Neapolitan Goosebumps cake

1goosebumps-cake

When my friend’s son asked for a Goosebumps cake last year for his birthday, I had no clue what that meant. I didn’t know then that it was a famous children’s horror book series and there was a movie as well based on the book. A Google Image search followed, but most of those cakes seemed beyond my capabilities. But this particular image with black and white stripes and eye balls seemed doable to me. The top of the cake seemed too blank for me, so I decided to make the Goosebumps logo as well.

This, without an iota of doubt, is the best cake I have ever made. I am talking in terms of the whole package of cake and decoration. The base cake is same as this one, the slutty brownie cake. The cake is not only easy to make and delicious, it makes three 9″ cakes, which makes my life easy. The cookies and oreo layer in that post are replaced by strawberry and chocolate layers, which makes this a Neapolitan cake. So a layer of chocolate cake followed by strawberry layer and then simple vanilla cake. Each layer is liberally sprinkled with about 1/4 cup of sugar syrup to make it moist.

Fondant decorations look scary, but in reality its a lot easier than it sounds. Covering the cake is something I still struggle with as I still get a lot of ‘wrinkles’ at the base. But you can always mask it with a border. Handling fondant is like handling play dough. If you have the right equipment, you are good.

Read on for the recipe.

2goosebumps-cake

Recipe source: Whats Gabby Cooking

Ingredients:

Base cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 cup corn flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk

*Use 4 cups cake flour instead of a mix of flour and corn flour

Strawberry layer:

  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam

chocolate layer:

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Filling, frosting and toppings:

  • simple syrup : boil 1 cup water with half cup sugar. Cool completely.
  • buttercream recipe, twice the quantity
  • 1/2 cup of buttercream from above plus 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • fondant for covering and decorations
  • 1/4 cup melted white chocolate chips colored with green food coloring for slime

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line three 9″ pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and continue beating at medium speed. Once the four eggs are combined well, add the vanilla essence and beat it in.
  4. We have to add the flour in three batches, alternating it with the buttermilk. That means, we have to first add 1/3rd of the flour mix into the butter mix. Beat at a lower speed to avoid spilling of the flour all over. Once the flour is mixed in without streaks, add one cup of buttermilk and continue beating. Now add half of the leftover flour mix. Once that’s mixed well, add in the rest of buttermilk. Once that’s combined well, add the remaining flour. At any point, you can stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to help combine the batter better.
  5. Divide the batter into three bowls. Add 1/3 cup cocoa powder into one batch, 1/3 cup strawberry jam or preserves into another. Leave the third one plain.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 35-45 minutes until a skewer comes free of cake crumbs when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  7. Take off the oven, let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Then take off the pan, cling wrap it two times and return to the same pan until its time to decorate.
  8. For decorating, prepare the butter cream. Take half cup of the buttercream and add 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder for making chocolate buttercream. Fill and frost the cake only after its completely cool.
  • Divide the batter into three bowls. Add 1/3 cup cocoa powder into one batch, 1/3 cup strawberry jam or preserves into another. Leave the third one plain. Bake until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. About 40 minutes or so.

When the cake has completely cooled down, level the cakes. Save the domes for making the eye balls. Anchor the chocolate cake with a little buttercream to the base. Sprinkle sugar syrup all over the cake and spread a layer of chocolate buttercream. Top with vanilla cake. Spread and level a layer of buttercream. Top with the strawberry layer.

Frost the cake with buttercream. Crumb coat and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before adding one more layer of buttercream.

Cover with fondant and decorate as desired. The eye balls are the leveled cake portions mixed with a little buttercream to give sturdiness. I wrapped them with fondant without any buttercream underneath.

The green slime is MW melted white chocolate chips. I added green food coloring once it was melted completely.

3goosebumps-cake

This post is a part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

4goosebumps-cake

Advertisements

Baked Pasta with Ricotta cheese

5baked_pasta

On most Fridays, my husband works from home. Last Friday was no different. I was busy with a cake for my friend’s son and so I had to make a lunch that’s substantial enough for the man but that’s not time consuming. I didn’t want to spend time in front of the stove when I had a lot to do. So baked pasta it was! I like this recipe as the hands on effort is less. You are almost done if pasta is cooked. The rest is just mixing a couple of sauces and baking.

