Meringue Ghosts [Halloween Special]

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

It’s finally Hallow’s eve!

This post is quite accidental to be honest. I hadn’t planned on doing a Halloween special this year what with being swamped with college stuff, cake orders, and buddy nonsense.

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

I had an ignored Chocolate Cake lying in my fridge; plain top, frosted with chocolate buttercream, and chocolate drips on the sides. If you have ever tried my classic chocolate cake, you’d know that you end up with one lone egg white because the recipe calls for 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk.

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

 

And that one egg white is the reason why we have a Halloween post this year!  😀 It’s nothing like last year’s grand spectacle where we murdered a Red Velvet Cake and loved every minute of it. :3 But its awesome nonetheless!!

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

That one egg white has been used to make ghosts to adorn the cake with. Cute little meringue blobs together with their chocolate ball eyes made for adorable ghost toppers. The whole idea came out exactly as I had pictured.

The meringue ghosts were super easy to make; just three ingredients, four if you want to stretch it. The only thing I’d impress upon is ‘patience’. Patience when:

-beating the meringue to make it stiff and glossy, takes 3-5 minutes.

-baking the meringue till it easily peels off the parchment paper, round 60-90 minutes

-letting the meringues dry, round 2-3 hours

Other than that, they’re a breeze to make. This recipe only makes 10-12 meringue ghosts, just enough to top a cake with. But you can easily double the recipe to make more. Just remember the meringue code; for each egg white, use 1/4 cup caster sugar.

That is, if you’re using:

  • 1 egg white: ¼ cup sugar

  • 2 egg whites: ½ cup sugar

  • 3 egg whites: ¾ cup sugar

  • 4 egg whites: 1 cup sugar

And so on…

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

 

Do give these tiny ghost buddies a try. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

Happy Halloween!

Meringue Ghosts

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                                        Yields: 10-12 cookies
Cook Time: 60-90 minutes
Ingredients:
·         1 large egg white
·         Pinch of cream of tartar, optional
·         1/4 cup caster sugar
·         1/4 tsp vanilla extract
·         Mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 105°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg white, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium speed until frothy.
  3. Gradually add in sugar and increase mixer to medium-high speed. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; about 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  Pipe a blob on blob of meringue onto prepared baking sheet (three blobs in total). Add mini chocolate chips for eyes.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 1.5 hours or until the meringues are dry and crisp to the touch. Turn off the oven and allow the meringue ghosts to continuing drying in the oven for a few hours.
  6. Ghosts will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Meringue Ghosts. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and mallowy on the inside.

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

Thick, fluffy, downright delicious. This is the only pancake recipe you need!

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

What’s better on a weekend than to sit home in your pajamas and eat a stack of fluffy pancakes doused in chocolate syrup?

 

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

And could there be anything better than pancakes to start your Eid holidays with?

Not really.

 

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

These pancakes are so light, so fluffy I could die!

A whole batch takes just minutes to whip up. Serve them smothered in Nutella, maple syrup, or jam; they’re awesome either way. Make these today, tomorrow, every day!

xoxo, Noor

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Yields: 13-15 pancakes
Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk1
1 egg
1 Tablespoon melted & cooled butter or vegetable oil
Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg and melted butter, just until all mixed together (small lumps are fine, DON’T OVERMIX).
Heat a large, nonstick pan over medium-heat and lightly brush with oil or butter. Using an ice cream scoop (or any large spoon) add the batter to the pan. Cook the pancake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it’s golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.
Serve pancakes immediately topped with a drizzle of maple or chocolate syrup. Enjoy
Notes:
1.        DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp vinegar. Mix and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix well and use.
*To achieve smooth brown pancakes, don’t grease the pan after every single pancake. Grease it after every third pancake. Hope that makes sense.

 

nnnn

1st Blogiversary + CHOCOLATE CAKE

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

This time last year, I sat with my laptop; editing, tweaking, hesitating and finally hitting ‘publish’on the first post on spatulainmypocket.com. *dundundun*

With that one click, I gave permission to everyone in the world to read what I had written and see what I had made. That’s the day Spatula in My Pocket was truly born. It started as a hobby and in the space of an year, has become a part of my identity. A part that I am immensely proud of. So, in this post I am going to indulge myself and talk about my magnificent journey so far (lots more to come, InshaaAllah!)

There is special surprise at the end for you, so start scrolling!

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Spatula in My Pocket has opened new worlds to me, found me new friends, a sense of purpose, and above all, it has given me confidence to overcome the crushing fear of failure and TO TRY.

