Dec 31, 2014

My Cake journey in 2014

I wanted to make sure I do a last post for the year, so though I couldn't manage writing up a recipe I'll share a lot of sweet treats with you that I created over the year and Wish you all a very fruitful, healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year 2015! May all your dreams come true...

I might have mentioned this a zillion times before but I will say it again, I love Cakes. My mom was the first person who baked cakes in our entire family and though she made simple cakes, they were a family favorite and I used to be fantasized each time she used to bake. I still remember a Chocolate cake that she baked which kinda overflowed while baking due to too much batter in the pan but that formed a pudding like topping over the was the bestest Chocolate Cake I have ever eaten till now ;-)
Although I was certain I might bake some day when I grew older I never thought I would actually make so many varieties of themed cakes and 3D structured cakes or try my hand at so many flavors, techniques and tiers of cakes!! 

I never knew that Baking, Designing and Decorating Cakes would be my passion. I can just dream of cakes, all day long. 
This year if there's anything I'm most proud about then it would be the type of cakes I got to make and I'm proud of them all :-)  I'm even more thankful to my family and friends who give me all kinds of opportunities to pursue my passion and who trusts me with baking cakes for their special occasions.

A Celebration is never complete without Cake, so in that sense I've celebrated a lot this year...Lol! So I thought I would share them all with you...yes, all the cakes I baked this year. Most of them have been shared on the blog except for a few, which I will share shortly.

The Celebration Cakes I baked this year:

Patterned Swiss Roll Cake for Valentine's Day
Flavor: Vanilla Sponge Cake with Whipped cream filling and fresh Pineapple chunks

Surprise B'day cake for a dear friend
Flavor: Chocolate Cake with Orange Marmalade cream
Decorated with Chocolate cigarettes and a fun Chantilly design using chocolate ganache

B'day Cake for none other than my hubs, Manish. 
Flavor: Tres Leches Cake with a Lychee Mousse filling topped with Whipped Cream. 
Decorated with Chocolate Lace collar, Maraschino cherries, chocolate cutouts and chocolate shards

A get-together with friends demanded a sweet treat and that too when all of them were pregnant at the same time!! So I baked these mini cakes and decorated them all in different styles. Each got one and they were all so amused.
Flavor: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

The year cannot end without me baking my favorite cake: Christmas Fruit Cake
The dry fruits n nuts used in this cake had been soaking in Rum for past 2 yrs ;-) Boooozy!!

The Theme based Cakes baked over the year:

My first ever 3D cake....the cake my little 3 year old loves the most even now, his Dinosaur Cake for his roaaring Dino theme b'day party! 
Flavor: Rich Chocolate Cake (with a mild mocha flavor) with Chocolate chips and Vanilla Buttercream

A Spiderman themed party calls for a Spiderman themed cake for sweet lil'Avyay who turned 3, Avyay is Appu's best bud from 6months old!
Flavor: Black and white:  alternating flavors of Vanilla and Chocolate Cake
I had later added a number 3 cutout in the centre.

A gorgeous Frozen themed Cake baked for our sweet lil'Gia's 1st birthday. We know the little munchkin since she was just few months old and it's been a pleasure to see her grow. 
Flavor: Butter Vanilla with cake slices in alternating shades of blue and white.
Decorated with Blue Ombre rosettes on bottom tier to match the white rosette backdrop and top tier in a Quilt pattern with Blue beads over fondant.

A Construction themed cake with the b'day boys favorite construction toys in a busy construction site!
Flavor: Rich Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese filling, covered in Chocolate Ganache
The decorations included fondant cutouts, crushed brownie bites, graham crackers, buttercream grass and lots of chocolates. The Construction Cone shaped candles were a fun addition to the cake. 

Aditi loves strawberry cakes and is a die-hard fan of the cartoon Callilou. So that was the theme for her 4th b'day cake
Flavor: Strawberry cake with fresh strawberries with creamy Vanilla Buttercream frosting.
The sides of the cake had a Train cutout and also an aeroplane, some alphabets and numbers, making it a very fun cake.

