Monday, August 19, 2013

The Making of the Lightening McQueen Car

Warning: Long Post Ahead

This cake was one of the biggest baking project that I have undertaken. When I had baked a rainbow cake for Arnav in 2012, I had decided that I will try something new at his every birthday. As per my plan I was planning to bake a train cake and I started researching on it in July. While I was checking out ideas and tips to make a train cake I realised I could also make a car cake. Arnav is such a big fan of cars that I cannot tell you and of all Cars Lightening McQueen is his favourite. So I decided to throw the ball in his court and asked him to choose between a car cake & a train cake. No prizes for guessing what he chose!

The major hurdle that I anticipated in making the cake was that of Fondant. I say hurdle because a) I had never handled it before and had heard many horror stories about it & b) It was not easily available where I live. I decided to worry about the former later and went out searching for the product. I was fortunate because I managed to find a shop which though was far but still in Navi Mumbai. I also did some Internet search and came across this Baker Smart. They are based out of Bangalore and have a wonderful variety of Baking Supplies. The rates that they were offering me were half the rate that I was getting here so I decided to take a risk and ordered the stuff from them. I say risk because I had never heard about them before I stumbled across their site and I did not even check for their reviews before transferring 1000+ bucks in their account. All in good faith. Thankfully they did not disappoint me but I will review them separately otherwise this will be one mammoth post (just like the cake :D).

Here I must add that I ordered the stuff in July end but all of the above was the part of research that I did beforehand.
Towards the end of July I started reading various blogs and tutorials about how to make a car cake. I started making notes, read about how to handle fondant and realised few thing
  1. 99% of the articles I was reading were from out of India
  2. As soon as I had received the fondant (a week before his birthday) I had kept it in refrigerator. Guess what was the 1st line of all the “How to handle Fondant” articles? DO NOT REFRIGERATE THE FONDANT. We live & we learn
  3. There is always an easy way out you just need to explore a lot.
Since his birthday was falling on Friday I decided to bake one cake on Wednesday & other on Thursday. I baked two cakes as backup also after I had measured my tin I had realised that ultimately my cake might turn out to be very small…which actually didn’t happen.

I used Gayathri’s recipe for egg less marble cake

For The Cake:

Vegetable Oil -1/2 cup
Granulated Sugar-1 1/4cups
Flour/ Maida- 2 1/4cups
Baking Powder-3/4tbs
Curd -1/2cup
Milk- 1 + 1/4cups
Vanilla Essence-1tsp
Cocoa Powder-1 1/2tbs

Preheat oven at 180C. Grease and dust a pan. In a bowl mix flour and baking powder and mix well. In another bowl beat Oil and sugar until fluffy, add vanilla essence and curd and beat again until fluffy. Add in 1 cup of milk and flour and mix with a wooden spatula.

Divide the batter into 2 equal portions. To one portion add cocoa powder and 1/4cup of milk and mix to combine. Add alternate layers of vanilla batter & chocolate batter and when that is done finally with a knife, make spiral motions inside the batter to obtain the marble effect.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. The baking time varies from oven to oven. I use LG Convection Microwave and it takes 60 mins at least to cook a cake in the convection mode.

After 5-10minutes, invert the pan on a wire rack and remove pan. Allow it to cool completely.

After the cake was ready I allowed it to cool overnight and then packed it in a cling film and stored it in refrigerator. I did so because it carving is a little easier that ways. I baked another cake on Thursday using this recipe. This cake however didn't turn out that well because I had used Blue Bird Baking Powder which spoiled my cake.

I knew that Friday would be loaded (I was making noodles for the party plus we also had to do decorations) so I decided to do some preliminary preparations. I took the fondant made three balls, big, small & smallest colouring them in red, yellow & black. This reduced my workload for next day.

