- Very healthy recipes from the kitchen to the table in minutes

I am sure most of you are aware of kosmalli. Carrot kosmalli is very popular in south Indian cuisine. The fruit kosmalli  is something th...

Fruit Kosmalli / Lentil Fruit Salad In 15 Minutes

I am sure most of you are aware of kosmalli. Carrot kosmalli is very popular in south Indian cuisine. The fruit kosmalli  is something that I tried in the last minute and happened to liked it a lot. I just finished a bowl of this salad for lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the lightness and freshness of it that I decided to blog about it. I personally think that simple side dishes get more appreciation and therefore enhances the meal served. Especially when you have last minute guests, this is a perfect salad to prepare and serve with any kind of food in a jiffy. I am a big fan of blending salty, spicy and sweet ingredients in salads. So the next time if you are wondering how to make any meal special, try this one and you will start making it more often. My daughter tells me that the photos look perfect for the holidays.






Gadgets:

Bowls
Cutting Board
Knife
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Seasoning Ladle or wok
Mixing Spoon
Colander


Ingredients:

Moong Dal- 1/2 cup
Pomogranate - 1/2 cup
Grapes - 1/2 cup sliced
Green Chillies - 1 ( if its too much spice substitute  black pepper powder)
Salt
Lemon Juice - a dash
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp ( optional)
Water - Enough to soak Moong Dal
Oil - 2 tsps
Cilantro or mint - 1 tbsp chopped finely.



Preparation:

1. Soak the Moong dal in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In the meantime mix the fruits in a bowl. 

3. Heat the season wok and add mustard seeds and asafetida. Allow to pop and add to the fruits. 

4. Mix the moong dal and fruits mixture. Add a dash of lemon and season with salt. 

5. Add black pepper powder or slices of green chillies and garnish with cilantro. Serve on the side with any kind of food.




9 Comments:

These days my husband and I shop regularly at the farmers market. With a little help we have understood what we need to buy and from whom ...

Swiss Chard South Indian Way In 10 Minutes

These days my husband and I shop regularly at the farmers market. With a little help we have understood what we need to buy and from whom to buy. The local vendors are so friendly and are getting familiar with us. I cannot go past a bunch of teenagers who sell organic produce from their parents farm. They have such good swiss chard and I grab a bunch or two from them to prepare chard the south Indian way. My daughter thinks it is very cool because it is all pink and tastes yummy. As for me, I love making it for her because it takes me less than 10 minutes to make it and tastes so fresh. Perfect side dish alongside some dal and rice for a simple meal.



Gadgets:

Cutting Board
Knife
Wok
Spatula
Measuring Spoons

Ingredients:

Swiss Chard - 1 bunch ( cut into shreds)
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Udad Dal - 2 tsp
Coconut -2 tbsp
Dry Red Chilies - 2
Salt
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp



Preparation:

1. Heat the wok on medium high. Add oil, asafoetida, mustard seeds and allow for it to pop.

2. Add udad dal, red chilies and allow for the dal to turn golden brown.

3. Add the Swiss chard that are cut into thin shreds and toss it well.

4. Allow it to cook for a few minutes. It will start to wilt and reduce in quantity. Add salt and coconut to it. Toss and serve hot on the side with some rice and dal. 

4 Comments:

I am yet to meet a person who can pass on garlic sticks. Its sometime difficult to find or make garlic bread when we need it. This is my g...

Garlic Bread Sticks In 5 Minutes

I am yet to meet a person who can pass on garlic sticks. Its sometime difficult to find or make garlic bread when we need it. This is my go to garlic bread that I usually make for an after school snack, to serve with soup, movie snack or when unexpected guests arrive. Its a huge hit among the kids and it disappears fast from the plate. It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare these  garlic bread sticks. Next time when you have an instant craving for garlic bread sticks you can give this one a try.



Gadgets:


Toaster
Measuring spoon
Plate
Knife
Bowl

Ingredients:

Bread Slices -4
Ghee - 1 tsp or Butter - 1 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
Garlic Powder - a few shakes
Italian Seasoning - a few shakes (optional) or Crushed Peppers
Cheese ( optional , I add it some time )


Preparation:

1. Add the ghee/ butter into a bowl along with the oil. Microwave it until the ghee/ butter melts.

2. Pastry Brush or Spoon the melted oil, ghee/ butter mix over the toasted bread.

3. Sprinkle the garlic powder evenly over the bread. If you want extra spice you can add spicy Italian seasoning or crushed peppers over the garlic powder.

