Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Batate/ potato bhaji ( Seasoned potatoes with turmeric)



When you say the term "batate bhaji",  what comes to one's mind is yellow color potato cubes sautéed with some kind of seasoning. The potatoes are usually parboiled and diced into desired size pieces. They are then sautéed with onions, green chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and of course turmeric. Some like to make it without onions, while others like a lot of onions( read my husband). Some like to cook it dry( that's me!:) ), while others like to add water to it and make it like a stew. Potato bhaji can be used for a myriad of reasons. It is most commonly eaten with Poori ( fried puffed Indian bread) for which most people prefer it to be cooked like a stew . It is also used as a stuffing/filling in crispy crepes and in samosas, where it is preferred that it is dry. There is hardly anyone who does not like batate bhaji. It is also a very economical dish as potatoes are rather cheap. Last, but not the least, it is quick and easy to make!:)


Servings: 3-4


Ingredients:


Potatoes: 3 medium
Onion: 1 medium, diced medium
Green chillies:2-3, slit lengthwise into two.
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Jeera( cumin seeds): 1/2 tsp(optional).
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf: 1 sprig ( optional)
Haldi( turmeric powder): 1 tsp
Salt: to taste

Method:


Wash the potaoes. Boil potatoes with peel on, with water on stove top until Al dente ( around 15 mins). Do not overcook the potatoes. You should be able to dice them. Once cooled, peel and dice them into small cubes. Keep aside.

Heat coconut oil in a sauté pan/ frying pan upon medium heat.Add the cumin seeds. After 20-30 seconds, add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard crackles, add curry leaves. Now add the slit green chillies and chopped onion. Sauté the onion until it is transparent. Add the turmeric powder, sauté for a minute. Now add the diced potatoes, salt and mix well. Cook on low for 2-5 mins until everything comes together and the potatoes are warm. Turn off the flame.

Garnish with fresh finely chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with poori/chapati/roti or use as a stuffing in your masala dosa!

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


Boiled potatoes can be easily peeled using a peeler! You don't have to get your hands messy!

Tip for healthy living:


Whenever possible use organic potatoes as potatoes have been found to have the highest level of pesticides in them. This is due to the double whammy that potatoes get subjected to! They absorb pesticide present in the soil and also the ones that get sprayed onto the plant!
References:
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/27107/1/21030021.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11434996
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Food for thought:


Love is not something you find.Love is something that finds you. Loretta Young




Monday, March 30, 2015

Poori ( Puffed fried whole wheat Indian bread); Meatless Monday



Poori is a very common bread made in India. It is basically small chapatis/ rotis that have been fried and are usually puffy. The upside is that this is very tasty, I myself am very fond of it but I rarely make it as it is not very healthy. Why isn't it healthy? Because it is deep-fried in oil. So then why am I including this here??? Because once in a while indulging is not such a bad thing to do and it is really super-easy to make. The easy to make part caught your attention right? When I first started making chapatis and pooris, I always found making pooris easier than making chapatis. I always had a problem making perfectly round chapatis. Pooris are more forgiving.
Also there are many people out there who don't know how to make pooris!

Servings: 2-4


Ingredients: to make 6-8 small- medium sized pooris


Whole Wheat flour: 1 cup
Cooking oil: 1  tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Lukewarm water: 1/2 cup ( you may not require all of it).

Method:


In a bowl mix together the flour, oil, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center. Add water little bit at a time and make a nice, soft dough.



Knead well and make a ball. Apply oil to the outside of the ball. Cover with a damp cloth/ paper towel and keep aside for 30 min- 1 hour.

Pinch little portion of the dough to make small lemon sized balls.


Now roll out the balls to make small pooris.


Heat oil in a wok/ kadai on medium flame. When the oil is hot enough, drop the poori in it and with the back of a slotted spoon gently press it down into the oil.


This will help the poori puff up. When the poori puffs up and floats to the surface of the oil, flip it and let it cook for few seconds on the other side.



Now remove it from the oil and drain it on paper towels.




Serve hot with potato bhaji/ Chole/ or any side dish of your choice!

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


When rolling  out the dough, make sure that it is even and that you don't roll it out too thin. It shouldn't be too thick either. If it is too thin, it will not puff up and if it is too thick, the inside will not be cooked.

