Nov 3, 2016

Brownie Butter Cake | Manju's Eating Delights turned 5!


I'm several weeks late in celebrating my blog's birthday but well these days I'm just not able to keep up with anything...Lol!
Though I wouldn't call last year a successful one at blogging as I was literally MIA for almost 9-10 months, this space is still thriving and it still has a lot of loyal followers. I'm so thankful for the love and attention you all give to this space and thereby to me as well. Muah!!



Manju's Eating Delights published it's first blog post on Oct 15th, 2011. Since then it's been my passion, stress buster and companion all along. I love to cook, bake, take pictures of the food I cook and of my family and my favorite part is sharing it here on this little space where I can pen my thoughts, share my opinions and ofcourse safekeep recipes and memories like an online diary of sorts. I started this blog when my son was a sweet little 3 month old and now he's 5years old and now I have another sweet little 3 month old girl. I love my family and they keep me going. 



As many of you know I love Cakes. No celebration according to me is complete without some cake. I've had my eyes on these Brownie Butter cakes ever since I saw a pic of them on Bee's space via Pinterest.  Btw...I just love Pinterest. My other love is Food Network and I can get spend any number of hours immersed in both :-P





These are so easy to make and its the best of both worlds.  In one bite you get a mouth melting butter cake and rich chocolaty brownie. Yumm!

The Butter Cake here is a killer I tell you. It just melts in your mouth. It's one of the best recipes I've tried and makes a perfect 6" cake if you want to make just the cake by itself.

For the Chocolate Brownie portion, if you prefer a sweeter brownie either use Sugar in your recipe or use semi-sweet chocolate chips. I felt the original recipe of Dark chocolate chips with brown sugar resulted in a rather less sweet brownie but the sweetness form Butter Cake makes up for that. So it's your call.


Brownie Butter Cake
Makes 1 loaf cake or one 6" round cake

You’ll Need
For Brownie
5oz Dark Chocolate (Or use Semi-Sweet Chocolate)
¼ cup unsalted Butter
¼ cup Brown Sugar (Or regular Sugar)
1 Egg
¼ cup All purpose Flour

For Butter cake
½ cup unsalted Butter
½ cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup sifted  All purpose Flour
¼ teaspoon Baking powder
3 ½ Tablespoons Milk

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
2. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper  (Loaf pan size : 4”x8”)

To make brownie
1. Using double boiler method, melt chocolate and butter and once mildly cooled,  add in brown sugar (or regular sugar) and mix until sugar is fully blended in.
2. Add in the egg and mix well. Finally fold in the flour and mix until everything is combined.
3. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

To make Butter cake
1. In a bowl, beat Butter and Sugar until smooth and creamy.
2. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat it well.
3. Sift and combine the All-purpose flour and baking powder and fold it in alternating with milk and mix well to form a smooth and thick batter.
4. Reduce oven temp to 320F and spread the butter cake batter very quickly over the brownie and bake for 25-30 minutes or until fully baked. A toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean.

Some Notes:
1. For the Brownie if you prefer a sweeter taste, use regular Sugar instead of brown sugar. Else use Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips instead of Dark Chocolate.
2. The cake batter when spread over the hot brownie may start to melt, so we need to spread it very quickly or pipe it on using a piping bag.
3. This entire brownie Butter Cake can also be made in a 6”x3” round cake pan if you do not have the correct loaf pan. I used mini loaf pans and adjusted my baking time accordingly.

Source: RasaMalaysia
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Do try this out, trust me, you won't be disappointing! I sign-off now wishing myself plenty more years of blogging ahead and a deep heartfelt Thank you to all who are with me :-)

You can keep up with Blog updates on my FB page

I also share snippets from my life and cooking experiments on :
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ManjusDelights

If you would like to keep up with my craze on Pinterest, follow me here:
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/manjumanish1/

-Manju

Sep 26, 2016

Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts


A warm hello to all. This little space of mine had been silent for a long time now. I missed blogging terribly but I must admit taking a break really helped. A lot of new changes have taken place in the past 10 months and each thing needed it's own personal time and space and blogging definitely took a back seat. 

