Surprise Inside Cake – My 100th Recipe
100 posts! It took me 1 year and 8 months to get to this magic figure. It did change my life and how!That which was supposed to be a small outlet for my hobby , grew into a passionate and emotional space. The charms of ‘bakedom’ allured me to create a peaceful world for myself away from the chaotic outside world. My prop collection which started with a humble white plate and a baby bed cloth in this first post eggless Orange cake has now virally spread horizontally and vertically threatening to occupy my whole kitchen!
The journey was anything but smooth. Everytime I felt directionless, I had to stop and remind myself that it’s not a number game, and you cannot manufacture creativity. There were times when I was discouraged by less appreciation for some posts in which I had put my heart and soul, but then again accolades came for posts when I had least expected. My short spiritual practice of few months taught me to take everything in my stride and move on. There will be bad days if there are any good days, and once you are centered and grounded, you won’t be affected by either.
It had to be a cake for my 100th post, and my long pending task of making a ‘surprise inside a cake’ popped up in my mind for this occasion. The surprise can be as a number or any alphabet or an image. You just need that particular cutter of shape and size.You can use a loaf tin, then you will have to stack the patterns in horizontal axis, or if using a normal cake tin , you may need to build up the height and arrange the patterns one above the other. It all depends on the kind of tin you have and the final look of the cake.
Preperation of cake for cutting patterns:
Always use a well contrasted combination. I have used my time tested vanilla cake with red velvet cake recipe. At first I wanted to make it chocolate and red velvet, but what a horror it would have been when I would have sliced it to see the patterns and the colours completely merged. You can use the same recipe for both, just colour the batter with different gel / food colours . But do not use recipes which yeild excessively soft/ moist cakes, as you may not be able to cut out the patterns cleanly. Pound cake recipes are the best choice for making patterns. This red velvet cake served quite well for this purpose.
Preperation of baking tin:
- You can build the patterns ( in this case 100 number that I have used) vertically or horizontally. Horizontally as in a loaf pan used to bake breads, or vertically in a normal cake tin with some height, as you will have to slice the cake into horizontal slices to reveal a pattern.
- Take a normal cake tin, here I have used my smallest round cake tin- 4″ in diameter.
- To build some height, I have used aluminium foil and a thread. Wrap the foil around the circumference of the tin from outside, keep good amount of extra foil, so that its ends overlap and secure the entire thing with a thread. My foil was around 4 inches above the rim of the cake tin.
- Now, grease the inside of tin with some oil, line the base with parchment paper. Also line the sides with parchment paper, which is of almost same height as the aluminium foil.
- Note: I dont have baking tins with good height, so I had to build up the height with aluminium foil. If you happen to have well heighted pan, you can happily use them without foil, just grease and line with parchment paper.
Preparing the cake for patterns:
I have used this red velvet cake recipe to make the numbers, as it would give me good contrast which would stand against the vanilla cake.I added some more red colour as I wanted the red to be more intense ( around ¼ teaspoon more than the recipe). You can also use vanilla cake recipe for both patterns and the cake body, just colour them differently.
Arranging the patterns:
- Use cookie cutters of desired shapes/ numbers/ alphabets to cut the cake.
- Stack the patterns carefully one above the other , adjusting so that they match exactly in their dimensions.
- Use long skewers to secure them in a place. Take slightly longer skewers, so that they protrude out of the cake after its baked, then you can easily remove the skewers before dressing up the cake/cutting the cake.
Pouring the batter and baking: I have halved the vanilla sponge recipe as I was using a smaller cake tin. Also I have used butter in place of oil, as using butter firms up the cake after cooling, making clean cut slices.
Recipe for vanilla sponge:
- All purpose flour (maida)- ¾ cup minus 1 ½ tablespoon
- Cornflour/ vanilla flavoured custard powder- 1 ½ tablespoons
- yogurt (curd)- ½ cup
- Granulated sugar- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons ( I usually grind it after measuring)
- Baking powder- ¾ teaspoon
- Baking soda- ¼ teaspoon
- butter- ¼ cup
- Vanilla essence- ½ teaspoon
- optional– orange zest/ strawberry flavoured sugar
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degree C.
- Sift all the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, soda, cornflour.
- Add sugar and whisk all the dry ingredients well with a hand whisk.
- Beat oil and yogurt well till well combined. Mix in vanilla essence.
- Mix both the dry and wet ingredients until they are well incorporated,
- Carefully pour the batter around the pattern in the prepared tin. once the batter is all poured, slightly tap it to spread it uniformly.
- The cake will rise and cover up the top surface of patterns , so dont worry if your few centimetres of pattern is uncovered with batter. Just apply some batter over the pattern so that it does not become too dry.
- Bake the cake for 25- 30 minutes at 180 degree C. If you are using a bigger tin, you may have to increase the time. Bake until the toothpick inserted at the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- once done, after the tin cools down, unmount the cake from the tin, and let it cool on a cooling rack.
- Dress up the cake with desired frosting or if you want to keep it plain, just sift some icing sugar/ dessicated coconut/ fancy sprinkles.
- Cut the cake into uniform sections to reveal the pattern.
Thanking all my supporters and my readers, especially those of who give me their feedbacks, on my facebook page and in different foodie groups. It is not easy, but your presence gives me a reason to carry it forward! Happy Baking!