Birthday Cake

This is not a full recipe kind of post. It’s more about a fun day working in the kitchen and creating a beautiful cake. There are three cakes baked a day before the actual party. This is important. The other option is to go into a catatonic mess as time runs out.

Color all three cakes with colors of your choice. I baked eggless cakes with orange, brown and pink.

The cakes must be fully cooled before you move them around. Hot cakes will continue steaming and mess up the cream and ganache layers.

Once they are cool, place the bottom layer on some parchment paper. Then apply a layer of ganache on top of it. Ganache is incredibly easy to make in a microwave. Simply melt some compound chocolate. Do this by microwaving it for 30 seconds. Use a silicon spatula to whisk it. If its hard, microwave for another 30 seconds. Keep doing in intervals of 30 seconds. This will prevent any burning as it allows you to keep a close watch. Add some warm milk. Add enough milk to get the desired consistency. It should be like a toothpaste. Spread it around the top of the cake. Place the second cake upside down. This will give you a flat surface to work on.

Repeat the process and place the third layer on top.

Leave it for about 30 mins. Let the ganache set and cement the cakes together.

You can either trim the outside of the cakes to form a smooth layer. The other option is to leave them as they are and fill with butter cream frosting. I prefer the latter as its more cream and that is always good.

Prepare butter cream by whisking together equal weights of unsalted butter and icing sugar. Do NOT use regular sugar, which you powdered in a mixie. Icing sugar is a different thing and has additives that help in providing firmness to the cream.

Investing in a revolving cake turntable is highly recommended. These cost less than Indian Rupees 400. They make life very easy.

Fill the butter cream in a piping bag and if you have ever applied mehendi or filled engine oil in a bike, you can easily do this. Apply a layer all around the cake, revolving the turntable to get a smooth piped design. Fill in the gaps. This is NOT your final icing. This is what we call a crumb coat. This will make the outside smooth. It will provide adequate traction for the final layer, smoothen the layer with a icing spatula. This spatula is another low cost investment.

Leave the cake in the fridge, overnight. Its a good idea to not have any smelly vegetables in the fridge as it may not be possible to keep the cake fully covered and we are not baking a cabbage delight.

Prepare multiple batches of butter cream in different colors.

There are no limits to what you can do.

Go wild, Go Mad. Google for cake icing patterns and simply follow what you like.

The first cake you make, may look funny. But a little bit of patience and you will bring up cakes that look just as awesome as they taste.

Involving your kids will not only teach them a few skills but imagine the pride as they show off their birthday cake.

Orange and Carrot Cake

The carrots are grated and they will be the basis of all the other measurements. Pack the grated carrots into a cup. You will mostly need about a cup of approximately 400 ml. We will call this volume as 2x.

You need:

  • Grated carrots: 2x
  • The grated rind of an Orange.
  • Juice of half an orange.
  • Maida: 1.5x
  • Softened Butter: 0.75x
  • Sugar: 0.75x
  • Eggs: 3
  • Baking powder: 1 teaspoon.
  • Baking Soda: 1/2 teaspoon.

Cream butter and sugar. When it’s beautifully creamy and the sugar has almost fully dissolved add the eggs one by one. Mix well.

Add orange rind and juice. Mix well.

Seive the maida with baking soda and powder.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients. Work fast. Your oven should be already preheated by this time to 180C.

Fold in the grated carrots. They must be fully coated in the cake batter.

Into the oven using a buttered pan.

30-40 mins later check using a toothpick.

Let it cool before slicing.

It’s the toughest part as it smells super awesome. We did not wait…..

Enjoy the softest carrot cake ever.

Roasted Chicken and Egg Plant

IMG_20180109_114335-01-01-01.jpeg

You need:

  • Chicken with skin, a pair of legs and thighs with skin on.
  • 6-7 long and thin Eggplants, with slits. Refer picture.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Salt and Pepper.

In an oven safe baking dish, spread out the eggplants. Drizzle olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper.

Spread out chicken on top of eggplants. Sprinkle salt and pepper but no oil.

Cover dish with aluminium foil and make two tiny holes to vent out steam. 40 mins at 200C. Remove the foil. Brush some oil on the chicken skin.

20 mins at 220C.

Remove chicken pieces and with only top heat bake the eggplants to dry them up.

