2-Layer Rose Coconut Cake

RoseCoconut-2

Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal, a time for change. I decided make a change this year with finally reviving this space of mine (yeah, not that profound I know) and in a world where we hardly have control over anything, changing up this little thing makes me super super happy. We have so much to catch up on and gazillion delicious recipes coming your way! But first, THIS! ☝

So end of last year, I bought myself a set of 6-inch cake pans and these are game changers (should have got them sooner!). Small batch baking has always been my thing (here, here and some more) so the smaller size pans were way overdue. I have baked at least 7 layer cakes in these not-so-new-pans-anymore this past 3 months (not hard to believe right?!). It’s just 2 of us in the house and I do like to eat everything I make (you bet it shows) hence small batch baking wins big time in my book so this was definitely long time coming. Not that we I need any occasion to eat cake around here but guys, these 6-inch layer cakes are so very perfect for small gatherings. Not to mention but they look so dang cute. If you are baking for more people then no problem. Just double the recipe and make 4-layers instead, tall cakes are in and they are here to stay! Well, you certainly don’t need to wait for any gathering to make this one right here. It can totally be you+couch+fork situation, demolishing the whole thing by yourself. Believe me, you would want to!

RoseCoconut4

So let’s talk about this particular cake here. This elegant looking, mildly flavoured, rose scented cake. The flavours will totally make you reminisce about the sweet smell of rose garden. The minimalist, semi-naked look is pristine for the spring season and is bound to make any brunch-table look chic and gorgeous. I have paired three different flavours for this cake but none overwhelms the other and are rather in complete harmony, even complimenting each other. Rose, coconut and cardamom seems to be a match made in spring heaven. So lush! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did!

RoseCoconut3

2-Layer Rose Coconut Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes | Total active time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp rose extract or 1 Tbsp organic rose water
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, room temperature

Coconut Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp coconut milk, refrigerated
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp rose extract
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grease 2 6-inch round cake pans with flavourless oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, sieve all purpose flour, baking powder, ground cardamom and pinch of salt. Give it a whisk.
  3. In another mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add vanilla extract, rose extract, egg and whisk very well until incorporated.
  4. Now whisk in dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternating with coconut milk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix.
  5. Divide the batter in to the cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool on wire rack for about 5 minutes before demoulding. Let the cakes cool completely on wire rack and meanwhile get on the frosting.
  6. Coconut Buttercream Frosting: In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and coconut milk using electric mixer until smooth. With the mixer on low-speed, add confectioners sugar and salt and beat until just combined. Once incorporated, turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Adjust the sugar until your desired consistency achieved. Briskly whisk in rose extract and coconut extract (for like 10 seconds).
  7. Assembly: Once the cakes are completely cool, place one layer of the cake onto the serving plate (bottom side up). Spread about 3 Tbsp of frosting on this layer, spread it uniformly and top it with the second layer (bottom side up). Spread about 2 Tbsp of frosting on top, spread uniformly and crumb coat the sides. Let the cake rest in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes. Frost with the remaining buttercream frosting and decorate as desired. I topped mine with fresh figs and fresh strawberry slices. The cake stays fresh for 4 days, stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

 

RoseCoconut1

Caprese Skewers & Spinach Walnut Pesto

Caprese Skewers1

So I made some Caprese skewers.. They are so dang cute! Of course there is absolutely no need of a recipe to make them. It’s just cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and Mozzarella cheese on thrown together on a stick seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That simple! Making these is a child’s play and they’ll rock any party! It can be served as an appetizer or as a last course with favorite cocktail or wine! 😉

I served these skewers with spinach walnut pesto.. Hmm… seems interesting?! Require a recipe for another quick pesto? Then read on.. I have told time and again that pesto is my fave. It is so versatile. I made a big enough batch for only 2 of us in the house and served it with these skewers, made dinner with some spaghetti, threw some in my breakfast omelet and made some grilled cheese for lunch. Phew!

So let’s get down to the recipe business!

Caprese Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • fresh Mozzarella balls
  • basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, as per taste

Directions:

Skewer the cherry tomatoes alternating with basil leaves and Mozzarella balls. Once they are all skewered, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve alongside spinach walnut pesto.

Spinach Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted or untoasted (I’m lazy & used untoasted)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil to begin with, add more as and if required

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor till smooth puree is formed. Add more olive oil as and if required. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.

