Ribbon Cake

Cakes have always been one of my favorite desserts or snack and being passionate about baking I always like to experiment with a variety of baked goodies.

As a child I always waited for the Christmas season to arrive or looked forward towards an invite at a Christian family’s home for a birthday party,etc. I know it sounds insane. But kids are kids, innocent at heart.

As a child I always had this fascination towards the ribbon cake. At that time, the exact type or name of the cake was so immaterial to me. Rather I would always describe the cake to my parents or the shopkeeper to get what I desired. I would just say a “cake whose slice has pink or green or both color bands on it.”As a college girl too, I remember I used to buy the ribbon cake, quarter kg from the Apollo bakery in Ponda.

A few days back Ms.Xanti Pinto posted ribbon cake pictures on a food group (Base Recipe by Xanti). I was so damn delighted to see those. It was also my mum’s birthday that day. So I thought I should be seeking the recipe from her as soon as possible and baking one at once so that though seven seas away from mum can celebrate her birthday as well re-live my childhood. However I could not get the recipe in time.

But as Children’s Day (14 November is celebrated as Children’s day in India – my home country) was round the corner, what better day than this one to re-live my childhood. So taking Xanti’s recipe as base and making a few modifications to it, here we go ahead to bake the Ribbon cake.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (you can adjust the sugar based on the sweetness you prefer)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 inch loaf pan
  • gel or tube colors (pink, green and orange)

Note : Incase you are using salted butter, please omit using the salt

Method :

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 320 F.
  2. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar  till light and fluffy using a hand mixer.
  5. Add one egg at a time and beat the batter further.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  7. Now fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until well incorporated and a smooth lump-free batter is achieved.
  8. Take 3 bowls and spoon a tbsp of the batter in each of these bowls and retain the rest.
  9. In each bowl mix each of the gel colors. so now you have vanilla batter, a little of orange, pink and green batter
  10. Spread a smooth layer of vanilla batter at the base of the loaf pan.
  11. On top of this, pour one of the colored batter. Smooth this out like a color band, however you need not spread it as a layer.(It also wont be sufficient to spread as a layer).
  12. Repeat till rest of the colored and vanilla batters are consumed, alternating each. Remember that you have to spread only the vanilla batter as a layer.
  13. Finally smooth out the surface and tap the pan against the counter top to get rid of any air bubbles.
  14. Bake the loaf for 45-60mins or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  15. Remove the cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool down for 10 mins.
  16. Cut the cake into slices. Happy Children’s Day. Enjoy!

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Red Velvet Cake pops

A week more and my parents will be travelling back to India. I always aimed to give them or cook most of the items which they usually wont get readily or not intend to buy back home in India.

I had some mix of white candy melt with a little shortening left with me out of the batch I had prepared for the Princess theme birthday cake. Cream cheese frosting is what I had not tasted or tried before and I have heard that it goes well with red velvet cake. So instead of preparing usual cupcakes or cake, I planned to make cake pops. I recipe is inspired by the joy of baking video. It is a red velvet cake pop with cream cheese filling and white chocolate coated decorated with red sugar sprinklers.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

For the cake :

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour ( If cake flour is not readily available, then use 1/2 cup + 2 1/4 tsp all-purpose flour and 1 tbsp + 3/4 tsp corn flour)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 large beaten egg, at room temp.
  • 1/4 cup butter milk ( I used 1/4 cup whole milk, to it added 1 tsp lemon juice and allowed it to stand for 5-10 mins)
  • 2 tsp liquid Red food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the cream cheese frosting :

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the white chocolate coating :

  • 1 cup white or vanilla candy melts
  • 1 -2 tsp vegetable shortening
  • red sugar sprinklers

For the cake pop assembly :

  • 12-15 lollipop sticks
  • a styrofoam or thermocol block

Method :

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 F and grease a 6 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, sift the cake flour(all-purpose flour plus corn flour), salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter till smooth and creamy.
  4. To this add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat again for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and beat till well combined.
  6. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl at regular intervals while beating.
  7. Add the food coloring to the butter milk and whisk well.
  8. Add the flour mix in 3 parts and buttermilk mix in 2 parts, alternating each and beating at low-speed.(begin and end with the flour mix)
  9. In a small cup, combine the vinegar and baking soda and allow to fizz. Quickly fold this into the batter.
  10. Then quickly pour the mix into the greased pan and  spread the batter evenly. Tap the pan on the counter top to release any air bubbles in the batter.
  11. Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 mins or till a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  12. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack and remove to carefully from the pan.
  13. In the mean while, in another clean mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth.
  14. To this add the sugar in parts and continue to beat.
  15. Lastly add the vanilla extract and beat again once till well incorporated.
  16. In a large bowl, crush the cake into small crumbs. To this add just enough frosting to hold the mixture together.(The frosting needs to be just right not little that the ball falls apart nor too much that the ball becomes soggy. i used approximately 1/4-1/2 cup of frosting)
  17. Gradually work the frosting into the crumbs.
  18. Make golf-size balls out of this mix. You should get approximately 12 balls.
  19. Place them in a tray lined with parchment paper. Place the tray in the freezer for around 15 mins.
  20. Melt the white candy melts along with the shortening in a glass bowl in microwave for 1-2 mins at intervals of 30 seconds, stirring in between. (Addition of shortening helps to give a smooth finish)
  21. Remove the balls from the freezer. Dip each lollipop stick tip into the melted chocolate and shake well to remove the excess.
  22. Then insert this stick into the ball, right in the middle, half way through. Repeat for rest of the balls. Again place them in the tray and place them in the freezer for another 15 minutes.
  23. Then coat each cake ball with melted white chocolate, by dipping and rolling into the melted chocolate. Tap while turning the stick to remove the excess chocolate. (In case, the chocolate has become dry and thick, then you can microwave it for another 30 seconds and give it a stir)
  24. Then sprinkle the red sugar on the ball rotating cake pop, while the chocolate is still melted.
  25. Pierce the cake pop stick into the styrofoam block and allow it to dry.
  26. Repeat for rest of the cake pops. Your cake pops are ready. They can be eaten right away or refrigerated for 3-4 days.