I wanted to give a long detailed explanation to my absence but I'm going to save you the boredom and just say two major developments happened in the past half year.
First : End of Jan 2016 we moved out of Minneapolis to the Queen city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Although we are still settling down and miss our old friends and familiar places, we have started liking this city and have started making new friends. We bought a new house and Lil'Appu started Kindergarten this year and seems to happy with all his new buddies. So lots of things kept us really busy.

Second: Lets hear some Drum-rolls....we had our second bundle of joy almost a week after Appu's 5th b'day. Yes, my lil'Appu has a little sister now. On July16th,2016 our baby girl, Mihika was born!
So being pregnant until July 16th and being a new Mommy to a newborn from July16th were the other things that I was upto in between all this shifting, house hunting, office work and settling down...Lol!!

We are simply happy to be new parents again and Appu is a dotting big brother who can't seem to get enough of giving her hugs and kisses. We are both happy and super busy with a newborn at home and she is obviously taking up all my time. Our baby girl is 2 months old and times flying past and we are doing our best to absorb all the baby cuteness.

I haven't really bothered with much cooking or baking in a long time. Nothing that was blog worthy at least. Last week however I was feeling a bit relaxed and baby Mihi was being a very good girl so I decided to make a simple batch of Chocolate brownies. I was actually able to make them undisturbed while baby Mihi slept and they came out perfect :-)
I wasn't even planning to blog about it, but when I shared a pic of the brownies on FB, I got hundreds of requests for the recipe and I felt these brownies have to be shared, they are just that good!

I didn't take any good pics, just took few on my mobile and sharing those here. These brownies are almost fudge like, very chocolaty and chewy and the walnuts added a perfect crunch. If you do not prefer walnuts add chocolate chips for a little bite. The top has a nice flaky crust as well as you can see.




Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts
 Makes around 16-20 brownies

You'll Need 
5 oz Semi-sweet Chocolate (chopped)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
2 Tblsp Cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla extract
3 large Eggs (at room temperature)
¾ cup All-purpose flour
Salt, a pinch 
¾ cup chopped Walnuts

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Grease and line an 8" square baking tray with parchment paper. (I used a 9” square pan, an 8” square pan gives thicker brownies)
2. Add 5oz chopped chocolate and chopped butter pieces in a glass bowl and melt them over a double boiler (place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water)
3. Once completely melted remove from heat, add cocoa powder and sugar and whisk gently until the sugar is incorporated well.
4. Next whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs one by one beating well.
5. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and walnuts.
6. Pour into baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake.

Recipe Source: Joyof Baking

I'm not going to make any promises that I'll blog frequently from now but I'm surely going to try to be more regular here. It's such a relief to get back to doing old things that I loved doing and it's great to get back in touch with you all. Do say Hi in the comments if you happen to visit :-) 

-Manju

Nov 11, 2015

Kesar Badam Peda | Diwali special sweet with condensed milk


Wishing everyone a Very Very Happy and fun filled Diwali!!
I look forward to Diwali every year to try out some new Indian sweet and snack recipes. I don't make too many Indian desserts thinking they might be difficult, but I was amazed at how easy these Kesar Badam Peda turned out to be.

My parents are visitng us this Diwali making it all the more special and mummy and I had made some Mango-Coconut Laddoos last weekend. Mummy had never made a Mango laddo and she and daddy enjoyed it. 
We also made couple of other snacks like Diamond shaped Namak Pare, Sweet Boondi last weekend and last night even tried a hand at some Cashew Murukku and Ribbon Pakoda. 
I'm yet to share all these recipes on the blog, which I will share shortly. We've just been so busy spending time with each other and visiting friends and their family that blogging is taking a back seat. :-)



I had some condensed milk left over after making the Mango Laddoos, so to make use of it we tried this super easy Peda recipe which mummy had learnt from a friend while she used to stay in Mumbai couple of years ago. The recipe was actually for Dhoodh Peda (Milk peda) but I did not have Milk powder and instead substituted with Almond powder and made them as Badam Peda (Almond Peda).
The addition of some saffron flavored milk adds a unique and amazing flavor to these sweet chewy fudge like sweet. I also love the way how the saffron stands show out in the peda. 



