Mango modak

This Indian confectionary is a popular offering to Lord Ganesha during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.  I have posted a recipe for Chocolate flavoured ones a few months ago. This time, I decided to give it a fruity twist with Alphonso mango pulp.

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Recipe: (makes approximately 25 modaks)

Ingredients:
1 cup khoya/mava
1/4 cup icing sugar
3/2 cup milk powder
200g Alphonso mango pulp
50g sugar

Method:

    • Mix the sugar & mango pulp. Reduce it over low heat until it thickens so much that it does not fall off the spoon easily. This should take about 30 mins.

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  • Leave it to cool.
  • Saute the mava, mango pulp & milk powder over low heat until mixed properly
  • Take off the heat
  • Stir in the icing sugar & leave to cool down to room temperature.

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  • Place the mixture into metal modak moulds and press the 2 parts of the mould together. You can shape them with your fingers if you don’t have this mould. The mixture to be moulded should hold its shape when a small piece is moulded. If it feels too runny, stir in some more milk powder.

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  • Place each modak on its base and leave to set at room temperature.

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Strawberries and cream cake

As the end of summer approaches here’s a delicious treat to remind you of all things summery right through the year.

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The sponge:
120g sugar
120g plain flour
4 eggs
20g melted butter

Make a 7 inch round genoise sponge – click on the link for the recipe.

Soaking syrup:
100g sugar
100g water
Vanilla extract or 30ml Grand Marnier/Cointreau

Heat the sugar and water together till the sugar dissolves. Once cool, add the flavouring of your choice.

Creme Chantilly icing:
500 ml whipping cream (Look for cream with at least 35% fat. Anything lower will not whip easily & hold as well)
50g icing sugar
vanilla extract (1-2 tsp as per your taste)

Decoration
strawberry jam
A punnet of fresh strawberries – some diced and some whole.
Dark chocolate decorations (optional)

Method:
1. Whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl placed in another bowl of iced water. Whisk until the cream gets medium firm peaks in it. Leave in the iced water bowl so it stays cold while you work on the cake.

2. Cut the genoise sponge horizontally into three equal layers. If slicing a cake makes you nervous just do two layers. You would need to use more soaking syrup on each layer to make them more moist.

3. Place the bottom layer on a cake board or plate. Brush well with soaking syrup.

4. Spread some strawberry jam on it. Scatter the chopped strawberries in the centre, an inch from the edges. (To get more flavour in the strawberries, I often soak them in Grand Marnier for a couple of hours. This also makes them taste fresher for a longer time.)

5. Spread some of the whipped icing on this layer until it covers all the strawberries.

6. Place the next layer of sponge on it. Brush well with soaking syrup, spread jam and icing as described in steps above.

7. Place the topmost layer, press down on the cake gently and brush with soaking syrup. Coat the top and sides lightly with icing.

8. Leave the cake in the fridge for about 10 mins to allow the icing to firm up a bit.

9. Remove from the fridge and spread more icing on top. Smooth it out with a palette knife or scraper.

10. Scatter some fresh strawberries on top. Decorate with piped icing. (and dark chocolate decorations for some extra flavour).

Enjoy with some sunny smiles & pots of tea.

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A white (chocolate) wedding cake

Berries and white chocolate

Berries and white chocolate

The theme chosen for this cake was shabby chic to suit the venue, a converted barn.

The cake inside was a genoise sponge with raspberry flavours going through it. All the chocolate curls and cigarettes were handmade so they don’t look uniform like ready made ones do.

The chocolate cigarettes were made using the standard technique – spread on the marble and roll with metal scraper.

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The other pieces proved to be more difficult to make. After struggling with acetate and warm trays,  I seem to have discovered a very effective and easy technique.

Instead of using acetate to create the shapes, I used rectangular strip of parchment paper. The tempered chocolate was spread unevenly on each strip and shaped just as it was setting. This method gave me the flexibility to mould them into curly shapes even after the chocolate had just started setting. All I had to do was rub them between my palms. This created enough heat to twist without breaking.

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In all, I created around 250 pieces of chocolate and nearly all of them were used in the cake.

Each cake was assembled like this:

Raspberry fillingLayering the cakeAttaching chocolate curlsWhite chocolate and berries

In the groom’s own words ….. “All I can say is WOW! It really looked amazing thank you so much. … All those who ate it said it was out of this world.”

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Boat cake

Boat cake

Ordered for a gentleman’s landmark birthday, this cake is based on his most prized possession – his boat, a Scand 7800 Nautic.

