Please leave your tips and tricks when it comes to baking cakes.

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Banana Crisp

banana_crisp

This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays

So, here I am, for the third time this month.

Last week I was here with a sandwich cake (Smorgastarta) and the week before that was savory pepper  & corn muffins.

This time, I have brought a bit of sweet with me. Not an overtly sweet recipe, but sweet enough and easy enough to become a quick favorite. Presenting the poorer cousin of pies and tarts – the crumble/crisp! Add oats to your topping and you have a crisp. Leave it out and you have a crumble.

It’s full of ‘fruit goodness’, so you can almost pass it off as healthy :D (well, if you overlook the butter and sugar part. But then, we won’t go there, we will focus on the fruit part, OK? ).

One great thing about U.S. is the public library here and the amazing amount of good books you find there. I like to read(though it’s limited to cookery books right now), so a good library is always appreciated. But when we moved in here, the library was a really a refuge! A new place with no friends, no school for the kid and no TV meant a lot of reading time.

I was able to get really popular books like Baking from my home to yours from the library. Another good find was One Bowl Baking. I liked the sound of it. Fewer bowls are always better, right? This banana crisp recipe is not from the book, but it’s from the same author. Its a bit similar to Dorie Greenspan’s tropical crumble. So I combined a bit of both.

Enjoy the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 7 ripe bananas (ripe enough to hold its shape when sliced)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 9 tbsp melted and cooled butter (divided) – 100 gm would do
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger, optional
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest, optional

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar (light brown if possible)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped (optional – I used peanuts)

Method:

Heat the oven to 180C. Use a 9″ round pan for the crisp.

Melt butter in a pan and let it cool. Slice the bananas into 1/4″ thick slices.

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Gather your ingredients.

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Take 3 tbsp butter and coat the base of the pan.  Add 3 tbsp sugar over the melted butter. Add the sliced bananas over this and keep aside. Add vanilla essence, grated ginger and lemon zest if you are using.

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Add the flour, remaining sugar,salt, oats and nuts into the remaining butter. Mix with your hands to get a crumble. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe is a bit different. She uses softened butter. It is first creamed with sugar and then flour and the nuts are added to it. She freezes the topping for about 20 minutes to get a better crumble.

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Top the banana layer with the crumble. You should ideally just scatter it all over and NOT press down the topping. I couldn’t resist, obviously :D! If you freeze the topping, you will get uneven chunks which is better than a smooth, flat top.

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Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Take off the oven, serve warm or at room temperature. Pair with ice cream for the best results :-).

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This recipe can be extended to other fruits as well. Apples, berries, cherries, mangoes, peach, pear, stone fruits…any summer fruit, on its own or a combination is fine. I am planning to try with mangoes when they are in season.

Enjoy!

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Smorgastarta – Sandwich cake

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This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays

Hi all,

I am back. And you have no idea how glad I am to be back!

I am happy, because if it weren’t for the Guild and Blogger Tuesdays, my blog vacation would have become a blog break! It was already bordering somewhere there, but let’s not go there now. There will be a post, every Tuesday recipe the whole of this month. Let’s begin with that and slowly take it from there.

Like I wrote last week, we shifted to U.S. one and a half months back. Right from finding a steering wheel in the passenger seat in your car (they switched it, would you believe!!) to finding just empty space inside the closet (in India, you will have built-in shelves inside wardrobes), everything is different. None of the changes are big, but it’s been a deluge of small ones.

The inevitable question from everyone has been,”How do you find the place? Do you like it?”. It’s a simple query, but I find it the most difficult one to answer. Because I miss home the minute I hear it. Coming to think of it, I don’t even know which home I am missing – our house, my in-laws house or my parents’ house… food for thought!

But then, that’s life and you go where it takes you. And be happy about it. It’s different from what we have known all our life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It means that you need to open up a bit more.

And once you open up your mind, you might enjoy a different, but delightful experience. Not unlike the cake here.

Whoever thought sandwich can get dressed up like this!?

