Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Snickers Chocolate Icebox Cake


September was a month of birthdays in my family and I do bake at least a cake to celebrate all occasions at once.  Chocolate being the most favorable flavor, I don't think twice what to make.  But this time, we were super busy with some cultural functions in our community and I decided to cheat and made an ice cream box cake instead of a well decorated cake.  It is not very pretty looking cake, but the flavor combo clicked very well in my family.




My birthday also falls in September and I usually don't bake a cake for myself, but I get to cut a jello cake which was a surprise from my friend during one of our practice sessions for the cultural program.  Kids and adults who gathered around me and sang happy birthday which made be blush like a little girl.  It’s so funny that when you are young, you wish you get older and as you pass 30, you wish the birthdays come slower.  On the bright side you can treat yourself as wiser and experienced as you age.  Anyways age is a number, you cannot help getting older, but you don't have to get OLD.  Keep your thoughts unwrinkled and be positive!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup  - vanilla ice cream thawed enough to spread.
1 loaf - chocolate cake refrigerated (half the recipe of black Magic cake)
1 cup - heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp - pure vanilla extract
6 tbsp - powdered sugar
1/2 cup - semisweet chocolate melted at room temperature
1 cup - sliced snickers
Toppings
1 cup - melted semi sweet chocolate
1/4 cup - chopped snicker bar

Directions:
  • Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap with enough overhang on all four sides.
  • Slice the chocolate cake into half in the middle.  Place the cake in the loaf pan.
  • Spread the thawed Vanilla ice cream on top of the cake.
  • Now top the vanilla ice cream layer with the sliced snickers and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Place the second piece of chocolate cake on top of it and gentle press down; cover and put it back into the freezer.
  • Whip the heavy cream on high till soft peaks are formed.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, melted chocolate and whip for 20 seconds.
  • Spread it over the cake layer and freeze for 2 hrs.
  • Pour the melted chocolate on top of the frozen cake in any pattern you wish.  Sprinkle chopped snickers on top.  Cover and  freeze the cake for at least 4 - 8 hrs.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut the frozen cake and enjoy.


Notes:
  • You can layer the cakes, ice cream and snickers in any way you wish.
  • If you freeze the cake after putting each layer, you can see the layers better when you cut.  I didn't freeze the vanilla layer, so mine didn't show the vanilla ice cream layer good as it oozed out to the sides when I pushed the cake layer on top of it.
  • You can use 1 - 2 cups of melted chocolate to top the cake to get a better finished look.  I used only 1 cup though.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Vegetables from my garden

As summer is ending and fall is approaching, the flora and fauna are changing their colors to prep for the cold weather, it is time to share some snaps of the vegetables I picked from my garden.  Hope you will enjoy it as much you enjoy reading a recipe!


 
Hand Picked Tomatoes

Chilies 

Purple Vegetables

Green Vegetables

Purple Beans

Varieties of some chilies from my garden.





Yellow Tomatoes


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lemon Yogurt Pineapple Upside Down Cake



Someone somewhere told once that 'Memories are timeless treasures of heart'.  It’s so true that things end and life changes but memories last forever.  Some memories fade with age but some persists forever.  It’s also true that some memories can never be replaced or recreated.  Some painful as a sting and some pleasant as a breeze, but memories live forever.  

End of last year I joined my highschool friends on a WhatsApp group.  Since then we were trying our best to connect the missing links of the chain once we were all part of.  We were eager to share the pictures and family where about each other.  Many of them changed to an extent where you could easily bypass as a stranger even encountered face to face, but some were untouched by time and age!  It was an amazing and wonderful feeling to connect the past and walk through our school days.  Some were up even at midnight to eagerly share the mischief and jokes they kept as secret for long time.  It was hard to catch up on the messages if you miss one day.  A bunch of them were lucky enough to arrange a get together in our old class room and spent some time together.  They shared with us the old memories which kept our hopes and dreams young.  Thanks to all who worked so hard to connect each one around the world and bring them together under one roof of our 10th grade class room.  I am sure everyone can relate how nostalgic that feeling could be! 


