Goodie Basket Cake!

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My gymnast niece was celebrating her 9th birthday in our house.  I searched high and low for ideas but everything that caught my eye involved fondant. Considering my experiences with fondant I had decided earlier on not to go that way!

The truth here is that I tried this and that and ended up with a goodie basket cake. It was indeed a treat for the little gymnast who truly enjoys cookies and little cakes. Poor girl must be struggling in her gymnastics class now after her sweet holiday with all the fat going straight to her thighs!

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This cake is made of three layers of vanilla sponge with the middle cut out of the top layer. After icing the cake I filled the gap with Painted cookies, mini cakes, macaroons and cake pops. The icing is Swiss meringue butter cream.

 

 

IMG_7782 IMG_7759 IMG_7744 IMG_7743I got a little naughty here with these bikini cookies.. Saw them somewhere online and been wanting to try them ever since. I sneaked a pair of them on top of the cake, no one noticed.  😉IMG_7749

 

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Quilting

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Let me make a small confession here… I hate cooking! I still have not figured out what has come over me… I have transitioned from a person who picks up the hand blender at the slightest provocation to a person who steps into the kitchen only if it is a life and death situation!

Which means I have a lot more time to do other things!

I have always been fascinated with all the creativity that I have seen in quilting blogs, but dismissed it as being time consuming and I was also never convinced about the utility of a quilt in warm India. My view changed when I chanced upon an Indian quilting blog which describes the process of making a quilt with left over scraps. I must thank Carol for what I hope is the start of a new journey.

Here is the result of my first attempt.

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My stitches are not even or straight, but for a first time effort I am more than satisfied!

IMG_8334IMG_8329IMG_8336IMG_8330I found this method very easy to do. You add on the scraps as you go along. During the process I was pretty certain that I will end up with an uneven quilt, but somehow all the pieces evened out in the end. I added on the black border to give the rag quilt some width and embellished it with little applique and embroidery – for my daughter!

Here is a sewing machine cover that I made from the leftover scraps from the quilt.

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Wondering if I can call myself a quilter?

Madhubani Painting.

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Madhubani painting is a folk art from the Madhubani district of Bihar that has now become popular all over the country thanks to craft exhibitions and the Internet. Recently there was a workshop in the city done by a woman from Bihar as part of a Govt initiative. A lot of women had signed up thinking it was fabric painting class ( Madhubani saris are a rage and quite expensive). So it came as a huge disappointment to realize at the venue that the workshop was mostly about working with paper mache and less about painting. However I must admit that those of us who completed the five day course came out very content at having learned a new way to reuse old newspapers, at having learned this new art and also at having made new friends!

The raw materials needed are:

  • Old News papers soaked in water for 2 days.
  • fevicol
  • Multani Mitti ( A kind of fine powdered clay that is found in most beauty/hobby shops.

About a kilo of the soaked newspaper is is mixed with 50 gm of fevicol and 250 grams of the clay powder. This mixture is then kneaded and pounded till it is smooth and is devoid of lumps and can be rolled like a soft dough.

This dough can then be used to mould any shape and form. The whole process of shaping happens over 3-4 days of adding on the dough, smoothing and drying. the final product is then coated with a thin layer of clay mixed with water.

 

After the final drying the bowls are painted on. Traditionally the painting is done with natural colours but we used acrylic.

 

Here are 2 of my own creations ,

 

I made this bowl as part of the workshop
20140829_223031This pin cushion was made with paper mache bowl with Madhubani painting. 
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Postcard Cake

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I was asked to make a cake for a retired Chief Post Master General who had recently won an award. Looking for an innovative idea I decided that the best way to congratulate her was by sending her a postcard.

 

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Here I am attaching an image of the Indian postcard that I am sure will fill most of us with nostalgia. These postcards were the cheapest and fastest mode of communication in the days before email and mobile phones. I wonder if these still exist. I should remember to check that and try to send one to the kids and probably a love note to the hubby too…

Though I tried to copy the postcard exactly I had to omit the Hindi text as I was not confident of piping in Hindi. I have used a vanilla cake with butter cream frosting and the lettering done with Royal Icing.

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Experimenting with fondant….

Why is everyone obsessed with fondant? Why should anyone spend hours kneading and molding and sculpting, when they know all that effort literally goes to the bin! Who am I to complain when this fondant fever has caught one with me too? I am still getting “cookie dough” fondant which is only good for cut out flower.

Here is another of my experiments with the cooked sugar fondant. Chocolate cake with Swiss meringue butter cream.

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