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Smogastarta is a popular sandwich cake from Sweden. It’s savory and is served chilled. It’s apparently served for birthdays, weddings, funerals and all sort of gatherings (says Wiki).

It’s really versatile…it can be an appetizer (small individual portions), lunch or even a wedding cake! It’s a non vegetarian dish by default, but again it can be easily adapted into vegetarian or a vegan avatar.

The sandwich filling options are endless. I tried my usual Nita Mehta cottage cheese filling. Egg salad would be good with this. A combination of potatoes and peas mashed along with some pudina chutney would be wonderful and filling as well. The ‘frosting’ recipes also vary a lot. It usually includes cream cheese, but I was happy with thick yogurt itself.

Do try out this cake. A truly ‘hatke’ (different) cake..

smorgastarta

Recipe source: the internet, Saveur

Ingredients:

  • Bread, home made or ready made. If baking at home, a 6″ round pan would be the best
  • Sandwich filling of your choice
  • Decorations : vegetables of your choice
  • Yogurt and mayonnaise for the ‘frosting’

What I used: 

  • Three slices of whole wheat bread, cut using a sharp lid
  • Filling 1:  (Recipe source: Nita Mehta’s Sandwiches book)
    • 2 tbsp cottage cheese or grated paneer
    • 1 tbsp tomato ketch up
    • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
    • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
    • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Filling 2:
    • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped salad vegetable (lettuce, carrot, cabbage)
    • 2 tsp mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp thick yogurt
    • salt and pepper
  • Outer frosting:
    • 3/4 cup thick yogurt (this qty varies depending on the size of the bread)
    • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise (this varies in proportion to the yogurt)
    • salt

Method: 

If you are baking the bread, follow the recipe and bake it in a 6″ round pan. Once it’s baked and cooled completely, level the dome and cut into one or two layers.

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Here, I have used a sharp dabba for cutting the bread into a circle. Three slices for two layers.

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Make the fillings. This is cottage cheese + ketch up + ginger garlic paste + coriander leaves. Mix and fill one layer.

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Fill the other slice also with filling of your choice.

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Make the ‘frosting’ recipe by mixing yogurt and mayonnaise. Add salt to taste. Check the seasonings and adjust per taste. Add this to the assembled sandwich.

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Coat the sandwich all over and decorate as per your wish. Since I was covering the bread all over with coriander leaves and cherry tomatoes, I was not striving for a smooth finish.

You can decorate with chopped cucumber, boiled eggs, lettuce, carrots…whatever you like and goes well with your sandwich.

Chill and server your smogastarta. Enjoy!

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Savory corn and pepper muffins

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This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays.

This is Rajani here, I blog at My Kitchen Trials. Thank you for having me at the guild again as part of Blogger Tuesdays this month.

I blog because I love food. And food photography. But the main reason is I also like to think out loud. My loud mouth has gotten me into a lot of tight spots in real life, but thankfully that’s not happened much in the blog space till now.

I like to record the little things in my life, the everyday things that we love at that moment but soon gets forgotten in the rush of life. And at times, I like to talk about the big things too.

I was here in this forum for June Blogger Tuesdays with two posts. I posted them from my home in Chennai.I have traveled a long way from that time. Literally! I have crossed the oceans and traveled 10 hours back in time. I have come to another country, another continent, another world.

See….big things!!

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I boarded that flight to US in July mid (remind me to tell you that story some other time. Excerpts include a delayed flight from Chennai, raised BP, fight over checking in the cabin baggage, Olympic style midnight marathon at the airport to catch the connecting international flight and a literal last minute boarding).

The man, my dear husband, was already there a couple of months before in the US. The house hunting was over, the car was bought. The tough part was over, all I had to do was to step into the semi-set house, fix it up fully and start running it. A piece of cake, right?

What I didn’t know was when a man says the kitchen is already set, he might mean,”That’s where the salt is. That’s all one needs for cooking, right?”

You miss your comfortable home the most when you are standing in the kitchen with a big cabbage in your hand, wondering how to cut it because there is no knife or a cutting board.

You miss the simple things in life that you took for granted.

