Friday, January 31, 2014

Diaper Cake

I stumbled upon what a diaper cake is, while searching for something else on internet, Ah moment! These diaper cakes are inedible, yet sweet, calorie free treat to cherish and remember. The diaper cake serve the dual purpose. One, these truly serve the best usable gifts for expecting parents. Second, they serve as nice decoration center piece for a baby shower catching everyone's attention.
There are numerous YouTube videos, and blogs that can help one get creative ideas for decorating this cake.
I used this YouTube video as it teaches in a very simple way how to assemble the diapers for the diaper cake.
I have made 2 diapers cakes for 2 different baby showers.  I completed the diaper cake over period of three days spending 15-30 minutes/day. The maximum time is spent to roll and tie the diapers with rubber band. Decorating the diaper cake is more fun, and can be finished relatively very quickly. The first diaper cake took a little longer to complete because I was doing it for first time, however, the second one was done in less than 20 minutes because I had learnt the technique already.

I had collected all the decoration stuff for the diaper cake beforehand, so that I do not have to wait till last minute on how I would need to decorate the diaper cake. I used decorative ribbons to hide the rubber bands and the ribbons added a  nice look for the diaper cake. I made a bow with ribbon  to tie each layer together, and did not have to use the glue gun. I used the paper towel round long cardboard to hold the diapers together in the center. I placed the diapers on a cake decorating board. I used Pampers size 2 diaper pack, and made 3 layer diaper cake using 68 diapers. Top layer has 8 diapers;  Middle layer has 20 diapers with  8 diapers in center and 12 diapers outside; Bottom layer has total of 40 diapers with 8 diapers in center, 13 diapers around 8 diapers, and 19 diapers in the outermost circumference.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Focaccia Caprese (Italian Bread) We Knead to Bake #13

Focaccia Caprese  (Italian Bread) We Knead to Bake #13

My first recipe on the blog is a Italian bread baking recipe.
I have been thinking of starting my blog for long time.  Aparna's "We Knead to Bake Group" gave me the right opportunity to start the blog. I enjoy being part of this group as it gives me the needed push to not only try but also post at-least once a month! ( Thanks Aparna).

I was not spelling the name of this bread correctly, until I was being corrected by a friend of mine.
Focaccia is spelled as fo·cac·cia.

I followed the exact recipe, from here  (Aparna's Diverse Kitchen)and the bread came out with the perfect texture and color. Full recipe from the source listed below.

The main part I felt was to make a soft dough, and my Cuisinart hand mixer does a great job to make soft dough while I can do other preparation work for the bread.

For the Dough:
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour*
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing dough
For the Topping:
4-5 larg-ish tomatoes, sliced thin
1 6-7” round piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into1/4” slices**
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
For the Herbed Oil:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano  (I used 3/4 tsp)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic/ paste
Salt to taste

Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

* If you cannot find bread flour, you can add 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix together well. 
Otherwise just use 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
**I used this BelGioioso Pre-Sliced Mozzarella cheese available at Sams club or any other grocery stores.

First make the herbed oil. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.
The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.
Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.
You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones like I did. For the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans/ jelly or Swiss roll pans (I used an 11" by 7" tins) and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.
Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.
Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.