Fondant - 1/2 kg
Colours used - Red, Black & Yellow

How to colour the Fondant

I would suggest you to visit this site- Working with fondant . It gives you enough tips to make you comfortable. You should use only gel colours with fondant because liquid colours bring in moisture which is not good for Fondants also gel colours are more vibrant. Initially take a little colour adding on a little at a time. After colouring the balls I covered them with cling film. You should ensure that you never leave the fondant out in open. It SHOULD always remain covered and remain in a dry place.

Colored & readied!

Next day I took out the cake and followed the tips used in this video.

I measured my cake, mentally dividing it into three equal parts and finally carving out the third part. I then cut the carved part into two equal parts and loaded it on the remaining cake. Then I carved the remaining cake as depicted in the video. I then applied homemade butter cream frosting on the cake and refrigerated it (it helps the frosting to settle down). 

Carved out!
Frosting applied

Tools that you will need for working with the fondant. I would suggest you to keep these ready beforehand because the next part needs loads of concentration and keeping everything handy helps

1. Icing Sugar/ corn flour for dusting
2. Thick rolling pin. Since I didn’t have one my FIL found the fat silver pipe that you can see me using in the pictures
3. A sharp cutter, scale, paint brush, pizza cutter and water in a small bowl.
4. Also keep the model of the car that you are making in front of you

Soften the red fondant by gently kneading it and then roll it out on a clean surface. Apply a little icing sugar or corn flour over a clean surface and roll the fondant. Thickness of the rolled out fondant should be ¼” (If it is too thin it might break while you are stretching it out). Once that is ready roll it over on the pin and spread it out on the car (which you should take out of the refrigerator). Let it lie there for couple of seconds before you start working on it. Once it is settled gently give the fondant a shape over the car by pulling and stretching it. Cut out the extra fondant from under the car.

Red Fondant rolled out.

The cake gets new clothes!

Work In Progress

Similarly you should roll the remaining fondants and cutting the required shapes (Front screen, headlights, windows, name on the top, finer details on the side body of the car etc.). To paste these individual items on to the car, all you need to do is apply a little water with a brush and pat it on the car. I made tyres by rolling out small black balls and red balls and pinned it to the car with a toothpick. For the finer details in the tyre I just carved the lines with a knife. And voila my car was ready.


The problems or rather the lessons that I learned while making the car were
  1. I felt that red fondant could have been a little thinner.
  2. I didn’t know where to keep the cake after it was ready. The problem was that all the sites that I had referred to were from out of India where the temperatures are low. India however is a hot country so where I kept the cake it started sweating. I could not keep the cake in fridge because fondant & moisture don’t go together. When I kept it out it was sweating and I had no Indian site to refer to about solutions.
  3. Getting the products. If you are planning to make this plan much in advance.
  4. Keeping the child away from the car was a huge problem :D
  5. You need to plan the whole thing properly. Like you should know which baking dish you plan to use because the car's size is dependant on that. The bigger the dish the bigger the car. I had done all the measurements well in advance and I had even cut out the small shapes like windows, windscreen etc on paper and that helped a lot.
  6. Your heart will break when the cake is being cut. When Arnav was cutting through the cake I was like, it comes this? All me effort will be gone in one second? Poof!!
Sites I referred to for tips
Each of these sites carve the cake differently you can choose the method which looks easiest to you. I preferred the one shown in the video. It is super easy & quick.

If you ask me to rate myself I feel I fared well. I am not trained to decorate cakes and all this was done by learning via various sites so for an amateur I think I did well!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fruit & Nut Cake with Hudson Canola Oil

Last month I had received this request to try & review Hudson Canola Oil. I had never heard about it before I had seen the mail but before accepting the offer I wanted to know something about it. So I & Hubby searched around and like every dutiful Indian we also tried digging out the Hindi Name for it. Before you ask why were we searching so much let me tell you. Our family is a little finicky in these things and we (excluding me) are able to judge the difference in taste very quickly. So if the Oil would have been something strange getting a sample would have been more of a headache!