On that sweet note of revamping our lost friendship, I would like to share a dessert I made for this summer.  I wanted to try something other than a regular vanilla sponge cake as the base, so thought to give the cake some summery citrus punch.  The lemon yogurt sponge cake came out to be so flavorful and complimented the pine apple upside down cake.  If you are looking for a dessert for a potluck, then try this recipe.  You can half the recipe for your family.


yields - 13 x 11 inch cake

Ingredients:

1 - pineapple cut into rings and middle portion removed
3 cups - all purpose flour
3 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - salt
3 - eggs
1 1/2 cup - sugar
1/4 cup - lemon juice
3/4 cup - yogurt
2 tsp - lemon zest
2 drop - lemon oil (optional)
1/4 cup - vegetable oil
4 tbsp - butter
4 tbsp - brown sugar
maraschino cherries

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  • Grease the baking pan.
  • Melt 4 tbsp of butter and pour it into the baking pan.  Sprinkle 4 tbsp of brown sugar on it. 
  • Sift the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl of stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat it till creamy.  Add the lemon juice, yogurt, vegetable oil, lemon zest and lemon oil and beat for 30 seconds using a paddle attachment.
  • Add the sifted flour mix to the wet ingredients and mix till a smooth batter with no lumps is attained.
  • Arrange the pine apple rings on the baking pan.  Place the cherries in the center of each pine apple ring.  Slowly pour the batter on the arranged pineapple rings.
  • Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.  Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.  Flip the cake on a wire rack to cool completely or on a serving plate if serving warm.
  • Top the piece of cake with some fresh whipped cream and serve.
Notes:
  • Lemon oil gives a nice citrus flavor to the cake.  I got some essential oils from amazon and you can get it here.  They are good to use in frosting.
  • I used a pyrex glass container to bake the cake.  Depending on the type of baking dish, the cooking time will vary.  
  • Make sure to flip the cake while its still warm, otherwise the butter and brown sugar will stick to the bottom of the pan and will not result in a pretty looking cake when you flip it.
  • You can half the recipe to make the cake in a loaf pan.  I used 2 small eggs when I made it in a loaf pan.  Rest of the ingredients can be halved.



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kerala Pepper Mushroom




I hardly grew up eating mushrooms.  Mushroom were not easily available in the market those days.  Since the stories of the intake of poisonous mushrooms and hospitalization were so common, my mom never bothered to get it.  So I never got a chance to try it at home.  I believe it was during my hostel days, I had my first mushroom dish.  My life in US definitely changed my notion of mushrooms.  The availability of different varieties of fresh mushrooms and the versatile ways you could use them in cuisines changed me 360 degrees.  Soon I started experimenting with mushroom and eventually it became an inevitable item of my pantry.


 It is hard to change your taste buds quickly until and unless you keep trying persistently.  It gets tricky when you want to serve some veggies for your kids which is in their 'Bad Vegetable' list.  I am still not successful in serving a mushroom only dish to my kids.  They hate the earthy taste of it.  Only way to feed them some mushrooms is by sneaking in their omelets, soups and pasta sauce.  Hope they will develop the taste for mushrooms one day like me. 

That being said, this is completely an adult dish.  This spicy pepper mushroom is cooked in a South Indian style.  The use of shallots, coconut pieces, curry leaves and coconut oil definitely imparts the authentic Kerala flavor to this pepper mushroom.  This is a good vegetarian substitute for those who don't eat meat.  Hope you will try this dish soon and let me know how it turns out for you.
   