4. Cut the bread slice into sticks or strips  and serve hot. 








13 Comments:

Sometimes the weather, time or our moods dictate the food that is prepared in our kitchen. The fall weather is so perfect for a warm cup o...

Creamy Corn Soup In 20 Minutes

Sometimes the weather, time or our moods dictate the food that is prepared in our kitchen. The fall weather is so perfect for a warm cup of soup. This is my go to soup especially when I am out of  fresh veggies in my fridge or when I have very little time and have a lot of hungry stomachs to feed. A bag of frozen corn can feed a family of four easily. A very healthy, simple soup that is the most popular among all the kids in my family. I make it so often and sometimes serve it for dinner along with some instant garlic bread. I promise you that once you have tasted this one you would not buy the corn soup at any store. A bag of frozen organic yellow corn from Trader Joe's is all that I used for this recipe. So, next time you are in a mood for some hot soup, give this one a try and you will not be disappointed.




Gadgets:

Pressure pan/ Heavy Bottom Pot
Spatula
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Blender ( Vitamix works the best, but  a normal blender will work too)
Sieve


Ingredients:

Frozen Corn/ Fresh Corn - 16 oz
Water/ Vegetable Broth - 3 cups
Milk ( Regular/Lactaid/Rice/ Cream)- 2 cups
Note: In case of allergies rice milk works fine. If you want to make it rich add some cream. Personally, 2% milk works fine.
Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Butter -1 tbsp

Preparation:

1. Add corn, water or veggie broth and salt to a pressure cooker and cook it to 3 whistles. Once the pressure releases and allow the liquid to cool. If using a stock pot, add all the ingredients and cook the corn on medium high for 10 minutes or until it is well done and allow to cool a little.

2. Transfer to a blender and make a smooth puree. If you own a vita mix just blend into a smooth puree and add it back into the pan/ pot. If using a regular blender, pass through a sieve to remove the corn husk and then add to the pan/pot.

3. Add milk, pepper and butter. Allow to come to a boil and serve hot with garlic bread.


11 Comments:

A few months ago we were very busy getting ready to move. Sorting through things took most of my time and when it was time to put food on ...

Pressure Cooker Sambar

A few months ago we were very busy getting ready to move. Sorting through things took most of my time and when it was time to put food on the table, I had no zest to prepare anything elaborate. I made this pressure cooker sambar to go with idli/ dosai/ rice or quinoa often. It was a breeze and I have been making this sambar since. Gone are the days when I made dhal separate and then added it to the veggie mix. This sambar works well with the following veggies: Onions, Bell Pepper, Drum Stick, Carrot, Potato, Egg Plant (these are the veggies that I have used in groups or individually). For those of you who have  new born babies, work or otherwise generally not in the mood to cook, this one might be a saver. It is super easy and produces very delicious sambar every single time. This is what I made for breakfast this morning and served with steaming idli's.


Gadgets:

Pressure Cooker
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Cutting Board
Knife
Spatula


Ingredients:

Onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 1 wine ripe ( can use any kind)
Red Bell Pepper - 1
Curry Leaves -  a few
Cilantro - 2 tbsp choped
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Methi Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Sambar Powder - 1 1/2 tsp ( add as per your taste)
Red Chillies - 1
Toor Dhal - 3/4 cup ( Tastes good with Moong Dhal too)
Water - 3 cups ( makes a thicker sambar)
Salt
Jaggery - a small bit

Preparation:



1. Heat your pressure cooker/ pan on medium high.

2. Prepare the veggies by cutting them into bigger chunks.

3. Add oil, asafoetida, mustard seeds, red chilies, methi seeds and when the mustard starts to pop add all the veggies and the curry leaves and give it a toss. Allow it to all cook for 2 minutes.