The whole thing comes together in just about 10-15 mins, it's that easy. I tried taking some stepwise pics which'll help me as well when i want to make these another time :-D
If you have couple of Diwali parties to attend and haven't yet decided on what to take, make these...they look festive and seems like you slogged a lot in the kitchen to prepare and tastes amazing too...no on needs to know how quick and easy they are to make :-)

They taste chewy and fudge like and has a lovely nutty flavor of the badam. The sweetened condensed milk adds enough sweetness and does not require any additional sugar. The saffron definitely elevates the flavor.



Kesar Badam Peda
Makes 16-18 small peda

You’ll Need
1 cup Almond powder
200 gms (about ½ tin)  Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 teaspoons Ghee
1 Tablespoon warm Milk
A pinch of Saffron strands
Chopped Pista/Almonds for garnish

Directions
1. Sift 1 cup almond powder through a sieve. Add a pinch of saffron to 1 tablespoon warm milk. Chop the pistachios for garnish and keep aside.

2. In a bowl mix together the kesar-milk mixture, condensed milk and Almond powder and make a smooth paste.

3. Heat a non-stick pan and add this paste and cook on medium heat until it starts becoming thick. Add 2 teaspoons ghee at this stage and continue to cook until it starts coming together forming a smooth dough and should come off the pan without sticking.

4. Place the peda dough on a greased plate. Grease your palms and while still warm, start rolling out bite-sized balls from the dough and flatten it slightly. Press down the centre and arrange them on the plate. Add the chopped pistachios as garnish in the center.



I have some other simple Diwali recipes which I have tried over the years. Sharing the link in case you want to try any...I hope you will :)
Mango Coconut Laddoo
Kaju Katli (sweet Cashew Fudge)
Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)
Spiced Mango Kalakhand (Ginger spiced Mango Fudge)
Whole Wheat Murukku
Ring Murukku

Happy Diwali once again to all my dear redaers, family and friends!

-Manju

Oct 20, 2015

Tutti-Frutti Shortbread Cookies and the blog's 4!




Last Thursday on Oct15th, my little blog turned a chubby 4 years old. I like to think the blog's growing and getting chubbier with each new blog post that I lovingly feed it with :-)

I want to write a lot, but I'm out of words, all I know is that there is something about writing this blog, sharing recipes and pictures with everyone that keeps me going.  It brings me out of my laziness and keeps my mind active and creative, so I'm glad the blog's growing with each passing year.



These days I’m not too regular with updating the blog and I apologize for that. But with family visitng us over the summer and trying to make the best use of the lovely warm climate, we spent a lot of time with outdoor activities and lots of interstate trips, that we've hardly had any time to just sit with our laptops :-D
Now even after my in-laws have gone we are still busy with so many Fall activities, that blogging is definitely taking a back seat…but in whatever free time I can spare I will still continue to blog, share my thoughts, recipes , fun treats and ideas.  It’s something I want to do and really enjoy doing!


We travelled a lot this year to visit family and friends within the US and had made one such fun trip few months ago to visit some close friends in Texas. It was a short trip but filled with lovely memories of catching up on old tales and meeting our friends and their families. As we were meeting them all after a long time, I decided to bake some bunch of treats for them as they keep asking when will they ever get to taste the goodies I bake and I thought this was the perfect chance. 

These colorful Tutti-frutti Shortbread cookies were one of them. They are so yumm and melts in your mouth , it’s my personal favorite treat to gift anyone. Now with the holiday season coming along, I’m sure some of you might actually enjoy making these and gifting your loved one or even yourself with the little buttery bites. So on the occasion for my blog’s 4th birthday I decided these are just perfect to share with you all!!

Tutti Frutti Shortbread Cookies (Eggless cookies)

Makes around 18-20 cookies

You’ll Need
2 cups All-purpose flour
1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature (use good quality Butter)
½ cup Powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
½ or 1 cup colorful Tutti-fruitti candy (or any glazed fruits chopped finely)
¼ teaspoon Salt

Directions
1.  In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt and tutti-fruitti and set it aside.

2.  In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture and tutti-fruitti just until incorporated. 
Roll out the dough to form a log and flatten both ends, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm. 

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle of the oven.  Line a  baking sheet with parchment paper.