 

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Zebra cake (eggless)

My parents are here and so we were planning a long weekend getaway trip. My mum is 95% vegetarian and prefers eggless even with regards to cakes. So I decided to try something different still maintaining my family liking. So decided to explore the zebra cake.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vinegar or lime/lemon juice

Method :

  1. Sift all purpose flour and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix milk, vinegar, sugar, oil. You can increase the amount of powdered sugar based on the sweetness you prefer.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients in two parts and mix well.
  4. Divide the batter into two equal halves.
  5. Sift cocoa powder in one of the batter bowls and mix well.
  6. Grease a cake tin and dust it with flour.(Remove the excess flour).
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C.
  8. Spoon two tsbp full of plain batter in the center of the tin. Do not try to spread the batter in the tin. Straight away spoon two tbsp full of chocolate mixture on top of it. Continue doing this till all the mixture has been used. You end with lots of alternate rings in the tin.IMG_20160630_202506
  9. Bake the cake for 35 mins or till a toothpick comes out clean when pierced in the center of the cake.IMG_20160630_202506-COLLAGE

French Macaron cookies

When in India, I was almost an illiterate with regards to various baked goodies available in the market. Had seen many of my facebook friends uploading pictures of something like our typical cream biscuit which they called “Macaron”. I first thought Macaron must be the sophisticated version of cream biscuit as till then I had neither practically seen or eaten it.

Here in the US stores, it’s readily available but it quite on the expensive side. The first time I saw it, like a child I demanded my husband to buy it for me. Being expensive and with no prehand experience of its taste, we just bought two. My husband didn’t quite enjoy it but I loved it. Though the concept of a cream in between two cookies was similar to our traditional cream biscuit but it didnt bear any similarities to a cream biscuit in taste and texture. The outer layer of the cookie was just crisp and melt in the mouth while the cream filling was yummy.

I decided, that I have to search and grab hold of a good an easy recipe and try it out sooner as buying these cookies every now and then does not sound economical. While researching for the easy and best recipe, I found out that the high cost of these cookies is due to the almond flour being used in its making. Also, its quite hard to get it right in the first attempt. But I was not quite afraid and decided to give the recipe a shot.

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Recipe :

Ingredients for the cookie :

  • 3 aged egg whites (aged means the egg whites need to separated and kept covered with a tissue towel for 24 hours in the refrigerator. They need to be brought to room temperature before use)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup blanced almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar ( granulated sugar powdered for 30 sec in a food processor or mixer/grinder)
  • purple food color (I used gel based)
  • few drops of vanilla essence

Ingredients for the filling :

  • 2/3 cups (150g) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3-4 tbsp blackberry jam
  • 2-3 tsp sugar (optional)

Note : The food color used for outer covering should be in sync with the color of the jam used for filling.

Method:

  1. Mix the almond flour and confectionary sugar. Grind it in a mixer or food processor for a minute or two. sift the processed flour sugar mixture and keep it aside.
  2. In a deep bowl, add the aged egg whites and lemon juice. Mix this using an electric beater with whisk attachment at medium speed till soft peaks are formed.
  3. Add the powdered sugar to the egg white mix part by part and whisk initially at low speed and then at medium high till stiff peaks are formed. This is the Meringue.
  4. Now add the food color and essence and mix further. Note that after baking the color of the cookie fades due to the heat so add the food color to higher or darker shade.
  5. Then fold the flour sugar mix into the meringue in 3 parts till a thick ribbon consistency is achieved. This is MacaronageNote that the mixture should not be over mixed or under mixed as thid would make it difficult while piping.
  6. Using a parchment paper form a template and draw circles of 4 cm dia and spacing each at 5 cm. This paper will be used as a template for forming the circular macaron cookies.
  7. Line the baking tray with another parchment paper and the place the template below this parchment.
  8. Transfer the folded egg white mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
  9. Pipe circles of the batter on the baking tray lined with parchment using the template as a guide. Once done, gently remove the template and tap the baking tray to remove air bubbles from the batter circles.
  10. Let the macaron cookies rest at room temperature for around 30-60 mins or till the top of the macarons is no longer sticky when touched gently with your finger.IMG_20160627_150617
  11. Bake the cookies in an oven preheated at 300 F for 16-20 minutes turning the tray from front to back half way through.
  12. Usinng a butter knife separate the cookies from parchment and allow them to cool on a wire rack. The cookies develop a foot at the bottom  surface.IMG_20160627_152542
  13. Now the filling preparation. Using an electric beater, beat the cream cheese and then add jam to it. Beat again to mix the two together. Taste it. If you are okay with the taste then no need to add the sugar. I prefer it to be sweet so added sugar accordingly.
  14. Use another piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and transfer the filling into it. You can even you a zip lock bag, transfer the filling into it, seal it and cut one of its tip to pump out the filling.
  15. Take two cookies of the same size. Pipe out circle of the filling on the flat bottom side of the cookie. Place the other cookie on top of it to form a sandwich.
  16. Macarons are ready. Prepare rest and store them in an air tight container in refrigerator. It is advisable that macarons need to stay for atleast 24 hours once prepared and before being consumed.

Note : I had to use more of the food color as eveb afetr using the amount shown in the picture, the color did fade to much extent. 😦

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