The year has passed by so quickly.

From interviews, shoutouts, being mentioned in Buzzfeed, Parade Magazine, winning the Foona best blogger competition and baking bazillion cakes. This year has been a roll coaster ride.

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Some of my favorite posts from this year have been:

This decadent red velvet cake with whipped cream cheese frosting + its Halloween rendition

An all-time family favorite, Chicken Karhai

S’mores. Brownies. PIE. >>> S’mores Brownie Pie

First post, the rich gooey molten lava cake

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, also involving a mention of my first ever attempt at a Wedding Cake

First Bake Stall!! Sigh. Memories.

This to.die.for Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

The ultimate comfort food…Fettuccine Carbonara

My brother’s birthday cake: strawberries and cream cake

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Also can we just admire these pictures?

I threw myself a little blogiversary party.

Nothing much.

Just some mini cupcakes, normal cupcakes, donuts, and a giant pink ombre cake topped with MORE DONUTS. ^.^

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st BlogiversaryClassic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Lastly, thank you all so much for your continued support and love!

I appreciate everyone who visits this humble website even when weeks go by without any new posts (guilty as charged).

Spatula in My Pocket is for you guys.

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

I hope and pray with all my brownie-loving heart that the next year and the years to come bring endless prosperity and joy and rainbows and sprinkles to the domains of Spatula in My Pocket. I vow to be a better blogress and update more exciting recipes and answer all queries diligently!

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

And now, without any more sentimental words, here’s the recipe for THE CHOCOLATE CAKE my inbox gets flooded with requests for. MUCH LOVE!

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Serves 12
Ingredients:
For the Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 ½ cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
250g softened unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
Directions:
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour two 8-inch cakes pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee and mix just until combined.
  5. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in an extremely clean heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water and whisk with a hand whisk until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is warm to the touch, if you rub some of the mixture between your fingers it should be smooth and you shouldn’t be able to feel any graininess, this will take about five minutes.
  2. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach it to your stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until it forms a thick, glossy, bright white meringue and is completely cool, the bottom of the bowl should feel cool to the touch, this will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the meringue is cold, switch the mixer to a low speed and begin to add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, make sure that each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next; the meringue will deflate a little and may begin to look curdled. This is normal, just keep adding the butter gradually and whipping away and it will come back together. If, once all the butter has been added, your mixture is runny, the butter may have been too soft or the meringue still warm, just put the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes or so then carry on whipping.
  4. Once the buttercream is completely smooth and silky and all the butter has been incorporated, whisk in the vanilla extract. Keep cool in the fridge till ready to use
Assembling
  1. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish. Spread on about ½ to ¾ cup of the buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake.
  2. Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
*For the ombre effect; divide the buttercream into three bowls. Color to of the bowls with varying shades of pink. Starting from the bottom, spread the darkest color frost. Then spread the lighter pink above it. Cover the top layer with the white frosting. With a cake scraper, smooth the sides.

 

Black Forest Cupcakes

Father’s Day is just two days away!

I get really ecstatic when such days come near… getting rolled up in their preparations and planning, coaxing my sisters into making beautiful cards and water paintings, getting my brother to go get flowers. Planning the perfect celebratory cake is my part, and obviously, the most fun part.

I had planned out what I’d make for Father’s Day 2016 ages ago!

Something seasonal. Something mango. First attempt. We’ll see how it turns out. You can keep me company and see it being created in all its(hopeful) glory on Snapchat. Follow me @noora559

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

When it comes to baking for my father, fruits are a must. No fancy schmancy, monstrous, chocolate dripping cakes for him. He’s more of a keep it light and simple type of person. His favorite creation of mine so far is this Strawberry and Cream Cake I made in March. Along with the cupcakes I am sharing today!

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

Black Forest Cupcakes is what we surprised our father with last year. He had bought in a box of black cherries and I had leaped at the chance to make something Black Forest.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

Sharing with you this year because every father deserves to be surprised with a batch of these stunning cupcakes. Just talking about them is making me want to grab some cherries and make them right away!

 

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

The intense chocolate flavor was perfectly balanced by the tart cherry compote and paired with the light and airy whipped cream frosting…they were divine.

You can obviously skip the cherry compote filling, but then they’ll just be plain dark chocolate cupcakes (delicious but not with the magic that is Black Forest).

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

I studded the tops with whole cherries, plucked in a Baba ❤ topper, and voila! Ready to surprise the best man I know and love.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

They are quick and simple, and a perfect way to use fresh cherries.