4. Add salt, turmeric powder, sambar powder and mix well. Allow it to blend well for 1 minute.

5. Add Toor dhal and mix it with the veggies and then add water. Cover and pressure cook on medium high for one whistle and then lower the heat to low and allow it to cook for 2 more whistles.Turn off the stove and remove the pressure pan from the stove.







6. Wait for the pressure to release. Open and mix gently the dhal and veggies ones.Add jaggery and mix. If you think it is thicker than you would like add 1/2 cup of water and mix well.







7. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with idli, dosai, rice or quinoa.


20 Comments:

Lentil crepes or Adai is very popular tiffin in South India. In my family we have a special attachment to adai because of our uncle. My un...

Adai/ Lentil Crepes

Lentil crepes or Adai is very popular tiffin in South India. In my family we have a special attachment to adai because of our uncle. My uncle Thaigu mama used to visit us every karthigai deepam just to enjoy adai. He loved it so much with rasam. For years I have been making adai varying the dal proportions. The recipe that is posted here is from Vimala who cooks for Amma on and off. Something interesting about her recipe is that it reminds me of Tirupathi Vadai or Adai. It gets its spice from black pepper and ginger and hence there is so much of flavor in it. It warms up your body on a cold winters night or when it is pouring cats and dogs. Usually, it is enjoyed with Aviyal butter, rasam, jaggery or with yogurt rice. Next time you are in a mood for some adai try Vimala's adai, I am sure you will not be disappointed.



Gadgets:

Mixer or Grinder
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Colander
Iron Tava or Griddle
Spatula
Oil


Ingredients:

Makes 7 Cups of Batter

Par Boiled Rice - 1 cup
Long Grain Rice - 1 cup
Channa Dal- 1/2 cup
Thoor Dal - 1/2 cup
Moong Dal - 1 tbsp
Udad Dal with skin - 1 tbsp
Ginger - 2 inches
Black pepper - 2 tbsp ( will be lightly spicy)
Dry Red Chili - 3 to 4
Cilantro - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt
Water
Curry Leaves- a few strands
Oil - a few tbsps



Preparation:

1. Add all the grains and dal into a colander and rinse it well in  running water, transfer to the blender along with ginger, pepper, curry leaves, chili's and water and soak. The water must be about 1 to 2 inches above the level of the soaked ingredients. Soak it for 1 1/2 hours.

2. Add salt, asafoetida, cilantro and turmeric powder. Blend it to  a consistency that works for your family. Smooth or lightly coarse.

4. Heat the iron tava on medium high. Add half tsp of oil to it and then 1 tbsp of batter. Allow it to cook until  the sides starts to turn light brown. Flip over the mini adai and cook it on the other side. This step helps in uniformly heating the tava and helps in making perfect adai's.


5. Add a ladle of the adai batter on the tava. Spread the adai like a dosai / crepes and add 1/2 tsp oil around it.When it starts to get light brown and crisp around the edges, flip it over and cook for a few minutes and serve it hot with some butter, jaggery or aviyal.



5 Comments:

Happy Deepavali  Every Deepavali, I always try to push myself to make a new sweet or savory recipe that I have never made befo...

Kala Jamun

Happy Deepavali 




Every Deepavali, I always try to push myself to make a new sweet or savory recipe that I have never made before. This year I decided to make kala jamun. To most people it is very simple process to make gulab jamun or kala jamun but not for me.  I have tried making gulab jamun in the past year and tried out a bunch of recipes. I could not get close to what I wanted without the use of koya. I would always have some issues with the taste or the appearance. This Deepavali, I wanted to make kala jamun and with the input from Madhavi (my sister's friend), I was able to use a different ingredient and come up with some tasty kala jamuns. It was simple in the end and got a lot of approval from friends and family. Next time if you want to make kala jamuns for a party or celebrations you can rest assured that this one will work. I started making one portion and was amazed at my results that I decided to make 3 portions of the same recipe to share with my family. Allow them to soak in the syrup, cool and refrigerate them before serving. 


