‘Black Pearl Ship’ Cake and Eggless ‘Thomas Engine’ Cake

 6th August ’12

Hi Didi!

I was going through some old pictures in the last days and saw the pic of that wonderful eggless Thomas Engine cake you made once.  I never got to taste it and neither that Pirates of the Caribbean inspired “The Black Pearl Ship” cake….but I dream of making such cakes someday! Could you tell me your tricks for those delicious looking icings and the cakes? I could look up some book for these, but you know how you and I are bad with measurements and calculations (Maths was a dreadful subject always!). Only you can hence tell me your tried and tested ‘not so perfect’ measurements and methods for baking those wondrous looking cakes 🙂 Will you please? 😀

Waiting for your reply!

Rinki

Eggless Thomas Engine Cake

The Black Pearl and Eggless Chest of Gold Coins

12th August ’12

Dear Rinki,

Sorry for such a late reply in the day, but you do know how I was kept busy with guests as it was your nephew’s ninth birthday, which I will tell you in all back-breaking details later! I hope your dinner party went well the other night. Did you make the salad with that yummy dressing, you know the one you made when you came here? You have to give me the recipe.

When we were kids, my mum used to bake egg-less cakes for her vegetarian friends and it had things ranging from yoghurt to vinegar in it. Actually I tried that recipe and the cake turned out a disastrous sticky sour mess …Yuck! Probably because I didn’t have a recipe. I distinctly remember Ma’s cakes were quite good. Anyway, luckily I heard of this recipe from a friend, who didn’t have any idea about the measurements. So I tried to do it my way and guess what…It turned out perfectly well-behaved like all cakes should! And it wasn’t sticky so it could be cut and carved into shapes, which I stuck together with Butter cream icing. I even iced the cakes with this as it is quite a versatile icing which doesn’t melt easily under “hot” conditions like a mills and boon heroine ; )

So here goes….

For the Egg-less cake

Ingredients (for a two cup cake)

Flour                 2 level cups (If making chocolate cake then 1 cup flour and 1 cup cocoa powder)

Butter              1 cup softened at room temp. (If using vegetable oil, reduce it to 3/4 cup)

Baking powder             2 level teaspoons

Condensed Milk           1 cup (less if you want the cake less sweet)

Aerated soft drink (anything from coke to club soda)

Essence of choice

Method

First thing even before you start mixing the ingredients, pre-heat the oven at 250 degree C. Prepare your cake tin by oiling it well and dusting with flour really well, taking care of the corners. A well oiled and dusted tin will ensure your cake comes out perfectly. Sieve the flour with the baking powder (this is important to aerate the flour),dump in the butter, the essence, the condensed milk and mix it together, it will come together like a dough. Taste it, if it is not sweet enough for you, add more. Next slowly pour in the soft drink while mixing. Your aim is to make a batter like consistency, not a watery mess. Pour immediately into your cake tin and bake for ten minutes at 250 degree C, then lower the heat to 200 degree C and bake for a further fifteen minutes. Insert a skewer in the centre to see if its done. Take out , cool and GOBBLE !

Note: It is better if your egg-less cake is not very large or thick. after all it doesn’t have eggs which are the binding agents and a thick cake can turn crumbly.

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For the Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

Ingredients

1. Margarine/ Butter   2 cups

2. Icing sugar                  3-4 cups ( sifted)

3. Milk                                1/2 cup ( more or less)

4. Cocoa Powder            1 cup     (sifted)

5. Powder milk                 1/2 cup ( sifted)

6. vanilla essence

Sift all dry ingredients so there are no lumps or impurities. Let the butter soften completely at room temperature, slowly add the cocoa powder, and the milk powder and mix. Add the essence and slowly add the icing sugar and whisk, if it becomes too thick add some milk and mix again.  Do not add all the sugar at once.  Slowly your mix should turn into a glistening thick creamy chocolatey mix with a satiny texture. You can use this to sandwich your cake or ice it. You can also thin it a little and pipe it through a nozzle for all the details like writing names. If it is a little runny add more Icing sugar. If it is too thick add a little milk. If it is crumbly add more butter. You know me, there is no fixed measurement in my cook book! Whatever works.

