Number 8 B’day Cake for my 8 Year Old..

Namnam turned 8 last week. And I had planned to bake a special cake for her. So, like a good mom, I asked her what kind of cake she would like on her bday and pat came the reply- A ‘Thea Stilton’ cake, based on her favourite book!

Now the thought of having to design a figurine cake with its whiskers and ears and nose and lashes perfectly in place, among other things, was enough to petrify the lazy, utterly uncreative, unartistic, not to forget, awfully messy mom in me! 😯

Sooooo, the good mom brought out the meanie mom from within and moulded her child into getting excited about another cake that was relatively easy to bake, and also stayed true to the occasion :twisted:.

And when I told her that she could assist me in decorating the cake, the excitement level shot a few notches up πŸ™‚

Here’s what we made for the 8 year old and her friends who had come over to celebrate the day with us πŸ™‚

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In case any of you is wondering how I made this, here’s how..

I baked 2 round chocolate cakes using a 9 inch baking dish. Once the cakes were completely cooled, I cut a hole with a 2cm round mouthed glass in the middle of each.

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Then I cut off a bit from the edge of both the cakes in equal measure, applied some chocolate frosting (recipe to follow as the post progresses) on the edges..

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And joined the cakes..

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Then applied some more frosting, around the cakes.

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And some more, liberally!

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The last step was the decorating with m&m gems for which I got able help from the b’day girl herself.

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And that is how we pulled off the number 8 cake.

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Now to the recipes.

Chocolate cake:

Any chocolate cake would work well. I normally use a very simple recipe which I have shared with IMC for their Book Week special as well here.

However, this time I baked my cakes using this recipe from Add a Pinch, which turned out supremely moist and delicious!

Frosting:

For frosting, well, all I can say is that it’s a blessing if you have baker-friends you can turn to :). They can be absolute life-savers! I had scouted around various websites in search of a good frosting recipe but in vain, until Monika came to my rescue. She shared this easy-peasy, super-yum recipe of hers which worked like a charm!

Thank you so much, Mon πŸ™‚

And here goes the recipe, as given by her, verbatim..

Ingredients

100 gm dark chocolate

200 gm package cream cheese

4 cups confectioners’ sugar/ Icing sugar( In my case, 3 cups more than sufficed)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cream if required

Method

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave oven.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Pour melted chocolate into cream cheese and mix on medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and pinch of salt. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Slowly add cream until the frosting is spreading consistency.

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Edited to Add:

Pixie asked me a very relevant question after reading the post. She wanted to know whether we ate the pieces of cake that I cut from the middle and edges. To answer her and anyone who may have had the same doubt- Yessss, we totally did! We gobbled them all up! Namnam even took some pieces to school to have at lunch.

Chocolates of any any kind, size or shape are not to be wasted, you see! That’s the golden rule of my chocoholic household πŸ˜›

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A Pineapple upside down cake to ward off the writer’s block!

This title was actually meant for a post I had planned for yesterday, but since I was too lazy to bake a pineapple upside down cake, my plan to use it as an antidote to shoo the dreadful writer’s block was put on hold! Thankfully I had a far more gratifying experience to note down that worked well in breaking the block instead.

Having said that, I still am too lazy to change the title and think of another one, so I’m simply letting it be πŸ˜€

Anyway talking of pineapple upside down cake, it was something I had been meaning to bake for quite sometime for the simple reason that it always looked gorgeously tempting on various food-blogs as well as on my baker-friends’ FB and other web-pages. But I-the lazy bug- neither got around to looking for its recipes on the net nor did I ask my friends for itΒ  thinking it would require of me to scrounge around the city for those hard-to-get, exotic ingredients and slog with them for hours! Somehow I always had this notion that the recipe would be a tough one to attempt. And to top it up, the literal mention of ‘pineapple upside down’Β  and the subsequent possibility of having the cake or the pineapple slices come sploching down on the floor while turning them always gave the clumsy-me shivers!

