PINATA CAKE

Pinata Cake

As kids’ bdays neared in November  , I asked them what cake would they want me to bake this time…and both of them had the same reply.. They need a cake with lots of M n M s .. like the Kit Kat cake I had baked last year for their birthdays .

That’s when I remembered about the Pinata Cake picture Azna had sent me a a few months back. Hiding M n Ms inside a cake – the boys were surely going to love it !!! 🙂 The  Ultra Moist Chocolate Cake I had posted  before would be the cake in which the M n Ms would hide.

Now a days my  kids want to handle all the cake mixing part.  So I handed the measured ingredients to the birthday boy and he did all the mixing and stirring. But after baking the cake, when the icing part came, I didn’t allow the kids to enter the kitchen ..  couldn’t spoil the surprise element 🙂

I was eager to see  the surprise  on the boys ‘ faces  when the Mn M s fell out, but they were more busy .. Were the birthday boys and friends surprised when the cake was cut ? Well, not exactly.. the friends were more busy smearing the cream over the birthday boys  🙂 But on the plus side, the boys did enjoy the cake.. Yummy and awesome was the verdict from them !!! 🙂

Pinata Cake kids1

Pinata Cake

Here’s the method to hide the M n Ms inside the cake… 

Pinata Cake

Divide the cake into 3 equal parts. Keep one layer aside

Pinata Cake

Make a hole in the middle of the first layer using any cookie cutter .  Pour sugar syrup over the layer . Spread whipped cream over the layer.

Now make a hole over the second layer.  Place the second layer over the first layer. Pour sugar syrup over this and spread whipped cream.

Pinata Cake

Place the M nMs into the hole made by the 2 layers. Now place the layer that was kept aside over the 2 layers.  This 3rd layer will hide the M n Ms .

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PINATA CAKE

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE

  • Powdered sugar – 2 cups
  • All-purpose flour – 1 3/4 cups
  • Cocoa powder – 3/4 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 teaspoon
  •  Baking soda – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  •  Eggs – 2
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Boiling water – 1 cup
  • Whipping cream , for frosting

FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP

  • Sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Water – 1 cup

FOR THE WHIPPING CREAM 

  • Dreamwhip – 3 sachet
  • Cold Milk – 1 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla Essence – 1tsp

METHOD

TO MAKE THE CAKE:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3.  Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last.
  4. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick.
  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

TO MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP:

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO MAKE THE WHIPPING CREAM:

Mix the contents in 3 small sachets of Dreamwhip with 1  1/2 cup cold mix and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes till you get light fluffy peaks. This will give about 5 cups whipped cream.

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Divide the cake into 3 equal horizontal layers. Keep one layer aside
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the first layer using any cookie cutter .  Pour sugar syrup over the layer . Spread whipped cream over the layer.
  3. Now make a hole over the second layer.  Place the second layer over the first layer. Pour sugar syrup over this and spread whipped cream.
  4. Place the M nMs into the hole made by the 2 layers. Now place the layer that was kept aside over the 2 layers.  This 3rd layer will hide the M n Ms .
  5. Apply a thin layer of frosting over the cake (crumb coat) . Refrigerate for 1-2 hours
  6. Apply a thicker coating of the frosting to get a final smooth finish.

WATERMELON LEMONADE

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 Kids so loved the place that they said they wanted to visit the beach again, and it would be more fun to bring along an inflatable boat too. And so, we went to the same spot again after a couple of days, with the inflatable boat .
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All the assembling part was done by the boys, while I donned the cap of the photographer (not because I am not good in fixing things 😉 ) After a few minutes , the boat was ready..
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Now, the rowing part.. It was not as easy as it seemed to handle the oars… Though kids struggled initially and the boat was just moving in circles,  they soon got a hang of it and managed to row pretty well.  And while the kids were happily rowing in the water , after getting a few snaps ,  I sought refuge from the hot sun by staying in our car … 🙂
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My cousin recently asked me why have I not posted any recipe for smoothies or  in my blog.. So here comes my first  post , Watermelon lemonade.. Perfect to beat off the summer heat. Watermelon along with being rich in water content , also provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a low amount of calories.  Pair it with the the citrus flavor of lemon and orange rinds, and a few mint sprigs you get a refreshing summer drink.
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I got the recipe from here

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  •  Sugar – 1/4 cup
  •  Water – 1/2 cup
  •  Grated Orange rind  – 1 tsp 
  •  Watermelon cubes – 3 cups (Gives 1 1/2 cup watermelon juice)
  •   Lemon juice – 1/4 cup
  •  Mint leaves

METHOD

  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and orange zest to a boil over high.

  2. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Let syrup cool in a bowl.

  3. In a blender, puree watermelon cubes until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids, into a pitcher (you should have about 1 1/2 cup juice).