Tip for healthy living:


Whenever you find the urge to eat something unhealthy, for example: fried food like poori/ fried fish/ fried chicken etc. , pair it with healthy foods. For example: poori with some mixed vegetable dish, fried fish/ chicken with some healthy salad or vegetable stir-fry . This way you will have a balance in your diet and you will not be totally compromising your diet. Also, eat only one serving of the unhealthy stuff. This way you would have satisfied your craving without jeopardizing your health.


Food for thought:


Knowledge is power. Francis Bacon

Friday, March 27, 2015

Peanut Chutney



Peanuts or groundnuts as we call them back home , are known as " poor man's almonds". The reason for this is the fact that peanuts have the same amount of protein as almonds! Peanuts can be snacked on, used in seasonings and garnishes. Who doesn't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?? I like them all. I like the crunch of the peanuts!  We make peanut chutney! Have you heard of that before ? It is a super-easy dip that goes great with dosas and idlis. I like to make this chutney at times when I don't have freshly grated coconut on hand. To be truthful, now-a-days I make this chutney more than the coconut chutney,not only because it is easy, but also because it is a great way to get protein into the kids and also because this chutney has a longer shelf life than the coconut chutney. Coconut chutney gets rancid in no time even when kept in the fridge, while this chutney remains fresh for a longer period of time.I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday# 61. It is now being hosted in it's new home.Both Selma and Margy are wonderful cooks,amazing bloggers and great co-hosts.



Servings: 3-4


Ingredients:


Peanuts: 1 cup
Garlic: 1 small clove
Green chillies: 2 small ( you can adjust based on your desired spice level).
Jeera( cumin seeds): 1/2 tsp
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Water: 1/2 cup

For tempering:( optional)
Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp 
Jeera/cumin seeds:1/8 tsp
Mustard seeds:1/2 tsp
Urad dal: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 small sprig

Method:








In a food processor or blender/ mixer-grinder, grind together peanuts, garlic, cumin seeds, green chilli, tamarind, salt and water to a fine paste.



For tempering:

Heat oil in a small skillet/pan, add jeera, then mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter add urad dal and curry leaves. Turn off the flame and add this to the above ground paste.



Serve with idli/dosa.

Mushti polo served with Ghosale sheere chutney, dry garlic chutney powder and peanut chutney.


Can be stored in an airtight container for upto one week.

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


I make life easy by using salted, roasted peanuts that I munch on to make this chutney. That ways I don't have to store several different kinds of peanuts in my pantry.

While making this chutney, make sure you use enough water as otherwise the peanuts start letting out oil!

Tip for healthy living:


A handful of peanuts daily will contribute a significant amount of the daily required protein and essential fatty acids.Peanuts are believed to have the ability to reduce inflammation.They contain mono-saturated fatty acids like Oleic acid which is believed to reduce LDL levels in the body and increase HDL ( good cholesterol levels).They are a good source of vitamin E and the B-complex.It is also rich in minerals like manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium and selenium.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Kothambari Saaru ( Cilantro soup/ coriander leaves soup); Meatless Monday



Have you ever heard of soup made out of cilantro leaves??? Well, believe it or not, it is a very traditional recipe where I come from. Cilantro is known as coriander leaves in India why because coriander seeds come from cilantro. See?? Didn't know that did you? In Kannada and a few other languages, coriander is known as kothambari. We Indians don't like to eat rice dry just like that. We always need some sort of gravy to go with it. We make a variety of plain gravies to go with it. These gravies are similar to the soups that westerners have. For example: bean soups, lentil soups, tomato soups etc. Where I come from, we call it "saaru".  So, soup made out of cilantro leaves is called "kothambari saaru". This is super easy to make and super-tasty! While we eat it with rice, you can sip it just like that! This dish, if made thick can be used as a chutney/ dip to be eaten with dosas or idlis or in sandwiches.



Servings: 4-6


Ingredients:


For grinding:

Coriander leaves(Cilantro ): 1 medium bunch
Freshly grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Green chillies: 2-3 medium ones( adjust as per individual spice level)
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Water: 1/2 cup + 2 cups

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig

Method:


In a food processor/mixer-grinder/blender, grind together coriander leaves, green chillies, freshly grated coconut, salt, tamarind and 1/2 cup water to a fine paste.

