Baker Extraordinaire, Bella’s Cakes

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-09 at 13.38.13She is sweet, she is gentle, she is determined and she is a Baker Extraordinaire! She is super talented and has come a long way in the baking world! From a home baker to a sought after baker, is a pretty commendable journey! She puts her heart and soul in her two passions, which are sweet dreamy bakes and a sweet little daughter, Isabel (no points for guessing why the name Bella 🙂

Sooner or later, she had to be featured on my blog! She has been so gracious to share some very valuable tips and tricks for a home baker like me! And you don’t want to miss out on one of her cup cake recipes now, do you? Read on!

I am always amazed at what she comes up with every single time she bakes! Way to go Sharmi! Some of her amazing work for you to see. Check out more on her FB Page, Bella’s cakes and don’t forget to like it!

Follow her on Instagram to drool over her creations! Username: treatsatbellascakes

Here is her website for you to order right away! Bella’s Cakes

Bella’s cakes journey by Sharmi W Dsouza

The joy of sharing is always more satisfying than creating something of your own. It holds true for me in many ways.

My baking journey began when i wanted to share my happiness with the world – of successfully (read an accomplishment!) completing a year of motherhood.
With a lot of support and encouragement from a group of enthusiastic and encouraging mommies, i ventured into baking as a profession albeit no previous background at all. But as they say, “Where there is a will there is a way !”. It was my willingness and the strong support of my family that got me through till here and still a long way to go 🙂
So here i am writing for one of my favorite person among the awsome mommies whom i met on this journey of mine. Thank you Nandita for giving me the opportunity! Below you will find a few tips on making Ganache & baking which helped me a lot when I set out on this journey.
Tips on Ganache
  • To make dark chocolate/light chocolate ganache the ratio to be used is always 2:1. Two parts of chopped chocolate to one part of cream(cream and not whipping cream). Amul cream is what is used most commonly.
  • Chopping chocolate can get tedious so if you have a food processor, go ahead and use it! 🙂 ( yes this is important if you do not want lumps or pieces of chocolate in your ganache).
  • For white chocolate the ratio is 3:1. 3 parts of white chocolate to 1 part of cream.
  • Chocolate used for making ganache is mostly compound chocolate. Common Brands used are Vanleer, 2M, Morde. You could also use pure dark chocolate which is also available in bakery supplies stores (Brand : Callebaut).
  • Always allow enough time for the ganache to set, preferably over night 🌙 in the refrigerator and next day before use you need to bring it to room temperature. Yeah I know its kind of funny to set and then again to let it get back to normal (Then why set in the first place ?!). This is important if you want your ganache to be of pipe-able consistency or to just simply apply it all over your chocolate sponge cake.
  • Ganache will stay good upto a week cling wrapped in the refrigerator.
  • Addition of butter can be done to ganache if its going to be used as toppings on ice creams , fudges, brownies, etc., but for covering cakes, avoid butter as it wont help set the ganache on the cake well.
  • Always heat the cream on a double boiler and never directly..you do not want to over heat the cream and end up with a rock like mass of chocolate (Been there done that :D)
How to make Ganache?
  • Chop 2 cups compound chocolate (manually or use a food processor)
  • In a double boiler pour 1 cup Amul Cream in the upper bowl ( double boiler is when you place a small bowl with about 1/4th bottom filled with water on a stove and then place a bigger bowl on top of it). The water in the smaller bowl shouldn’t touch the base of the upper bowl. We only want to create enough heat to let the steam warm up the cream which is placed in the upper bowl.
  • As the cream just begins to bubble, switch off gas and remove the upper bowl carefully , wipe the base with a cloth as there will be droplets of water from the steam of the lower bowl which you don’t want to fall on the chocolate while pouring the cream over it!
  • Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 5 mins. And then mix it evenly till all combined and you do not see any lumps in the ganache.
  • Allow to cool and set overnight in the fridge.
Tips on Baking
  • Ensure all your products are at room temperature before beginning with any recipe
  • Always use Fresh Baking powder & Baking soda ( not the one which has been sitting on your shelf for quite long as you are still waiting for that “Perfect Recipe” or “Tomorrow I am gonna Bake!”
  • Follow the recipe to the “T” (can’t stress this enough)! Do not try to make changes/replacements because you do not have a particular ingredient. Always plan ahead for baking – After all we only bake for special occasions 🙂 Make sure you have all the ingredients in place.
  • For egg-less baking always search for egg-less recipes. It is difficult to convert recipes which contain egg into egg-less ones unless you do a bit of trial & error a few times to understand the science behind it.
Egg-less Chocolate cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or maida
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder (can use any – Cadbury, Hersheys, Blue bird, etc.)
  • 1/4th cup curd (thick)
  • 1/4th cup milk
  • 1/4th cup coffee ( 1 teaspoon coffee powder mixed in 1/4 th cup hot water)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4th cup sugar (powdered)
  • 1/2 cup oil (sunflower oil preferable as it is flavorless)
Method
  1. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature
  2. In a bowl Sieve all the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. In a bowl, take oil and sugar and use a whisk to blend the sugar nicely with the oil. Next add the essence and whisk again
  4. Add the curd and the milk and whisk again. And add the hot coffee (coffee  must be hot to touch)
  5. To the above liquid mixture, add the sieved dry ingredients in 3 batches. And fold it gently with a spoon or spatula till all the dry ingredients have got mixed completely. Do not over mix as it will result in hard cupcakes.
  6. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees.
  7. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (place the liners into a cupcake tray if the liners are too thin as they might not hold the weight of the batter otherwise)
  8. Spoon till half filled as the cupcakes will rise while baking.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven or until done. To check if baking is done, use a toothpick and insert it in the center of the cupcake. If it comes out clean then its done. If crumbs stick then allow baking to continue for 2 to 3 more minutes. If its too sticky then 10 minutes and so on.
  10. Check for doneness only after 15 minutes. Control your urge to open the oven door before that as it will affect the oven temperature and you will be left with a cracked center! And we don’t want that 🙂
  11. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack and do not let it sit in the oven even after its done as it will again continue to bake cause of the heat inside the oven.
  12. Once the cupcakes are cooled completely, top them with ganache.
  13. And your done! Go ahead and savor the moment by digging into it! Don’t forget to share 😁
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