Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Baby Turns Three!! Celebrating with Train Cake

Happy B'day Vineet!!

My li'l baby is now three years old!! This year I made a train cake for him which we took to his school. I followed this video to make the train. For the cake I used this recipe - baked the batter in a 9" loaf pan (for about 60 minutes). I made two batches for two loaf pans.

I did not take step by step pictures because the entire process was time consuming and I had a lot of buttercream all over my hands!! I used Wilton's store-bought icing to ice and decorate the cakes. All the steps are clearly given in the video. I more or less followed the video, making a few changes here and there.

I finished decorating the cake at 3am what with the crumb coating and all. My son was up till about 10 pm, wondering when I would finish making the cake, after which he went off to sleep. I had just finished making the loaves when he slept so he had no idea what was happening next. Until the next day when he woke up and saw the train cake. The look on his face was priceless!! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!! Reposting Santa Claus Cake

Hey all,

I was very excited to note that a lot of people visit my 'Santa Claus Cake'  post through search engines. So I decided to repost this cake.

It is not as difficult as it looks. You can find more details here, where I've explained how I traced the designs and what tips I used to decorate. Go ahead, try it, you are so going to love it!

For the 2-layer cake you can check the following posts -
Yellow Cake
Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Basket Weave Cake

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Happy Baking!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbread Men / Gingerbread Cookies

It's that time of the year again when the streets are lit beautifully. Every store you go, every place you visit, the spirit of the season is unmistakably infectious. It's the most wonderful time of the year is played almost everywhere and you cannot help but feel wonderful.
My (almost) 3 year old has now started understanding several things around him. And this season seems to be his most favourite yet. (Oh that is what I felt about Halloween too). His vocabulary nowadays has been widened with 'snowflakes', 'snowman', and of course, 'Santa Claus'.
The whole of yesterday, he was insisting that it was gingerbread boy and not gingerbread man while, to humour him, I was telling him otherwise. Kinda reminded me of the 'coffee - toffee' ad I heard growing up. Boy or man, these gingerbread cookies sure made our day so much more 'wonderful'. From the time I told him - 'let's bake some gingerbread cookies' to the time those cookies went into his little tummy, my restless li'l boy, though still restless, was the most well-behaved! He patiently waited as I was browsing for a recipe, was very careful when I was measuring the ingredients and used a lot of "please" when he wanted to help me cream the sugar and butter - something which he considers his job now! The two hours of wait time when the dough was in the refrigerator was the toughest for him but Dora, Diego and Team UmiZoomi came to his rescue. A couple of times, I did hear the fridge door opening but I blame myself for forgetting the safety lock.
When it was finally time to roll the dough, there he was, standing on his little chair, holding the little cookie cutter with a big smile on his face. His joy on my letting him cut a couple of gingerbread men left me so happy.
When the cookies were finaly done (he brought my attention to the beeping timer), "Amma, where are your oven mittens" took me by surprise.
When I was decorating the cookies he sat next to me instructing me where to put the eyes, the smiley etc - something he remembered doing in his school where they had to decorate a foam cut-out of a gingerbread man. Thank you gingerbread man, you sure made my day!

Recipe from here (with minor changes)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mollases (I used Grandma's brand)
1 egg
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder (I used only 1/2)
1 pinch nutmeg powder

1 cup Powdered sugar, 1 tbsp juice of lemon, water

Bring the butter to room tempertaure. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar. To this add molasses and egg and beat further. Scrape the sides as you beat .
In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and the spice powders.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Beat with the electric mixer for a few seconds till they combine well. The dough will be sticky. Knead a bit with your hands and refrigerate covered for 2 hours. [The dough may smell strongly of molasses but will be ok after baking. Also, make sure you refrigerate the dough for 2 hours otherwise it will be sticky when you work on it.]

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet (baking tray) with parchment paper. Remove a small portion of the dough from the fridge (about 1/3rd).
Spread some flour on a clean countertop. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Spread some flour on top. With a cookie cutter cut into the desired shape. Arrange on the cookie sheet a couple of inches apart. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. If the cookies are thinner, bake for a shorter time. The edges should look done. The centre will be soft but will  harden as the cookies cool.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Here's a simple icing that you could make in seconds. Just mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp juice of lemon and approx 2 tbsp water till you get a thick but flowing liquid. If it becomes too flowing, just add some more sugar.

Transfer the icing into a piping bag or ziploc. Snip off a very small portion. Decorate the cookies.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


A lot of exciting things transpired in the past few weeks and my blog graciously took a backseat. Back to the grind now with this hot steaming konkani breakfast dish. Undi is made of rice or idli rava (not to be confused with sooji. The rava is made of rice and not wheat) and fresh grated coconut. Some people prepare this dish by grinding soaked rice with coconut milk.
Typically, at Amma's place, undis are accompanied by ravo or godda paank - a syrup make out of jaggery. My husband however prefers undis with chutney.

1 cup idli rava / rice rava 
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated coconut
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/4 tsp methi seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves
Oil / ghee
Salt to taste

Method :
Wash idli rava with water. Drain. 
Blend grated coconut coarsely. [I added a little water]. Pour over idli rava, add 2 cups water and mix thoroughly. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and methi seeds. When they splutter, add curry leaves and roast for a few seconds. Pour idli rava-coconut mixture. Bring to a boil. Add  another 1/2 cup of water. Add salt [I added approx 1 tsp]. Keep stirring for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat till all the water gets absorbed. Cover and leave aside for 10 minutes till the mixture cools. [When you touch the mixture with your fingers, it shouldn't stick. If it does, cook for another few minutes till  all the water is absorbed].
Shape into balls and a make a depression in the centre with a finger. Steam in a steamer or pressure cooker for 20 minutes. [Do not crowd the undis in the steamer. Allow some space between the undis. I dumped all the undis at once because I was running out of time. If they turn out too soft after steaming, allow to cool and they will harden].

For the ravo or godda paank just boil a huge piece of jaggery with 1/2 cup or so of water. Boil for about 10 minutes (stir in between) till water reduces and the solution becomes slightly thickish.

If you do not have a lot of time to make this dish in the morning, you can do most of the work the previous day. Just store the unsteamed balls in an airtight container and refrigerate it. All you have to do the next day is steam the undis. You can even make the jaggery syrup a few days in advance and store in the refrigerator.



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