I had tried this recipe two weeks back for Thanksgiving lunch. So I knew it was a good recipe. I had followed the recipe exactly that day and made a Rigatoni pasta pie. You can checkout this one minute video tutorial to see what I am talking about. But I realized that the effort of packing the pasta into the cake pan is really not worth it. I couldn’t fill each pasta with the ricotta filling and the pie collapsed when I cut into it. It was tasty but it didn’t stand by itself like a pie piece. It tasted amazing, so I decided to take the simpler route of just mixing the pesto sauce with the pasta and the baking it. It all tastes the same at the end anyway and the effort is so much lesser.

Read on for the pictorial.

2baked_pasta

Recipe adapted from Tastemade.com

  • 1 12 oz pack pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Gemma’s hot sauce
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of shredded cheese of your choice

Bring a big pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Don’t overcook the pasta. Al dente is fine. For 12 oz pack of tricolor pasta, it was 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix 1 cup basil pesto with 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper for seasoning. I added 1 teaspoon of Gemma’s hot sauce for a spice kick. Transfer pasta to an oven safe pan. Mix in the ricotta with the pasta.

Mix the ricotta well to distribute evenly, taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Now add 1 cup of tomato sauce to the pasta.

Spread the tomato sauce evenly on top of the pasta and top with cheese. I used about 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese here. Shredded Mozzarella would work better.

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Take off the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

3baked_pasta1baked_pasta

This post is a part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

Apple sauce cake

1applesauce_cake

I love edible gifts. Sometimes so much that I don’t even share it. Not even with my ten year old son. This was one of those kinds. Usha of My Spicy Kitchen had gifted me, Pavani and Mireille this wonderful apple sauce cake when we met sometime back. Her gift was a mini cake beautifully packaged and presented in a cute checkered cupcake liner. It was very impressive. So impressive that I almost finished the cake on my own (remember – it was a mini cake). But guilt won over and I left some of this delicious cake for my kid, but it took some serious will power…let me tell you that!

I got the recipe from her (from King Arthur Flour) and baked it soon after. And I am sure I will bake this again for this holiday season. I am just inspired looking at the recipe again! I don’t buy apple sauce at home, but bought it specifically for this recipe. I am thinking of making smaller cakes like Usha did so that it’s easier to gift.

The cake is made with whole wheat flour. It is moist and soft and I love the addition of raisins to the cake. This makes a wonderful snack cake. With the apple sauce and the whole wheat, we can almost label it ‘healthy’. Well, healthy if you ignore the amount of sugar and butter. Or maybe healthier compared to other cakes. My honest opinion is that cakes are not healthy food even if it is made with whole wheat and apples, but we are good as long as we are sticking to that one single slice. Or may be that single mini cake :D.

Read on for the recipe.

2applesauce_cake

Recipe source: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (113gms), softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
  • 1-2 tablespoon Icing sugar, optional

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 C/ 350F. Grease and line a 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the dry ingredients  – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon – and mix well using a wire whisk.
  3. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together well. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat it in.
  4. Now add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating it with the applesauce.
  5. Fold in the nuts and raisins gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake.
  6. Take off the oven and let the cake rest in the pan for at least ten minutes before taking out of the pan. Slice once the cake is completely cool. You can add some icing sugar on top if you feel like.

 

4applesauce_cake

This post is a part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

3applesauce_cake

 

Tiramisu Mousse Cake with mirror glaze

1mousse_cake

Bakeathon 2016, Day 8

The Russian baker Olga took the baking world by storm with her stunning mirror cakes this summer. The baking world followed her steps and soon it rained mirror cakes and entremets all over the Internet. I too jumped into the wagon and this cake was my trial. It’s not much compared to the talent out there, but I was really happy with this cake. It’s one of the best cakes I have made so far.

This cake has multiple layers. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the inside layers. I wish I had taken the step wise pictures at least, so that its easier to explain. Its a tiramisu cake with mousse layers on top. The layers are inspired from this site.

Each layer of mousse need to be set completely before adding the next layer on top. That’s the most time consuming part. The waiting!!  Each step in itself is easy to make, but as the setting time is more, this cake needs to be started at least 2 days beforehand. A spring form pan or a pastry collar would make this a lot more easier, but I had to use my ordinary 9″ pan and line it with clingwrap and then with another layer of parchment paper. Its a good idea to freeze the cake for a couple of hours before trying to take it out of the pan.

Base is a 9″ sponge cake, cut into three layers with coffee syrup to soak the cake. I don’t remember the sources for any of the recipes. Sorry about that.