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) packs - mushrooms cleaned and sliced
4 - big cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 inch - ginger crushed
1/2 tsp - ground pepper
1/3 tsp - turmeric powder
1/3 tsp - Kashmiri Chili powder
1/2 tsp - freshly ground garam masala
1/2 cup - thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup - fresh/frozen coconut slices
2 - dry red chilies
1/4 tsp - mustard seeds
1 sprig - curry leaves
2 tsp - coconut oil

Garnish
1 sprig - curry leaves
1/4 tsp  freshly ground garam masala
1/3 tsp - ground pepper
2 - shallots thinly sliced
1 tsp - coconut oil

Directions:

  • Heat a cast iron wok with 2 tsp of coconut oil.  Splutter the mustard seeds in it. Add the sliced shallots, crushed garlic and ginger and saute for few minutes till the raw smell goes away.  Add the dry chilies.
  • Add turmeric powder, garam masala, pepper powder, chili powder followed by mushroom, coconut slices, curry leaves and salt.
  • Cook till all the water is absorbed.
  • Once it is dry, make a well in the center of the wok by pushing the mushroom to the sides, add 1 tsp of oil, add the sliced shallots, garam masala, and pepper powder.  Let it cook for a minute; mix it with the mushroom and finally garnish with curry leaves.
  • Enjoy the Kerala Pepper Mushroom with plain rice and spiced buttermilk.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kerala Chicken Puffs



A month ago I took a very short trip to India to attend my cousin's wedding.  It was a great trip packed with lots of travel and some memorable moments with my family.  Most of my cousins were able to make it to the wedding.  It was a fun filled time of togetherness.  The functions related to the wedding, girls day out together for shopping, meeting my high school friend, boating in the lake with the newlywed and the awesome Keralite food were the best part of the trip. 


When I finally made the decision to go to India, I made a mental note of a list of things I wanted to have.  I had most of them during my short trip.  Even though it was extremely hot there, the mangoes, jackfruit, guava, papaya, yucca from our own backyard were the perks of the summer season.  My cousin even bought a box of the sweetest Alphonso mango for us from Bombay.  I was devouring everything that was placed in a plate in front of me without bothering a bit about gaining some adipose here and there. 



One of the most wanted in my list was the Kerala Chicken Puffs.  After a long day shopping, kids and adults were super hungry and we were passing through the town that was well known for this famous bakery.  Within few minutes the nostalgia of eating the hot puffs for snack soon kicked both me and my brother and we screamed out together 'Let’s have some puffs'.  Soon we pulled over to the side of the bakery and got a dozen of freshly baked puffs.  Kids were initially reluctant to try, but once they tried the puffs they couldn't stop with one.  Since then I was waiting to come back home to try my hands on homemade chicken puffs.  It’s perfect for evening snack with a cup of tea.  Hope you will try this out soon.

Yields - 18 triangular small puffs/ 9 square puffs

Ingredients
1 package - Frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets
1 egg - beaten well

Stuffing
List 1
1 lb - Chicken breast cleaned
1/2 tsp - chili powder
1/3 tsp - black pepper powder
1/3 tsp - garam masala
1/4 tsp - turmeric powder
1 tsp - oil
salt to taste

List 2
2 cups - chopped onions
5 big cloves - garlic minced
1 tsp - chopped ginger
5 - green chili splits
1 sprig - curry leaves
1/4 cup - chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp - turmeric powder
1/4 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - mustard seeds
2 tsp - oil
salt to taste

Directions:
  • Take the frozen puff pastry sheets out of the freezer and leave at room temperature to thaw as per the directions on the package.
  • Meantime you can prepare the stuffing.  In a non-stick/cast iron pan heat 1 tsp of oil and add all the ingredients from List 1 together; mix well; cover and cook till the chicken is well done and all its juice is evaporated.
  • Remove the chicken to a bowl and use 2 forks to shred the chicken pieces.
  • Wipe the same pan with a paper towel and add 2 tsp of oil and splutter the mustard seeds.  Cook onions, ginger, garlic and green chili till the onions are light golden brown.  Add the turmeric powder, garam masala and the cooked chicken.  Mix well and cook till the raw smell is gone.  The mix should be wet and not dry.  Add the curry leaves and cilantro and turn off the flame.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • The thawed puff pastry should not be sticky to handle.  On a floured surface, open the puff pastry sheets one at a time.  Each sheet will be folded 2 times to form 3 sections.  Cut the sheet along the folds into 3 long sections.  Cut each section into 3 equal sized pieces.  It should give you 9 pieces from one sheet.  Take 1 - 2 tsp of the chicken filling and fill one side of the each piece and fold it diagonally to form a triangle. Press the edges to seal well.  Brush the top of the chicken filled puffs with beaten egg.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes till the top of the puffs turns golden brown.
  • Once the first batch is done, take the second sheet out of the package and prepare the puffs as mentioned in step 6.  Enjoy the warm Chicken puffs with a cup of tea.


