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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wilton Basic cake decorating class- Finale

This week I had my final class for basic level. When I browsed to get an idea of how a final cake will look, I was overwhelmed to see the pictures of cakes posted in the internet. Those cakes looked very beautiful. I had doubt if I could ever do such work. I did a lot of homework for this class. Baked the cake and prepared the icing - all set for the class one day in advance as I had plans to go out (winter vacation for schools) on the day of class. Had been to Isabella Gardner musuem with my friend Teena and our kids Thaara & Riona who happen to be classmates in preschool. We had a great time. We came home in the evening and had to start immediately to class. Though I was late to class by 15 minutes, managed to catch up with the class.In this class, we learnt to write on the cake and to make ribbon rose. Then we decorated the cake with the techniques learnt. My icing had become a little soft compared to when I prepared it. Though it was a little messy to handle, it was easy to decorate. Once I finished decorating the cake, I was very happy to see the end result. Even felt a little proud of my work. The instructor too appreciated it. But a inner voice told, I had overdone the decoration - could have done it minimal. At the end of the class, a certificate was handed over to us. Most of them had signed up for the next level class. But I have decided to take a break and practice at home to gain expertise in all the skills learnt. So may be after a month or so will sign up for the next level.
After a long day, I was too exhausted to even move a finger when I got home. Many thanks to my hubby who got us sandwich for dinner. It was kind of the Low key celebration we had, for my successful completion of the course. :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wilton basic cake decorating class- 3

Our instructor had already said that this week is going to be a busy one and there is a lot to learn. She asked us to come fully prepared for the class. So I did all the necessary homework - made carrot cupcakes, prepared icing in different colours and consistencies, i even filled them in the decorating bags ready with the coupler. This week, we learnt various techniques like making shells, pom pom flowers, shaggy mums, leaves, drop flowers and rosettes. We first practised on the practice board and then decorated the cupcakes with the techniques learnt. On seeing the designs in the book, I thought making them will be very difficult, but actually they were pretty simple and easy. My cupcakes came out more beautiful than expected. Thaara was really excited to see the decorated cupcakes. She chose the cupcake with shaggy mums for her and gave name to it as " semiya one". Next week is going to be the last class in this course (Level 1).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strawberry Jello Pie

Not all the days are same. Today is a little special. Yes.. Its Valentines day. More than me and hubby, the person who was looking forward for the day was Thaara. They had celebration in her school too. The students in her class exchanged cards. Hubby surprised me by getting my favourite chocolates. Very sweet of him. So what I could do to make the day special for them is to cook the food they love. Made Biryani for hubby. Strawberry is Thaara's favourite. So, for dessert i made this  strawberry jello pie. It is very easy to make and its very light. They both loved it.

Strawberry Jello Pie


To make Pie crust
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups
White Sugar       - 4 tsp
Salt                   - 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil      - 1/2 cup
Milk                   - 2 tablespoon

Pie filling

Strawberries       - 8-10 nos
Jello                  - 1 pkg
Water                - 2 cups
Reddi whip


  1. Mix the ingredients required to make the crust.Place dough in the pie pan and spread it evenly with fingers into the bottom and sides of the pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F and bake for 15 minutes until the crust is light brown.
  3. Wait till the crust cools down.
  4. Prepare jello mixture as per the instructions given in the package.
  5. Wash and drain the strawberries. Slice them and arrange them in the pie-shell.
  6. Pour the jello mixture over strawberries.Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm
  7. 7.Serve with whipped cream topping.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wilton basic cake decorating class- 2

The whole week I was pretty busy with the kids. Though I was so excited about the class, didn't have much time to prepare for it ahead of time. I didn't get any supplies required for the class till last moment, except for the vegetable shortening and confectioner's sugar and rest of the items were bought by my hubby and handed them over to me while i was in the class. This time whatever possibly can go wrong, went wrong. I had overbaked the cake, it was dry and crumbly, icing was very stiff and oversweet too. As per the recipe, had to use 1 lb confectioners sugar, but i had 4 lb bag. I browsed and came across somewhere that roughly around 4 cups makes a pound. Aahhh.. that is where I went wrong. It didnt actually work out that way.  It made the icing very very stiff and too sweet. The lesson learnt here is: when the recipe calls for weight based measurements, then its better to find a scale, rather than making approximate measurements. The weight of the sugar will vary depending on how densely it is packed and humid it is. So it is not accurate to measure it by volume.
This class we were taught to frost the cake and do some basics like zig- zags, curving lines and dimensional decorating. Using those techniques we decorated a simple cake. I chose a fish design. As the icing was very stiff, it was hard for me to squeeze. My hands were aching and i had tough time. The cake didn't come out the way I expected but I learnt a lot in the class. Next week its going to be cupcakes. Hopefully I don't make any mistakes like this.  :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wilton basic cake decorating class- First class