In a pot/ saucepan, dilute this paste with 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the flame.Now temper the soup as described below.

Tempering:

Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add Curry leaves. Turn off the flame. Add this tempering to the above pot.



Serve hot with some nice hot steamed rice.

Kothambari saaru served with squash upkari , matta rice and fried fish.


Enjoy!


Cooking made easy:


While making cilantro chutney or soup, make sure you use only the leaves. The stems are bitter an therefore if ground will make the chutney bitter. You could save the stems and chop it and use it in dishes like sambar, rasam or tomato saaru. It will emanate a nice aroma to the dish.

Tip for healthy living:


Cilantro is a herb with several medicinal surpising nutritional properties. It is also one of the richest sources of vitamin K.It is also rich in vitamin A,vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, riboflavin and niacin. It is also rich in anti-oxidants, essential oils and dietary fiber.It is also rich in minerals like iron, potassium,calcium, manganese and magnesium.

References:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277627.php
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cilantro.html
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-cilantro/

Food for thought:


If life had a second edition, how I would correct the proofs. John Clare

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ugadi Special: Chana Dal and Barley Khichidi



Ugadi is our traditional New Year according to the Hindu Calender. This year it is today. We always prepare a special feast with lot of sweets to celebrate the occasion. We also purchase and wear new clothes. It is a new beginning after all. In my mind, I was all prepared to celebrate the occasion with two of my favorite dishes: sweet khichidi and valval ( a veggie stew). But guess what, when I got home last night, what do I see on my door?? This notice below:
What no gas for 2 weeks!!! I cannot cook anything. Of course, I have a rice cooker.. But how much can you make in that??

Well, you see, once I set my mind on something, I don't give up easily! Being that it is a Saturday, I decided to do some cooking and prep at a close friend's place who lives not too far away from me. Me and the kids set out there in the evening.




Sweet khichidi evokes nostalgia in me for the food that is served in our temples. Traditionally, the main ingredients in this dish are broken wheat or couscous , Chana dal and freshly grated coconut. Chana dal is split chick peas. I didn't have any broken wheat/couscous. But I did have some old barley that was sitting in my pantry. I decided to be brave and experiment using  barley instead of wheat. I must say that the end result was a pleasant surprise! It was absolutely delicious! I didn't have  any bananas on hand and therefore didn't add them. I like it more with bananas in it. It is ridiculously easy to do, healthy and super-yum! The kids loved it and so did our friends. My brother came too and we had a nice surprise Ugadi  feast with them. All that ends well.



Servings: 6-8


Ingredients:


Chana dal(Split chick peas): 3/4 cup
Barley: 1/2 cup
Water: 2 cups
Freshly grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Jaggery ( or brown sugar): 3/4 cup
Cardomom powder: 1/8 tsp, freshly ground from 3-4 cardamom pods.
Ghee( clarified butter): 1 tsp
Raisins: 1 tbsp
Cashew halves: 1 tbsp
Salt: pinch
Banana: 1 slices into 0.5 cms thick pieces ( optional).

Method:


Wash barley and Chana dal together and cook it together with 2 cups water using a pressure cooker, crock pot or rice cooker.
If using a pressure cooker, cook it for 15 mins after the first whistle. The consistency of both the dal and the barley should be such that it should be tender but individual grains should be visible. Therefore don't overcook or add too much water. Don't open the pressure cooker until the steam has completely been released.

Take the pot with the dal and barley out.

Now add jaggery, freshly grated coconut and salt to the dal-barley mixture and cook it on low flame until the jaggery has melted completely. Turn off the flame.Now add freshly ground cardamom powder . This can be made by grinding cardamom seeds from the pod , using a mortar and pestle!

At this point you can mix in the banana slices if you wish.

Heat ghee in a small pan and fry the cashew halves and raisins for a few seconds until lightly golden in color.
Add most of it to the pot, reserving a few for garnishing.






You can eat this hot or cold. I like it both ways!

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


If you don't have a pressure cooker, soak the Chana dal/ barley mixture for couple of hours or even overnight and cook it with water on the stove top until it reaches the desired consistency. You can do this with any lentil, especially the ones like Chana dal that take a long while to cook.