The cake was made from a 12 inch & a 8 inch square Victoria sponge. The template for cutting the base was created using the measurements of the boat, but with a slightly broader base for stability.

Template

The base was carved out of the bigger sponge using the template.

Carved out base

The top part measured about 2/3rds of the boat’s length and about half the width. It was cut out from the smaller sponge and carved to accomodate the shape of the cover.

The entire boat was put together and carved out to match the proportions of the boat.

Carved out pieces

It was then crumb coated & iced.

Crumb coating

Each finishing touch was added. The top of the boat had several panels and windows. The sides were made out of thickly cut sugarpaste with coloured strips stuck on.

Initial covering

Boat from detail

Finally the railings were fitted. I tried to make these out of modelling paste to start with but ultimately settled for silver florist wire as this looked the most realistic.

Boat cake

Boat cake

I am hoping this will bring in waves of enquiries!

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Easter hamper

Easter Hamper

Easter Hamper

Everything inside is handmade chocolate – the flowers, the grass, the butterfly, Easter bunny and of course, the Easter eggs.

Chocolate butterfly on white chocolate flower

Chocolate butterfly on white chocolate flower

There’s nothing like a “Spring in a basket” to beat the cold wintry blues.

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This season’s “must-have”

Fashion cake

This cake was ordered for a young lady who is surrounded by fashion all day. She works in an upmarket boutique and has a keen eye for clothes and accessories. Naturally, the theme for her birthday cake had to be fashion.

The jade green colour of the cake reflects her name.  Each topper represents something you would find in her boutique.

Dress: An elegant dress in shell pink sugarpaste, with an edible bow
Shoes: Pretty pink heels with pearls encrusted on the strap, handcrafted in edible modelling paste
Handbag: A classic tote, handmade in sugarpaste
Necklace: Antique gold necklace & pendant with edible bead embellishments
Scarf: Gold ribbon made in crepe

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Scarf

Perfect for the girl who likes to make a fashion statement!

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Christmas cake

Christmas cake

With Christmas just 2 weeks away, here’s a great recipe to get you baking.

Every country has it’s own version of the Christmas cake & every family probably has their own special variation.

My recipe is a rich moist fruit cake packed with fruit cooked in brandy.
You won’t need to keep feeding this one … Cooking the fruit in brandy keeps them deliciously soft and moist even months after baking the cake.

The fruit and cake take quite some time to cook, cool & bake so make sure you plan your time accordingly. Give yourself at least 1 week for the cake to cool down before decorating and serving.

Here’s what you would need for a 7″ round cake:

120g butter
120d soft dark brown sugar
3 medium eggs
150g flour (I prefer self raising as it makes the cake less dense)
480g mixed fruit (sultanas, currants & mixed peel)
60g glace cherries
10g mixed spice or cinnamon
50g dark treacle
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
zest & juice of 1 orange
zest & juice of 1 lemon
150ml brandy or dark rum

Cooking the fruit:
I prefer to do this the night before I bake so they are cold enough to mix into the batter in the morning.

- Measure out the brandy, mixed fruit, glace cherries, zest and juice of orange & lemon in a pan.
– Cook them on low heat until the alcohol is almost completely absorbed by the fruit.
– Pour them out onto a tray & leave to cool completely

Mixing the batter:
– Sieve the flour & spice together
– Cream together the butter and sugar

Mixing the batter
– Pour in the treacle & vanilla extract
– Add the eggs, one at a time
– Fold the flour + spice into the mixture.
– Add the cooked fruit a little at a time and mix until it is evenly spread into the batter. Repeat until all the fruit is mixed in.

IMG_4425 Mixing the fruit

- Line a 7″ cake tin with parchment paper. Pour the batter into it.
– Place the tin into the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill the batter further.

Poured into tin
– Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 deg C for at least 1 and 1/2 hr, until done (it takes me approximately 2 hrs in my oven).
– Leave to cool for at least 8 hrs

Fruit cake

Pack the cake in parchment paper & store for at least a week, until you are ready to decorate.

To decorate:
200g marzipan
apricot jam
250g sugarpaste

Seal any holes left by the fruit with small balls of marzipan.Seal holes with marzipan

Cake covered in marzipan

Lightly coat the sides & top with apricot jam.
Cover with marzipan & smooth over.
Turn over & cover the bottom with marzipan & smooth over.

Cover with sugarpaste and decorate with cutouts or sugar sculptures.

Christmas cake

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