It snowballs and then you miss your family, friends and the fun you had back home.

It is a task to remind oneself that there are fun times ahead too, but that’s not the first thought that comes when you look at that cabbage in hand.

Relocating and starting from scratch is no cake walk, at least not for me. It’s been one day at a time, one meal at a time. But gets better everyday and it helps that we now have a knife and cutting board as well in the kitchen :-).

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For the recipe today, I have chosen a savory treat. It’s slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours. You can view the recipe in the book preview as well.

I am trying a corn muffin for the first time. LOVED it would be an understatement. These were quite a different treat from the usual sweet bakes and the whole batch disappeared before I could even get a decent click! These freeze well, so you can make ahead if you want to.

See you all next week!

Makes : 12 

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup flour + 1 cup cornmeal)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (yes, tbsp – not tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (or more, per your taste)
  • 3/4 spoon ground pepper powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk ( 1 blended 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 cup water and measured out one cup buttermilk)
  • 100 gm (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg yolk ( I used an egg instead)
  • Water, as needed

Oher stuff:

  • 1/2 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 red pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, cleaned and chopped fine

Method:

Heat oven to 200C/400F. Grease a muffin tray and keep aside.

Cut the butter into cubes and melt, set aside to cool.

In a large pan, mix the dry ingredients together. Ie, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, pepper and chilli powder until well combined.

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Once the butter is cooled, add the prepared buttermilk and egg/egg yolk and mix well until combined.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Whisk until combined. Don’t over mix.  I had to add some water also to get this consistency. If it happens to you as well, add water in tablespoons, until you get a lumpy batter. Don’t add too much water all at once.

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Add the corn kernels,  chopped red pepper, jalapenos and coriander leaves. Stir it in.  
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Divide the batter evenly into the muffin molds and bake for about 20 minutes or so, this time may vary from oven to oven. You can check whether the muffins are done by inserting a skewer or thin knife inserted into the middle of muffins. It is done if the skewer/knife comes out without any crumbs attached to it.

 

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Remove from the oven and let it cool down for 5 minutes in the pan itself. Carefully take them out and serve once they are warm. These can be cling wrapped and frozen as well.

 

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Grab one and have it as soon as it’s cool enough to pop into your mouth, else they will all be finished before you realize it!

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Black Forest-y cake

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This was a cake, that really took the cake! Reason? My son baked it.

From scratch.

I was the assistant. I was bringing him things, cleaning up after he left, greasing the pans, heating the oven…taking care of all the side jobs while the master chef was sieving, measuring, mixing, and making the cake.

It indeed felt proud to have a kid of 7 showing so much of interest in baking :-).

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This cake is from Sapana of Cooking with Sapana for her baby shower. It’s based on her version of black forest cake. I realized only half way through that I was short on cherries and other required stuff.

So in a nut shell, this is a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and decorated with grated chocolate and cherries and plum. I don’t think that’s too far from the local bakery’s definition of black forest cake :D.

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Assembling the cake:

  • One chocolate cake (cake of your choice would do)
  • Whipped cream
  • Syrup : 1 cup water + 1 cup sugar boiled until the sugar melts. Use once it’s cooled down OR  1 cup apple juice + 1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed in
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Cherry compote for the filling ( I didn’t make this, but definitely the next time)
  • Cherries / plum for decoration

Method:

  1. Help your kid bake the cake :-). Once the cake is baked, press down dome very softly with a clean kitchen towel. Let it cool in the pan for ten minutes.
  2. After that, take out the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a cake board or a plate and put it in a turn table.
  5. Carefully cut it into two, first turning the cake and marking with a knife from the sides and then slowly cutting through. Check this video on how to cut a cake using knife.
  6. Place the top layer into a separate plate.Brush away the crumbs on both pieces.
  7. Sprinkle some cooled sugar syrup on the lower cake layer, the one on the cake board. You can use your hands for sprinkling.
  8. Now fill the cake with whipped cream and keep the top layer on top of the filling. If the top layer has a dome, you either trim it off or keep the top layer upside down, so that the dome sits on top of the bottom layer’s filling. You can try this only if the dome is not too big.
  9. Sprinkle the sugar syrup on the top layer as well.
  10. Now, bring the whipped cream from the fridge and frost the sides and top of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfect since the top and the sides can be covered with chocolate shavings or even crumbled cake pieces. If you had cut the dome, you can crumble it and coat the sides.
  11. Once the cake is covered with fresh cream, pipe designs in the border using whipped cream in a piping bag.
  12. Fill the middle and sides with chocolate shavings or crumbled cake pieces. Decorate with cherries.
  13. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