  4. Stir in syrup and  lime juice.

  5. Pour into glasses, serve with ice cubes and mint leaves.
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Kitkat Cake Using Basic Sponge Cake

KITKAT CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE

 I often get requests for a basic cake recipe, the beginner kind.  And I suggest the easy ones in the blog –  the 1-2-3-4 cake and the Ultramoist Chocolate Cake  . Few days back it was kids’ birthdays and I thought why not make a very simple cake so that even newbies in baking can do it easily..  (I often get remarks that cakes in my blog are bit complicated for beginners… )

I feel happy when people make an attempt to bake a cake for their loved ones, inspired by this blog.. More than the perfection of the cake, it’s the thought that matters..  This Kitkat cake doesn’t require much icing skills and it definitely will make the kids happy 🙂

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The cake is a very basic sponge cake recipe.. It calls for equal weight of butter, sugar and flour. The cake has a very light airy feel. To make the layered cake, I divided the cake into 3 layers.. You can make it into 2 also. Pour some sugar syrup to moisten up the cake. Cover the layers with whipped cream , top it with ganache and stick the kitkat bars around..  My kids join me in baking cakes now, they love to whip up the ingredients and decorate the cake. 🙂

So, without further ado, here are the step by step pics of making the cake. You can find the full recipe with ingredients and method at the end of the blog post.

TO MAKE THE CAKE :

Beat the butter using the handmixer for about 1 minute till it is soft

butter

Add powdered sugar to butter and beat on high speed till it becomes creamy.

Beat butter and sugar

butter and sugar paste

  Add the eggs one by one and beat well  on high  speed for around 10 minutes .

egg to the butter mixture

egg butter paste

In another bowl, sieve the flour,  baking powder and cocoa powder.

sift flour

Add one third of the flour, cocoa mixture with the egg mixture . Stir with a spoon till it is well blended.  Repeat this 2 more times till the all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg mixture.

mix flour with egg batter

You should have a smooth thick batter. If your batter is thick , add about 2 tbsp of milk and stir.

Now transfer the batter to the pan.  The batter should fill only till 2/3 rd of the pan. Bake at 180 degree for around 25  minutes . To test whether the cake is done, insert a tooth pick. If the tooth pick comes out clean ( without any crumbs on it) , then the cake can be taken out of the oven .

Let the cake cool to room temperature before applying icing.

TO MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP:

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO MAKE THE WHIPPING CREAM:

I used  Dreamwhip powder. Mix the contents in 2 small sachets of dreamwhip with 1 cup cold mix and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes till you get light fluffy peaks. This will give about 4 cups whipped cream.

whipped cream

TO MAKE THE GANACHE :

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel, or heatproof bowl. Set aside

chocolate chips

 Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.

melt butter and cream for ganache

Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.

pour melted cream over chocolate

When Ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft and fluffy. Then spread the frosting on top of the cake.

chocolate ganache 

HOW TO ASSEMBLE :

When the cake is cooled, use a long serrated knife and cut off the top to make it straight. Slice the cake horizontally into 2  or  3 equal parts..

Slice cake hoizontally

Pour one-third of the sugar syrup on the first cake layer .

Sugar Syrup

 Spread the whipping cream over the first layer.

Spread whipped cream over cake

cake layer with whipped cream

Take the second cake slice on top of the first layer . Pour one third of the sugar syrup and spread the whipped cream.

Repeat the process with the third layer.

Cover the whole cake with whipping cream.

Cake covered with whipped cream

Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and spread it . Spread the ganache to the sides of the cake .

Spread ganache

Stick Kit Kat’s all the way around the cake – they will just stick to the frosting. Pour M&M’s on the top to give the finishing touch.

Spread ganache over cake

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I got the recipe for the basic sponge cake from here 

KIT KAT CAKE USING BASIC CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE :

  • Unsalted butter, softed, not melted – 170g
  • Sugar – 170g
  • All purpose flour – 115g
  • Cocoa powder – 55g
  • Baking powder – 1tsp
  • Large Eggs – 3
  • Milk –  2 tbsp (optional)
  • pinch of salt

FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP :

  • Sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Water – 1 cup

FOR THE WHIPPING CREAM :

  • Dreamwhip – 2 sachet
  • Cold Milk – 1 cup
  • Vanilla Essence – 1tsp

FOR THE GANACHE :

  • Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces – 8 ounces (227 grams)
  • Heavy whipping cream – 3/4 cup (180 ml)
  • Unsalted butter – 1 tablespoon (14 gram)

METHOD

TO PREPARE THE CAKE PAN :

Butter a cake pan and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of flour.  Gently toss the pan so that all sides are coated with flour.