Gadgets:

Measuring cups and spoons
Bowl
Wok
Ladle
Heavy bottom pan


Ingredients: ( Makes 15 Kala Jamuns)

Milk Mava Powder - 1 cup (available at the local Indian store)
Self Raising Flour - 2 tbsp ( note: If you cannot find self raising flour add 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder to 1 cup of all purpose flour/maida, mix and keep)
Rava/Cream of Wheat - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 2 tsp 
Ghee - 2 tsp
Ricotta Cheese - 2 tbsp
Milk - 2 tbsp
Saffron - 1 pinch
Elachi/Cardamon - 4 pods
Rose Water - a few drops (optional)

For Syrup:

Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 3 cups


Preparation:

1. In a large bowl add mava powder and self raising flour mix well. Add sugar and rava and mix well.

2. Add ghee and mix well, then add ricotta cheese and milk and mix well to form a stiff dough.
3. Heat oil in a wok on medium heat. 

4.Heat a heavy bottom pan with sugar and water. Allow it to melt and then reduce the heat to low.Add saffron, rose water and elachi powder to it.

5. Split the dough into 1 portions and make balls first by pressing one portion between the palms and then allowing it to form a ball.Make sure the surface is smooth and crack free.

6. Drop a small bit of the dough into the oil. It must take its time to rise up to the top. Keep splashing some oil on the kala jamun without touching it. 

7. The kala jamun must be almost black in color.Remove from oil drain and add to sugar syrup. Allow it to soak and then let it sit for a few hours until it absorbs the syrup. Store in a container.

Note: Use the same recipe without sugar in the dough to make Gulab Jamun. 



12 Comments:

I am absolutely addicted to this toast ever since I tasted it a few months ago. This is a recipe created by my brother- in-law Shaker. I h...

Jalepenos on Toast

I am absolutely addicted to this toast ever since I tasted it a few months ago. This is a recipe created by my brother- in-law Shaker. I had no idea as to what he was preparing in the kitchen, but the whole house smelled heavenly. The aroma led me into the kitchen. Taking a peek I found him sauteing jalapenos for his toast. I shamelessly demanded for a toast and he was nice enough to make me one. Spice was something that I expected, but the flavorful and aroma from each bite totally took me by surprise. I loved it so much that I told him that it was going to be blogged. Sometimes I add onions to it but the one posted below is true to the original recipe. This is such a neat snack/treat to a person who enjoys spice. I would totally serve bite size pieces at a party as an appetizer.



Gadgets:

Wok
Spatula
Toaster
Measuring Spoon
Butter Spreader.
Cutting Board
Knife


Ingredients:

Bread - 2 slices ( any kind, I found artisan bread tasted awesome in this recipe)
Jalapeno - 4 sliced
Salt
Butter - 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp



Preparation:

1. Heat the wok. Add oil, allow to warm up and then add the jalapeno slices. Saute it on high for a few minutes. Add some salt and mix well. Remove form heat.

2.Toast 2 slices of bread  and spread the butter on top of it.Arrange the jalapenos on top and have them. (Believe me you will not stop with 2 slices)




11 Comments:

Cilantro has been used a lot in Indian and Mexican cuisines. Its one of my favorite herbs and a lot of different recipes are always create...

Kothamalli Thokku/Cilantro Pesto South Indian Style

Cilantro has been used a lot in Indian and Mexican cuisines. Its one of my favorite herbs and a lot of different recipes are always created using cilantro. A very popular cilantro based recipe that belong to a pickle/chutney family is the famous kothamalli urandai ( cilantro mixed spicy balls). It is usually served with yogurt rice. Usually cilantro and lentils along with red chillies and tamarind are pounded in the stone mortar, made into balls and stored for many days. Without the addition of water the mixture stays good for a long time. These days some supermarkets or speciality stores carry them. I just finished the last store bought one and I wanted to have more of it. It can also be spread on a toast and enjoyed for breakfast.


Gadgets:

Blender ( Mixie)
Food Processor
Wok
Spatula
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Cloth/ Tray 


Ingredients:

Organic Fresh Cilantro - 1 bag ( cleaned and washed)
Udad Dhal - 3/4 cup
Channa Dhal - 3/4 cup
Red Dry Chilies - 8
Asafoetida -  dime or 25 pi size piece
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 tbsp for frying  plus  3/4 cup for blending.
Dessicated Coconut - 1/2 cup ( optional)
Salt
Tamarind - 1 lime size


Preparation:

1. Spread the cilantro that is cleaned onto a towel or tray and allow it dry up and be water free.

2. In a wok add oil. Allow it to warm and add asafoetida and allow that to fry well. Then add the dhals and chilies and roast this mixture to golden brown.