I was super excited to attend the first class.The actual fees for the course was 45$ but this month there is a special offer of 50% i.e, 22.50$ for this course. Is' nt that great?  They gave a list of items to be brought to the first class, when i registered for the course. As per the list, we got the supplies required for the class, one week before itself.The decorating basics kit actually costs 34.99$ but used a 40% coupon for it.(dont miss the coupons- why miss savings??). It has all the tools required for this basic decorating class. Then ready to use icing ,cookies to decorate, pen pencil, scissors etc., were among the other supplies required.
 Though class was in the evening only, it seemed like i spent the whole day for getting ready for it. Make the kids eat lunch, bake cookies for the class, cook dinner, then give them evening snacks, clean the house etc., etc., It was like never ending list of tasks. Hubby came home from work and gave a helping hand, otherwise getting out of the house would have been impossible. But, I was 15 minutes late to the class and was very nervous. Ms.Debra Bailey was the instructor. She was very friendly and she made me feel at ease and introduced  the other members in the class to me.
She is a very experienced person. She gave us various tips about baking a cake and other required tools for baking and decorating, how to prepare butter cream icing( though its called butter cream icing, recipe calls for using vegetable shortening), various consistencies of icing and its uses, how to use couplers and decorating bag, how to level the cake and make it ready for decoration etc., etc, She also demonstrated by leveling the cake , torting and filling between the layers and then icing the cake.
Class was really wonderful. It was full of great people- most of them were experienced in baking, except for two teenage girls who had accompanied their moms who were experts.(So its only me, who is taking baby steps in baking and decorating).One of the girl was wearing "Carlo's Bakery" apron.  She talked about her visit there. She couldnt meet Buddy but met Mauro, Marie and Grace. There were other chit-chats too. But still everything revolved around baking. Some terms were like greek and latin to me. There is still a lot to learn. Towards the end of the class, we practised using star tip in the practise board given with the kit and then decorated the cookies.  
 Here are the cookies.. How do they look??
Am looking forward for the next class. Definitely there is a lot of homework to do -  baking a single layer cake, preparing icing, mixing the required colours etc., But everything is worth for the end result.  :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mushroom cabbage pulao

My little girl, Thaara loves paneer a lot. She has been asking for some paneer dish for a long time. So,I thought will make a simple paneer gravy and pulao for lunch.
When I opened the refrigerator  the packet of mushroom literally screamed "Use me". (It was sitting in fridge for past one week waiting for its turn to come)  Mushroom is Thaara's favorite too. So decided on a pulao with mushroom and for a twist, added some cabbage too. Here is the recipe of "Mushroom cabbage pulao".

What are the ingredients needed?

Cooked Basmati rice, 4 cups
Mushroom (sliced) ,1 1/2 cup
Cabbage (finely shredded), 1 cup
Oil, 1 Tablespoon
Ghee, 1 Tablespoon
Fennel seeds,1/4 tsp
Cloves,4-5 nos
Cinnamon,1 small piece
Bay leaves,1 no.
Cashew, 7-8 nos
Onion (finely chopped) ,1/4 cup
Bell pepper(chopped),1/4 cup
Green onions(chopped), 4-5 nos
Green chillies,3 nos
Ginger garlic paste,1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder, 1/4 teaspoon
Salt, to taste
Cilantro,a handful

How it is made?
  1. Heat the oil and ghee and add fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves, fry for a minute or two, then add onion, green chillies, green onions ,bell pepper & Cashews and saute  till the onions turn translucent.
  2. Then add turmeric & ginger- garlic paste and cook for a minute. 
  3. Add cabbage and mushroom, salt as required and cook them covered in a low flame until they are well cooked. If needed, sprinkle little water.(cook till all the water is evaporated)
  4. Mix this mixture with rice and garnish with cilantro.
  5. Mushroom cabbage pulao is ready.
  • Instead of Basmati rice, you can use ordinary rice (ponni/ sona masoori) too.
  • While cooking the veggies, keep them covered and in low flame, it will get cooked by the steam generated it wouldn't require any water. But if needed sprinkle little water and also make sure that veggies are not over cooked and  all the water is evaporated, before mixing with rice.