.

.

.

Make these and show your dad how much you love him.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Yields: 15 cupcakes
Ingredients:
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
8 Tbsp. (113g) unsalted butter, melted1
1 and ¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature2
½ cup hot coffee3
WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING (for the recipe click here)
CHERRY COMPOTE FILLING
3/4 cup fresh cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter and sugar till the sugar dissolves. Add oil and mix well. Now add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for a minute, scraping off the sides. Whisk in the in the buttermilk.
Fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients gently till just incorporated. Do not over mix. Add hot coffee to the batter and whisk well again.
Divide it into cupcake pan filled with cupcake liners till ¾ full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely before filling.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make your cherry compote by combining the cherries, honey, and the lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until the cherries are soft and much of the liquid has evaporated. It will thicken as it cools.
Using a knife, remove a quarter size piece from the top of the cupcake. Don’t cut in too deep or the filling will ooze out the bottom..
Fill each cupcake with a tablespoon of the cherry filling, then pipe or spread the whipped cream over top.
Top with some whole cherries.
Notes
1.       If using salted butter, then omit the salt in the recipe
2.      DIY Buttermilk: ½ Tbsp. vinegar and enough milk to make ½ cup.
3.      Coffee just help intensify the chocolate flavor. You can sub with plain hot water. I used ¼ tsp instant coffee mixed in ½ cup boiling water.

 

 

 

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake

Today I am sharing a childhood staple of almost everyone I know in Pakistan. Pretty sure it is the first cake we ever tasted. It’s the cake, I believe, we have blown candles out on at our birthday at least once in our childhood. Yuup, I am talking of the ‘fresh cream cake’… Or as I call it: the Mighty Sponge Cake. *drumroll*

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

Those light airy layers of cake, soaked in a saccharine pineapple syrup, filled with chunks of pineapples, slathered with freshly whipped cream, and topped with candied cherries. Sigh.

Sound familiar?

This “fresh pineapple cake” and it’s equally delectable chocolate twin (the “Black Forest”) are my favorite. In today’s culture of double chocolate, triple-tiered cakes, the sponge cake presents something simple and lovely. Or maybe it’s just the sentimental value.

So, when my mother requested this cake over and over again, I was a bit hesitant to make it. What if I created a disaster and spoiled all my happy memories?!

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

But I am not one to skip away from a challenge. I went on a Mighty Sponge research expedition.

I watched lots of YouTube tutorials and found some really interesting facts. (If you are not a baking enthusiast like me, feel free to skip the next bit). The sponge cake is of Japanese descent, and combined with strawberries it’s known as a Strawberry Shortcake. And because summer is here- baskets of fresh strawberries can be seen everywhere- I decided now is the perfect time to battle all sponge cake fears, and make it!

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

One recipe particularly caught my eye. Jon Jon’s beautiful step by step pictures and beautiful description to match made the recipe really easy to follow.

Here’s what I learnt about:

The Sponge Cake

The two things about sponge cakes that completely threw me off the hook though are:

  1. There is no butter or oil involved in the recipe. None at all.

  1. No fats means no greasing of pans! You bake the batter in an ungreased pan and technically the cake is supposed to pop out like a dream… My experience was slightly different.

  1. No leavening agents. No baking soda. No baking powder whatsoever.

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

 *the original sponge cake recipe does not involve any fat in the form of butter nor oil. But other kinds of sponge, like the British version “Victoria Sponge Cake” calls for butter in the batter. So don’t get confused.

The cake rises without adding in any leavening agents or fat, because of all the air you incorporate into the batter, for which the eggs need to be mixed separately:

  • Egg yolks together with the sugar; beaten till thick and pale

  • Egg whites whisked to stiff peaks

The vigorous beating of the two is what incorporates so much air into the batter, making it light and fluffy.

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

Also, the first time I made this cake, it stuck to the bottom of the pan and was a pain to get out. The second time I made it, I lined the pan with some parchment paper. I did NOT grease it, just lined it with paper. And the cake came out perfectly (phew).

The Syrup

I used the pineapple syrup you get from the can of pineapples to soak my cake in. You can substitute it with a simple homemade sugar syrup (reduced sugar and water). Just remember to brush the cakes liberally with syrup. You may think it’s alot when doing so, but trust me, the cake is dry because it is missing the moisture from the fats. It needs all the juice it can get.

