Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents


Neither the husband, nor I are professional cakers - far from it in fact. But with the help of one Youtube video, borrowed baking tools, a little know-how and a husband who had way more confidence in the project than I did, here we are with our first ever relatively cool looking fondant cake - presenting the 7 year old's Star Wars BB8 Birthday Cake. (Drumroll, please!)

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

This was a pretty ambitious project for us, especially since we started googling cake ideas (desperately) a week before the 7 yo's surprise birthday party. This year, I sorta had made up my mind that I will bake a simple cake for him to cut on his actual birthday and order a cake for his party. A week before his party we went to our local bakery to check out birthday cake designs and order it. As we flipped through the pages, disappointment started creeping in. There were just pages of sheet cakes, nothing fancy just sheet cakes. Now don't get me wrong.. I have nothing against sheet cakes but the only ones that we liked in their catalog were animal and dinosaur and sea creature themed ones and we did not want those cakes. We wanted cool looking Star Wars themed cakes. Period.

Anyhoo, long story short, after reading - "The actual cake might vary from the pictures depending on the cake artist" - or something like that, one too many times, we left the bakery disappointed.

By the time we reached home, I knew for sure that there loomed two cakes to be baked in my near future. One would be a simple frosted cake for him to cut on his birthday and other one a 'cool' looking cake. Hence ensued the frantic search for Star Wars themed Cake. The rest is history. 

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

I will not lie, I was ready to give up even before we started - more than once. But the husband couldn't be budged, he had made up his mind & I am so glad that some of his confidence rubbed off on me and we pulled this cute cake off in less than 2 days. 

Day 1: The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake

While I baked the cakes 8 inch (2) and 6 inch ball cake pans, the husband cut out the details from fondant. He used Wilton gel colors to tint the white fondant. 
The cakes took me almost 3 hours to mix, bake, cool, fill it with buttercream and then hit it generously with coffee syrup mixture and finally crumb coat with ganache and stick it in the fridge to chill for an hour. It took me another hour to cover the 3 cakes in ganache - telltale signs of an amateur baker, right there! I put the cakes bake in the fridge for the night. Please excuse the mess I made. 

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

Note: In retrospect, we should have let the cut-out fondant dry on a curved surface (like a upside down big bowl) - that way it would have been easier to paste it on BB8's curvy round body without the fear of cracking it. 

Day 2: The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake

After waving good-bye to the 7 year old and a quick run to the store to but last minute party supplies, we came back home to doll-up the ganached cakes. The husband got down to working right away while I tried my best to document the step-by-step process. Scroll down to see the pictures.

Notes: (click on the links for more information)
  • We inserted 5 dowels in total. One long enough to hold the head and 4 cut to size and used to stabilize the cake.
  • We used Wilton Silver Mist Spray to spray the grey fondant cut-outs for a shinier look
  • We used No taste Red & Black from Wilton Gel Icing Colors, set of 12 - for the gray fondant we used little black gel color, and kept adding more till we reached the desired shade.
  • We used 8 inch Ball Cake Pan for the body
  • We used 6 inch Ball Cake Pan for the head (borrowed from friends)
  • We used The Mat for rolling out the fondant (borrowed from friends)
  • We used 20 inch Wilton Rolling Pin for rolling out the fondant (borrowed from friends)
  • We used Wilton Fondant Smoother
  • We used round cookie cutters, pizza cutter, Wilton fondant modelling set, 2 packs of Wilton white fondant.
  • I used my trusted fudgy chocolate cake recipe (tripled, recipe coming up soon). There was some left over 
  • Chocolate Ganache (recipe coming up soon)
  • Ermine Buttercream (recipe coming up soon)
  • Graham crackers pulsed in the food processor for the sand. 
  • To make the eyes shiny, the husband brushed it with watered down raspberry jam - he picked up the trick from somewhere, perhaps another Youtube video!
  • A template from the internet to help with the cut-outs

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A ParentsThe making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake - All Done!

The making of BB8 - Star Wars Birthday Cake by Amateur Cakers A.K.A Parents

Youtube Video Link -

Friday, October 14, 2016

Chicken Turnovers

Chicken Turnovers - Cocoawind

Chicken Turnovers

It might seem a little tedious to make the dough for the chicken turnovers from scratch, but it is just so much better than the store-bought dough. Best part, you know exactly what is going into it. 

Growing up in India, life was very different from here. We were always surrounded by family and a chunk of my early childhood was spent playing with cousins. Especially during the long summer and winter holidays. We did not have many toys, but we came up with creative ideas and role-playing. Many a afternoon would be spent playing and rolling in laughter over silly jokes. There would never be any scrambling for arranging for babysitters since a grandparent or aunt or uncle or an older cousin will be always there. 

Evening snacks were different too. We had access to fried and fun stuff within a minute's walk and loads of sweets. Everything would be freshly made and there was hardly any processed stuff available. Whatever did not sell would get thrown away at the end of business day or given away. Most often than not, each shop would get fresh supplies few times during the day. There would be at least one 'telebhaja' shop and tea shop selling yummies by the dozen at every block. Sometimes more than one. And New Market would be the one place common man could get Pattice and pastries - the Indian version of turnovers and frosted cakes by the slice till Franchises like Monginis and Sugar& Spice became popular.