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Simple Chocolate Cake

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At a time when I should ideally be packing as we are shifting soon, I find that I am baking a lot more than I usually do. One birthday cake order led to another and this was the second one.

I have done only a handful of orders till now. But I am learning that the more I do, the more I love this. The baking part, the decorating part, the clicking part…everything. It unwinds me like nothing else does.

More than anything, it stops me from gulping down the cake. Yeah, I am THAT bad. There is too much love for anything sweet.

Now I wish I had started taking orders earlier itself…sigh..

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This cake has eggs and was a real soft cake. I didn’t even consider adding syrup to moisten the cake. I was worried the cake will break if I do that! It’s taken from the ever-reliable Joy of Baking site. Its the Simple Chocolate Cake recipe from there.

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (400 gms)
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour (~250 gms)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (75 gms)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup warm water + 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Gather your ingredients and heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 9 inch pans with parchment paper. I wanted a tier cake, so I used a 9″ and a 6″ pan.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda, salt).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs first. Then add the milk, oil, vanilla and weak coffee.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients and the wet together using a spoon or whisk. Its better to do this in 2-3 shots. The batter will be very thin.
  5. Divide the batter between the greased and lined pans.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake.
  7. Once its baked fully, take off the oven and let it rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan itself. Slowly and carefully, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely in a wire rack, about 3 hours. At this stage, it can be cling wrapped and stored in the freezer for a later date. I always bake a day before and freeze the cakes.
  8. Once the cake is fully cooled, you can use this easy chocolate icing recipe to frost it. Final decoration for this cake was using ganache, sprinkles and gems.

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Simple Chocolate Buttercream Recipe : Step by Step pictures

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There was an order for an egg less chocolate cake for a sweet girl who was turning nine. Given that my artistic skills are quite pathetic, I was wondering how to decorate the cake. A dark brown chocolate cake with an equally dark chocolate butter cream is not that easy to decorate!

I spent two whole days browsing the net, looking for a pattern that I could use. Chocolate butter cream tastes awesome, but it leaves a dark and dull looking cake if not dressed up and presented nicely.

I was out the whole morning and that meant less time for thinking about decoration. I had almost decided on the easy ‘kitkat cake’. The thing that stopped me was that I couldn’t get enough kitkat for this cake.So I picked up some random items that could go into the cake : some cherries, Cadbury’s Gems (similar to M&M), gift chocolates from Amul etc.

And finally with a bit of sprinkles and the birthday message on top (yes, you are right : that’s a straw!) and I was as happy as the birthday girl :-).

You can check out this post for the eggless cake and for the mocha syrup as well. Scroll down for the butter cream recipe.

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Source: Maria’s menu 

Enough for covering a 6″ cake

Ingredients:

  • 100 gm butter, softened (1 stick of butter)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (1/3 cup for deeper chocolate flavour)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water (more or less)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 Method: 

IMG_3916 In a bowl, add the softened butter and cocoa powder. I wanted a lighter shade, so took only 2 tbsp. You can go upto 1/3rd cup for a deeper colour and more chocolate-y buttercream.

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Mix with a smooth until no chunk of butter remain, adding a tablespoon or two of hot water for this. IMG_3924

Sieve the icing sugar and add it to the mix. Start with 2 cups and add another half cup, if required.
IMG_3926 Mix again, adding a tbsp or two of hot water, until you get a smooth and shiny butter cream. You can add more sugar after a taste test.