The Whipped Cream

Here’s the thing, cream in Pakistan just won’t whip! You have to wait for the peak winter months to get them stiff peaks. Rest of the year? Just forget about whipped cream desserts.

To get it really whipped, here’s what I’ve learnt about cream:

  • Olper’s works better than Nestle (I’ve only just discovered this recently)

  • Make sure your cream is chilled aka VERY cold.

  • Pop your metal mixing bowl and your beaters into the freezer half an hour before whipping cream. The colder everything is; faster will the cream whip.

The Filling:

I’ve used pineapples in between the layers of the cake, and adorned the entire outside with fresh strawberries. You can skip the pineapples entirely and place strawberries in-between the layers instead. And use plain sugar syrup instead of the pineapple syrup. I just happen to like pineapples. Alot.

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

All in all, just remember to:

  • Beat the eggs well

  • Do not overmix after the flour has been incorporated

  • Line pan with parchment paper for easy removal

  • Soak the cakes in syrup well

  • Strawberries can be replaced with any fresh fruit; mangoes, peaches, cherries, more pineapples…

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

This is such a teaching post. I feel really proud of myself. So bake the cake! If you have too many strawberries or are simply nostalgic for the cream cake.

Caution: Make it before the strawberries disappear, and before it becomes too hot to whip cream (Ugh. Not looking forward to the drippy cream season.) Happy summer!

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

Yields: 2 9-inch layer cakes
Ingredients:
SPONGE CAKE:
  • 6 eggs, separated *at room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour1
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar2
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ kilo fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and sliced
  • a tin of pineapple chunks
WHIPPED CREAM:
  • 2 cups very cold whipping cream3
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
For the Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks until very thick and lemon colored. Beat in sugar gradually. Add water and vanilla extract. Beat again. Mix in the flour.
In another clean bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Then add cream of tartar and salt. Beat mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form.
Fold the whipped egg whites mixture into yolk mixture, gradually and very carefully, so as to not deflate the egg whites.
Pour the batter into two ungreased 9 inch pans lined with parchment paper.4
Bake for 60 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool completely before inverting.
For the Whipped Cream:5
In a large metal bowl, pour the cream and mix on low-medium speed for several minutes. Once the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip on medium-high until soft peaks form.
Assembling:
Place one of the layers on a serving plate. Brush on the pineapple syrup, that comes in the can of pineapples, evenly and quite liberally onto the first layer. Spread spoonfuls of the whipped cream and spread evenly over the cake layer. Arrange the pineapple chunks over the cream. Top with another spoonful of cream and spread once again.
Top with the second layer of sponge cake, and brush with more of the pineapple syrup. Now, using an offset spatula or a plain knife, cover the entire cake completely with the remaining whipped cream.
Decorate with sliced strawberries. Slice and serve. Store any leftover cake, covered, in the fridge. This cake is best served chilled.
Enjoy!
Notes:
1.  DIY Cake Flour: Measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour.  Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and place it back in your flour jar.  Replace the removed flour with 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Sift 2-3 times.
2.  Cream of Tartar substitute: ¼ tsp lemon juice or vinegar. You can also completely omit the cream of tartar, it just helps to stabilize the egg whites.
3.  I used and recommend Olpher’s Cream. 2 packs of it; 400ml in total.
4.  Spray a bit of oil on the bottom of you pan, so that the parchment paper sticks to it. But DON’T grease the parchment paper.
5.  The colder the cream, the faster it will whip. See tips above in the description on how to whip cream the right way.
Recipe adapted from: Candid Appetite

A Red Velvet Murder

All of you witches, elves, goblins, werewolves, zombies and…pumpkins get your Halloween jazz on with this cake because…it’s nearly Halloweeeeen! Favorite day for most of you is JUST THREE days away!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

The classic Red Velvet, that I made earlier this week, has now been murdered, splattering blood all over! *gasps*

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

The two layered moist Red Velvet cake, all covered with a creamy luscious whipped cream cheese frosting is splattered with edible blood to give it that spooky touch.

This blood splattered cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

Make the cake. {A detailed post on how to make this cake can be seen HERE.} Spray on some blood, :3 Then, all there’s left to do is to grab a knife and dig in!