The search landed us here Hudson Canola Oil

Hudson Canola is a standard edible vegetable grade oil, a light oil with neutral taste and flavour. Hudson Canola can be used for all types, methods and varieties of Indian cooking: frying, roasting or grilling. Canola is neutral in flavour and aroma with no distinctive taste or smell. Canola Oil is extruded from the seeds of the yellow Canola flower. Canola Oil has the lowest saturated fat amongst all oils, very high monounsaturated fat, very high Omega-3 and rich Vitamin-E content. Canola is the best oil in terms of fat content, when looked at in totality: lowest saturated fat, very high MUFA, very high Omega-3, best balancing ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, zero trans fats. No other oil offers this unique combination of fats!
Since we didn't find anything incrementing against the oil we decided to accept the reques. When we received it there were varied reactions but the most predominant one was "how will it taste". My Hubby was like "use it in your daily cooking and don't tell that you have used it that ways there would be no adverse reaction and we would also know that if it taste's like the oil we use daily". So, I very slyly started using it daily and guess what? The whole bottle is finished and nobody knew also. I made my daily food i.e. bhindi, badi ki subji, Paratha's, Poha & most importantly even baked a cake with it and there was no difference in the taste. As far as the benefits is concerned I don't think we had any side effects so I would trust what they say on their website.

Here I will share the recipe of my Eggless Fruit & Nut Cake made with Hudson Canola Oil. This cake was baked on Saturday when the brat saw a cake in a shop and asked for one. I promised that I will bake it for him and I had to because he remembered my promise.

Eggless Fruit & Nut Cake

Recipe Source: Various sites


All purpose flour - 1½ cup
Corn flour - 2 tablespoon
Powdered sugar - ¾ cup
Hudson Canola Oil -½ cup Alternatively you can use butter or any vegetable oil
Warm milk - 1 to 1¼ cup
Baking powder - 1½ tea spoon
Baking soda - 1 tea spoon
Salt - 1 pinch
Spices (clove, cinnamon and cardamom)1 table spoon to be grounded with sugar
Cherry - As per your wish (I never had them so never used them)
Tutti frutti - 3 tablespoon

Dry fruits: Qtty as per your wish
Dried figs
Cashew nut


Chop the nuts, figs, dates & cherries into small pieces. Powder the Sugar along with the spices. Now sieve the flour, baking soda, salt, powdered sugar, corn flour and baking powder into it. Also add powdered spices and mix well; add chopped nuts, dry fruits and mix well.

The Dry Cake Mix
The chopped nuts
Now beat the Hudson Canola Oil in slightly warm milk till light, now slowly add the flour to it. You should first take just 1 cup of milk and if you feel that the mix is a little too thick add a little water but if you ask me 1 cup is sufficient. As is the batter should be on a little thick.

The Batter
Ready to be popped in
Grease a cake tin; spread some dry fruits in the bottom; put the cake-mix. Bake it at 180°C for 60 minutes. Check the readiness by inserting a knife in the center, if it comes clean the cake is ready.
The After
The cake is easy to make and is super yummy!!! I have already baked it twice thrice and it is a hit. This time I made it with Canola Oil and nobody even realise it :D

So do try the oil! It is good!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baigan Ka Bharta!!!

I have never been fond of Baigan per se and as a kid I used to hate Baigan Bharta! I never liked that burnt smell that came with the dish. Surprisingly my taste buds have changed and I have started liking the same dish now. Come to think of this, my taste buds changed a lot post my pregnancy. Hormonal changes I guess.

Now let’s get on with the recipe of Baigan ka Bharta which is made quite often in my kitchen.

Baigan Ka Bharta (serves four)

Baigan (Brinjal) – 2 Medium Sized
Garlic - 3 cloves for roasting & 6-7 for the bharta
Ginger – 1” piece
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Onion - 2 Medium sized, finely chopped
Tomato - 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Green Peas- 1/4 cup (optional)
Boiled Potato- 1 mashed (Optional)
Cilantro leaves- 2 Tbsp
Curd - 1 tbsp (optional)

Jeera - 1 teaspoon
Salt -   To Taste
Red Chili Powder- To taste
Dhaniya Powder - 1 Tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 Teaspoon

How to make it
Wash the Brinjal’s, wipe them dry, apply a little oil and then make cross slits on each side of the brinjal. In those slits insert the garlic.