Tip for healthy living:


Barley is a whole grain that is rich in fiber and is very nutrient-dense and therefore considered a superfood. It is one of the oldest grains known to mankind and is rich in phytochemicals  and minerals, helping keep the body healthy. It is especially beneficially for diabetics due to it's low glycemic index, thereby helping maintain the blood sugar levels. Diabetics would greatly benefit by substituting barley for rice in their daily meals. Because it is a fiber rich whole grain, barley helps reduce risk of coronary heart disease, constipation, high blood pressure and diabetes. It also makes you feel full faster and keeps you satiated.


References:
http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-barley
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=127
http://www.lef.org/Magazine/2008/12/Barley/Page-01

Food for thought:


Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean. Christopher Reeve

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sungata Phanna upkari ( shrimp in a spicy, tangy sauce)



Most people like shrimp( except those allergic to it). I love shrimps. I am a seafood person. Given a choice, I  would any day have seafood over chicken!  There are several ways that we can cook shrimp: curry it, fry it. Phanna upkari is a super easy Mangalorean way of making a spicy, tangy fish curry. It hardly takes any time. We make other fish like Mackeral, sardines like this.  This is a very traditional Mangalorean method of making fish. Mackeral is the fish that is most commonly cooked using this method.  When made with Mackeral it is called Raja Phanna upkari.Traditionally, for this dish, you grind dried red chillies that have been soaked in warm water, to a fine paste. I don't do any grinding. I use red chilli powder. This makes the dish ready faster without altering the taste! The traditional dish is also so spicy that even I would require a fire brigade! When I make it I reduce the spice level to make it more palatable and enjoyable. You will relish it!




Servings: 3-4


Ingredients :


Medium-large shrimp : 1 lb ( around 30-40 count ), deveined.
Onion: 1 medium, chopped fine
Kashmiri Red chilli powder: 1 1/2- 2 tsp ( adjust based on your spice level)
Coriander powder: 1 heaped tsp
Haldi powder: 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil: 1 tsp + 1 tbsp
Tamarind pulp: 1/2 tsp
Water: 2 cups
Salt: to taste


Method:


Marinate the shrimp with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

Heat coconut oil in a small saute pan on medium heat. Add coriander powder, chilli powder and sauté for few seconds. Now add 2 cups water, quarter of the chopped onions, salt and bring it to a boil.

While the above mixture is coming to a boil, in a small frying pan heat 1 tbsp of coconut and fry the rest of the chopped onions until golden brown. Keep aside.

Now add the marinated shrimp to the sauce and cook for 2-4 minutes , or until the shrimp turns pink. Shrimp does not take long to cook. DO NOT overcook the shrimp. Shrimp, when overcooked turns hard and rubbery.

Now add the fried onions to the pan. Stir well. Turn off the flame.



Serve hot with steamed white or brown rice.



Enjoy! I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday#60. My dear friends at Fiesta Friday, my apologies for not being able to stay for long and chat with you all the past couple of weeks! Apart from me injuring my back, my little ones have also been sick. I promise to linger and catch with all of you my dear friends this week! Tracy@Scratch It Cook and Nancy@Feasting With Friends are co-hosting this week at the new party hall!

Cooking made easy:


To peel and de-vein shrimp, using a paring knife, make a slit along the back ( spine) of the shrimp. The shell can now be easily removed and the vein too.

Tip for healthy living:


Shrimp must be consumed in small quantities. It is used to be notorious for increasing cholesterol levels in the body.While one serving of shrimp contains 165.8mg of cholesterol which is 50% of the daily recommended limit, it is also rich in omega 3 which is heart healthy.But when consumed in small quantities it is not bad at all. It is low in fat and does not amount to a lot of calories.

References:

Food for thought:


You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself. Ethel Barrymore



Friday, March 13, 2015

Frozen : Elsa Cake and Snowflake Cupcakes







This is a case of "Best laid plans going haywire!" This past weekend was my daughter's sixth birthday. Obviously like every little girl in this present time, my daughter is crazy about Elsa and Anna from the movie FROZEN! She wanted an Elsa cake for her birthday. You see, last year, I had made an Princess Aurora Cake for her birthday.So, I too acquiesced and accordingly planned a simple birthday party for her and few of her friends on Sunday. She had a birthday party in school on Friday, for which I had made the snowflake cup-cakes! Boy, did the kids have fun or what! I had planned to get everything ready on Saturday, so that I could sit back and relax and enjoy the festivities on Sunday! Well ... That definitely didn't go as I had planned! I had made the cake and cupcakes on Thursday night. All that was left to do was to assemble it and decorate it which would have been no big deal had things happened the way I planned!!! You see we had a snowstorm on Thursday. I had to shovel snow and clean the car so that I could drive to my daughter's school next day! The car was half buried in snow! And I have never used a shovel in my entire life! You know where this is going, right??? Well, come Saturday, my back went out! I was literally stuck! I could not bend forwards nor backwards. The pain wrapped me like a vice around my middle going anteriorly to my abdomen. I couldn't sit, stand or walk! What was I going to do??? The buttercream frosting lay half-made in the stand-mixer on the kitchen counter; the pasta lay cooked on the stove and the cakes were still waiting to be assembled! I was helpless! Tears of despair rolled down my eyes! My husband felt bad for me.. He said " don't worry, I will get a nice cake from Costco and we can order pizza for the kids!" Well, I didn't have much of a choice , did I?? I decided to take an anti-inflammatory medication and sleep it off. I told myself that I will figure it all, come morning. My husband rubbed my back to make me feel better and then set about cleaning and decorating the house.




 I prayed for the pain to go away and slept through the night and when I woke up it was 7 a.m. ! My back was feeling much better!I had lost an hour due to daylight saving. We had moved our clocks an hour ahead 12.00 am. Sunday! The party was to begin at 12 p.m.! Well, I just prayed and set out working! I decided that I was going to try and make the cake as my daughter had her heart set on it and take it from there. I will make the pasta if there is time or else order pizza! I put the cake together, frosted it, put it in the fridge and when I was waiting for the frosting to set, made the pasta and start kneading the fondant. The hardest part was rolling the fondant out. I prayed that it would be enough to cove the cake and that it wouldn't tear! The guide for this cake was from the website: how to cook that.net.Ann had covered the whole doll with the fondant. As for me, I knew for sure I didn't have enough fondant to roll it that big and cover the cake. I decided to skip covering the doll and just cover the cake and then insert the doll. Well, needless to say, it did work, but I had to deal with cracks in the pleats of the dress. I have tried to hide the flaws of the dress with snowflakes placed strategically. Also, since my doll came with a plastic dress, I chose not to make the bodice for the doll. I used what the doll already had on. I also chose not to make the cape for Elsa for sheer lack of time. I didn't think that my daughter would care anyways! This is far from my best cake. There are hundreds of flaws in this cake. But the bottom line is that my daughter was super-thrilled and happy to see her dream cake and all her little friends loved it too.. They couldn't stop going "Elsa, Elsa"! That I believe is " MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"!



The cake was made up of chocolate fudge cake and sprinkle vanilla cake. I made two 9-inch cakes, one chocolate, one vanilla and the dome was made of chocolate fudge cake too and layered it .



Servings: 20-25


Ingredients:


For the chocolate fudge cake:

Boxed cake mixes: 2( I used Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake )
Eggs: 6
Water: 2 cups
Oil: 1 cup ( I used canola oil)

For the sprinkle vanilla cake:

Boxed cake mix: 1( I used Betty Crocker Funfetti Cake )
Eggs: 3
Water: 1cup
Oil: 1/2 cup ( I used canola oil)


For the buttercream icing:( to make 2 1/2 cups icing)

Confectioners  Sugar: 4 cups
Butter : 1cup( at room temperature)
Vanilla essence: 1 1/2 tsp
Water/ Milk: 2 tbsp

For decorating the doll:

Light Blue ready to roll fondant: 1 box ( I used Cake Boss)
Shortening: as needed to knead the fondant.
Corn flour: as needed to dust the work surface.
White shimmer powder : 1 small box ( I used Wilton)
Water: 2 tbsp

Method:


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.

Assemble the dome shaped cake pan as per instructions.Prepare the dome shaped cake pan & the two 9-inch round pans by spraying non-stick spray. Keep it aside.



Prepare the cake batter as per instructions on the cake box.



Pour the cake batter into the dome- shaped cake pan until 2/3 rds full. Do the same with the 9-inch round pan. Use the rest of the batter to make cupcakes.