3. Add tamarind to the mixture and grind into a coarse powder in the blender. 

4. Add cilantro to the food processor along with the ground powder and blend adding the oil to get it into a pesto like consistency.

5. Store the cilantro pesto in a bottle in the fridge. Spread it on toast  for breakfast or tortilla along with sauteed veggies for lunch. 





14 Comments:

Black Forest Cake (BFC) is the most sought after cake among my nieces and nephews.In the past I have baked them the cake for their birthda...

Flourless Black Forest Cake : A Gluten Free & Sugar Free Birthday Cake

Black Forest Cake (BFC) is the most sought after cake among my nieces and nephews.In the past I have baked them the cake for their birthdays or otherwise. It was my nephew's11th birthday last week. I called him to wish him a happy birthday and asked him what he would like for his birthday. As usual, he said that he would love the black forest cake. Recently it was found that he was allergic to gluten and apart from that he had to stay away from sugar, yeast or anything that increased candida in the body. So making this cake with regular flour or sugar was out of the picture. I felt a little sad that I could not make him the cake. But then I remembered watching a cooking show where they made mini cakes with no flour.Using the recipe from the cooking show I decided to make him the cake. The recipe required honey which I could not use.. I was looking for a sugar substitutes and was informed that Xylitol was great for people with candida as mentioned here. So using xylitol in the recipe I was able to come up with a perfect flour less and sugar less birthday cake.

Judgement: I loved the cake. Without the icing it tasted like a brownie. With the whipped cream topping it tasted pretty good. It was dense but moist and had a pie/ ice cream cake like feel. For all those who have diet challenges here is one from my kitchen.



Gadgets:

Food Processor
Electric Hand Mixer
Bowls
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Spatula
9 inch Spring Form Baking Pan
Pressure Cooker

Ingredients:


Sweet Potato Medium Size - 3 pressure cooked
Banana - 1/2 ripe
Chocolate with Maltol - 2 bars ( from Trader Joes ) plus 1 piece
Eggs - 4
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp
Butter - 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp for melting chocolate
Xylitol - 3/4 cup

Icing:

Cherries - 1 bottle
Heavy Whipping Cream - 1 pint
Xylitol - 1/4 cup


Preparation:

1. Separate 3 eggs and add only the whites in a bowl. Add the yellow into a food processor. Whisk the whites until it forms a peak.

 2. Add the cooked sweet potatoes( without skin), banana, vanilla essence, baking soda, baking powder, egg, xylitol and blend. Transfer this puree into a bowl.

3. Place the chocolate pieces along with butter into a bowl. Melt them in a microwave for a minute or two.

4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

5. Add the melted chocolate to the puree. Mix well. Add a little of the egg whites and mix evenly. Then add the rest to it and fold in.

6. Bake in a parchment lined baking pan for 1 hour or until the it comes out clean when a tooth pick is inserted.

7. Allow this cake to sit for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan and allow it to cool.

8. Place the bowl and electrical whisk in the freezer for an hour. Add the whipping cream to the bowl and whisk it half way through and then add xylitol . Whisk until peaks form.

9. Cut the cherries into half and place on the cake. Add the whipped cream and spread them evenly. Place some cherries and then spread the shaved chocolate on top.




17 Comments:

By now most of you must have understood that I love to cook with quinoa. I have now started substituting it for APF ( maida).Another ingre...

Quinoa Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Muffin: A Gluten Free Muffin.

By now most of you must have understood that I love to cook with quinoa. I have now started substituting it for APF ( maida).Another ingredient that I have been using  is raisins in place of regular sugar. For people who can consume almost everything and are allergy free it is very easy. Most of the kids these days have some form of allergies. Then it becomes very challenging for parents.They have to not only be super careful about feeding them the right food, but at times also help them indulge in treats that they miss out on. I also think regular sugar makes the kids crave for more of it, but substituting them with banana's and raisins in baked goodies satisfies them and takes the craving out. This weekend my little helper and I created this muffin and got double thumbs up. So here is a muffin for all those who have gluten issues. 