Then put them on medium flame. Keep turning them and cook till a knife goes through the baigan. Once they are roasted keep them aside to cool. The aroma which fills in the kitchen with the roasting is just so awesome that I cannot tell you. Once the brinjal cools down remove the skin and mash it into a paste.

Now pour the oil in a skillet, once it is hot add the Jeera and as it starts sputtering add the ginger garlic paste & then the green peas. Let it cook for a minute & then add the onions (don’t forget to add a pinch of salt in it; it helps in cooking the onions a little faster). Once the onion turn brown add all the spices.

Bhunofy it till the oil starts separating from the mix (in about 3-4 mins?) and then add the chopped tomatoes. Cover the whole thing and let the tomato cook. Once they are tender add the curd and bhunofy the masala for 5 mins. Now add the mashed Brinjal & the boiled potato.

Cook for 5 mins on high flame and then reduce the flame. Cook for 5-10 mins, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve it with hot roti’s, onion & green chilly.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gujhiya - Part II

Let's begin from where we ended yesterday. We will now make the Gujhiya's with the stuffing that we made but before I start that let me reminiscence a little about my childhood. We used to live in a township and during every festival all aunties of the same group would assemble at each other's place turn by turn and would help in making stuff like Gujhiya which is a tiresome & boring job. I remember how much fun we kid used to have then and would also blackmail our mothers into letting us make some Guhjiya's. My brat did a little of that today, he hijacked our main tool i.e. the spoon with which we shape the Gujhiya. I had to finally play The Car Story to get him off our back.

Sigh!! good old days!!! Anyways, let us get on with the job


Maida -            1/2 Kg
Water -            For making the dough
Ghee/ Dalda -   For frying
Ghee/ Dalda -   3-4 Tbsp for Moin
Stuffing -          Ingredients & process is here 

Melt the ghee/ dalda for moin. Take the maida in a parat and add the moin. The trick of adjudging the correctness of the moin is that when you mix it with the maida and take it in a hand a ladoo should form (like in the picture). Now slowly add the water and make a dough which is tight, quite like the way we make for poori. Cover the dough and leave it for 15-20 mins.

I forgot to melt the ghee! You shouldn't
See A ladoo/ lump to check the correctness of the moin

Now, get yourself a chakla, belan, this spoon with which you can cut the ends or the Gujhiya cutter. I will now let the images talk

All Set!
The mold! We used a spoon cutter
This big a portion of the dough

Roll out the poori, remember it should neither be too thick nor too thin

Put the stuffing the center

Bring in the sides together to seal (you can apply a little water on one side to seal it). Remember to close it properly otherwise the stuffing can break out while frying. Also remember not to over stuff. 

Now cut the corners

Like This

1/2 Kg dough made 55 Gujhiya's for us, you can adjust the quantity accordingly.

Take a Kadhai, add the Ghee/ dalda (we used dalda because Ghee would have been too heavy) and let it get heated up. Points to note while frying the gujhiya's
  • When you are starting the oil should be warm. Check the heat by putting in a small ball, if it springs up immediately you are ready to fry.
  • Keep the flame at medium and put in 3 pieces of Gujhiya.
  • Within a minute the poori will swell up, turn the gujhiya.
  • Keep turning them till they turn pinkish and then take them out.
  • Maintain same heat all the time.
  • Be Patient!!! :D
Ready to be fried

Another view
In the oil


The Bunch is ready!

Phew! Thank you Reema for making me do this, hope you make them!! And a bigger thanks to my Mother In Law for teaching me this and being there, without her I wouldn't have made this because she did the 60% mehnat here. 

Have a great holi everybody :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gujhiya - The Stuffing - Part I

Let us get on with the most important dish without which Holi is incomplete especially in all North Indian Homes. Gujhiya, is a time taking dish and you need to have patience while making it. Many of my Holi memories are associated with how I used to sit with my Mom while she maked them year on year. How I would request her to involve me and how she would graciously allow me to roll out one or two poori's for this. Sigh!!! Good old days!!!