4.  On a lightly floured surface cut the dough from one flat end into ¼” thick rounds (just like cutting a sausage or a carrot into rounds ;-) ) 

5.  Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.)
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

UPDATE: For me it had to bake for about 10-12 mins, but keep checking after 8 mins and do not over bake, the cookies might feel soft when just out of the oven, but they will firm up once they begin to cool! Enjoy...

Recipe Source: Joy of Baking


One of Manish's friends wife who tasted these said they were so good and just melted in your mouth almost like eating Mysore Pak ( a popular sweet dish made in India) I was so happy and I'm glad they enjoyed it. 

These cookies being eggless as well, they are perfect for any occasion, be it an Indian festival or some other Holiday. And in my opinion they are easier to make than Mysore Pak :-P So do give it a try and enjoy them !

-Manju

Oct 13, 2015

Rotating carousel cake - a little video !


I know we are deep in Fall right now but I love to remember the warm n sunny summer we had this year. My sister and her hus came over to visit us for a whole week 1st week of July and then Manish’s parents stayed over with us for 2 whole months and later his sister and family with their 2 month-old baby boy, Dhyan came over and stayed for a month. So we had a lovely family time throughout this summer and my lil’Appu couldn’t have been more pleased with so many people to pamper and play with him. He loves his lil’nephew and always tells everyone he meets that he has a brother…Awww!

Manav, my lil'Appu's birthday falls on July 11th and this year his grandparents were here with us on his birthday and we wanted to make it a special one.



Having a summer b’day is so much fun and we love keeping outdoor parties. We decided to do a colorful Carnival themed birthday for him this year with a whole bunch of games which the kids actually had to play to win their Prizes ;-) I’ve shared a full detailed post on the fun birthday party here.


Let me mention in advance that this is not a recipe post. It's just a post where I'm bragging about how we managed to make a rotating carousel cake and me trying some Ganache techniques...Lol! If still interested read away....

The first things that come to my mind when I think of a Carnival are Carousels and Ferris wheel rides. After going back n forth with what sort of cake to make, I decided to do a Carousel cake. I have earlier once made a Carousel cake for a girly birhday but my boy loves carousels too, so I decided to go with the same plan. My friends agreed to help make a Ferris Wheel to add to the cake table d├ęcor, so I was just thrilled.


Now if you have been following my blog for a while you know only too well how I love to go a bit crazy with my cakes :-) I had bought a rotating turntable a while ago to try an experiment on making a moving cake…u know a 4D kind of cake.

I did not make a tiered cake, nor did I want to spend a lot of time making the carousel edible. So I converted the rotating turntable to act like a second tier and completely constructed the carousel on top using Styrofoam blocks and printed paper. Each horse on the carousel is hand cut out…I must say all that cutting made my fingers quite numb!



I spent quite a lot many days getting the right designs designed up on my laptop and then printed out for the carousel and cutting them up and sticking it all together.  As he was turning 4 that was printed out on the top portion of the carousel.
We wanted to place a flag on top of the carousel tent, but that did not work out well.

The picture shown below shows how exactly the carousel parts came together. The first pic is the initial portion of the carousel and this was stuck onto the rotaing turntable which was covered with a Teal chevron patterned photo paper...I loved using photopaper, it was shiny and glossy and kept its shape. The conical carousel tent, horses and the bunting around the cone are all done using photpaper with deigns I made and printed out.




Appu was sitting beside me all the time while I worked on the carousel and he was quite thrilled. He was more overjoyed when I started the rotating turntable….he kept saying, “look mummy, the horses are jumping!” ;-) Yaaay! we had a rotating home-built carousel!

Now the only thing left was to bake the cake and ofcourse decorate it. Since the theme was about being colorful and fun and we already had the carnival element(the carousel) to go on top of the cake, I decided to make a colorful Polka Dot inside surprise cake.



The Polka dots were actually colorful cake balls which I was able to quickly make thanks to my electric cake ball maker. This gadget was a time saver I should say and was a cheap Thanksgiving purchase.
I went for fun, bright and boyish colors (if you can say so) – Red, Green, Yellow, Blue & Orange.

Once the cake was baked and cooled, I filled it with Vanilla Buttercream and frosted using yellow colored White Chocolate Ganache. 