Serve with any creamy sauce.

Puffed Cheese Pizza

You need:

  • 200 grams of button mushrooms, chopped up.
  • 1 red pepper.
  • A tablespoon of all purpose seasoning.
  • Grated cheese about four or five healed tablespoons.
  • Garlic cloves, chopped.
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil.
  • One readymade Puff Pastry sheet.
  • One beaten egg or milk for glazing.

To prepare the filling, first saute the garlic in olive oil. Then cook the mushrooms on high heat till they have lost almost all their water comment. Add the red pepper and cook on low heat till there is very little moisture left. Let it cool.

Spread out the puff pastry. Cut parallel lines about a cm apart. They must extend from the base to about 3 inches from the top. So there is a three inch band on top. Place grated cheese in this area. Keep the cooked mushrooms on top of the cheese. Roll down the band.

Rotate the rolled pastry to form a doughnut shape. Brush either a beaten egg or milk.

Bake for about 20-30 mins at 200 C.

Let it cool before you serve it. The cheese will be very hot and when you invariably burn your tongue, remember I did warn you.

Chicken with Pumpkin Puree

IMG_20170823_113447579-01

This is a simple recipe but you can also do an extra step , which is totally worth it.

You need:

  • Half a chicken.
  • A small pumpkin
  • Dry oregano
  • Red chilli flakes
  • Olive oil

When you get the chicken home and after you clean it, rub salt all over it. If you plan to use the chicken right away let it stay for at least half an hour. Else you can also freeze it with the salt.

Before using the chicken wash away the excess salt. This will make it super juicy when cooked.

Rub pumpkin pieces with 3 teaspoons of oregano, 1 teaspoon of red chilly flakes with a tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap in foil.

Rub 3 teaspoons of red chilly flakes, 1 teaspoon of oregano with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the chicken. Wrap in foil.

Bake in an oven keeping both the foil packets beside each other at 180 C.

Now you have a choice. Either bake for an hour and complete your dish or proceed to the make it more interesting.

For the more interesting dish, bake for only 40 mins.

Remove the skin from the pumpkin pieces. Blend in a mixie along with some milk to make a smooth paste.

IMG_20170823_112255393

Heat a thick pan and place the chicken breast side down. Pour the puree around the chicken. Lower the heat and cook covered for 30 mins Remove the chicken and let it rest. Meanwhile mix all the juices into the pumpkin puree. It will have picked up a brilliant color and more complex flavors.

 

 

Baked Sliders

You need:

  • Mashed Meat.
  • Pav Buns
  • Cheese slices
  • Thick Tomato Slices
  • Butter

Slice the pav buns horizontally to get two layers. Butter a dish and keep the base of the pav buns. Spread the mashed meat, keep tomato slices on top. Cheese slices to cover the tomatoes.

Keep the top layer and lightly brush with butter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C.

Super tasty finger food.

Needs no condiments.

Cement Mixer Cake!

PhotoGrid_1497977783121

Every birthday we have a choice.

Contact some talented baker and get the perfect cake or make it a fun activity and involve the kids in baking their birthday cake.

My wife and I choose the latter option. Earlier this year we made this adorable Princess Cake for our daughter. This time we asked our boy what would he like. He chose his Cement Mixer Truck!!!!

Challenge Accepted.

We baked two cakes. One was round and the other is a rectangle. The rectangle forms the base of the cake and is left untouched.

The first cut in the round cake was along the red lines. The distance between the red lines was equal to the width of the rectangle cake.

first cut

Kept the two semi circles on top of the rectangle cake as an ellipse.

The remaining cake from the now cut up round cake was cut into pieces to become the cabin of the truck, a wedge kept at the rear of the truck to hold up the ellipse. The remaining cake was placed on top of the ellipse to give it height. Every pieces was stuck to the other by using butter cream. Before that a little drizzle of sugar syrup to keep the cake moist.

PhotoGrid_1497977914794

Once the crumb coating is completed, leave the cake in a fridge for a couple of hours.

For decorating the cake you can either go crazy with more cream or simply break small chocolates and arrange them like the windscreen and decals. The wheels are Oreo cookies.

A simple cake that tastes amazing and since the kids are also involved in making it…becomes a fantastic memory.