The ‘Stop to Smell the Roses’ Cake

Not that a chocolate or an orange flavoured cake doesn’t entice me substantially, but that winter morning demanded a distraction from the familiar. I was fortunate Sumayya Usmani’s ‘Mountain Berries and Dessert Spices’ had sailed from it’s confines of the store and landed amid the cozy comforts of my living room. The author is driven by authenticity and her recipes are brimming with tradition. She paints the book with dishes showcasing the magic of rose petals, cardamom, berries, pistachios and other produce native to her homeland.

The love for baking isn’t new. You know that. Let’s just say this cake is a product of inspiration, madness and wild curiosity. For the sake of nostalgia, accompany me on a trip down memory lane, will you?
In Kannada, there is a phrase – ‘MaTa MaTa MaDHyana’. It refers to blazing afternoons when the sun is at it’s peak, the air warm, the roads desolate and the atmosphere blanketed by laziness. These breezy summer afternoons in the 80’s and early 90’s meant mom-made orange candy set in little ice cube trays or mom-made lemonade with pungent hints of cardamom and a tinge of salt. They were special treats stored away for school breaks only. These drinks were rarely(I mean, really rarely) punctuated with a rose drink that many of you are familiar with, RoohAfza. The cool hit from the floral notes of rose intertwined with sugar and hued in a deep fuschia-red was nothing short of a celebration on lackadaisical Banglaorean afternoons. Then there was also the coveted, ‘Rose Milk’. Another blush toned concoction that got the tastebuds singing.
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Finally one morning , in the present day, I wondered why I have absentmindedly ignored this mellifluous flavour. If anything, my cakes deserve to feel special! The previous evening was spent scouring for rose petals. A Chinese market bottled thousands of tiny rose buds meant to be steeped in tea. I bought a handful and chalked up a simple recipe.
This egg free cake is entangled with rose petals and mildly laced with cardamom. Dousing the cake, is a simple sugary rose glaze. Bear in mind, this cake is brimming with the rose flavour. Like an opera singer’s high pitched chorus. Beautiful, at the same time, strong. Hence, I suggest you to feel free to play around with the Rose water measurements. We were happy with the outcome but take it down a notch if you like.
This cake takes me back to a simpler time and parallelly transports me to an ethereal one. One that my taste buds are familiar with and yet oddly, not. I hope you like this as much as we did!
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RECIPE FOR : The ‘Stop to smell the roses’ CAKE (for a 6 inch EGGFREE cake)
INGREDIENTS
For the Cake
3/4th cup Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup of Granulated sugar
2-3 green cardamoms powdered with a pinch of sugar
1 tsp Rose water
3 tbsp Oil (I used canola)
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Vinegar
1/ 2 cup Milk
Dried organic Rose Petals (Optional)

For the Glaze
2-2.5 tsp of water/milk
3/4 cup of icing sugar
1 tsp of Rose water(optional)
A drop of Pink food colouring (optional)
For the Garnish(Optional)
Chopped Pistachios
Dried organic Rose Petals

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Cut a round piece of parchment the size of the base of the cake pan and keep aside. Grease the entire cake pan and place the parchment to cover the floor of the pan. Then dust the sides with the flour.
3. In a medium sized bowl, bring together the dry ingredients and give it a whisk.(Self        Raising Flour, Baking Soda, Granulated Sugar & Powdered Cardamom)
4. To the dry ingredient mix, add, Oil, Rose water and 1/2 tbsp of vinegar.
5. In a small bowl make buttermilk by mixing milk with 1/2 tsp of vinegar. Once it curdles, add it to the remaining ingredients.
6. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
7. Add rose petals(optional)and gently fold it in and pour into the prepared cake an.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing together, icing sugar, rose water(optional)    and milk/water. Add a drop of pink food colouring if you like and keep aside.
10. Once the cake is out of the oven, keep it on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Gently slide a        knife along the sides to loosen it from the pan.Then carefully turn the pan upside down onto a tray to make sure it comes out in one piece.
11. Once completely cool, pour the glaze on the cake and garnish with rose petals & pistachios.

I hope you like this cake as much as we did: )
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#Brush Embroidery & Lace decorated Blondies

“Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
-Julia Child
Don’t get me wrong, I adore cupcakes but now that I’m experimenting with fondant & cake decor,  I’m also on the lookout for some other shapes to work on. So what do you get? Blondies! My brownie pan comes to the rescue so I could bake little cardamom infused blondie cakes, topped with pastel coloured fondant. Cardamom you ask? Yes! But that’s a story for another post because this one’s all about pretty little boxes of cake adorned with lace & brush embroidery.
Once, I baked the blondies, I cut out 2 x 2 inch fondant squares and pasted them on top of the cakes to serve as a canvas for the buttercream art that transpired. The inspiration comes from 2 places, Wilton of course & the humble Pinterest as well. I do hope you like these cuties and yes, they vanished in no time!
I would love to hear your views on this creation and please do tell me which one you liked most! Continue reading “#Brush Embroidery & Lace decorated Blondies”

#Pastel Blue & Lavender flowers on a White Fondant Cake

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
The final class of my Wilton Course -3 was fast approaching and aside from the uber sized excitement that accompanied, there was also the dilemma as to what I should create. Keep it simple with plain white fondant or go for a fancy coloured one, pastel blues flowers or pastel pinks. After nights of racking my brains, I decided to make pastel blue & lavender roses, mums & carnations with light sap green leaves and pastel beads on the side, all sitting pretty on a 6″ chocolate cake covered with white fondant.
I want to take this opportunity to express how much I admire Wilton Cake Decorating Courses. Although I’ve baked cakes, decorating them was always a challenge. The course begins with what materials to use, how to fill piping bags, how to ice cakes and then the various decorating ideas, starting from buttercream to royal icing & finally fondant & gumpaste. The ideas are plenty no doubt but apart from that, the courses are so well organised & that makes it really easy for anyone who is new to caking. Of course, having a talented teacher like Kendra, who is truly the epitome of patience, helps a lot!

I hope you like this creation of mine! I’m eager to hear what you think about this cake.:)

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And do take a look at my other blogs on art & travel….
The Travel Bug Bit Me
Divya’s Art Room

#Calla Lilies #gumpaste

A vanilla cake adorned by pristine white Calla Lilies & pretty peach blossoms, sitting on a bed of vibrant green leaves. They’re all the results of me hard at work rustling up flower after flower as I think about how excited I am to enter the grand world of gumpaste & fondant. Undoubtedly, watching episode after episode of ‘Cake Boss’ & ‘Fabulous cakes’ worked it’s magic as I wondered how they conjure up whimsical looking cakes that one has to cringe hard before cutting into. But having Wilton classes so close to home & an awesome teacher can just be the stroke of luck I was after.
Not that I can’t tuck into a plain & simple vanilla cake slathered with cream cheese frosting, but I do hope you like my attempt at giving this one a makeover! Continue reading “#Calla Lilies #gumpaste”