You can preserve this in the refrigerator for almost a month!. Just take it out to room temperature and start slathering it on your cake. Do not heat it. If using butter you may stand your mixing bowl over a bowl of ice. Margarine doesn’t require this. Whatever you do don’t despair. This time for Riz’s birthday cake when I was making this ( I used margarine) the whole thing just curdled up and separated into an oily mess. For a few minutes I was in a daze of hopelessness. Then I brought out every cooks secret weapon…A Hand Blender!  I whisked the mess and magically it came together in front of my eyes!

For a variation  Strawberry Butter Cream Icing

Ingredients

Margarine/Butter                    2 cups ( softened at room temperature)

Icing sugar                                  3-4 cups

Strawberry Syrup                     2-4 tbsp (or pulp made of 5-6 Fresh Strawberries)

Strawberry flavour

Method: Follow the same procedure as the Buttercream Icing.

So go ahead and enjoy, make your own changes and do post pictures…soon.

Love you

Didi

Missing everyone….and making Quattro Formaggi Pizzas!

Dear Didi and Daibi,

Yesterday was Rakhi…was missing you all a lot..didn’t feel like doing any work either..its been soo many years that we three haven’t been together on Rakhi.  Didi, when you were in Delhi, you tied Rakhi to both of us….I guess I never told you this but I felt very proud for having this honor; and when I would go to school later, I flaunted it saying, ‘meri didi ney bandha hai Rakhi coz mai bhi didi ki raksha karungi (my sister tied me the rakhi coz I would also protect her like my brother would)’.  Those were such lovely days, Ma used to make Loochis (fried flat bread) and some lovely aloo sabji (potato curry) or choley (Chickpeas curry)..and ofcourse that heavenly paayesh (rice and thickened milk dessert) served with freshly made narkol nadu (coconut laddoo) or jethima’s famous malpuas (soft and flat flour sweets dipped in sugar syrup)!!!  And Daibi, do you remember, almost every time just before Rakhi we would end up having a deadly fight..and we both would bitterly say, ‘No Rakhi this time’…then on the Rakhi morning we would have peace talks mediated by Ma and Baba and then all would be fine (next time we meet, we should have one of those fights just for the kicks!!)……aaah those were the days….

Anyways, remembering that time, yesterday I made a four cheese pizza called “Quatro Formaggi” in Italian. I used your method of making a pizza-dough and topped it with mozzarella, parmesan, provolone and gorgonzola cheese.  I have read about many variations to this recipe where they have used ricotta and other types of Italian cheese.  But gorgonzola is very important for this pizza…which I doubt you would get in India..its a kind of blue cheese with a very heavy pungent smell and not everyone likes it.  So when you guys come here, I will make it for you 🙂

Quattro Formaggi Pizza

I also made calzones with the left-over dough and made a caramelised onion and lamb sausage stuffing for them.  Niloy got that for lunch today, so he is is happily benefiting from my ‘not-so-good’ days when I end up making something new and interesting!

Oh and I totally forgot to tell you guys…a few days back I made this upside down strawberry cake and choco-chip+candied orange peel muffins.  I lined up the baking tray with strawberry halves and poured the cake batter on it. Didi, I still follow your recipe of madly whipping up 1/2 cup oil+1/2 cup sugar+2 eggs together and adding 1 tsp baking powder+1 cup flour later.

Upside down Strawberry Cake and Chocochip & Candied Orange Peel Muffin

The cake turned out to be feather-soft and the juices from the strawberries made it melt in the mouth.  I have tried making a similar cake with apple quarters, peach halves, pineapple slices and grapes! Trust me they all turn out to be delicious!!! 😀 See talking about food already lifts my mood…now I will get back to work..

You both take care, sending loads of love and hoping that someday we three get together for Rakhi.

Write back soon,

Rinki