Monday, June 18, 2012

Spiderman Cake

When you love Spiderman as much as my son does, you don't have a choice but to make the hero the center of your world also because I love my son almost as much as he loves Spiderman, and that is saying a lot!

I made this cake a year ago for his 3rd birthday and looks like he will be just too happy if I repeat it because he loves Spidey all the more if that is even possible :) With the new movie that is going to be released in July, we have some more Spidey overdose to live with in the near future.

The cake might look very complicated but was actually not that hard to make. What made it hard was that instead of just choosing a simple cake - I made this also as a Strawberry Shortcake cake and that complicated things a bit. I used 1 and a half times the required ingredients for this size. I did cut this cake also into two and then stuffed the middle with the strawberry filling + icing, but for the top - I did not do that, I used the cream cheese  icing and then followed the instructions for decorations as is from the instruction sheet.  

Note 1 : I used cream cheese icing instead of the recommended butter cream icing as I had a lot of it and it worked just fine.

I got the Spiderman pan from Michaels and it is this one by Wilton. 

The instructions that come with the pan are very detailed and self explanatory and were all I used to make the decoration on the top.

Note 2: Make sure you coat the pan generously with the spray and also with flour. I did that and all the indentations came out perfectly on the cake without sticking to the bottom and make it so much easier to decorate.

And the amazement on your Spidey lover's face will be so worth it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Adai (Lentil Crepe)

Adai is a kind of South Indian Dosa, a little bit thicker. It is made from a combination of lentils and rice. It goes with a side of Avial, Chutneys or like the Mr likes it - with jaggery and butter. Another good combo to go with this is just green chilies and salt ground and mixed with thick yogurt. So much for the sides, let's move on the main dish. This does not need any fermentation and only needs for the lentils to be soaked for some time, ground and the batter is ready to be made into mouth watering adais.

Difficulty level: Easy

Preparation Time: 3 hrs soaking time, 5 min grinding time, 2 mins per adai


Soak for 3 hrs
  • 2 cups boiled or idly rice
  • 1 cup raw rice or long grain rice

Soak for 1/2 hr
  • 1 cup bengal gram
  • 1/2 cup toor dal
  • 1/2 cup black urad dal

To grind along with soaked lentils and rice
  • combination of green and red chilies (6-7 nos combined). You can use a combination of pepper and jeera (cumin) instead of the chilies when made for functions or just for a change also
  • 6-7 nos curry leaves
  • a bunch of cilantro (optional)
  • soak hing (solid) if available in water and add to this, else use powdered hing
  • Salt ( to taste)

Method de Preparation

  1. Soak the rice for longer (3 hrs) and the lentils (1/2 hr) separately, immersed in water.
  2. When done, grind together along with other ingredients in the list in a blender using not too much water. The consistency should be thicker than pancake batter, not runny. You can always add water later if needed.
  3. If you like the adai crisp, grind the rice first and add the lentils midway to get a coarse mix, not too soft.
  4. Once the batter is ready, heat the griddle and when hot, pour a spoonful of batter and spread out in a circle to make the adai. Add a bit of oil (1/2 tsp) on each side. Flip the Adai when done and add another 1/2 tsp of oil.
  5. The Adai is done and ready to be devoured.
  6. Goes with Avial on the side, or any chutney, or jaggery and butter or green chillies ground with yogurt. Whichever way you eat it you will love it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake cake

I can't believe it is already going to be a year since I made this cake :) I know that is how long it takes me sometimes to get to post some recipes, not good but at least I get to it at some point :P I came across this recipe as I was looking for a cake to make for my son's birthday. He loves strawberries and the Mr is not a big fan of chocolate and this looked different enough so I gave it a shot. 

I was very happy with the outcome. This is a great cake and very different from the usual cream filled birthday cakes. However I will not deny that it needed a good amount of work especially for the size I made it. So my only advise is to make this for a smaller size party or plan on spending some time if you want to make it for a bigger crowd. 

I used the larger of these rectangular pans  (resulted in a lot of cake enough for at least 20 people) and this link here for measurements. 

Time: Preparation Time (45 min), Cooking Time ( 60-70 min)

Difficulty Level: Medium


I ended up using almost 3 times the required ingredients for the cake and the icing. However, I ended up with lots more icing than needed.   I suggest for the size of the pan I used, doubling the ingredients for the icing  is sufficient, but use triple times the ingredients for the cake. Below measurements work for a 8 or 9 inch round pan that is 2 inches deep at least.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 9 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pound powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pound strawberries

Method de Preparation:

Make the cake first, then work on the strawberry filling while the cake is in the oven baking and the icing when the strawberry filling is just sitting :)

  1. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
  2. Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.
  3. Pour into greased and floured 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is no longer jiggly when you shake the sides.  As soon as you can do remove from the cake pan after you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
  4. Remove the leaves from the strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top or from top to bottom, it really does not matter :) Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. This gives your arms a great workout. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
  5. Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.
  6. Slice cake in half through the middle.By now it should have cooled. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.
  7. Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.
  8. Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.
  9. The cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, don't leave out and store in the fridge. For that reason make sure you have place in your refrigerator for the size of cake you are making.
  10. Like I said I had a lot of icing, so I used some food coloring and piped the sides and top of the cake with some decorations.
Source: Ma lady Ree here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rajma sundal (Kidney Beans Sundal)

This is another sundal that I made during Navarathri last year. Easy to make and very healthy too. Sundal is just any bean/lentil tempered with oil and a few basic ingredients (mustard, black gram etc). It can be eaten on its own or as a side with other snacks.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Time: 8 hrs (prep time), 10 min (making time)

  • Kidney beans - 1 cup ( you can use canned or fresh). If you are using fresh then they need to be soaked overnight
  • Water
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp urad dal (black gram split)
  • few dry red chillies (2-3 nos) or a mix of green and red chillies
  • a couple of tbsps of grated coconut
  • few curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

Method de Preparation:

  1. Soak the kidney beans covered in water overnight. Then cook them in the pressure cooker with the water drained, just enough to cover them for the equivalent of 3 whistles. If you cook them a lot they will become mushy which is still ok taste wise (like how mine turned out) but you may not see the individual beans. It is basically a taste preference. Any extra water can be drained and used for other cooking purposes.
  2. If you are using canned kidney beans just drain the beans and wash them. They can be used directly.
  3. Take oil in a pan, add the mustard. When it splutters, add the urad dal and the red chillies along with the curry leaves. When they are all done, add the rajma and then the coconut and salt to taste.
  4. Turn off heat and serve immediately or later :)

* This can be made almost instantly if you are using canned beans however the sodium levels will be much higher, so use fresh when you can.  Similarly you can use fresh or frozen coconut based on availability.

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