Cement Mixer Cake!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Chilled Chicken Baked Salad

For the summer, a dinner which cools you down.

Lay chopped spinach leaves in a baking dish. Add chopped boneless chicken legs rubbed with a simple herb paste. I used coriander, mint, garlic, green chillies and olive oil.

On top of the chicken place chopped capsicum.

We arrange this way to protect the tender spinach by keeping at the base. The chicken is sandwiched in between to keep it moist. The capsicum on top will char a little and that makes it taste really good.

Bake at 190 celsius for 40 minutes.

Chill for a couple of hours.

At time of serving garnish with something salty like feta.

Olive Oil, Sour Cream and Whole Wheat Cake

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I love to experiment with food. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they are an embarrassment. But they are all a valuable lesson in my food journey.

This is an experiment that was quite good. My strongest critic a.k.a The Wife asked for two extra slices and that means a lot.

There are only portion sizes because I did not measure anything. This is a big issue with baking but sometimes I take the liberty to just eyeball the quantities and it works. Also I would like to emphasize that we should never be afraid of the oven. Its not a big mystery box that punishes any small mistake.

While cakes are best made with Maida, I used Whole Wheat flour. This makes the texture dense but I had no Maida at home and don’t really mind this. If you want a lighter cake use Maida.

Took about 50 grams of sour cream and added 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Blended them into a smooth paste:

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Then added into this two eggs and the juice of one lemon. Blended this into a smooth airy paste.

Meanwhile took about one cup of whole wheat flour, half a cup of icing sugar and a teaspoon of baking powder. Used to whisk to break up lumps and mix them well:

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Combined both the dry and wet ingredients and it resulted in a slightly thick but smooth paste.

Lay this down into a bread tin lined with butter paper. I was not sure about the cake. There was always the fear that it will not come out smoothly but my fear turned out to be unfounded.

Baked for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius and then brushed milk on the top. Baked another 15 minutes and tested by pricking in a tooth pick.

Some icing on this cake would have made it really standout. A little cinnamon powder would have helped elevate its flavor to a different dimension.

But overall am very happy with the end result.

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Baked Chicken and Vegetables

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Use any sturdy vegetable like pumpkin, beetroot or carrot. Chop them into 1 to 2 centimeter pieces and place in a baking dish. Keep chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle salt, any dried herb like oregano or thyme, chilly flakes. Drizzle olive oil.

 

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Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes. Then use only top heat at 220 for 10 mins. Remove the chicken pieces and now bake at 220-230 for another ten minutes to reduce the amount of liquid collected around the vegetables.

Eat it hot or cold. This is a easy dish when you have time but don’t have time for actually cooking in the kitchen. The entire amount of work you did would have taken you less than 10 mins. A hearty wholesome meal rich in everything nice.

Eggless Princess Cake

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Limited experience baking but when my daughters birthday came up, we decided to try and make a princess cake.

This is a simple breakdown of how amateurs can make a simple and pretty cake.

There are two pressure cookers  and one oven in my house.

So we made three cakes using:

The chocolate cooker cake was made in a dish shaped like this:

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Once baked and cooled we levelled them and made a small hole in the middle of the cakes.

Prepared a simple sugar syrup. Its just 2 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water while heating it on a stove. Once the sugar has dissolved, cover the dish and switch off the heat. Let it cool down.And add vanilla essence.

Beat the Creamy Vanilla Icing using a silicone spatula
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Take two tablespoons of milk and dissolve bright red food color into it. Add it to the icing and mix it well.

The cake baked in the oven is the base. Pour some sugar syrup on it. Then using the spatula apply the icing on top. Now the soft cake and icing don’t immediately stick. So the trick is to take a bit in the spatula. Let it hold on for a moment or two and then pull the spatula. Its not very complicated and you will figure it out as you do it.

Place the vanilla cooker cake on top. Pour sugar syrup Apply icing on its top.

Now place the final chocolate cooker cake on it so that the shape of the cake is ready.

The cakes will not exactly match up. So do a bit of trimming using a sharp knife. Finally apply the icing all over the sides of the stacked up cakes.This is crumb coat.

Think of this icing as a plaster on a dry wall. Its purpose is to hold the cakes together and give a smoother base for the final coat.

Now put the cake in a fridge and leave it overnight or a couple of hours.

Prepare a creamy vanilla icing and a regular butter cream icing. For regular butter cream simply beat butter till its really smooth and then add icing sugar:

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You cannot use powdered sugar. This icing sugar contains maize starch, which helps in holding the shape of the butter cream.

The creamy vanilla icing is colored pink. This is firmer than the regular butter cream we will use without color.

Now make rings around the cake in pink. Use an applicator. If you don’t have it then use a plastic ziplock bag. Keep the cake in the fridge for at least 30 mins before applying the butter cream. The softer butter cream will be gripped in place by the pink rings.

Place the doll in the hole after wrapping it with cling film.

There is no limit to the designs you want to try out.

Its a lovely and fun way to celebrate a special day.

Paneer Sandwich

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Take a paneer block and carefully cut it into slices.

Grated carrots, chopped green chilly without seeds and mint leaves. Add a little olive oil to mix them well. Season with salt and pepper.

Make a sandwich and apply an egg wash using a brush.

Bake for 25 mins at 180 degrees Celsius.

Enjoy with some tomato ketchup.