Happy Halloween everyone! 😀

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

A Red Velvet Murder

Ingredients:
Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (RECIPE)
Edible “Blood”:
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoon corn flour (or corn starch)
1 teaspoon red food coloring
2 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon honey
Directions:
Prepare and frost cake as directed HERE.
For the blood: combine all the ingredients, and mix well. Adjust water and corn flour according to thickness.
Assembly: Place cake on a piece of parchment paper or newspaper. Dip a toothbrush in the prepared blood and run your finger across the bristles of the brush in order to create a spray effect onto the cake. Flick the brush to create drops of blood.
Stick a knife in and serve.

https://spatulainmypocket.com/2015/10/23/red-velvet-cake-with-whipped-cream-cheese-frosting/

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

 *Please excuse the colors in the pictures. The sun kept coming in and out.

**If you’re wondering why the top of the cake is bare and not that smooth, that’s because it is yet to be dressed! You’ll know why in a couple of days. :3

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

I’ve never really liked Red Velvet.

 Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

The truth is, Red Velvet and I have never really gotten along together. Our relationship has always been rocky. The first time I attempted to make a Red Velvet cake was 4 years ago for Father’s Day. The cake was huge and yummy and definitely velvety in taste, but red? Not so much. It was half maroon and half brown (grrrh).

 Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

The next time, I attempted red velvet cupcakes. This time the cakes were perfect, but the frosting was too runny. So runny that I literally just dunked the cupcakes in it, like a donut being dunked to glaze it. My dream of a thick, lush cream cheesy frosting was still a dream.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

This one. This time, I can proudly say that this is in fact one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It is soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess. The crumbly texture along with the smooth creamy frosting makes for one hell of a cake.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

Need more evidence than just my word? My up-nosed brother, the pickiest eater of all, asked for more cake again and again. AND he liked my frosting! He never compliments my frosting! Or anything for that matter! (The memory of his compliments still makes me giddy).

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

 Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

It was a two layered, 9 inched beauty. It rose majestically, light and airy, and sprinkled the world with fairy dust (not really).

Enough with me being a parrot about my wonderful cake, now for the educational part:

Red Food Coloring:

I used liquid food color. But you can use whatever you can find. I’ve listed a few points here about each of the choices.

Gel food color:

  • Not available in any shops here in Pakistan. Can be bought online, bit pricy though.

  • Gives the best results.

  • Use a whole 1-ounce bottle.

Liquid Food Color:

  • Available in some supermarkets here in Pakistan.

  • Reasonably priced.

  • Results are meh. Doesn’t give that bright of a color.

  • Use an entire bottle to get the right shade of red, around 2-3 Tablespoon.

Powdered Food Color:

  • Available in almost all supermarkets in Pakistan.

  • Very cheap.

  • Least desired result.

  • Can be harmful if used in large quantities.

  • You’ll need around 2 teaspoons for this size of cake.

  • Mix it in the buttermilk before adding into the cake mix.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

For the perfect cream cheese frosting you need to use THIS…brick-style cream cheese:

NOT THIS…cream cheese spread:

BUT, the brick form is rarely available and I have been blessed only twice with it.

So, the cream cheese “spread” can be used instead. BUT (warning) it leads to a very runny frosting which is not pipe-able at all. So you need to adjust the ratios accordingly.

Instead of the classic cream cheese frosting made with butter, I decided to make the much lighter and fluffier whipped cream cheese frosting. I, personally am not a huge fan of tons and tons of frosting slathered on my cake. A thin layer does just fine. You can see in the pictures, the frosting is just enough to hold the two layers together, and to cover the entire thing without any crumbs showing.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

The whipped cream cheese frosting is very easy to put together and compliments the red velvet purrrfectly. You need to first whip your cream till stiff peaks form. (You know why I love autumn most? Because I can whip my cream. Yayyy. And it doesn’t turn into a gloppy mess.) Peaks form. I’ll be making a lot of whipped cream recipes these few months, making the most of the cold.

Anyhow, whip the cream. In another bowl beat your cream cheese, I used Puck’s cream cheese spread, with icing sugar. Then “gently” fold in the whipped cream. Chill for a bit to firm it up a bit. And voila! You’ve got your heaven of a frosting. It’s smooth, and velvety, not cloyingly sweet like buttercream. It’s light and spreads like a dream.

Butter and Oil:

This recipe does not use a copious amount of oil, because there’s butter in there too. Butter adds flavor. Oil helps keep the cake moist. Yes, you need them both! No substituting or eliminating!

