Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Southern Coconut Cake

 I made this cake some time back when we had guests over for dinner. Though it's a coconut cake, the coconut taste is only from the sweetened shredded coconut on top (yes, I colored mine pink and green). The cake itself doe not have a coconutty flavor and if you are looking for a more pronounced flavor then a dash of coconut extract would do the trick. Other than that the cake is fabulous. It is moist, soft and delicious.  My only gripe was with the frosting as I thought it was way too sweet. This was the first time I made a cooked buttercream (with the sugar syrup and eggs) and although it tasted very good and a million times better than regular buttercream, the sugar quantity was too much. Next time I will surely reduce the sugar. I got to use my candy thermometer for the first time and it was so much fun watching the temperature rise to the correct stage :) The cleaning afterwards was anything but fun though!
I forgot to take a picture of the cake after I finished decorating it and this was the only piece left. I tinted the coconut into pink and red colors and made alternating stripes all around the cake. On the top I made a pink circle in the center followed by a green circle and another pink circle. It looked so pretty and now  I am really sad that I didn't take a picture :(

Recipe Source - Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne Via Lulu The Baker

Ingredients - I halved the recipe and baked it in two  7 inch round pans.

For The Cake
1 Large Egg Plus One Large Egg White
1/4 Cup Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 1/2 Cups Cake Flour
1 1/4 Cup Plus 1 1/3 Tbsp Sugar
2 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Stick Unsalted Butter (At Room Temperature)
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
For The Frosting
170 Gms (6 Ounces approx) Cream Cheese (Slightly Chilled)
1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter (At Room Temperature)
1/2 Cup Confectioners Sugar (Sift After Measuring)
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar 
2 Tbsp Water
1 1/2 Egg Whites
For The Garnish
2 Cups Sweetened Flaked Coconut 
Bake The Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Butter the bottoms of two 7 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment circle and butter the circle.
2. Put the egg and egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the 1/4 cup of milk and the vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly; set aside.
3. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, beat dry ingredients well in order to break up any lumps.
4. Add the butter and coconut milk on low speed and beat just to combine. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg mixture in 2 or 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
5. Divide the batter among the pans. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting
1. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly fluffy and smooth. 2. Add the butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth.
3. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature.
4. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and heat slowly, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring until the syrup reaches the softball stage, 228 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
5. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a mixer bowl and have the mixer ready to go. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on medium low and begin mixing the egg whites. Slowly add the hot syrup to the whites, taking care not to pour onto the beaters (it may splash). When all the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed on the mixer to medium high and beat the egg whites until the mixtures has cooled and stiff meringue forms.
6. With the mixer on low, begin adding the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Assemble The Cake
1. Place one layer--flat side up--on a plate. Cover this layer with 1 cup of buttercream frosting. Spread it evenly all the way to the edges. Then sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded coconut on top.
2. Repeat with the next layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and cover with the remaining coconut. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour to allow the frosting to firm up. . Remove one hour before serving. Store any remaining in refrigerator

Happy Eating!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chicken Pizza

We had this fabulous pizza for dinner last night and everyone loved it. Hubby's friends were at home for dinner and even they gave it full marks. The recipe is from Eat Laugh Love, my partner for Taste and Create for the month of March. I know its a bit too late to be posting this but I didn't want to miss it.

I had made a similar pizza for the previous taste and create but the BBQ sauce was different from this recipe. I couldn't find liquid smoke and made a few changes in the sauce. Some great bad luck befell me and I added two teaspoons salt in the sauce thinking it was sugar (a mistake many people have done in my house as my salt and sugar containers are very similar and kept next to each other, LOL!). To rectify, I added some more tomato sauce and a whole lot of sugar. The end result was a very yummy sauce and I am glad I have frozen the rest of it for the future.

The Pizza dough is good and rises well. I mixed the whole thing by hand and kept it in the oven (switched off) to rise for one hour as I had time to spare.