Notes:
  • Make sure to follow the package directions to thaw the pastry sheets to get better results.  
  • If sticky use some flour.  The sheets should be thawed enough that its pliable to fold.
  • You can also make the square shaped puffs if you prefer.  Just sandwich the filling between 2 square sheets and rest of the steps should be the same.
  • Enjoy the puffs when they are fresh.  
  • The puffs can be reheated in a toaster oven or conventional oven at 400°F for 5-6 minutes.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Creamy Linguine Pasta With Asparagus And Mushroom


There was an addition to my kitchen lately; it was nothing other than a pasta maker.  It was a surprise by my husband.  The 2 trials he made for some spaghetti didn't yield a satisfactory result.  I believe the recipe measurements were not followed correctly.  Since then we didn't try any pasta recipes in the pasta maker.  It’s simply sitting on the kitchen counter next to my stand mixer.  I feel bad not trying a pasta recipe even though I cook pasta at least once a week for my family.  I would love to experiment with some 'from scratch' pasta recipes and share with you.

Like I said, pasta is an easy fix up for dinner in my family.  Let it be vegetarian or non-vegetarian, it is so versatile that one can tweak it according to their palate easily.  My kids seem pretty happy when pasta is served for dinner. I have one less item to worry when it’s Pasta for dinner and the plates will be cleaned up within minutes.

Here is a quick and easy creamy Linguine pasta recipe with Asparagus and mushrooms I make often.  You can be as creative as possible when making this by adding any vegetables and pasta of your choice to this creamy sauce and viola a meal is ready in a jiffy.

Ingredients:
1 packet - Linguine pasta
1 bunch - asparagus cut into 1.5 inches long
8 oz - mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 tsp - Italian seasoning (oregano, basil and rosemary mix)
5 cloves - garlic chopped
2 tbsp - olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Sauce
2 cups - heavy cream/milk
3 tbsp - flour
1/2 cup - grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp - butter
1/2 tsp - Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish
Olive oil to drizzle
Grated Parmesan cheese


Directions:
  • Cook pasta according to the package directions; strain, drizzle some olive oil and toss well.
  • Take a heavy bottom pan and add 2 tbsp of olive oil and lightly brown the chopped garlic.  Add the asparagus, mushrooms and seasoning and cook on medium heat till the water from mushroom is all evaporated.  Adjust the seasoning and transfer the cooked veggies to a bowl.
  • In the same pan, melt butter and add the flour and still well with a wire whisk to form a roux.  Add the cream/milk and the Parmesan cheese.  Stir well to form a thick sauce.
  • Add the seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper.  Lower the flame.
  • Add the cooked pasta to this sauce.  Mix the sauteed veggies and toss well.  Turn off the stove.  Drizzle some olive oil and top the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy while the pasta is warm.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Homemade Sambar Powder