Colored ganache is a big rage these days and a really nice option for those who do not enjoy the taste of Fondant but still want a really neat and smooth finish for their cakes. So I’ve always wanted to try this technique and it was a breeze I should say and I loved the end result and besides it tastes like white chocolate, what’s not to like about that! I used a premium quality White Chocolate and it set up beautifully.
Oh! And I tried a method called the Upside-down technique to get straight edges around the cake. Have to say I did not like the idea of having to flip my heavy cake up and down, so I’m not a fan of this technique and will have to try something else to get those neat sharp edges.  (Only a cake fanatic would understand all the things I just said in this paragraph…Lol!)

The decoration was so simple, all I had to do were cut out triangular red colored Fondant strips that was the same height as the cake and align then around the cake.
I cut out Manav’s name and placed them in round fondant circles.
Finally I placed the carousel (with the rotating turntable) on another cake board which was then placed on the cake and decorated around the cake board with colorful fondant balls. 

The pic below makes the cake look lopsided as the the table itself was sitting on a downhill portion of our backyard :-P


And thus my Roating Carousel Cake just rotated away the entire time it sat out at the party and I have to say it was quite the center of attraction!
Here's a fun little video I made showing the rotating cake and the cake table decoration and the games we put together! Hope you enjoy watching it. It's my first attempt at making a video, so your feedback is highly valuable :-)





-Manju

Sep 28, 2015

CARNIVAL themed Birthday - Manav turns 4!


Our little apple is not so little anymore as he turned a fantastic four years old on July 11th.  Manav, our lil'Appu, is a proud, cheerful and full of smiles four year old with tons of mischief up his sleeves and lot of good wit and charm.
He is tall, intelligent, a bit shy in front of strangers but smart, loves to walk, run and ride his bike all day long. He cannot get enough of swimming and staying in the water. He loves writing his name over and over again on his white board and has learnt to color within the lines and recognize all the alphabets and numbers and counts until 30! 
He is a music lover and absolutely loves Bollywood songs and listening to the Malayalam rockband Thaikudam Bridge. Hrithik Roshan is his favorite dancing actor and Appu even tries to imitate his steps. 
He loves helping his dad with all kinds of housework and backyard chores and thinks he has a lot of muscles :-D 

He sticks to me like a bee to a flower and literally keeps me on my toes. There is never a dull moment with my bumble bee and like I always say, I can never have enough of writing about him. Manish, myself, our family and close friends wishes him all success in life and we'll be there to support him in whatever his heart desires to do. This year's birthday was a lot more special with Appu's paternal grandparents being here and they helped a lot with all the decoration and party planning.

I was initially quite clueless as to what theme to keep for his 4th birthday. Oh! btw...I love doing themed parties...it's just so much fun to keep a theme and watch it materialize and the internet has all kinds of fun ideas. After looking around for ideas I saw this super fun theme - A CARNIVAL party or a CIRCUS theme that can be easily done in any outdoor or indoor space and it's a perfect theme for boys/girls of any age group or even for adults. Infact I even saw some weddings in a carnival theme, how fun would that wedding have been? :) 
Long post ahead with all the tiny details we included for this fun birthday party, so keep reading!

After discussing with Manish about the theme, he too loved it and we decided to do a Carnival birthday party in our backyard! I wanted to keep a bunch of fun games for the kids with a proper Carnival approach where each kids got tickets to play the games.  We invited only very close friends and neighbors whom Appu was familiar with so that he would have fun playing with everyone and not be shy.


CARNIVAL GAMES



The games were all set out all over our backyard with a proper sign board for each game which we printed out and made ourselves. The games we planned were:

Carnival Can Toss : 6 cans stacked together to be knocked down with a ball. Me and my friend Winnie, saved all used cans (fruit, tomato paste, coconut milk cans etc) cleaned and wrapped them in printed paper for the game.





Ping Pong Fishing : Aim pin pong balls into the fish bowls (plastic cups with blue cellophane to resemble water and a plastic goldfish) and if they win they get to keep the fish!



Starfish Ring Toss : Starfish shaped inflatable with 5 rings & poles, kids had to aim all the rings on the poles.

