Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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How to Cake Smash Like a Pro

cake smash2The inevitable happened. My Junebug turned a year old last Sunday. Although I had been preparing for her birthday for four long months, the enormity of it hit me only while I was getting her ready for the cake smash photoshoot. A whole year zipped past me as I was learning new things about my baby and trying to be a satisfactory mother. Although I have guilt tripped several times over the year, I am glad I got plenty of chances to slow down, take long- deep glances at her and enjoy the little girl who is the best thing to have ever happened to Kishore and me.

So her birthday was not only a celebration of the first year Aarabhi spent in this world, but also of us as a family who made it through sleepless nights, mammoth bawling sessions, never-ending growth spurts and the zillion vaccination days that we are never going to shake off any time soon. Even though I had my sights set on the actual party that was scheduled to happen the day before her birthday, I was also looking forward to the cake smash. It was a new concept to me and I instantly fell in love with the idea of letting Aarabhi run wild around a specially baked cake. I poured over Pinterest, considered different cake recipes, selected the color combinations for the backdrop, her clothes and a sea of other things I never realized I would have to think about!
cake smashHere are the decisions we made and the budget we ended up with, in a nutshell:

  • The background was simple. Pink and green (her party color combination) ribbons- $2
  • The shabby-chic DIY A for centerpiece- From my cupboard
  • Homemade carrot-vanilla rosette. Green frosting since her costume was pink cake- $5
  • Pink tutu with DIY satin bow- $5
  • DIY Cake stand- $2.50

We spent slightly less than $15 on the shoot.
cake smash4Thankfully, I took the summer off, hence I was able to spend some extra time preparing. The result: A wonderful hour filled with a surprisingly well-behaved toddler who was more interested in feeding cake to her Appa than eating it herself. I really do wish my pictures had turned out better. On closer inspection, I noticed that the white balance set on my camera had resulted in a few grainy pictures. But discount that, I loved doing the shoot. And I am glad we decided to do it all by ourself, for there is nothing more rewarding than being THE ONE capturing her precious smile on the camera 🙂
cake smash3Here are a couple of pointers in case you want to try this at home:

  • Follow a super simple cake recipe like this one I used from Cooking Light. It is clean, not complicated and agrees with a baby’s tummy and palate.
  • Keep the background colorful yet easy to make. Your baby is your shining star. A couple of simple ribbons draped across the backdrop in subtle colors or a few balloons flying about will do the trick too.
  • You may be tempted to click a million pictures. Resist the urge. I did 200 and regretted it since I was confused about which ones to pick.
  • Have fun. Babies, as always, can sense your moods. If you are tensed and bark orders to the person helping you, your child will get cranky and we don’t want that!
  • Finally, set your shoot for a week before the party. You don’t want a hectic couple of days, do you?

We fly to Madras next week and I am super excited about showing little Miss B my city. Apart from that, I am hoping to cook for the family and eat a lot too. In case I don’t post anything before that, see y’all from India!

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Coffee-time Craving: Cinnamon Coffee Muffins

When life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie. When it gives you cinnamon, save it up for a rainy day and make cinnamon muffins for coffee-time!

This recipe has been doing its rounds on the blogsphere but I decided that I need to get my hands on it only after reading it on TheCookingChook‘s blog (who in turn found it on Can You Stay for Dinner). Since I fancy myself to be a “creative” cook, I HAD to go and alter the recipe, of course. But surprisingly, it worked!
cinnamon coffee muffins2So come coffee-time and a very rainy city, I treated myself to the ultimate snack: coffee and cinnamon muffins! The hot coffee and the warm flavor of cinnamon in my sweet-treat were the ultimate combination to munch on as I watched the rain make its patterns on my windowpane. So here is my version of the muffins:

Cinnamon Coffee Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground all-spice

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 cup milk

For the topping-
1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350º F (180º C). Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Whisk so that the egg and the oil are all mixed together. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet in batches and make sure they are well combined. Grease 12 muffin cups and divide the batter among them. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes. While that is happening, melt the butter and mix it with the sugar and cinnamon on a plate for the topping. When done, knife the muffins out of the pan while they are hot. Gently roll them in the topping. Be generous! Let them cool on a wire rack.

The wheat flour gave it a nutty taste that I very much love and by replacing normal sugar with brown, I enhanced the taste of the spices in the muffins. One of these days, I’ve got to try a sugar-free version of this because something tells me that my fellow caffeine loving mother would love it!

You could probably bake this in a cake pan or a brownie tray. Those are my plans for the next couple of times! Oh, we are going to be very happy together, these muffins and I.
cinnamon coffee muffins