My school bus stop was over a mile away from my house.  We used to walk in a group to the bus stop to catch the bus.  The early morning walks through the serene landscape were therapeutic.  The rising sun with crimson orange rays gazing the wet blades of the grass, the heavy clouds of fog trying to sediment over the rice fields, the flock of tiny sparrows flying over the fields to get a little scoop of grains, the little ducklings following their mom in the clear stream by the side of the road were some of the aesthetics of the landscape we enjoyed on our way to the bus stop.  The walk back to home from the bus stop was always faster; it was more like a run to escape the heat from the afternoon sun to quench the thirst and hunger.  Most of the time when I come back home, the house will be filled with the aroma of freshly fried banana fritters or lentil fritters.  Occasionally the strong smell of dry roasted spices makes its way to us at least few blocks away from home.  Chili powder and Coriander powder were made in big batches with the help of others.  Other strong spice blends were made by my mom.  No spice blends or curry powders were bought from store.  The dry spices were bought from the market, cleaned, sun dried, dry roasted and finally grounded and stored.  The aroma of the homemade spice blends were so strong that their aroma lingers in the house for at least couple of days.  The freshness and goodness of homemade spice blends could never be replicated in a store bought curry powder.


Recently I decided to give a try on some of the spice blends and here I am with the sambar powder.  I made only a small batch to test the freshness and taste difference.  I was really impressed how it tasted in the sambar and thought to share with you.  Its far way better than the store bought preservatives loaded spice blends.  Lately there were some allegations on some of the leading brands of spices for adulteration.  If we can make all these at home why bother to spend money on a chemical filled product.  I think that’s ample enough reasons to start making your own spice blends.  Give this sambar powder recipe a try and let me know how it turns out for you.

Ingredients:
1 cup - coriander seeds
1 cup - dried chili mix (Kashmiri & hot chili)
1/2 cup - Chana daal
1/2 tsp - cumin seeds
1 tbsp - fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp - black peppercorns
1/2 cup - curry leaves
2 tbsp - turmeric powder
1 tbsp - kashmiri chili powder
1 tbsp - freshly ground asafoetida powder


Directions:
  • Dry roast coriander seeds, chana daal and chili separately till the roasted aroma comes in a wok.
  • Dry roast cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns and curry leaves together on low flame till the curry leaves are roasted well.
  • Roast the kashmiri powder on low heat for 2 minutes till the raw smell is gone.
  • Let all the ingredients cool down completely.  Grind the spices into a fine powder.  Finally mix the turmeric powder, Kashmiri chili powder and asafoetida powder to it.
  • Store the sambar powder in a labeled air tight container.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Butternut Squash Boats



We are past a week in the Lent season and I am scratching my head to come up with new vegetarian items to appease my whole family.  I and my husband can live on steamed veggies and grains, but when it comes to my kids, I have to be cautious around those picky eaters.

While growing up in Kerala, I never felt a difference during Lent season as my Mom used to cook variety of vegetarian dishes and there were many options to choose from.  I miss those authentic Keralite dishes.  My grandma used to whip up a lip smacking dish from anything she founds in her backyard garden.  Nothing seemed to be wasted, the seeds, the skin, the flesh you name it were put into use.  The unused parts of vegetables used to go into the compost pit which makes its way to the produce in the garden as fertilizers.  I always wished to have a compost maker in my backyard.  I have to think seriously to at least compost the vegetarian waste and use it in my garden in summer.

Do you waste lot of food?  Lately I am diligent in making use of all the items I shop from grocery store.  I almost made my daughter promise to not waste her lunch that I pack for her school.  It feels good when you can make a small difference and influence your family.  I strongly believe that the 'Change has to begin in yourself before you can correct anyone else'.  Hope we can together make a difference by making a change in ourselves and influencing others.

I wanted to make use of the butternut squash and the buck wheat that was sitting in my pantry for some time.  Kids were at school and both of us were home that day and I had to do an easy lunch fix for us.  We enjoyed the spicy butternut squash boats that were surprisingly delicious and filling at the same time.  You can be creative about the filling that you add in the squash boat.  Both sweet and spicy filling can be used and limitation is just your imagination.  So go wear your apron and make a piquant Butternut squash boat!
Ingredients:

Butternut squash - halved and seeded
1 cup - multi-color baby potatoes washed and cut into halves
salt and ground pepper to taste
oil to brush
Filling
1/3 cup - buck wheat washed and drained
2/3 cup - water/vegetable broth
1 sprig - green onions chopped
2 cloves - garlic minced

