A special cake and an award!

When Aparna of Square Meals left a comment on my previous post saying that I’d won an award, I was intrigued. I checked on her blog and I saw that it was this wonderful Liesbster award. I was thrilled!

Now if I was going to put that up on my blog I thought that it was only best to have a special post to accompany it. That set me thinking – should I do make new or go with what I already have? Maybe I should do something that doesn’t involve baking? Or should I just be lazy and link it to one of my favourite posts? I couldn’t make up my mind then and there so I decided to sleep over it, literally. With some snooze, a heavy breakfast and a cup of chai I was able to think a little better. If this is an award to do with friendship then didn’t it make sense to write a post about something as special as this relationship? Again, the ideas came flooding in and I was in a fix. As I was going through some of my pictures I realised that I’d saved the post about this Mexican vanilla bean cake for a special occasion, just as special as the one that I’d made it for. That was it! It had to be this cake.

Pretty as a picture: Mexican vanilla bean and caramel cake with dark chocolate
frosting and marzipan flowers

On one crazy Sunday when I’d too many things to do I suddenly remembered that I also had to bake a cake for my aunt’s birthday. I’d given her my word and there was no way I was going back on that. It was one of those times when I wished I had another pair, or two, of hands but I didn’t want to bake ‘just another cake’ either. When I checked the fridge and my store cupboard I saw that I didn’t have cocoa powder, vanilla essence and just a little bit of dark chocolate. The mind started to panic and my heart was thudding loudly. I leafed through at least three recipe books and found that there wasn’t any cake that I really wanted to bake. Suddenly I realised that I had these gorgeous Mexican vanilla beans that some one had given me as a Diwali present and I’d kept it aside for a special occasion. Now, I was baking a cake for an aunt who is more like a friend. This is someone I can talk to, plot surprise with and even bawl like a baby and not be judged at all. Could it get any more special?

Mexican vanilla bean and caramel cake with dark chocolate frosting and marzipan flowers

I decided to add some caramelised demerara sugar to the cake so I’d get this warm brown colour. There was some frozen marzipan left over from another cake so I decided to put that to good use – added some more colour and used a cookie cutter to get some pretty flowers. 

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
A pinch of cinnamon powder
1/3 cup of fresh curds
1 tbsp of white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of demerara sugar, slightly caramelised
1 whole vanilla bean, split and the innards scraped

Sift the soda and the flour along with the cinnamon powder. Keep this aside.

In a mixing bowl, put the sugar, oil, curds, vinegar and vanilla together and mix well until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the flour to this along with the milk and mix well, keep pouring the cold water gradually as you mix. Use just enough water which will give the batter a smooth consistency, I stopped just a little before I finished one cup but you may need more. Mix the batter well to ensure that it is free from any lumps.

Making of the cake batter

Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. The aroma that this cake emits while its baking is just heavenly, the heady vanilla fragrance is almost hypnotising! Allow the cake to cool down on a wire rack before proceeding.

For the frosting:

50 gms of dark cooking chocolate
1/4 cup of fresh cream
1 tbsp of unsalted butter
2 tbsp of powdered sugar
20 ml of dark rum
4 tbsp of milk

Melt the dark chocolate along with the milk in the microwave, you can also do this on a double boiler. Stir well to ensure all the chocolate is melted. This should take about 30 to 40 seconds depending on how cold and dense the chocolate is. Add the rest of the ingredients to this and mix well. Allow this to cool down, keep it in the fridge for an hour so that it sets well.

The cake with frosting in between the layers

To assemble the cake:

  • Cut the cake into two halves horizontally. Sprinkle some milk or sugar syrup on these to keep them moist. 
  • Spread some of the frosting on one half of the cake and place the other half on top of this. Keep a heavy object on top to allow it to rest for about 15 mins. 
  • Trim the sides of the cake and then spread the rest of the frosting on top and the sides of the cake. 
  • Refrigerate the cake for about 30-45 minutes. Remove it from the fridge and place the marzipan flowers and leaves on the side. Refrigerate again for an hour. 
  • I added some chocolate vermicilli on the sides of the cake but you can skip this and just go with only the frosting, if you like. 
Another view of the cake

Now, coming back to the award…

Firstly a huge THANK YOU! to Aparna of Square meals for this award.

Liebster means ‘dearest’ in German, so I decided to give this award to some of the bloggers who are dearest to me:

  1. Ruchira of Cookaroo
  2. Deepika of Absolutely yummy in the tummy
  3. My 25th follower, Teena of Yummy delights
  4. Ash of Indulge-ashcorner
  5. Neethu of Kitchen Express

    If you accept this award:
    • Copy and paste the award logo to your blog.
    • Link back to the blogger who gave you the award
    • Choose five of your favorite blogs that deserve to be noticed
    • Leave a message to the chosen five, informing them about the award

    No Comments

    • Indulge March 30, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Happy Birthday to your aunt and thanks a lott for thinking of me to pas me this award. The cake looks yumm and well done.
      Love Ash.

    • Teena Mary April 1, 2012 at 2:14 am

      Hey…what a lovely & yummy cake!!! Thanks a million for sharing this award! Glad that i could be the 25th follower of your pretty blog 🙂 Hope you have a gr88 day!!


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