I still crave for those. Sometimes I make turnovers, which are nowhere close to those but still extremely yummy and loved by the family.

Chicken Turnovers - Cocoawind

Ingredients: Chicken Turnovers: Yield - about 6

  • Flour - 1 1/4 Cup
  • Butter - 1/2 Cup, cold and cut into cubes
  • Chilled Water - about 5 tbsp (Take a cup of water and stick it in the freezer till it is ice cold)
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Egg white mixed with a little water for brushing the pies (or use melted butter)
  • Leftover minced chicken or filling of your choice

This is how you make the Chicken Turnovers

Preheat oven to 400 F once you are ready to bake. Line a cookie sheet with  parchment paper and keep aside.

Add the flour and salt to your food processor (or stand mixer) give it 2 or 3 pulses. Throw in about 2 tbsp of butter and give a few pulses till it resembles a crumbly mixture. Now add the remaining butter and give it a couple of more pulses. Take the crumbly flour mix out in a bowl and add 3 tbsp of the water and and mix the dough using a rubber spatula. Now add the remaining water, give it another mix and take the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead it using the palm of your hand into a ball. Wrap it in a cling wrap/plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. For more tips for how to bake the perfect pastry dough for the turnovers, check out my Mixed Berry Galette recipe.

You can make the dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge, cling wrapped for up to 2 days.

Once the dough has chilled, take it out and roll it out into a circle or a rectangle. I rolled mine into a rough 10 inch square. Fold it into half and then into quarter. Roll it out again and repeat the same steps of folding it into half first and then into quarter.

Chicken Turnovers - Cocoawind

Wrap the dough in a cling wrap and let it chill in the fridge for 30 more minutes.

Take out the chilled dough and roll it out a little thinner than 1/8th inch. Cut the rolled out dough into 4-5 inch circles or squares. Once again, stick it back in the fridge to chill.

Take out one circle or square at a time and spoon in about 2 tsp of the ground chicken mixture into the middle of the squares/circles - fold it in half and using a fork, firmly press down and crimp the edges. Brush it with egg wash (or melted butter) and transfer it to the parchment lined cookie sheet using a spatula.

Cover the cookie sheet with a plastic cling wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes till turnovers start turning golden brown on the edges. Serve once it is cool enough to be handled.

Chicken Turnover - Cocoawind

Enjoy the chicken turnovers with a hot cup of coffee or steaming cups of tea.

Chicken Turnover - Cocoawind

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bhaja Moshla: Roasted Spice Blend

Bhaja Mosla: Roasted Mix Spices

Bhaja Moshla. The Mighty Masala.

The magical spice blend that can amp up the flavor quotient in a jiffy! Most Bengali families will have a stash of Bhaja Moshla in their pantry and add fat pinches of it to 

There are so many versions of this magic masala, like the one that my friend PG of WhiffofSpice makes. She uses cumin, fennel seeds and dried red chilies - check it out here. Some even add Whole Garam Masala (Cinnamon, Clove & Green Cardamom) to theirs. Now I am a sucker for coriander. I love the burst of warm flavors it adds to any dish. So I add coriander seeds to my Bhaja Mosla along with 

I buy most of my spices from Wholefoods now which saves me a trip to the Indian grocery store which is a 20-minute drive away. Those to know me, knows how distance Do not get me wrong.. I love driving long distances but only when I am going to a trip! A trip to the grocery store most definitely does not fall into that category.

Whenever I got sick while growing up and refused to eat (which was pretty often) used to squeeze some lemon juice on boiled cubed potato pieces, hit it with a little salt and sprinkle Bhaja Moshla on it. I think it was the aroma of the roasted spices that made me feel all better!

The stars of my Bhaja Moshla are - cumin, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and dried red chilies.

  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies

How to make Bhaja Moshla. The process could not be simpler. 

Heat a heavy bottom pan, and once its hot enough throw in the spices. Roast on medium high heat while stirring continuously till the fragrance of  warm toasty spices surrounds you. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the spices to a bowl and let it cool down completely. 

Once the spices have cooled down, use a spice grinder (I used my coffee grinder) to grind it into a fine powder. Store the leftover in a air-tight container for future use. 

Sprinkle on whatever you want and enjoy the yumminess.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Chai Spice Recipe

Chai Spice Recipe - Cocoawind

Chai Spice - the magical mix of warm and aromatic spices that adds layers of flavor to my tea and a bunch of goodies that I make.

See: Chai Spice Glazed Muffins

Tea. A good cup of steaming hot tea. Okay, may be not steaming hot. I cannot drink or eat anything too hot or too cold. A good cup of tea just at the temperature of my liking has the power to make or break my day. Yup. True story right there. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cardamom Rosewater Pistachio Cake - Festive Flavors

Cardamom Rosewater Pistachio Cake - Festive Flavors - Cocoawind

Cardamom Rosewater Pistachio Cake. When the flavors of rose water and aromatic cardamom combine it creates magic! And it ignites the festive spirit in us. This cake is inspired by a very popular Bengali/Indian dessert - Rasmalai (Rosomalai/Roshmalai). Traditionally, saffron is used to make Rasmalai, but I wanted to infuse this cake with the delicate hint of rose water.

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