We are making this in phases and since I have time & mood right now I decided I might as well put up the 1st part here.


Ingredients for the stuffing

Khoya/ Mawa -     1/2 Kg
Powdered Sugar - 1/2 Kg
Sooji -                   200 gms
Desi Ghee -           2 tbsp
Elaichi -                 5-6
Dry Fruits -            Raisins & Cashew nuts a handful each

The most crucial part of the stuffing is the mawa which is readily available at all dairies. However my MIL doesn't have a very good opinion about them so she makes her own Mawa religiously. Sadly for me I have never been a witness to it as she makes it when I am at work because she feels that if we make it when I come back it would be very late :-( but I owe it to her for doing all this mehnat for us.

MIL's efforts!! The Mawa!
In a skillet add the ghee and put the sooji in it. Fry it at low flame till it turns a light brown like in the picture.


Now add the Khoya in it. Powder the Sugar along with the Cardamom and add it to the mixture along with the dry fruits. The stuffing, also known as kasar is now ready. Let it cool down & store it, to be used later for making the Gujhiya's.
Waiting to be sweetened

Ready to be Powdered

Added to the Khoya + Suji Mixture

Throw in the Dry Fruits!

Waiting to be stuffed!
Here is the Part II of this recipe.

Besan Ke Ladoo!

This afternoon I updated my Personal blog and talked about how I was planning to make various dishes for Holi. After reading that post Reema commented, "Why don't you share recipes for these things pre-holi, so that the lesser ortals like me can also attempt making them at home. I say, try to post some tomorrow. But do it before Holi, otherwise it wil be too late." 

After reading her comment I realized it wasn't a bad idea at all, though it would be a tight fight for me because I seldom blog from home but then I thought there is no harm in trying. I finally decided to give in to the challenge because I know that there are many people like me who would want to make these things but they either lack in motivation or guidance. In my case I have the benefit that my MIL lives with me and knows a lot about making sweets. She loves making them and is very sweetly passing on the tips to me. So what better way than jotting down the recipes here (along with the tips).

So lets begin without much ado the Besan ke Ladoo

Besan Ke Ladoo


Makes 30 pieces

Besan (Gram Flour) -                       1/2 kg
Powdered Sugar/ Sugar Boora -      300 gms (400 gms if you like extra sweet)
Ghee -                                              300 gms
Dry Fruits - Raisin & Cashew nuts    A Handful


Heat the ghee on a high flame in a Kadhai (skillet) and add besan to it. Keep stirring on the high flame for 2-3 mins and then reduce the flame. Keep stirring the besan so that it doesn't get stuck and neither does it burn. This is a long process but you need to be patient.
You need to be careful while putting the ghee because if the quantity of same is in excess it will be very difficult to bind the ladoo's (I had committed this mistake during diwali and my ladoos were quite sticky) later. You can check the correctness of the quantity of ghee by checking the consistency of the besan in the kadhai. The consistency should be like a halwa. See the picture below.

Check the Consistency!
Keep turning the besan and turn off the gas went it turns light golden in colour. Also remember that you need to stir the mixture for some more time because the vessel is very hot and the besan can burn.

Stir like there is no tomorrow
Let the mixture rest for sometime and in the meanwhile you can powder the sugar. It is however preferable to use the boora as it gives a nice texture to the Ladoo. Out here the same is not available so my MIL made it at home and I will post a separate post for that, for now you can substitute that with the sugar.

See the change in the colour, It is ready!
15-20 mins later take the besan and add powdered sugar & dry fruits to it. The trick here is that the besan should be lukewarm when you add the remaining ingredients in it. The reason behind it is very simple, they are easier to bind then. Mix them well and the ladoo's are ready to be made. Take a small portion in your palms and very firmly smooth roll it into a ball.

Ready to be married!!



Saas Bahu aur Ladoo!

Ready to be devoured