Recipe Source - Eat Laugh Love


For The Pizza Toppings
BBQ Sauce (Recipe Below)
Sliced Mushrooms
Green Peppers
Mozzarella Cheese
Chicken (Cooked and tossed in the BBQ sauce, Chopped to 1/2 Inch pieces)
Coriander Leaves
For the Pizza Dough  - I got two crusts from this dough as I doubled the recipe.
2 Cups Whole-wheat Flour
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
4 1/2 Tsp Quick Rising Yeast (I used instant yeast)
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Hot Water (120-130°F)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Sauce
1 Cup Tomato Sauce - I used 2 Cups
3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 Cup Finely Minced Onions
3 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
1 Tsp Chili Powder - I used two tsp.
1 Tsp Paprika - Omitted 
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke - Omitted
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Cumin - I used cumin powder
4 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tsp Basil

Make The Dough
1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the hot water and olive oil and knead till the dough comes together and forms a soft ball. The dough should be slightly sticky. Add more water if required.
2. Slightly oil the bottom and sides of the bowl. Roll the dough into a ball and swirl in the bowl to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and keep aside to rise if using regular yeast.
3. If using rapid rise, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

Make The Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and saute till translucent. Add all the other ingredients and bring to boil. Cool sauce.

Top the Pizza and Bake
Preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired (about a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes, or as directed by your recipe.

Happy Eating!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Water Park Cake

I had a lot of fun making this cake and even more fun looking at the expressions of two little kids for whom I made this. (Please excuse the horrible pictures. My camera is acting weird and the real thing looked a million times better). This week my cousin left to India for good and I will really miss her. She was very close to me and we had spent the last three years together in Dubai. Her daughter had been asking for a water park cake for a long time and so I decided to make this for her as a farewell.

I saw the idea for this on the Woman's Day website and gathered all the ingredients. The entire cake is edible and finding candy that matches your theme is like finding gold. You can use all candy to decorate any cake and it looks so realistic.
The cake is a simple chocolate cake recipe that I love and the frosting is simply whipped cream with powdered sugar. I made piping gel (recipe below) successfully at home using gelatin and corn syrup. It tasted just like sweet syrup and looked so realistic in the swimming pool.

Here is how I made it -
Baked one recipe for a 9 X 13 inch cake in two pans. One 6 X 9 rectangle and one 7 inch round pan.
I cut the round cake and shaped it as a swimming pool (free hand). Using a fork I scooped out some of the cake to get a pool.
Both the cakes where chilled, crumb coated and chilled again.

Meanwhile I made the decorations. With royal icing I piped the shape of a ladder on wax paper and also two candy cane shapes and two small straight lines. The candy cane shapes and lines were late rejoined to make the steps that go in the pool.
I used liquid food color to paint the lines on the lifesaver rafts.
I added eyes on the teddy bears using nigella seeds (that was the smallest black seed I could find!)
After both the cakes where chilled, I placed the small pool on one edge of the rectangle and finished icing both the cakes. The remaining whipped cream was tinted blue and I piped small stars on the entire edge with a pastry bag fitted with a star nozzle.

To make the slide I used a striped sour belt candy and cupcakes. The cupcakes were trimmed, stacked and frosted using chocolate icing. The belt was then placed on it to look like a double bump slide. There were two stacks of cupcakes to give the bumpy effect. I then filled the pool with the piping gel (frost the bottom of the pool with cream first to prevent the gel from seeping into the cake).

 Place all the teddy bears and lifesavers around the pool and one on top of the slide. Fix the ladder and the steps at the end. Decorate with any remaining candy (I used Mn M's and fish shaped candy)

Recipe for Piping Gel

1 Tbsp Unflavored Gelatin
1 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Tbsp Cold Water

1. Sprinkle the gelatin on the cold water and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Heat the gelatin till it dissolves (On very low heat, do not let it boil)
3. Add the corn syrup once the gelatin has dissolved and heat thoroughly for few minutes.
4. Remove from heat and cool completely.
5. Store in a cool place (Keeps for two months)