Few things to be kept in mind before baking any cake:
- Always use the exact quantity of the ingredients as mentioned in the recipe. Even a minute change is going to be disastrous in baking. As a thumb rule use measuring cups and spoons set easily available in the market. If the recipe calls for a cup of some ingredient, then it strictly means a cup filled to its brim and not a heaped cup.
- Do keep in mind that all the ingredients used are at room temperature.
- Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ones in another separate bowl before mixing them together.
- The wet ingredients need to be mixed well for at least 5 to 10 minutes using an electric hand mixer or a simple hand beater.
- Dry ingredients are added to the well mixed wet ingredients in batches of 2 or 3 and are mixed lightly using some spatula in a cut & fold way of mixing.
- This recipe uses chocolate sponge cake. In case you want to bake a vanilla sponge cake, then just replace cocoa powder with the same amount of flour.
- In this recipe I have used sunflower oil. You may use any neutral flavoured oil. You may even substitute oil with butter but in 4:3 (butter:oil) ratio by volume. In this recipe you may substitute 1/2 cup of oil by 2/3 cup of butter. In case using salted butter, then there is no need to add a pinch of salt to the batter.
- For baking, one may use borosil baking dish or non stick or silicon or aluminium baking dish. I personally use the borosil baking dish, being the healthiest option of all, in convection mode.
- Lining the baking dish is another most important part of baking a smooth finished cake. Grease the dish generously with butter or some neutral oil and then sprinkle the flour on it to make a thin layer of flour all over the inner surface of the dish. Remove extra flour if any.
- Always preheat the oven along with the greased empty baking dish before putting the cake mix in the oven.
- When the sponge is to be iced, do keep in mind to keep it lightly sweetened as we have to moisten each cake sponge layer with sugar syrup before applying a layer of whipped cream over it.
Few things to be kept in mind for icing a cake:
- One may cut the cake sponge in 2 to 4 layers horizontally. The topmost hard crust and the side crust all along the periphery needs to be removed before icing. The removed portion of the sponge can be crushed with hands to fine powder which can be used in decorating the iced cake. Here I have used it to give an effect of sand near the cake bottom.
- Icing sugar instead of powdered normal sugar is a must for making whipped cream or buttercream frosting. Do remember to strain the icing sugar to remove any lumps before adding it to your cream or butter.
- Electric hand mixer is a must for whipping cream and butter. You will not be able to whip your frosting to stiff peaks without an electric hand mixer. It makes whipping easy and less time consuming.
- Always whip your frosting either in an A/C room or during night time when the temperature is low.
- For Whipped cream frosting, you need to get a heavy cream with atleast 30-40% fat content. Amul whipping cream, having 30% fat content, easily available in the market, serves the purpose well. Never ever take Amul’s Low fat (25% fat) cream for preparing whipped cream as even soft peaks won’t develop in it. If your heavy cream is frozen then keep it in refrigerator to defreeze for at least 8 hrs before starting whipping it. When you whip your cream, there should be no ice lumps in it and it should be in a flowing condition. Whip it at low speed initially, then adding icing sugar in batches and after a few minutes, whip it on medium to high speed till you get stiff peaks. Add vanilla essence and salt as well. Whipped cream can be kept for 2-3 days in air tight container in refrigerator and can be whipped for a minute or so before reusing.
- For Buttercream frosting, use unsalted butter. Buttercream frosting is stiffer than whipped cream frosting, can hold its shape for longer time and hence is better to make flowers or other shapes over the cake. To reduce the heaviness of buttercream frosting, you may add some cream/condensed milk to the butter while whipping it. Soften the butter to room temperature before starting whipping it, whip it for a few minutes on low speed, add icing sugar in batches, mix it and then whip it on medium to high speed till you get stiff peaks. Add vanilla essence and salt as well. Buttercream frosting can be kept for a week in an airtight container in refrigerator & can be whipped again for a minute before reusing it.
- I have kept ratio of 1:1 by weight for cream/butter : sugar which turned out to a perfectly lightly sweetened frosting.
- Invest in good icing tools including icing smoother, offset icing spatula, a turn table and noor nozzles & piping bag.