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know to make the perfect red velvet (and the recipe of course!). Now that you know everything you need to know, you know what you have to do… It’s the perfect weather for baking. Make this, and enjoy with friends and family. Or just yourself, with a nice cuppa tea.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
·         2 3/4 cups (365g) all-purpose flour
·         1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
·         1 tsp baking soda
·         1/4 tsp salt
·         2 cups (403g) granulated sugar
·         3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
·         1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
·         3 large eggs
·         2 large egg yolks
·         1 oz liquid red food coloring
·         1 1/3 cups buttermilk1
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 1/2 tsp vinegar
Frosting
·         8 oz cream cheese, softened
·         1 pack, or 1 ½ cup heavy cream
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 cup powdered icing sugar
Directions
For the cake:
·Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease 2 3-inch round baking pans, then line bottom of each with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment, set aside.
In a bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix together. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Mix in vegetable oil. Blend in eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined after each addition. Mix in egg yolks then red food coloring.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure out buttermilk then whisk in vanilla extract and vinegar. Working in three separate, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is incorporated. Divide mixture evenly among two prepared baking pans. Spread into an even layer and bake in preheated oven 26 – 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in cake pan 10 minutes then run knife around edges of cake to loosen and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Once cool, frost with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting. Store cake in an airtight container in refrigerator.
For the frosting:
In a bowl whip the cream on high till stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream till fully combined. Keep chilled till ready to use.
Notes:
  1. To make homemade buttermilk: Take 1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp vinegar in a measuring jug. Add enough milk to make 1 1/3 cup. Let it sit for 15 mins at room temperature. Stir and then use.
*If using salted butter, omit salt.
*Cake can be made in 9-inch cake pans too.
*To whip cream, chill the blow and beaters in the freezer an hour before whipping. Also make sure the cream is cold. The colder the cream, the faster it whips.
·
· Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

Sticky Date Pudding

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

-Albert Camus

Fall is my fav!

Of foggy breaths, funky socks and marshmallows in hot drinks… autumn is love because it announces the coming of winter. And what better way to celebrate this awesome mausum than with something composed of rich caramely goodness, dates and warm toffee.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

After Hajj 2015 ( I hope all your loved ones are home safe by the grace of Allah), many of you will have loads of beautiful fresh dates. So this seemed like the perfect time to share the recipe of a sticky date pudding with you. I bet most of you don’t eat more than a few dates anyway (unless cajoled by your mums). Instead of popping them dates straight in your mouth, why not turn them into something even more delicious (and edible).

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

This dessert is a British classic that has become a favorite worldwide. Made with dates, butter and lots of caramel, it has the power to turn any chocolate lover around. If my sister (a committed chocoholic) can claim this to be one of her favorite dessert, so can you!

 Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Maybe pudding is a little (ok, a lot) misleading for the desi in us. But the British call all their desserts puddings (don’t ask me why), and this dish is thoroughly British. Its a date-studded cake/pudding that is drowned in a sea of warm butterscotch sauce after baking.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Here I’ll like to admit to two horrendous misconceptions I had before making this cake/pudding.

1) I was never enamored with the idea of baking dates. The thought of mushy, khajoor-y cake made me ick and think of strawberry and cream.

2) The second thought that drove me insane was of the sweetness upon sweetness. Sugary sweet dates with a thick caramel sauce. Who will willingly induce a sugar coma?

But, I was wrong and you will be too when you make this cake/pudding.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Everything in it is perfectly balanced. The flavor isn’t over-poweringly date-like. In fact you will hardly be able to tell there are dates in it. It’s the toffee sauce that takes all the glory.

The toffee sauce is unbelievably addicting. And not just with this date pudding, but with anything. On ice-creams, drizzled on top of pies, breads, or just on a spoon straight into your mouth (unless you are diabetic). And it’s super easy to make too. Just pop everything (the butter, brown sugar and cream) in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. And you’re done. It’s thick and pourable, and settles on top of the moist date sponge like a glaze, complimenting it perfectly.

The whole shebang is rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Bake it in the form of one cake..

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Or several mini cakes…

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Either way, it’s a must for the chilly season to come!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Pudding
¼ cup (52g) butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ½ cup (6 ounces) chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup water
Sauce
1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup (52g) butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the pudding:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Butter a muffin tray or an 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.
Bring dates and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside, and let it cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
In another bowl, with the help of an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mixture will be grainy.
Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack.
For the sauce:
In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, cream, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract.
Cut warm cake into slices. Pour prepared toffee sauce on top. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Notes:
*Can also be made in a Bundt pan or a muffin tray.
**Warm leftovers in the microwave before serving. Leftovers, even the sauce, can be stored in the refrigerator for over a week. 
Recipe source:  Bon Appétit
Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Poke holes in the cake to drench it completely in the toffee sauce.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.