A Bollywood themed birthday cake for a milestone birthday. As Rajeev turned 40, his cake shined with the bling from the dico ball.
Flavor: Top Tier: Butter Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
                  Bottom Tier: Rich Chocolate Ckae with Chocolate buttercream
The cake was coated with Dark Chocolate Ganache and covered with my homemade Marshmallow fondant and each gold bead was stuck by hand, even the Paisleys are hand cut.

A fun and bright cake for a fun little boy, Sanav. My son Appu and Sanav are best buds too and he can never go by any weekend without meeting his favorite Sanav bhaiyya.  Sanav is crazy about Thomas the Train and that was the theme for his cake as he turned 4 this year.
Flavor: Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Our good friends tied the knot this year. The wedding called for an elegant tiered wedding cake. This was the first time I made Red fondant, used Gold lustre dust and even worked with Royal icing and I loved the entire experience. It was also my first 3 tiered cake.
Flavor: Bottom Tier: Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
                   Middle Tier: Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Buttecream
                   Top Tier: White Wedding Cake with fresh Mango Buttercream

I realized I had some drawing skills after I made this cake for a program being conducted by our local regional association. The deco on the cake was based on the winning logo that was drawn by a little girl for the logo competition at the program :)
A full Sheet cake all baked at home and decorated with colored gel icing.
Flavor: Rich Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttecream

Cupcakes: Themed and Celebration cupcakes

My first try at 2D royal Icing transfers started with my son's Dino themed Cupcakes. I made 4 different shaped dinos in green and yellow shades and placed them on top of the mini cupcakes I baked apart from the Dino bday cake for his 3rd b'day this year. It was a superb experience and an easy option of making cupcake toppers that both suits the theme and are sweet and edible :)
Cupcake Flavor: Rich Chocolate with Vanilla buttercream (colored orange) and royal Icing Dino topper

Another set of 2 D royal icing cupcake toppers went on these Frozen Themed cupcakes in Blue and Pink shade for a pretty Ruhi celebrating her 8th b'day. The kids were more crazy for the Olaf topped cupcakes. The olaf and snowflakes are made of Royal Icing.
Cupcake Flavor: Rich Chocolate with Vanilla Buttercream

I've always wanted to try making sugar flowers, so when the blog turned 3yrs I decided to give it a try. They came out perfect for my first try and my friends who got them were too amused to eat them :-) Pretty Chocolate Cupcakes with dual toned Buttecream roses!
Cupcake Flavor: Rich Chocolate with Vanilla Buttercream

Wanting to give a try at making filled Cupcakes, I made these simple Vanilla Cupcakes and filled them with a sweet and tart mixed berry compote. A small border of vanilla buttecream was all it needed to make these cupcakes pop!
Cupcake Flavor: Vanilla with Mixed Berry compote filling and Vanilla Buttercream

I missed out on a couple of occasions to make cakes, like my own B'day and our Wedding Anniversary etc, but I'm still happy with what I've accomplished this year. I have tons more to learn and want to try my hand at lot more techniques next year and if I master them then maybe do a few tutorials to help out more of you who's yearning to learn :-) 

So with these sweet treats I sign off this year.....Hope you all have a fun time filled with new hope, aspirations and dreams for the coming year. I sure do :-)

Once again here's my family wishing you all a Very Happy New Year 2015!!


Dec 22, 2014

Baked Turkey Meatballs

The year is winding down and thankfully we've been having a rather good winter this year until now. Thanks to warmer temperatures now and then, the snow keeps melting and we've been having rains than show showers and I feel great that I can still see some greenery in my backyard even though it's still pretty cold to stand outside. 

The usual round of flu, coughs and ear infections have done its rounds at our household and I hope things will be quiet and healthy for sometime :) I've been making a lot of clear soups to help with all the sickness and even my lil'Appu enjoys sipping on warm soups. Chicken Noodle Soup is our all time favorite, but sometimes for a change I make slight modifications and that's how I ended up trying out these baked meatballs to add to the soup. My initial plan was to try them with ground chicken, but all I got was ground Turkey at our grocers and I was fine with that.