1/4 cup - onion chopped
1/4 cup - fresh cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp - ground pepper
1/2 tsp - Cajun seasoning
1 tsp - oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup - Mexican cheese blend

Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  • Brush the cut side of the butter nut squash with oil and place it on the baking sheet with cut side facing up.  Lay the cut baby potatoes on one side of the baking sheet and drizzle some oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cut squash and potatoes.  Bake it for 30 minutes.
  • Once the squash cools down for 10 minutes, use a sharp knife to make lining on the baked squash; carefully either scoop out the flesh or cut it into squares as shown above in the picture and separate it out using the knife without tearing the skin of the squash.
  • Cook the buckwheat with water/vegetable broth.  Simmer the flame once the liquid boils and cover with the lid and cook till the grains are fluffy and cooked well.
  • Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil and cook the minced garlic, onion till light brown.  Add the chopped green onions, pepper powder, Cajun mix and saute till raw smell is gone.  Add the cooked buck wheat, scooped out butter nut squash flesh/cubes and the potatoes.  Mix well and adjust the seasoning per your taste.  Add the cilantro leaves and turn off the flame.
  • Fill the squash boats with the filling mix.  Top them with the cheese blend.  Bake it for 5 to 10 minutes till the cheese is melted.  Serve them warm with a side of the rest of the filling.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kale Moong Daal Stir Fry/Kale Moong Daal Thoran



It’s been over a month I have blogged.  One of my friends joked to me that she cannot cook anything now a days since I am not posting anything.  Let me thank all my friends who cared for my absence from fb and my blog.  I am blessed to have surrounded by friends like you.  Thanks for your constant support and motivation!

I want to share something I had been making for a long time.  I am not sure why it took so long for me to post this.  The vegetable section of grocery stores have the best technique to keep them crisp by misting them with water and they seem to be triggered by sensors to allure the customer.  Anyways whenever I pass the vegetable aisle of the grocery store, these fresh bunches of greens entice me to pick one of them.  Most of the time I pick Kale over collard green as they are sweeter in taste than collard greens.  Kale being a super food, it’s ok to include them in salads or eat by itself.  What if you can enhance the nutrition of Kale by adding some meatless protein like lentils when you want a pure vegetarian dish?  Since the Great Lent is commencing next week, I thought this is the apt time to share this recipe for those who cares for vegetarian dish.

The Kale and Moong daal stir fry is prepared in Kerala style which incorporates some inevitable ingredients like freshly grated coconut, curry leaves and coconut oil.  These ingredients impart a very unique flavor that transports you back to home.  My family loves this stir fry with plain rice and a side of thick yogurt.  Do try this simple recipe and let me know how it turns out for you.
 Ingredients:
3 cups - finely chopped fresh Kale
3-4 - chopped green chilies
1 cup - onion finely chopped
1 cup - fresh/frozen shredded coconut
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder
1 clove - garlic
1/4 tsp - mustard seeds
2 tsp - oil
1/4 cup - Moong daal
1/2 cup - water
2 sprigs - fresh curry leaves
1 tsp - coconut oil to garnish
salt to taste

Directions:
  • Wash the moong daal and add 1/2 cup of water to it. Cook it on very low flame with a pinch of salt till all the water is absorbed and the daal is cooked.
  • Pulse the garlic, shredded coconut and turmeric powder in  food processor or mix them well with a pestle and mortar.
  • In a wok or non-stick pan, add 2 tsp of oil and splutter the mustard seeds.  Add the onions, green chili and cook till the onions are translucent.  
  • Now add the chopped kale and salt; mix well.  Give a minute for the kale to wilt a bit.  Make a well in the center and add the coconut mix and cooked moong daal.
  • Cover the well with the kale from the sides and cook on low heat for 1 to 3 minutes.  Mix everything well.  Adjust the salt and add the curry leaves.
  • Turn off the flame and add the coconut oil.  Enjoy the Kale Moong daal stir fry with steaming hot plain rice and a side of tempered yogurt or plain yogurt.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lemon Cupcakes With Lemon Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting

 


Every Mom's wish is that her kid stays young all the time.  Every child’s dream is to become grown up soon so that they don't have to go to school and start working.  Moms are wired with more emotions.  Her worries never ends.  As the kids grow the concerns grows along with them.  When you hear the scary stories or some prank threats that happens at school, you wish your kid was a baby so that you are in charge of his/her safety.  It feels like they grow so fast within a blink of eye especially when you take a glimpse of their baby pictures.


