Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Left Over, make over. Cake, berries and cream, Voila! summer dessert!

Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to make cakes for my friends and their children. Most of them being my son's age. 
It is fun to bake and to make a cake the child has dreamed of. Kids have fantastic ideas. 
The satisfaction of making their eyes sparkle on their special day and of course the kind words parents shower on me really make it so worth the effort. 

It all started with Sonali asking me to make a Black Forest cake for her husband's birthday (Sonali's favorite cake) which was a hit! 
That was followed by the same for Sonali's Birthday, naturally. 

Cake, berries, whipped cream

Then a small cricket enthusiast celebrated his 7th. Birthday.
His Mother and I put our heads together and came up with the idea of a cricket themed cake. She gave me full freedom in regard to the design.

If you ignore the mess in the background ( that is keeping my son busy, he was SO interested in 'decorating this cake' that I had to give him something else to mess with, that yellow fondant mat, I asked him to make some accents with that mat, the poor baby ran around getting things ready to make 'em) 
The cake was a 2 layer butter cake with a whipped chocolate ganache in the middle and a Cream cheese- butter cream frosting.
The 'grass' is cake crumbled and colored green and then toasted till crisp.
The cricket pitch is fondant ( home made, marshmallow Fondant) 
The cricket bat and the player are hand made ( my first attempt) with Gum paste.
The ball is Fondant and the stumps are made with cake pop/ lollipop sticks

The second opportunity came when my dear friend A, was taking a cake as a surprise for a friend's birthday. She wanted a black forest.
During the same time, my son had the last of his Marathi classes. I made a batch of Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes and decorated them with Nutella Butter cream and packed them all fancy, the kids loved them! 

And just last month, my friend T's son turned 6 and they had a big party and the theme was 'aqua'. It was a pool party with an entertainer ( with a water slide) and the kids had fun.
The parents and I sat down and decided to make a cake that was 'beach themed'. 

 The cake was Vanilla and Chocolate marble cake with a whipped cream frosting in the layers as well as on top. 

I used Blue mist to color the ocean and used a Foam cup to make the wave and added a dollop of cream. 

White whipped cream was used to make the ocean foam.

The 'sand' was made with crumbled graham cookies

The Graham Teddies are laid on 'Air Heads' candy beach towels and the Surfer Teddy is also on an Airhead surf board.
Can you spy the shells on the cake board? these are made  using candy molds ( from Michaels) and melting chocolate.

And then there was my Spider Man cake for my son. 

What with all these cakes made, I have a lot of leveling to do and so there are always the domes to 
either throw or eat. 
I hate wasting food ( look in my fridge, you will find small Rubbermaid or Pyrex food containers containing daal or vegetable, just those 5-6 tbsp. that was left over :) ) 

And so, these 'domes' get a makeover! 

summer dessert

What you need is: 

Left over cake ( cut in cubes)
Whipped cream
Sliced and macerated Strawberries ( or Raspberries or a medley of berries)

Place cubes in the bottom of the serving cup/bowl of choice.
Top with the sweet berries with juices.
Swirl (or spoon) whipped cream .
Add a few more cubes of cake and repeat with the berries and cream.
Top with a fresh (washed) strawberry and serve.

These were a hit with my son! It meets the 'Kid Approved' category award. 
For left over Chocolate cake domes, you can pair it up with either fresh berries or even Cherry Pie filling and whipped cream, Black Forest in a cup! 

This makes a light and easy dessert option and looks SO pretty! A wonderful and easy to make summer dessert.
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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Spider Man, Spider Man, does whatever a spider can.....

A month ago, the Little one turned 6. 
Not so little anymore, huh? 

Still looks little to me.

And then I see, the kinda new school trousers skimming the ankles and I think, " I just got those. they look new ( unlike the  trousers I got at the beginning of school year, those are in such a bad condition, if I have my son wear them today, they are short, worn and torn and frayed, why he'd look like Oliver Twist !)
Makes me smile to see him grown up and yet, such a sweet innocent little heart tugger (you know what I mean)! 

School was still in session when he celebrated his birthday. We gleefully packed the goody bags that he proudly took to school.
Sadly, the school does not allow Kindergartners to have any celebration at all, so making and sending a cake was not an option. I made a small cake at home and we had a small celebration.

There was talk of the birthday party. But that got muddled with apartment hunting, which was exhausting but .... all's well that ends well.We found something suitable and sealed that deal.

The topic of the birthday party was on! 
It was decided that I would host a small Mother and kids pool party. Mid-week, my friends agreed and it was settled. The moms would also get in the pool and splash away! 
I have good friends, they agreed on such short notice. 

The main thing in a birthday party is the cake. Last year, Little S wanted a Burger cake. This year, it was Spider-Man.
Surprising, because he is not really a spider man fan (I am). But, if that's what he wants, that's what he gets.
I looked around and finally settled for this.
And though this could have been loads better, I am glad, I tried and most importantly, the birthday boy was thrilled.

The cake was my old reliable, Vanilla cake. The filling between the layers ( I kept it at 2 layers only) was macerated Strawberries ( wash, dry and chop the berries into slices and sprinkle with powdered sugar, cover and let them sit in the fridge) and whipped cream. For that, you need, 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream, 1/4 ( or less, say 2 tbsp., your preference) Confectioners sugar and 1 tsp Vanilla extract. Chill the bowl and beaters for about 15-20 mins and then start the process.
Add the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a regular bowl and your hand mixer) and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.

Follow the video instructions for assembly.

I used Butter cream for the top layer of frosting and Gel color to get this vibrant shade of red.
The one change I made was, I used Salted Butter, instead of unsalted butter, it helps tone down the cloying sweetness of  the frosting. I went with this frosting because it holds up well in the heat and would not turn runny or spoil in any way. Plus, butter cream is a dream to work with.

I had a wonderful time making this cake but ( yes, there is a 'but'), I dislike using so much color.
I gave this some thought and I wonder if spraying the cake with red color would have helped? It would have made things easy for me!
It's all learning. Maybe next time.

That border got cleaned up before cutting the cake

That's it from me. Enjoy the long weekend folks and stay safe !
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