Gadgets:

Bowls
Saucepan
Muffin Trays
Cupcake Liners
Measuring cups and spoons
Oven
Potato Masher

Ingredients:( Makes 12)


Oats- 1 cup
Quinoa Flakes - 1 cup
All Spice Powder - 1 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp
Kosher Salt - 1/8tsp
Butter - 1/2 cup
Banana - 1 ripe
Raisins - 1 cup
Craisins - 1/4 cup
Silvered Almonds - 1/2 cup
Apple Sauce - 1/4 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Orange/ grape fruit zest - 1/2 tsp
Lime Juice - 1 tsp
Brown Sugar - 1 tbsp
Blueberry Preserve ( optional) - 1 tbsp

Preparation:


1. In a sauce pan melt the butter.

2. Set the oven to 375 degrees F.

4. In a bowl, add banana's and mash well, and then add vanilla, melted  butter, raisins, craisins,lime juice, apple sauce and mash well. Add the 2 eggs, almonds, grape fruit zest and mix well.

5. In another bowl mix oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder,baking soda and all spice powder. Using your fingers crush the oats and quinoa flakes.

7. Mix dry with the wet and spoon out into the muffin pans lined with cupcake liners.Sprinkle a little brown sugar for crunch on top and bake for 20 minutes or until it comes cleans on the tooth pick test. 

15 Comments:

Researching a lot on acidic food on the Internet, I realized that over 75% of my diet was very acidic. With the need to change all that an...

Crunchy Kamut Mixture : For An Alkaline Diet Snack

Researching a lot on acidic food on the Internet, I realized that over 75% of my diet was very acidic. With the need to change all that and choose a healthy way of living, I have been in pursuit of alternative snacks that are good for the body. Crunchy texture is something my family loves to have in some form. When potato or tortilla chips are not in the list of good eats, then its natural that we have to look for healthier alternatives. These days most supermarkets carry various grains in puffed form for cereal. At Sprouts I found puffed kamut and thought I could make something crunchy with it. Kamut is one grain that is good for the body. It resembles wheat and has great benefits. It resembles puffed rice and tastes similar too. The Kamut mixture had a savory and sweet combination and was got the stamp of approval from my panel of tasters. 


Gadgets:

Heavy Wok
Spatula
Measuring Cups and Spoons


Ingredients:

Puffed Kamut - 3 cups
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Silvered Almonds - 1/2 cup
Garlic Powder - 1 tsp
Salt
Pepper - 1/2 tsp ( add more for spice)
Curry Leaves - a few
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cayenne Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
Olive/ Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp


Preparation:

1. Heat the wok on medium high. Add oil and ghee.

2. Add the curry leaves, garlic, turmeric, pepper and cayenne powder.and mix well for a few seconds.

3. Add Almonds and raisins and toast it.

4. Add salt and puffed kamut. Mix well and remove the wok from heat.

5. Store after the mixture cools in a air tight container ( preferably in a tin or stainless steal container)

6 Comments:

Sorry fellow blogger's, I have not had the time to look at any of your blogs. I will take a look at all your posts soon. I was also ve...

Strawberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream Cake For Little Mermaid Birthday Party

Sorry fellow blogger's, I have not had the time to look at any of your blogs. I will take a look at all your posts soon. I was also very busy preparing for my daughters birthday and keeping her busy over the winter break. For her birthday party, my daughter wanted me to bake the birthday cake. She always wants a strawberry cake with whipped cream frosting. Though I love to bake cakes, I have always had problems when it comes to baking her birthday cake. I usually order the cake from the local super market chain Vons (they make the best  fruit layered whipped cream frosting  cakes). Not this time,she told me that she believes in my baking skills and wanted me to bake it with her help. 

I think this one is the best cake I have baked so far. I thought it was a big deal when I first read the recipe because it was over whelming. I confess that I ran  into issues with the whipped cream, so I made changes to the frosting as per the advice of my little baker and all ended well. It also helped because she picked the little mermaid theme and decorating was a breeze. I must make a mention that in birthday parties most cakes are chucked into the trash. No kid eats the cake, but this one had minimum wastage and the adults enjoyed it. At the end of the day my daughter and I were very proud of our achievement.If anyone wants to bake any such cakes please give this one a try. 