Every year I bake a birthday cake for my daughter and have a small birthday party with her friends.  We bake together some cupcakes for her class too.  This year her birthday happened to be on Sunday and we celebrated with her friends at church.  Her birthday cake was a 3 layered simple Vanilla cake moistened with orange marmalade and simple syrup.  These cakes had strawberry preserve and whipped cream filling with some strawberry decorations.  It was a simple cake with a light frosting that was appeasing to everyone’s palate. 

We made lemon cupcakes for her class and frosted them with Lemon Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting.  I am so passionate about experimenting with different frosting that can hold shapes.  I like to stay away from over sweetened frosting if possible.  Hence whipped cream frosting and Swiss Meringue butter cream frosting are my favorites.  This time, I experimented with something other than Swiss Meringue butter cream for the cupcake frosting and it was an instant hit.  It is light and fluffy as whipped cream and silky as Swiss Meringue butter cream.  The best part is that even though it is an airy and low sweet frosting you could pipe it so well.  I was so excited to pipe away some rosettes on the cupcakes.   


My daughter is a fan of citrus flavor, so she preferred a lemon flavor.  The lemon flavor worked well with the cream cheese whipped cream frosting.  I highly recommend you to try this frosting.  The frosting was so stable that the rosettes retained their shape even when left at room temperature for some time.   I can be prolix with the savor of this frosting.  But I am leaving it up to you to try and decide.
Here are some pictures of her birthday cake.  Excuse the low lighting in this picture that diminished the quality of the shots.
Vanilla cake layer moistened with orange marmalade and simple syrup.
Second layer is the whipped cream frosting stabilized with meringue powder and confectioners sugar.
Top view of the cake with some fresh strawberry decoration and edible pearls.
A slice from the additional cake I made for her birthday that had just 2 layers.

Yields - frosting enough for 24 lemon cupcakes
Ingredients
2 (8 oz) - plain cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cup - confectioner/powdered sugar sifted
1 tbsp - fresh lemon juice
2 drops - pure lemon extract/pure lemon essential oil
yellow gel color to tint

1 1/4 cup - full fat fresh whipping cream (keep refrigerated till ready to use)
4 tbsp - confectioner/powdered sugar
1/2 tsp - meringue powder

Directions:
  • In a clean bowl of the stand mixer, beat the cream cheese till smooth with the paddle attachment.  Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice and beat well.
  • Add batches of sifted confectioner's sugar and beat till incorporated.
  • Add the gel color per your requirement and beta well.  Transfer the smooth cream cheese mix to a big mixing bowl and keep it aside.
  • Clean the mixing bowl of stand mixer and wipe it dry.  Add the cold whipping cream, powdered sugar and meringue and beat on low speed with whipping attachment for 10 seconds. Increase the speed to the highest and whip till stiff peaks are attained.  Watch carefully not to over beat the whipping cream which will deflate the cream.
  • Add a dollop of the whipped cream into the cream cheese frosting and use a rubber spatula to fold in.  Repeat the step carefully till all the whipped cream is mixed with cream cheese and no streaks of white are seen.  You can also use a wire whisk to do this step.  Just be careful not to deflate the whipped cream.
  • You frosting is ready to be piped.  Transfer them into a piping bag with the desired tip and decorate the cake(s).
Notes:
  • I piped double layer of rosettes on the cupcake.
  • Adding the meringue powder stabilizes the whip cream.
  • Make sure not to over beat the whipped cream when mixing it with cream cheese frosting.
  • You can use any fruity flavor with this frosting.

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