TO MAKE THE CAKE :

  1. Powder the sugar finely.
  2. Beat the butter using the handmixer for about 1 minute till it is soft.
  3. Add powdered sugar to butter and beat on high speed till it becomes creamy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one and beat well  on high  speed for around 10 minutes .
  5. In another bowl, sieve the flour,  baking powder and cocoa powder.
  6. Add one third of the flour, cocoa mixture with the egg mixture . Stir with a spoon till it is well blended.  Repeat this 2 more times till the all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg mixture.
  7. You should have a smooth thick batter. If your batter is thick , add about 2 tbsp of milk and stir.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan . The batter should fill only till 2/3 rd of the pan . Bake at 180 degree for around 25  minutes .
  9. To test whether the cake is done, insert a tooth pick. If the tooth pick comes out clean ( without any crumbs on it) , then the cake can be taken out of the oven .
  10. Let the cake cool to room temperature before applying icing.

TO MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP:

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO MAKE THE WHIPPING CREAM:

Mix the contents in 2 small sachets of Dreamwhip with 1 cup cold mix and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes till you get light fluffy peaks. This will give about 4 cups whipped cream.

TO MAKE THE GANACHE :

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel, or heatproof bowl. Set aside
  2.  Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.
  3. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  4. When Ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft and fluffy. Then spread the frosting on top of the cake.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE :

  1. When the cake is cooled, use a long serrated knife and cut off the top to make it straight. Slice the cake horizontally into 2  or  3 equal parts..
  2. Pour one-third of the sugar syrup on the first cake layer .
  3.  Spread the whipping cream over the first layer.
  4. Take the second cake slice on top of the first layer . Pour one third of the sugar syrup and spread the whipped cream.
  5. Repeat the process with the third layer.
  6. Cover the whole cake with whipping cream.
  7. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and spread it . Spread the ganache to the sides of the cake .
  8. Stick Kit Kat’s all the way around the cake – they will just stick to the frosting. Pour M&M’s on the top to give the finishing touch.
  9. Refrigerate for 2 hours so that the kitkat gets glued to the cake.

Note :

  •  Eggs, butter and milk should be at room temperature
  •  Mix in flour and milk to the batter using a wooden spoon, do not use beater.

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Orange And Almond Cake – Celebrating a year of blogging !!!

Back to blogging after a big gap.. and I have my excuse too 🙂 … Well, I was on vacation at my hometown… Had a hectic schedule, but enjoyed each moment of it, hanging out with my dear ones … My little nephews and nieces are growing up fast.. and they are quite a bunchful too, like different flowers in a garden –  the emotional one, naughty ones,  girly ones and the quiet ones..  Miss you dears…

Was really looking forward for the meeting my school friends had planned .. to meet our teacher, mentor, guide – Father Mathew Vithuvettickal..  am so happy that I could make it for the get together… that was the moment for which I was looking for since long time – I was meeting my friends after a long gap of 18 years!!!  After all these years, we could feel the same camaraderie.. It was like travelling back to our school days, recollecting the  fun times we had .. And it was a blessing that I could meet my favourite teacher after so long !!!

And yes, the other main thing is my blog is turning a year old.. I have to thank all my dear friends for their continuous love and support.. Your feedback means a lot to me.. and thank you for trying out so many of my recipes and sharing the result..So A Big Thanks guys, for all your love.. it is appreciated more than you will ever know.. Keep it coming.. And love and thanks to my dear sis in law , Zareena, for being the unofficial proof reader of my blog 🙂

For this blog anniversary, decided to deviate from my comfort zone of chocolate and coffee cakes… and finalised on an orange and almond cake from one of the recipe books. The cake batter uses almond flour and semolina … And the cake is soaked with orange flavoured sugar syrup.. On retrospect, I could have reduced the quantity of semolina a little more.. and hubby suggested that the sweetness could have been brought down a bit.. But apart from that, this is wonderfully moist cake, with the citrus flavour bursting in…. So here goes the recipe..

INGREDIENTS

  • Orange – 1
  • Butter, softened – 115gm
  • Powdered sugar – 115 gm
  • Eggs – 2
  • Semolina – 3/4 cup (The original recipe uses 1 cup)
  • Ground Almonds -1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Icing sugar – for dusting

For the syrup

  • Orange juice – 1 cup
  • Superfine sugar –  100gm ( You can reduce the quantity of sugar, depending on the sweetness of orange)
  • Cardamom pods, crushed – 3

Method

  1. Grate the rind from the orange, reserving some for the decoration and squeeze the juice from one half.
  2. Place the butter, orange rind, and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder , then fold into the creamed mixture with the orange juice.
  4. Spoon the batter into a greased cake tin and bake at 180 degree for 30 – 40 minutes or a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  5. To make the syrup , place the orange juice, sugar and cardamom pods in the pan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 4 minutes or until syrupy. Strain and keep aside.
  6. Turn the cake out into a deep serving dish. Using a skewer make holes over the surface of the warm cake. Spoon the syrup over the cake and let stand for 30 minutes.
  7. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar and serve.