Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chocolate Butterfly Cake


I've been meaning to post this recipe for more than a week now but with my son falling sick and work days being filled with meetings and more meetings I couldn't get to it until now. My daughter turned 6 on October 10th and for her birthday this year she was contemplating between a Butterfly cake and a Flower cake and finally after much thinking and some 'Eenie Meenie Minie Mo' she decided on the Butterfly Cake. She was positive about what flavour the cake had to be though when she declared that it had to be a chocolate cake.

So, I set about looking for websites that might illustrate how I can do a butterfly cake and found the perfect one at this website... I couldn't believe how easy it was (some very creative & smart thinking by the person who came up with it) and it didn't even need a special pan.. just a plain old round pan and a few cuts later, you've got yourself a butterfly! See the illustration I have below and you'll agree I am right. So, this is great for novices at cake decorating (like me) and a sure fire way to thrill your kids.

I did keep in mind some of the things I learnt from my last year's mistakes while making the Princess Castle Cake : 1) Make the cake abt 2 days ahead and refrigerate for atleast 12 hours so you can cut it easily 2) I wanted to bake the cake and make the frosting myself since the store bought mixes & frosting tubs didn't work well last time 3) Give ample time for the crumb coat to rest in the fridge before doing the final frosting. I defintely think that I got a better finish this time... not perfect still but a whole lot better.

The chocolate cake was really good - dense, moist, chocolatey a bit sweeter than store bought cake since I was going to do a light, not very sweet icing and for the icing I decided to go with my favorite whipped cream with a bit of cream cheese to give it more body. All in all a delicious & good looking cake.

BUTTERFLY CHOCOLATE CAKE



Ingredients for the Chocolate Cake (makes one 9 inch)
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup + 1/8 cup (yes.. no typo there)
Cocoa powder - 1/3 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - half tsp
Salt - half tsp
Egg - 1
Buttermilk - half cup (I just used home made yogurt blended with a bit of water)
Vegetable/Canola oil - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - half tsp
Light coffee - half cup (I heated up half cup water and added about a tsp of instant coffee)

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper then spray again with PAM. Then flour the pans (this cake is quite sticky so make sure you don't skip any of these)


2) Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Combine uniformly with the sugar using a whisk in a large bowl.

3) In another small bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla.


4) While gradually pouring the wet ingredients into the dry ingredents, beat them (I used a hand held beater). Finally pour the coffee and stir until it just comes together.


5) Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack and cooling completely.

6) At this point, i wrapped it with cling wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
Heavy Whipping Cream - 1 cup
Low fat cream cheese - 2 oz
Sugar - 1/4 to 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Food coloring if needed (I used pink since she loves pink and purple)

Method:
1) Freeze the bowl and the beaters for atleast 20 to 30 minutes before doing this frosting.


2) First beat together the cream cheese, sugar, few drops of food coloring and vanilla extract until smooth. While still beating it, pour the heavy whipping cream slowly and continue beating until it holds a peak.

Assembly of Butterfly Cake:
Here's the illustration I promised you..

1) First put the cake bottom side up so you have nice clean level surface for the top.. using a sharp serrated knife cut cake in half so you have 2 semi circles.


2) Arrange them on a cling wrap covered tray so the curves are close to each other (but not touching).


3) Cut 2 notches or small triangles slightly below center and now the semicircles will look like wings of the butterfly. Take the 2 triangles you cut and put them between the 2 semi circles with bases touching each other - this forms the body of the butterfly.



4) First do a crumb coat which is basically a first layer of icing which will ensure that all the cake crumbs are not spread through the icing... Once that is done, referigerate the cake for another 6 hours or so before doing the second and final coat of icing.



5) Use a decorating gel pen / pipe a thin line of frosting to draw patterns on the wings.. We then used different kinds of sprinkles, colored sugar and jelly beans... to decorate the butterfly.


6) For the antennae you could use fruit roll ups or any long thin biscuit.. i just had some chocolate fudge that i melted a bit and stuck onto 2 halves of a wooden skewer and insterted them into the cake.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pasta Frittata

When I saw this on Giada's show, I was quite impressed by how fluffy it looked and thought my kids would definitely love it knowing how they enjoy both cheese and pasta. The addition of eggs makes for a filling lunch as well and since this comes together so very easily and tastes just as good at room temperature, it makes for an ideal lunchbox dish.

I had some leftover pasta in the fridge and some fresh basil in the garden so decided to give this a try and it was definitely a hit... both kiddos loved it. I might consider adding some chopped and sauteed veggies with it the next time, such as zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes etc. The basil gave it such a burst of freshness and made me wish I had added some more. I made some slight modifications to her recipe...

PASTA FRITTATA


Ingredients
:
Pasta (cooked with a bit of salt and cooled completely) - 1.5 cups (I used macaroni)
Eggs - 3
Whole Milk - 3 tbsp
Basil leaves - about 10, chopped finely
Parmesan cheese and mozzarella - 1/4 cup each, (totalling half cup)
Salt & Pepper to taste (if making for adults, you can add some red chilli flakes)
Olive oil - 2 tsp + 2 tsp

Method:
1) In a bowl, beat the eggs & milk with some salt and pepper (go easy on the salt since the pasta has some salt and we are going to be adding some cheese as well).

2) Now toss in the drained and cooled pasta, chopped basil and the cheeses & stir well.

3) Heat a non-stick pan on medium and drizzle 2 tsp of olive oil, pour the pasta-egg mixture and spread evenly. Allow to cook on medium for abt 7-8 minutes. If the top still looks runny and not set, that run a spatula around the edges and tilt the pan so they run off to the sides.

4) Once the bottom has browned a bit, loosen the edges with a spatula and invert pan onto a plate.

5) Drizzle the remaining 2 tsp of oil in the pan and slide the frittata in, with the uncooked side on the bottom and browned side on the top. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or till firm. Cut into wedges when warm.


Serve with some salad, fruit and milk and watch your kids enjoy! :)