But last week while looking up some possible recipes for aΒ  simple pineapple cake that I could try for a friend’s daughter’s b’day I stumbled upon this recipe for a pineapple upside down cake also, which to my utter surprise was a very easy one. So I decided to give it a try this weekend, today to be more precise :). And I am glad I tried this one because my house was filled with a divine smell of baking all around, all through the day! Here is a peek to the cake, feel free to dive in! πŸ˜€

Edited to add the recipe! Or rather make that two recipes πŸ˜€

Betty Crocker had this easy recipe based on which I brought home all the ingredients. And then I stumbled upon another oneΒ  by Betty from Betty’s Kitchen, on YouTube which looked just as easy and doable. Although both the recipes were more or less same, baking while watching the video was far easier to follow than baking while reading, if you know what I mean :).

So heres the embedded video of Betty’s Tropical Joy Pineapple Upside down cake. Do let me know how it fared for you. And do share a picture of your cake if and when you bake it and leave a link to your post so I can come by to drool at it royally :D. Have a Happy baking weekend!

Sambar Chicken la Vishakh- tried & tasted!

And much relished too!

When, at the house-warming party,Shail treated us all to this dish which, in her words, were ‘conceived and cooked’ by her junior son, I knew at once that I had to try this one for it looked so lipsmackingly delicious and so simple to make!

And yesterday seemed to be a good day to give it a shot because I had all the ingredients needed for the dish. Not that it demanded those exotic, hard-to-find-even-with-a-laser-eye ingredients! Most of the required items were what I would normally have at home even otherwise and I’m guessing most of the Indian households would too, including the sambar powder. And that, for me, was the best part! This was an easily doable dish and the outcome was just as finger-licking.

So heres how it turned out. And needless to say, this is going to be a regular dish in my household henceforth. In fact I’m going to have a potluck soon and I think I have decided already what my contribution is going to be :). So thanks again, Shail & Vishakh for the yummy recipe :).

To know the recipe, head straight to Shail’s nest!

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On another bit of news, a casual conversation ensues between Papa & Namnam

Namnam: You know, Papa, I am going to have a winter break!

Papa: Oh yeah? Thats great!

Namnam: Yeah, and I want to go on a holiday!

Papa: Didnt we go to Dubai last month, Namnam? That was a holiday!

Pat comes the reply

“But then I didnt get any holiday homework,na? I want to go on a holiday to do my homework!!”

** And with that Mama, who, at the mere mention of the term ‘holiday’, was already more than half way through making a massive list of probable destinations, fiercely strikes it all off and resolves to stay put at home for her own sanity**

πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„

Avial

Avial is a typical Malayali dish made with a mix of vegetables, curd & coconut. It is prepared with much gusto, especially during festivals, weddings and other special occasions.

Even though this dish is a side-dish, it is sometimes made with gravy and eaten with rice.

I always thought Avial was a very difficult curry to make, hence never gave it a try…till last week that is. I made it on Onam, and surprisingly it turned out well. And was very easy to make too.

Chinkurli had wanted to know the recipe of Avial and I’d said that I would share it if my attempt turned out fine.

Also, when Sari mentioned that Ona-sadya reminded her of me, I was so thrilled that I felt the best way to thank her was by sharing the recipe of this dish which is such an integral part of Ona-sadya πŸ™‚

So, Chinkurli, Sari, this one is for you :)…

Ingredients

Vegetables ( Yam, Pumpkin, Ash Gourd, Plantain, Beans, Carrot, Drumsticks, all cut in long thin pieces)- 2 cup
Turmeric– 1 teaspoon **
Curd– 1/2 cup
Scraped coconut– 1 cup
Green Chillies– 4-5
Coconut Oil– 2 teaspoons
Curry leaves– 3-4 sprigs
Salt– taste

Avial made @ Deeps'

Method

– Place all the vegetables in a thick bottomed vessel.

– Add turmeric and salt and sprinkle some water over the vegetables.

– Cook the them till they are soft. Make sure the vegetables don’t break or stick to one another.

– Coarsely grind the coconut and green chillies and mix them well with curd.

– Add them to the cooked vegetables and stir carefully.

– Remove from fire.

– Put some coconut oil and garnish the avial with curry leaves.

** Turmeric is an optional ingredient. In some parts of Kerala, Avial is prepared without turmeric.

TIP: Avoid using too much of water when preparing it as a side-dish.