I doubled this amount for the cake in the post (Two 6″ cakes)

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Toadstool Cake

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My son’s first birthday was celebrated in a very simple manner. There were no invitees, no celebration, no party and no, not even a cake. The day was special, but I didn’t want to crowd the day with unknown faces for my son.

A friend was invited for lunch, that’s all. Her call came an hour before lunch saying that she and my husband would be coming home with a cake. And I, in turn, rushed to the nearby houses and called all the kids there to come over for cake cutting.

Soon, the cake and the kids were there and we had so much of fun. Nothing was planned, but those kids were his closest friends at that point of time. They were all older than him by 4-5 years at least. They made the kiddo’s day special by doing some silly acrobatic stuff for him and how he laughed!!

And how happy I was :-)!

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It’s no wonder I am late catching up with some milestones of this virtual space of mine as well. The cake was made to celebrate two occasions. One to mark my son’s ‘all rounder’ performance and his promotion to third standard. Another to mark three years of ‘My Kitchen Trials’.

All this happened in April, in between the Indian Food Odyssey.

I forgot to celebrate three hundred posts here, but before I could make up my mind about celebrating, I have already reached at the 400th post. So, well, this cake is for that as well.

I started the blog as a strict one-year project. End of the year, I decided to extend for another year. And now its three years completed and  I am looking at 5 now.

I would never have reached here, if not for the support of fellow bloggers, especially my Blogging Marathon friends.

And You : who is right now reading this post. Thank you :-).

The cake here is a hot milk cake, covered with fondant and decorated using small fondant cutters.

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

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There are times when you sit and ponder over a hundred things that you can do nothing about. There is this non-stop worry about kids, parents, spouse, house and so many other things.

I worry about the water pressure in the bath room shower, plumbing spindle in the kitchen, DG automatic switching problems when the power goes off, the car that has gone for servicing, the cost of living, the kid answering me back, my parenting skills, my driving skills and the builder asking for extra money.

Lots of worries?? Yes…but these are the ones I won’t trade.

For these are minor worries in the larger scale of life. These are stuff that can be attended to : with time or money. And I thank God that my worries are limited to the water spindle in the kitchen or how the cake turns out when its taken out of the oven.

It’s stressful at times, but on the whole, it’s a blessed life indeed.

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The best way to relax when you ‘worry limit’ reaches a point is to just pick that cocoa powder up and get baking! Like this pudding cake, for example.

This can be baked in 6 individual ramekins as well. You need to add about 2 tbsp of cocoa-sugar topping and 3 tbsp of coffee for each ramekin. Baking time should be reduced to about 20 minutes.

Recipe Source: The Family Baking Book, by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

For the topping:**

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I didn’t have any, so I used white regular sugar itself)
  • 1.5 cups water + 2 tsp instant coffee powder for coffee

** I found the cake to be a bit too sweet, so I would suggest cutting down a bit on the sugar – May be 1/4 cup each.

For the cake:

  • 60 gms chocolate, cut into small bits
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 85 gms butter (6 tbsp), cut into smaller pieces
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk (I skipped this)

Method: 

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Gather the ingredients first.

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Chop the chocolate into bits, microwave it with 1/3rd cocoa powder and butter for 30 seconds intervals until melted and smooth. Keep aside to cool down.

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Whisk the flour and baking powder. Keep aside.

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Keep the topping ready : mix 1/3 cup cocoa powder with 1/3 cup white granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar.

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In a big bowl, add the milk, remaining 2/3 cup white granulated sugar, vanilla essence and egg yolk. Whisk well until its all mixed.

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Add the microwaved (now cool) chocolate mix to this. Whisk until everything is incorporated.

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Add the flour-baking powder mix in 2-3 batches, mixing until just combined.

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Pour the batter into a well-greased pan.

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Add the cocoa powder + sugar mix on top.

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Prepare the coffee mix – heat 2 tsp instant coffee powder with 1.5 cups water.

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Pour this weak coffee on top of the levelled sugar layer.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges have come off the sides.

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Let the cake cool for at least half an hour before serving. Serve with some home-made ice cream.

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