- For adding colour to your frosting you may use either liquid or gel food colours (https://amzn.to/3fR4AMY). You may even make your own natural food colours. Green – spinach extract, red – beetroot extract, orange – using saffron, yellow – using turmeric, purple – purple cabbage extract, blue – purple cabbage extract+baking soda, pink – purple cabbage extract+lemon juice.
Ingredients : (for approx. 1.25kg frosted cake)
For cake sponge:
- Maida – 1.5 Cup
- Cocoa Powder – 1/2 cup
- Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
- Baking Powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Curd – 1 cup
- Desi khand – 1/2 cup
- Neutral flavoured oil – 1/2 cup
- Water – 4 tbsp
- Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
For Sugar Syrup:
- Desi Khand – 1/4 cup
- Water – 1/4 cup
For Buttercream frosting :
- Unsalted butter – 125g
- Icing sugar – 125g
- Whipping cream – 1/8 cup
- Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- food colour (https://amzn.to/3fR4AMY) – few drops
For Whipped cream frosting :
- Whipping cream – 125g
- Icing sugar – 125g
- Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
For Cake Sponge :
- Sieve maida, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and keep these aside.
- Line your baking dish. Preheat the oven with the lined empty baking dish inside it.
- In another container, take curd, oil and desi khand & mix these together using an electric hand mixer for 5-10 minutes on medium to high speed.
- Then add the dry ingredient to the mix prepared in the first step in batches of 2 to 3 and mix it up using a spatula with a light hand using cut & fold method of mixing. Do not over mix the mixture at this stage.
- Finally add vanilla essence and water at room temperature and mix.
- Pour the cake mix in the preheated lined baking dish, tap it a bit to release any air bubbles.
- Bake the cake for 2 minutes in microwave mode (full power) first and then for 25 minutes in convection mode at 180 degrees. The baking time may be adjusted as per the size and shape of the baking dish. Check whether the cake is done or not by inserting a needle or a knife from time to time till the needle/knife comes out clean.
- Remove the baked cake from the baking dish and place it on a wire rack to cool it down. Remove the topmost hard crust of your cake first. And then cut it horizontally in 2 to 4 layers. In this recipe, I had cut my sponge in 2 layers after removing the top hard crust.
- Just boil water with desi khand in 1:1 ratio by volume till the khand is dissolved completely and let it cool down to room temperature before using. Sprinkle this sugar syrup over the top of each layer.
- Prepare buttercream frosting and whipped cream frosting as explained in the start of this blog.
- Crumb Coat : On a cake base board kept over your turn table, apply a little whipped cream, place the first layer of moistened sponge over it and cover it with whipped cream using offset spatula. Over this first layer, place your second layer of moistened sponge, lightly press it downwards and again cover this with whipped cream. You may repeat the same with as many layers as you want. Before applying the whipped cream on the sides, remove a the hard crust from the sides using a knife and then apply a very thin layer of whipped cream using offset icing spatula and icing smoother. This is Crumb coat, which is done to cover the irregularities on your cake surface. Now refrigerate this for atleast 30 minutes.
- Add food colour (https://amzn.to/3fR4AMY) to your buttercream frosting. In this recipe, I added blue colour to 1/3rd of my buttercream frosting, other 1/3rd was kept as white & mixed pink and green colour to the rest of it, making buttercream frostings of 4 different shades.
- After the crumb coat is set, then cover your cake with the final layer of blue buttercream frosting. Use icing smoother to smoothen the frosting.
- Then using noor nozzles no.5, make grass with green buttercream frosting on the cake side walls. Usually noor nozzle no.48 is used for making grass but as I din’t have it, I used no.5.
- Make sea shells all around at the bottom of the cake using white buttercream frosting & noor nozzle no.12 or 14. Make bubbles on the side walls using noor nozzle no.2. Decorate top surface of cake using noor nozzle no.14 and white buttercream frosting.
- Using noor nozzle no.2 and pink buttercream frosting, make star fish and normal fish on the side walls of the cake.
- To give an effect of sand, use powdered cake crumbs (thin hard crust that we removed from the top & sides of our cake sponge) all around the periphery at the bottom of the cake and sprinkle these on the cake base board. Keep the frosted cake in refrigerator until used.
- And here you are with your frosted underwater themed cake. Decorate it with the accessories of your choice and enjoy with your loved ones!
‘Cooking for our loved ones with love!!’