Place the dome- shaped cake pan on the center rack of the oven and the round pan on the lower rack .Bake for 45-50 mins or until a skewer comes clean when inserted.If not done, bake for additional 5 mins and check again. Repeat this in 5 min intervals until the cake is done.



The round cake was done in 20-25 minutes.


I did the same thing with the sprinkle-vanilla cake.



Remove the cakes out of the oven and let it cool on the cooling rack for 15-30 mins.




Level all the cakes and keep aside to cool completely before layering and icing them. 





Insert the doll in the cakes and cut out a circle from the center of the cakes so that the doll can fit in there.



The Icing:

When the cake is cooling prepare the icing.

Take the butter and the vanilla essence in a bowl, whip it until soft peaks are seen.




Now add sifted confectioners sugar little by little and mix until well combined. 

Add the water and mix well. Icing should be of medium consistency.

Add a few drops of Wilton royal blue gel color to get the desired blue color.

Preparing the doll:

Take off the doll's costume & shoes and wrap the doll in protective plastic wrap. Insert the doll into the cake until her hips.Remove the doll out and keep aside.



Putting the cake together:
Place a thin layer of icing on one side of the cake board .The icing will keep the cake in place and prevent it from moving. 


When cooled, invert the round chocolate cake onto the cake board. Layer it with 1 inch thick layer of icing of your choice.




I used  blue vanilla icing that I had leftover after frosting the cupcakes.Place the vanilla-sprinkle cake on top of the chocolate cake. Apply one inch layer of icing on this. Now place the dome- shaped cake on top of this.



Using a spatula, apply a 1/2 inch thick coating of icing around the cake.


I carved the cake in the front to make it look flat in the front and the dress bellowing in the back.




Keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.



The fondant dress:

When the icing is being set in the fridge, prepare the fondant cover. 

Knead the blue fondant in portions using a little shortening, until soft and pliable. Combine the small portions together to make it into one large ball.




Apply cornstarch on the work surface( I used roll and cut fondant mat) and roll the fondant to 30-35 inches circle.


Once the fondant has been rolled out and ready, take the cake outside the refrigerator.


Using a pastry brush, gently brush water on the buttercream frosting. This helps the fondant to stick to the frosting.

Using the rolling pin roll the fondant on to the rolling pin.


Place the fondant on the cake and slowly and carefully unroll it, covering the cake as you unroll it.



Arrange the pleats on the dress to your liking. Cut off the excess fondant at the base using a paring knife.

Now stick the Elsa doll back into the cake until her waist.

Using the excess fondant, roll out a rectangle and make it into a sash. Wrap this sash around Elsa's waist.

Mix 1 tsp white sparkle powder in 2 tsp water . With a thin paint brush paint thin lines on her dress along the pleats.

Dust some sparkle powder on her dress.

Attach the snowflakes made before hand from royal icing to the dress as you please.

Apply a thick layer of royal icing on the cake board along the hem of her dress to depict snow. Sorry, I didn't have time to take pictures for these last stages as I was rushing to get the cake done!



I made a "happy birthday Kavya" banner on a card-paper and placed it on her raised hands.



Voila ! Elsa is ready to take center-stage!

Enjoy! I am bringing this cake to my dear friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday! My good friend Jhuls@ the not so creative cook and Mila@milkandbun are co-hosting this weekend. If you haven't been to Fiesta Friday yet, you definitely should! They are such a awesome group of wonderful people!


For the snowflake cupcakes:



I made 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes: 2 1/2 dozen chocolate and 1 dozen sprinkle-vanilla from the batter used to make the 9-inch cakes. I used half for the 9-inch cakes and half for the cupcake.

I lined the muffin-tin with foil cup-cake liners, filled them halfway and baked them at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Let them cool completely.



Then frost the cake with blue-color frosting using a spatula. Place a snowflake on top of each cupcake!



For the snowflake:

Prepare Royal icing.


Using Wilton tip 3 pipe out snowflakes as desired onto a wax paper. Let it dry overnight.


Cooking made easy:


Royal icing snowflakes can be make weeks ahead and stored in a airtight container in a cool place ( not in the fridge).

Tip for healthy living:


To keep the skin in your hands soft, use gloves while doing dishes. Also moisturize your hands immediately after drying them.


Food for thought:


Every noble work is at first impossible. Thomas Carlyle