These meatballs bake up in an instant and turn out so flavorful, juicy and yumm!  After I had made them once, I figured this was so so easy to make, so I made these as appetizers for several potlucks we were invited to and they were a hit! 

The meatballs are mildly flavored which makes them perfect to add to any bbq sauce of your choice and they instantly turn into a lovely appetizer. They are perfect to add to soups or to spicy gravies or even for a Spaghetti with marinara and meatball version. Turkey meatballs are very low in fat and good for people watching their diet yet would like to indulge now and then ;-) 

I just used whatever I had in my fridge to add to the meatballs. I purposely did not flavor them with any spices as I had plans on making a separate sauce to coat the meatballs in, but if you want feel free to flavor the meatballs with any spices you like. 

I used this brand of ground turkey. If you get a 99% Lean ground Turkey breast then use that by all means. Ground Chicken or Beef works just as well to make these meatballs.

Just make the meatball mixture, scoop into balls and place on baking sheet and bake away. I just used my melon baller to form equal sized balls and placed them on a baking sheet lined with wax/parchment paper like below ;-)

Baked Turkey Meatballs
Makes: 35-40 meatballs

You’ll Need
1 Lb Ground Turkey
¼ cup Breadcrumbs 
¼ cup grated/powdered Parmesan cheese 
½ cup chopped Red Onions
1 clove minced Garlic
1 large Egg
½ cup chopped Cilantro leaves
1 Tblsp Mint leaves
2 tsp crushed Black Pepper
¼ tsp Salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with hands until properly incorporated.
3. Use a melon baller to scoop out equal sized balls and place them on a baking sheet covered with wax/parchment paper. This makes about 35-40 mini meatballs. Use an icecream scoop or Tablespoon for bigger meatballs.
4. Bake in oven for 13-15 mins.  (Do not over-bake)
5. Once cooled transfer to an air-tight container and enjoy!

1. The color of the meatballs may look undone even after baking for 15mins, but that’s just how it’ll look. They won’t form a crust and should not brown (if browned them you’ll end up with tough and chewy meatballs)
2. Spice up the meatballs with garam masala, red chilli flakes or any other spices if you prefer a stronger flavor.
3. The meatballs freeze well. Shape and freeze before baking and bake them when needed.
4. The Parmesan cheese is optional, it just adds a bit more flavor. If you want a more cheesy flavor you can also use mozerella cheese or else omit the cheese all-together and add 1/4 tsp more salt.

I made a Berry BBQ sauce to coat over these meatballs when I took them for a potluck dinner. This is what I'll be sharing next and trust me they are damn good, perfect for your upcoming Holiday come back soon!


Dec 10, 2014

Bollywood theme cake with Paisley decorations and Gold beads!

I’m delighted to share this Bollywood Themed Cake with Paisley decorations and Gold beads that I made for a friend’s surprise party that she was throwing for her husband’s 40th birthday. The party theme was fun! 
Her only requirement was a colorful and grand looking tiered cake with a disco ball as topper.
As it was for her husband, I wanted the cake colors to be more neutral, yet full of color with all the bollywood bling and decided to go with an Orange and Blue color combo, with accents of Gold ;-)


The top tier is a rich and buttery Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream filling, coated in Dark chocolate Ganache and covered in Royal Blue colored Marshmallow Fondant.

The bottom tier is a luscious Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream filling, coated in Dark chocolate Ganache and covered in Orange colored Marshmallow Fondant.

Each paisley is hand cutout, sprayed mildly with edible gold spray for a shine and decorated with edible gold beads. The smaller paisley cutouts were painted with edible gold and orange luster dust alternatively. The decoration took a lot of time, imagine sticking each gold bead one by one around the entire cutouts and around the border of the cake! But the end result was worth it.

For the top-tier I went with a quilted design decorated with edible gold beads with a bead impression lace mat border shaded gold. 

