It's X'mas again......

It's X'mas time again....and I love it......The tree was up in the first week of Dec itself since my kids were toooo excited to decorate it......The crib and the stars are yet to be done and hopefully it would be done before we leave for our holidays on Friday......
This year is special when it comes to baking----baked four plum cakes to gift my family members (I had plans of baking more but the erratic power shutdown in my area spoiled everything, so in the end had to be satisfied with four)........We even have homemade grape wines this time (all the credit for that goes to JJ).....but no plans of gifting those.....*winks*.....(the recipe and snaps of the homemade wine would be up after I come back from my holidays)......
Those are the 4 cakes, specially wrapped and waiting for Santa to collect and deliver to my loved ones back at home.......*smiles*........The detailed photos of the cake would be uploaded later...Until then
Here are the pictures of the cake.....

Happy to you!!!

My first born, my little prince turned 5 today......Like I said grow up soooo fast that you don't realise it until their next birthday...*smiles*.......
Few weeks back I asked my son as to what cake he wants for his fifth birthday.....and there he goes with a list of cakes-----car cake, teddy bear cake, mickey mouse cake, giraffe cake, butterfly cake, flower cake, deer cake, blah blah blah (thanks to TLC's cake shows, as he gets all these cake ideas from those)......Finally, he said he needed a cake with the number 5 and he specifically wanted a chocolate cake with blue icing (blue being his favorite color)!! Now starts my search for a blue color.....But this time I was lucky enough to find it in a departmental store and so grabbed all the bottles of different colors that was there (as these are very rare commodities and you get them once in a blue moon at my place).......
Now with the color ready, I was in search for a chocolate cake...Though I have many recipes for a chocolate cake, I needed one with exact quantities to make a big rectangular cake....Otherwise, I would have to make two cakes (a round and a square) and cut them into the shape of 5, which I felt was quite tedious....My search ended when I received the book "Cake" by Rachel Allen (thanks to Flipkart)......I love Rachel Allen's show on TLC and I wouldn't miss any of her telecast.......I zeored in her Chocolate number Cake with Coloured Buttercream Icing from the book.....
With everything ready and fingers crossed, I baked the cake just a day before the big day......I was totally tensed when I started trimming the cake to form the number 5......But then I took a deep breathe and just did it.....*phew*......Though I had messed up a bit while trimming, the frostings came to my rescue....*smiles*.....Anyways after a half day's work, here it is my first number cake for my little client...*winks*......

Chocolate Cake with Blue Buttercream Icing
Recipe Source: Rachel Allen's Cake
For the Cake
Butter, softened - 400gms
Caster Sugar - 400 gms
Eggs - 7
Plain flour - 400 gms
Baking powder - 4 tsp
Cocoa powder - 2-4 tbsp
  •  Preheat oven to 180 C. Butter a cake tin and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
  • Creeam butter until soft in a large bowl using a hand-mixer.
  • Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Whisk the eggs together in a bowl for few seconds and then gradually add them to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and fold in gently until mixed.
  • Tip the batter into the preared pan and bake in the oven for 35-45mins (depending on the size of the tin) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then loosen the edges with a small sharp knife. Place a large wire rack upside down on the top of the cake and carefully turn over.
  • Remove the tin and the parchment paper and leave to cool completely on the wire rack.
  • When the cake has cooled, transfer to a chopping board. Draw a template of the number or letter on a piece of paper and cut this out. Place on top of the cake and using a sharp knife cut around the templates.

For the Buttercream Icing

Butter, softened - 200 gms
Icing sugar, sifted - 450gms
Milk or heavy cream - 50 ml
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Blue colour - Few drops

  • Cream the butter an sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy and light.
  • Continuing to beat, gradually add the cream or milk witht the vanilla extract and food colouring, adding just enough to achieve the desired shade.

For the Chocolate Swirls

Milk chocolate or Dark chocolate broken into pieces - 100 gms

  • Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Leave just until melted, stirring from time to time.
  • Remove from the heat and place next to the cake.
  • Dip a teaspoon or dessert spoon into the chocolate and drizzle on swirls on the top of the cake.

Moral of the tale: Never ask kids for ideas on their birthday cake!! *phew*......But all the effort taken is worth once you see the glee on their face.......*smiles*


Chocolate Cupcakes

Well....I had never intended to bake a cupcake....Never at this time of the year when I am soooo busy baking cakes for Christmas.....But had to bake it for my little one *smiles*....She had some activity at her play school where she was supposed to bring cupcakes.....I thought of buying some...but the "baker mummy" in me didn't allow....and so I baked these simple Chocolate Cupcakes for my little one and her friends......
Recipe Adapted from: Chocolate by Parragon Books

Unsalted butter, softened - 100 gm
Castor sugar - 1/2 cup
Eggs, lightly beaten - 2
Milk/water - 2-4 tbsp
Chocolate chips - 1/3 cup
Self-raising white flour - 1 1/2 cups
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C. Line a muffin pan with paper cases.
  • Sift the flour and cocoa. Reserve.
  • Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Add milk or water.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Next, add the sifted flour and cocoa and fold into the mixture. {Add water/milk accordingly to loosen the batter}.
  • Spoon the batter into the paper cases and smooth the tops.
  • Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for about 20-30 mins or until well risen and springy to touch.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.