I am documenting the original recipe and marked my additions in red for all those who want the original recipe. 


Recipe source from :Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake by Amy Wisniewski


Gadgets:

Electrical mixer
Bowls
Measuring cups, spoons and scale
Parchment Paper
Spring form pans 2 (9 inches)
Cake Stand
Offset Spatula
Cutting Board
Knife

Ingredients:
For the Strawberries:

Strawberries - 2 pints, rinsed and hulled (  I used 3 cups)
Granulated Sugar - 1 tbsp
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp ( about 1.2 a lemon)
Vanilla Extract - 1 1/2 tsp
Grated Lemon Zest - 1 tsp

For the Cakes: ( Two (9 inch cakes)

Cake Flour - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Kosher Salt - 1/2 tsp
Vegetable Oil - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Lightly Packed Lemon Zest - 1 tsp
Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp
Large Eggs - 6, separated
Granulated Sugar - 1 1/2 cups

For the Filling:

Mascarpone Cheese - 1/2 cup
Heavy (Whipping) Cream - 1/2 cup( check for fat content over 35%)

For the Frosting:

Vanilla Extract - 1 tbsp
Granulated Sugar - 6 tbsp
Heavy (Whipping) Cream - 3 cups
1 cup mascarpone cheese (my addition)

For Decorating:

Mermaid Doll 
Sugar toppings that go with little mermaid theme (Michael's)
Wilton's Blue granulated sugar

Preparation:( as per the original recipe)

Strawberry Preparation: 


Combine all ingredients in a medium nonreactive mixing bowl and toss to thoroughly coat strawberries. Let macerate at room temperature at least 20 minutes before using. Strain macerated berries and reserve syrup separately.

Cake Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in upper third. Butter and flour two 8-inch( I used 9 inch) cake pans. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a mixing bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine vegetable oil, water, lemon zest, vanilla extract, egg yolks, and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. Whip on medium speed, until mixture is airy and light in color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl; add dry ingredients and whip until smooth, about 1 minute more.

In a clean bowl, whip egg whites to medium peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the cake batter until evenly incorporated; gently fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.

( I used a spring form cake pan. Lined the base with the parchment paper and the sides I coated with some butter.)
Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Bake until surface of cakes springs back when pressed and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven, and let cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each, and turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the filling and the frosting.

For the filling:

Combine mascarpone cheese and heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the frosting: 

(note: the heavy whipping cream from Costco does not have the required fat content and I ran into issues with the consistency of whipped cream. The fat content over 35% works well and so to stabilize the frosting I added mascarpone cheese)



Place the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer and the whip attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. ( I had it in the freezer for 1 hour) 

Combine vanilla extract, sugar, mascarpone cheese and heavy cream in the chilled bowl and whip at medium speed until medium peaks form, about 2 minutes. 

Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least one hour. (The frosting can be prepared upto 12 hours ahead.)

To assemble:

Using a long serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes as necessary so they are level. Place cake rounds on a clean, dry surface and, using a pastry brush, brush 1/2 of the reserved strawberry syrup on the cut side of the first cake round; repeat on the cut side of the second cake round.




Evenly spread 1/4 of the mascarpone filling over the cut side of the bottom cake layer. Arrange strawberries standing upright, stem end down, over the mascarpone layer and trim as necessary to create an even layer. Cover berries with the remaining filling, being sure to fill in any empty space.

Place second cake layer over mascarpone and strawberries, cut side down, pressing gently to secure it. Using an offset spatula or a long, thin spatula, spread 3/4 cup of the frosting in a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake. Return remaining frosting and cake to the refrigerator until frosting on cake is set, about 15 minutes.

Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Let sit in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. ( I kept mine for over an hour)









For Decorating:
Using the offset spatula make wave like flicks on the icing to get wave like effect.

Place the mermaid doll in the middle and arrange the sugar toppings as per your kids wishes. Sprinkle the blue sugar all over the cake to mimic the water/ ocean. Place it back in the for over an hour and then serve it.

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