Spaghetti with Spinach Walnut Pesto

Grilled Cheese

Serenity ~ Coconut Water Fruit Punch

Serenity2
Its been ages since I last posted drink’s recipe here. In fact, its been long since I stirred up some new fancy-schmancy drink! I have been drinking my share of Iced teas and coffees but have not created any new combination worth sharing…
So here is what I made over this past weekend. And it involves something I’ve been drinking a lot lately! Cocojal.. It’s nothing but packaged tender coconut water.. It comes in pineapple and lime flavors too but I prefer it plain, unflavored one. I’m in so much love with it that I have almost 2 bottles a day. You can see I’m totally addicted!
Serenity3
I know what you guys are thinking.. Every nook and corner of my part of world is bursting with vendors selling tender coconuts and still I drink packaged version! Shocked?! Don’t be.. I prefer the packaged version for several reasons. It’s convenient, I like it chilled and you know it is going to be sweet every single time! If you’re against packaged stuff then feel free to use fresh tender coconut water.
I have been craving for some vacation from quite sometime now. Situation has it that it’s not going to be possible for sometime. Hence I took control of the situation, made this, put my feet up and relaxed while sipping on these. And I envisioned myself at my favorite beach in Goa! If you are in more of a celebratory mood, add champagne/white wine to it!
There is no specific recipe for it as such as it is not exactly science. Feel free to make with whatever combination works for you. It is just that simple… No sugar added required!
I was feeling tropicalish so I added a drop of blue food-color to my drink and it turned in to perfect ocean blue! If you hate food-colors then add Curacao Bleu syrup to achieve the desired blue. Double or triple the recipe if serving a larger crowd as it is so perfect for parties. If making this for girls’ night or bridal shower, add a drop of pink/red food-color! Again you may add a splash of Grenadine syrup to achieve the desired pink. World is much better in PINK! 😉
Garnish with fruits like berries or pineapple and cheers!
Serenity1
Serenity ~aka~ Coconut Fruit Punch (vegan, gluten free, soy free, no added sugar)
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 3 bottles Cocojal, 600 ml (approx 20 oz)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 drop blue food colouring
  • Choice of frozen/fresh fruit cubes, for serving

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl or pitcher, stir and refrigerate till it is time to serve. Garnish with fruits on stick.

*Notes:

Do not add ice-cubes to the drink. It makes the drink more watery. If you want then freeze coconut water, pineapple juice or apple juice in an ice-cube tray in advance and add them to drink as “ice” cubes.
Liqueur lovers can stir-in champagne/white wine to the drink.

P.S. I have not been compensated by Cocojal in any way for writing this post. All the opinions expressed here are personal.

Brownie Bombs

Brownie Bombs3

I personally adore cake pops. They are pretty, deceptive and delicious little things. They look easy to make… In fact they are easy to make. Just a wee-bit time-consuming but easy.

This is my first post writing about them so I would like to be more elaborate. If we talk structurally, cake pops are nothing but the crumbled cake mixed with frosting that can be rolled into balls or formed into any imaginable different shapes. They are then placed on a lollipop stick or wooden skewers, dipped in chocolate and topped with decoration of choice.

Cake pops rage is still catching up in my part of the world and quickly! I have gobbled up plenty of chocolate cake balls in my lifetime while growing up (I mean it!) and they are my favorite till now. Now cake pop is something very similar to cake ball concept sans the outer chocolate layer. I can totally relate to them.

Brownie Bombs2

I instantly fell in love with the idea of making a bite-sized cake, decorated for individuals which is mess-free and gives complete portion-control! They’re perfect for parties. I had one such potluck to attend last Sunday and I was asked to bring a dessert for obvious reasons! I immediately knew cake pops would be perfect for that as it’s something which can be made ahead and I wanted an excuse try them at home anyway!

I didn’t have to do much of a research as in what type of cake-pop to make as I had a professional help. I recently bought a book  from The Australian Women’s Weekly ~ Cute Cake Pops. What an amazing little book! It had plenty of inspiration and fantastic ideas for making cake pops for every occasion! I wanted a crowd-pleasing chocolate and something simple for my first attempt hence I chose to make these brownie bombs from scratch. Yes, no cake-mix involved here. So I made some brownies and turned them into gorgeous cake-pops! Simple, no?!

Brownie Bombs1

Just after dipping and decorating

I had some extra melted chocolate after all the cake-pops were done dipping. Wanna know how I used the left-overs? That’s going to be a post for another day.. Stay tuned! 😉 Meanwhile enjoy these!

Brownie Bombs

Recipe adapted from Cute Cake Pops

Yields: 25-30 cake pops

Ingredients:

  • 75 gm butter, chopped coarsely
  • 100 gm dark eating (semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 1/3 cup (75 gm) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup (100 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp dark rum (I omitted it)
  • 200 gm dark chocolate melts
  • 30 lollipop stick or toothpicks with sharp edges trimmed
  • Chocolate sprinkles, to decorate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.  Grease a deep 7-8 inch square cake pan; line base and sides with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt butter and chopped chocolate in a microwave for about 1 minute stirring after 30 seconds. Stir till smooth and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir sugar, egg and flour into chocolate mixture. Spread into a cake pan; bake about 20 minutes. Cool in pan.
  4. Once cool, cut cake into large pieces; using a food processor, process cake with rum (if using) until mixture just comes together. You can do this step with hand also. Shape rounded teaspoons of the mixture into balls. Place on a baking paper-lined tray. Freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, until firm.
  5. Stir chocolate melts in a medium heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water until smooth (don’t let water touch base of bowl).
  6. Dip the end of one stick into the chocolate, then push it about halfway into a ball of brownie. Return to tray. Repeat with remaining sticks and balls of brownie. Freeze for about 5 minutes to set.
  7. Dip one cake pop into the melted chocolate or with the help of a spoon coat a cake pop, rocking back and forth to coat; do not swirl the pop, or it may break. Allow excess chocolate to drip back into bowl. Stand on a baking paper-lined oven tray; sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles before chocolate sets. Repeat with remaining cake pops and sprinkles. Stand at room temperature until set. Serve.

*Store cake pops in an airtight container at a cool room temperature until ready to serve. They will keep for up to a week.