Beach theme & Cricket theme Cakes for an Event

Cricket fever is on -- while tension, excitement and nail-biting matches rule the air! With the ongoing Cricket World Cup, the talk of Cricket dominates every table talk.

Recently a friend ordered this cricket themed cake for her husband's birthday. I couldn't have done this at a better time.

It is a Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing in between the layers and frosted with vanilla buttercream colored a pale green to depict the grassy field. I have made a Cricket themed before, but I've added a few more details to this one.

All cricket gear (except wickets) is completely edible and hand-made with a mixture of Fondant and Gumpaste. Fondant is rollable sugar icing, which can be easily molded and can be used to cover cakes to achieve a smooth neat finish.

I am sending this Cricket themed Cake over to Priya's Crazy For Cakes Event. Thanks Priya, for letting me know about your event.

I am also sending this Beach themed Cake to the same event. With summer just around the corner, I figured it would be apt to send in something related to the season as well.

This is a chocolate cake too, layered with chocolate icing. The icing on top is Vanilla butter cream colored blue. All beach items are hand-made using Fondant.

Everything is completely edible. Recipes used for the cakes are given below:

Chocolate Cake & Chocolate icing - click for recipes

Wilton's Vanilla Butter cream:
You will need:

1 cup White Vegetable shortening
1 tbsp Meringue powder
4 tbsp Water
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Cream the shortening, vanilla flavoring and water until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and meringue powder and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until smooth and combined. Color as required.

You can use 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup butter, the consistency will be different and adjust the amount of water accordingly. It may not need 4 tbsp.

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake for the Daring Bakers

“The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.”

I made a savory and sweet version of this yeasted coffee cake, and boy, did the cakes taste good! The dough is silky and smooth, and very pleasant to work with. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge.

Recipe Source: Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

Preparation time:
For the dough:
10 - 15 minutes preparation of the dough
8 – 10 minutes kneading
45 – 60 minutes first rise
10 – 15 minutes to prepare meringue, roll out, fill and shape dough
an additional 45 – 60 minutes for second rising.

Baking time: approximately 30 minutes

Equipment required:
Measuring cups for dry ingredients
Measuring cup for liquid
Measuring spoons
Cutting board and sharp knife for chopping nuts & chocolate if using
2 large mixing bowls
1 small mixing bowl
1 medium mixing bowl for beating egg whites, preferably plastic or metal
1 medium saucepan
Electric mixer or stand mixer
Wooden spoon
Rolling pin
Clean kitchen scissors or sharp knife
Plastic wrap & clean kitchen towel
Parchment paper
2 medium-sized baking trays (or 1 large if your oven is large enough)
Cooling racks
Serving platter
Vegetable oil to grease bowl

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter. The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake. I made two cakes, one sweet with the original challenge recipe and one savory, with my own recipe. 

For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:
Sweet Coffee Cake:
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Savory Coffee Cake:

¼ cup Tomato & Basil Garlic sauce, from a jar
¼ cup Parmesan, grated
¼ cup Mozzarella, grated
¼ cup Green bell peppers, sliced
¼ cup Onions, sliced
¼ cup Cauliflower, thinly sliced florets
2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Chilli flakes
Salt to taste

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes
1 tsp each Parmesan & Oregano, for the savory cake

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling: In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.

Saute onions, peppers and cauliflower in oil until almost done. Add the chilli flakes and season with salt. Cool completely before using as filling. 

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line two baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue

For the Sweet Cake: Half of the cinnamon-sugar followed, by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate. If you are making two sweet cakes, then use remaining half for the other cake.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge. I shaped into a crescent, and slashed the dough on top with a sharp knife. 

For the Savory Cake: Spread the meringue, and then the sauce. Top with roasted veggies, parmesan and mozzarella. Roll into a log and transfer to prepared cookie sheet. Make slits on top with a sharp knife.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the top of the sweet coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day. Serve the savory cake as is. 

Thanks to Ria and Jamie for a delicious challenge, the yeasted meringue coffee cake recipe is a keeper!

Melting Moments - Butter Cookies/Benne Biscuit

The quintessential Benne (Butter)Biscuit.. the soft, melt in the mouth kind - a whiff of these cookies being baked in the Iyengar bakeries, can be smelled from almost a block away. If you ever grew up in India and snacked on bakery goods, the benne biscuit would have certainly made it to your plate. And not to forget these Khara Biscuits as well.

You will need: (Makes around 30 – 32 cookies)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter, at room temp
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tbsp Milk
3/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar using a hand-held beater or a stand up mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Sieve the all-pupose flour and baking powder, twice into a medium bowl. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour to the creamed butter. Add milk and continue to mix until the dough comes into a soft ball. Shape into small marble sized balls and place an inch apart on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to slightly brown. The cookies will still be soft, transfer them carefully using a thin flat spatula to a cooling rack.

Cool for 5-10 minutes and then store them in an air-tight container. I like these cookies to be slightly flatter hence I made bigger balls of dough so they would spread out. If you like them mounded like the traditional benne biscuits, then make the suggested marble sized balls of dough and bake.

Rigatoni with Basil Pesto and Caramalized Onions

Last night was Pasta night again. Whenever hubby travels on work, I get a chance to experiment with various pasta dishes. I'd rather be the guinea pig first before serving it to any one else :) 

Time spent in the kitchen yielded good results. Basil Pesto finds its way into a lot of my dishes in more than one way, so I always make a large batch and freeze them in portions for later use. Its usually made using Pine nuts, but I prefer to make it with walnuts, tastes different and better too in my opinion.

You will need:

1/2 lb Rigatoni
¼ cup prepared Basil Pesto
1 tomato chopped
1 Onion thinly sliced
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp grated Parmesan, to top

Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt the water and then add the Rigatoni. Stir and cook for 12 minutes until pasta is done.

While the pasta cooks, heat a pan with olive oil. Add the thinly sliced onions and sauté on medium high heat. When the sides begin to brown, lower heat and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown. Turn off heat, add the tomatoes, pesto, drained pasta, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and coat the pasta with pesto.

Top with the parmesan and serve warm.

Voila! Nothing fancy but enough to have you going back for seconds.Enjoy!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin