December 23, 2011

A Special Cake for the Special Man - Tuxedo Cake

I  drool every time I look at this gorgeous cake  which I made last week, a special cake for the special man's birthday !! I get very few occasions to bake a celebration cake and usually I spend a lot of time searching and finalizing the cake to bake. I don't know how I came across this one, but one look and it was decided. With so little experience in baking cakes, I was not sure If I could replicate it exactly, But I am really proud the way it has turned out. Quite Close !!  I was working with the whipped cream too for the first time, so the fear was manifold. The whipping did give me lot of troubles, muscle aches, and the quantity went wrong and I had plenty of whipped cream left, but no complains after the way it looked and tasted :-)  Since the birthday was falling on a week day, I planned to make it over two days. The first day I made the cake, and the 2nd day I did the whipping and assembling.

By the way hidden besides all this whiteness is 4 layers of moist dark chocolate cake. And is called a Tuxedo Cake.

I am sharing the original recipe here though I made it by halving it. That gave me two 6" cakes, which I sliced into four , making it a 4 layered cake. As I mentioned above the quantity of whipped cream didn't work for me. I had halved the recipe for it too, but plenty was left, so I think 1/4th would have been enough . I also didn't have the corn syrup, so I made the ganache which I have earlier used in Bundt Cake.
I am also sharing the chocolate dipped strawberries recipe.


For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1¼ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

For the Chocolate Strawberries:
10 even sized strawberries, washed and pat dried
3 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
some white chocolate

For the chocolate glaze:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract


For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line three 9-inch round cake pans (or two 10-inch round cake pans) with parchment paper.  Butter and flour the inside edges of the pan, shaking out the excess flour.  
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, water and canola oil; heat until the butter is melted
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour; whisk to blend.
  4. Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  5. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk.  Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated.
  6.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of each cake layer and invert onto a wire cooling rack.  Allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting, at least 2 hours.

For the frosting

  1.  Ensure that the bowl and the whisk of the electric mixer are chilled. This is for ensure the cream whips well.
  2. Add the heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form.  Be careful not to over-beat!

Assembling the cake
  1. Place one cake layer on a cake platter and spread a layer of the whipped cream frosting over the top.  Top with a second cake layer, more frosting (and the third cake layer, if using).  Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake.  Refrigerate until the frosting has stabilized, at least 1 hour.
For the Chocolate Strawberries:
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Melt the dark chocolate and stir it smooth. 
  3. Hold the strawberries by stem and twist and swirl it in the melted chocolate.Take it out ,swirl and let excess chocolate drip. Place it on the parchment paper and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes for the chocolate to set
  4. When the chocolate strawberries is set, melt white chocolate in a bowl. Put it in a piping bag. Cut the tip and make patterns over the strawberries
For the chocolate glaze:

  1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes.
  3. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous.  Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla.  Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes.  (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake.)  
  4. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides.
  5. Place the chocolate dipped strawberries on the glaze immediately
  6. Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least 1 hour.  
  7. For Serving Slice with a long, sharp knife, wiping the blade clean between slices.  
The Recipe is from Pastry Queen and Annie Eats. The chocolate strawberries is from numerous resources available on the web.

December 6, 2011

Coconut Pistachio Laddus

 No excuses for being invisible for so long on the blog. You know me and my frequent  absenteeism due to laziness well now :))  I had made these coconut laddus for Diwali.  It is a fairly simple recipe and very delicious. I anyway love coconut sweets and had been wanting to make them  and was very ecstatic when everyone who had them loved it.
I made two versions. The second photo is the one which is light pink [not peach] in colour. The 2nd photo doesn't look great in comparison with the first photo ,but it looked better than the first to the naked eyes. The only difference is the amount of beetroot used. For the first one I used an entire medium beetroot. And for the 2nd one ,I used half the beetroot.Now coming to the recipe, It is adapted from Alpana's blog.

[For 15 laddus]

For The Pistachio Filling :
1/2 cup blanched, deskinned and coarsely ground Pistachios
1 tablespoon Sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of cardamom powder

For Coconut balls
1 cup desiccated coconut  + 1/2 cup for rolling the ladoos
200 Grams sweetened condensed milk ,half tin
1 cup Milk 
1 tsp Ghee/ Clarified butter
1 tsp cardamom powder
3-4 slices of fresh medium Beetroot [ light pink] or 1 medium beetroot [dark pink]


For the Pistachio Filling:

  1. Mix  all ingredients under the Pistachio filling to make a dough. Make 15 small balls and keep aside.

For the Coconut Balls:

  1. Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the desiccated coconut and stir for 2-3 minutes till the time you can smell the fragrance of the coconut. 
  2. Add milk & beetroot slices and stir till the milk is all absorbed in the coconut.
  3. Add condensed milk & cardamom powder & stir continuously on low heat till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan . 
  4. Switch off the heat  as soon as the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Let this mixture cool for 10-15 minutes .  
  5. Remove the beetroot slices and mix well so that color is evenly spread. When the mixture cools off divide 15 equal portions . 
  6. Flatten each Coconut ball in your palms. Place one pistachio ball into the center and close it from all sides and shape it into round balls. 
  7. Take the 1/2 cup dry desiccated coconut and roll these balls in it .
  8. Refrigerate it before serving as they taste best after it. You can store them in refrigerator for 1 week.

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