The layers go like this from bottom to top:

  • Sponge cake with coffee syrup
  • Tiramisu mousse
  • Sponge cake with coffee syrup
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Sponge cake with coffee syrup
  • White chocolate vanilla mousee
  • Chocolate mirror glaze
  • Chocolate collar to cover the sides

2mousse_cake

Line a 9″ pan with clingwrap and then with parchment paper. Keep the first layer of cake. Sprinkle with coffee syrup.

Coffee syrup:

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Add the sugar to the hot coffee, let it melt. Cool and keep aside.

Tiramisu mousse :

  • 1.5 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup melted and chilled  white chocolate
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • Bloom gelatin in cold water per the package instructions. When ready to use, microwave it to melt it. Mix mascarpone cheese with sugar, vanilla, melted gelatin and white chocolate. Fold in the whipped cream. Layer this on top of the cake sprinkled with coffee syrup. Refrigerate to set completely, 4 to 6 hours. Once its set, top with another layer of cake. Sprinkle with coffee syrup. 

Chocolate mousse:

  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin + 2 tablespoon cool water
  • Bloom gelatin in cool water. Heat the chocolate chips with 1/2 cup cream in 30 sec bursts in microwave, stirring after each burst to melt the chips completely. Melt the gelatin in low power in MW and add it to the melted chocolate. Let it come to room temparature. Whip the remaining one cup of heavy cream and fold it into the chocolate mix.  Pour over the cake, refrigerate until it sets. Once it sets, add the third layer of cake on top.

Vanilla or White chocolate mousse:

  • 2 cups melted white chocolate
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Melt the white chocolate in microwave in 30 sec bursts, stirring to ensure that it melts completely and evenly. Add the honey and mix well. Let it come to room temperature. Whip the heavy cream and slowly fold in the white chocolate mix. Pour this over the third layer of cake and refrigerate to set. 

Chocolate mirror glaze, follow the link for the instructions. Pour the glaze on top of the cake.

Follow is link for the chocolate collar. 

NOTE: You can freeze the mousse layers separately to set and then assemble the cake and return to the fridge. But I took the hard route :D.

3mousse_cake

This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016

Oreo chocolate cake

3oreo_cake  

Bakeathon 2016, Day 7 

I have a few basic cakes that I repeat again and again for all my baking needs. I use this eggless chocolate cake as my base for a lot of recipes. The best part of this recipe is that it is kid friendly. That means if you are planning on a baking session with your kids or their friends, its the perfect recipe. This cake here, a small variation of the base cake, was baked by a 6 year old.

You don’t need any fancy equipment for this cake. A big bowl to mix everything in, a whisk and a sifter is all you need. Since the recipe calls for yogurt instead of eggs, its a lot easier on the kids. But the best part is the oreos of course. We have to taste test it multiple times to ensure good quality  ;-).

For decorations, we went with a small batch of buttercream. We made some zigzag lines on top by adding some buttercream in a ziploc bag and cutting a small opening to pipe it out. Some fondant decorations and oreos also went in to make it colorful.

Read on for the recipe.

2oreo_cake 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (or 1/4 cup each of milk and yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee (1 tsp instant coffee pwd+1/3 cup hot water)
  • 4 oreo cookies, crumbled roughly with hands
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Buttercream recipe(small batch):

  • 1/2 stick or 50 gms butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method: 

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease a 6″ pan with oil or butter and line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a big bowl to get rid of any lumps. Whisk well.
  3. Add the oil, yogurt (and milk if you are using yogurt and milk combination) , vanilla and hot coffee. Mix using a wire whisk so that no lumps remain. If the batter is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of milk to thin it out.
  4. Crush 4 oreo cookies roughly with your hands. Add it to the batter and whisk it in carefully.
  5. Transfer the batter to the greased and lined pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. Take the cake out of the oven, let it rest in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Carefully, flip it over, take off the parchment paper. Cover it with 2 rounds of cling wrap. Return the wrapped cake back into the pan and let it sit undisturbed until its completely cool.
  6. If you wish, make a small batch of buttercream and decorate it with some cookies and candies. I have used fondant here for some color.
  7. For the buttercream, add the softened butter and cocoa powder in a bowl. Using a spoon, mix the butter and cocoa powder to get a smooth paste, adding 1-2 teaspoons of hot water. Now add 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and mix it in using the spoon, again using the hot water to help mix it. The buttercream should be smooth when you are done. Taste test and add half cup more if you need it. You can check out step wise pictures in this post. The recipe here is halved.

1oreo_cake

This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016