The inspiration for the name plaque was this Bollywood banner (pic from google images)

I made star shaped impressions to give the idea that the husband, ‘Rajeev’, is the star of the party! :-)

The Disco Ball topper is non-edible. I used a Styrofoam ball which was sprayed in gold color and stuck gold colored sequins all around. I placed it on top of a smaller round Styrofoam block which I wrapped around with a pretty Red ribbon with golden bead piping. 

When I went to the party hall to setup the cake, I was spell bound with the decorations. The Bollywood theme just screamed out with the colorful decorations ! It was just spectacular and a sight to behold....

I love the way light bounced off the gold sequins giving it a sparkly effect.

Look at the beautiful table decoration with the hidden lights and all....Loved it!

Making this cake was such a pleasure...although there were a few hiccups while decorating the cake, it was all resolved quickly and perfectly and I was very satisfied with the end result. It looked elegant and neat and the colors were perfect for the birthday ;-) 

I cannot end this post with thanking my friends for giving me this opportunity and trusting me with the cake for their beautiful surprise party and also to my husband who stayed up with me all the time while making this cake. Without him this cake wouldn't have been possible!

Your comments and feedback are my inspiration, so please don't forget to share your thoughts on this cake :-) Muah!


Dec 8, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes with mixed Berry compote filling

I made these cupcakes last month and even wrote up a post for posting them, but got caught up with tons of other things that it got delayed so long. Anyway last month, when I made these it had been a while since I  had baked anything at all. Finally I decided to just bake something very simple and ended up baking these simple vanilla cupcakes. These are my all time favorite, they are moist with a tender crumb and tastes great!

Look at these golden beauties, aren't they just lovely! They were still slightly warm when we ate them as we couldn't wait any longer and it was really good. After a while, I kept staring at my plain vanilla cupcakes, which btw I baked in colorful liners, the green one on special request by my son (he loves the color green).

I had some mixed berry compote in the fridge which I had made to make use of a leftover bag of mixed berries that was stashed away and literally forgotten in my freezer. And that's when the light bulb went on, why not make a filling of the yumm berry compote for these cupcakes. It sounded very good to me and I went ahead with it.

A fruit compote is almost a jam like sauce made with fresh/frozen fruit, some sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch (as thickner). It can be used as a filling for cakes/cupcakes, on top of pancakes/waffles, as a spread for bread/chapathi, as a topping for icecream sundaes and plenty more :-) It's quick to make and totally yumm.

Then I went ahead and scooped out tiny rounds from the centre of each cupcake using my melon baller. Go ahead, eat those little balls that you scooped out, I won't tell anyone ;-)

Fill each little hole with a good tsp full of berry compote...

Ta-Da...don't they look good!


I would have just left them at that. But I wanted them to look more pretty so I went and made a small batch of vanilla buttercream and used that to make a flower like pattern for the cupcakes and they looked delightful ;-) 

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
Yields- 15-16 cupcakes

You’ll Need:
1 ¼  cups cake flour
1 ¼  tsp baking powder
½  tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
¾  cup sugar
1 ½  tsp pure vanilla extract
½  cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
½  cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil and beat.
4. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.
5. The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.
6. Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
7. Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Homemade buttermilk
1/2 cup Buttermilk =  1/2 cup milk + 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice - add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using
Recipe source: Glorious Treats

Mixed Berry Compote

You’ll Need
1 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry)
½ cup sugar
½ Tblsp lemon juice
3 tsp Cornstarch (use as needed)

1. In a pan add the mixed berries and sugar and keep the heat on medium and wait until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts bubbling.
2. Add the lemon juice and enough cornstarch to make a thick jam-like sauce. Once its reached desired consistency turn off the heat.

The Berry compote is slightly tart yet sweet and very fruity and goes very well with the Vanilla Cupcakes. I bet the compote pairs well well with chocolate cupcakes too, gotta try that combo sometime.
Here's all the berry goodness with each bite...yumm!!

I made a fun gif image of the cupcakes getting ready ;-).... I love gif images, even more than videos !

Take care then...enjoy! Tons of recipes and cakes left to share....I hope to share them all before end of year ;-P