Bowling Pins : Roll the bowling ball to knock down the pin spread out on his alphabet mat. This game was Appu's special request and his birthday present from us, he loves playing it all the time.
Basketball Throw: Aim the ball into the basket. (You can see the basketball hoop behind the bowling pins)

Duck Pond Fishing: Fish the ducks out of the pond using the fish pole -- this game was a huge hit!

Ping Pong Toss: Aim 6 ping pong balls into 6 red cups. 

Each kid got a wristband and name tags as they walked up to the games area...yup wristbands, just like an actual Carnival, just that these said 'Manav's Carnival' on them :-)





Each kid were given 7 'Admit-One' tickets , 1 for each game. They had to stand in line and wait for their turn to play a game and were given few rounds to play each game and if they won, a different set of blue colored 'Keep this Coupon' Tickets were handed over. The kids actually played to win the blue tickets and were well behaved. They had a blast and apparently the duck pond fishing game was the biggest hit among all the kids. 
 

Even though it turned out to be a super hot and sunny day, all the kids including my little guy and all my volunteer friends (who manned the games) were sporty and played very nicely and had a good time.


CARNIVAL THEMED DECORATIONS & CAKE TABLE

We decorated our entire backyard and patio deck with fun carnival themed party hangings and lots of colorful balloons. It looked very colorful and festive.



For the Cake table I wanted a colorful station that depicted a fun carnival-like-candyland including a full fledged Directional sign board and colorful balloons. We stationed the cake table against our backyard fence which was a good spot.
There was a Circus Tent, Carousel and Ferris wheel on the Cake table to go with the Carnival theme. We also kept some colorful (homemeade) Trix treats, M&M chocolates and cookies, yummy Truffle balls, popcorn and cheesepuffs and a colorful Lolipop tree. 



I wanted a marquee with the letter 'M' on the cake table and decided to make it ourselves. So we bought a 3D alphabet block M from Michaels and covered it with Red scrapbook paper. Manish and his dad drilled holes to place the blinking LED balloon lights and actually made the marquee come to life, just like how I wanted and it blinked away all throughout the party :-) The mini gumball machine filled with peanut M&M's was actually lil'Appu's favorite thing on the cake table. 
For the Circus Tent , we borrowed a styrofoam lolipop stand from our nearby Dollar Store and wrapped it up with fun carnival red and white striped wrapping paper and printed out a Carnival tent that fit perfectly as the backdrop.
We made some colorful Trix Treats (instead of Rice Krispie treats) on a stick and though some of them standing meting due to the heat and started dropping down on the stick, it still looked quite good.



The colorful Ferris wheel was made my my talented couple friends Swati and Navaneet and it actually rotates...how awesome!
There was also a fun photograph of Appu which he posed for saying he had strong muscles and that was perfect to keep near the marshmallow dumbbells (which I called Strongman dumbells). And not to forget the waterbottles with customized wraps.


I decided to make a Carousel Cake this time for Appu's birthday and one that actually rotates...yes the Carousel on top of the cake actually rotates. As usual I love to experiment with my family's b'day cakes, so a fun fact about the cake is that the yellow portion of the cake is not fondant but yellow colored White Chocolate Ganache...so I made my first Colored Ganache cake! And another fun part...the cake was filled with colorful polka dots...so a Polka Dot surprise inside cake it was....yaay! More about that in a separate post.





The Directional Board was our next big project. We actually went to Menards to get a decent sized white colored wooden board to form the stem of the directional board. I had plenty of colorful chart paper which my brother-in-law helped cut into different sided arrows and I printed out the names and stuck them on the chart. Later my father-in-law helped stick each sign on the board. It was amazing to see how it all came up finally! The sign directions did not quite match with where the actual stuff was but it did not matter...hehe.


CARNIVAL PRIZES



For the Carnival prizes, our plan was to actually hang all the prizes on the wrapped board with pushpins and place the board near the Games area for all the kids to see, but they wouldn't stay and kept falling down with the weight, so we just placed them flat on the board and kept a sign that said Carnival Prizes.



Each set of prizes were kept within ziploc bags and we printed out an image that said 'Manav's Carnival' and 'Happy 4th Birthday' on either side and placed them on top of the ziploc and stapled it up. It looked just like how a party favor bag bought from party city would look like but customized :-D The fun carnival prizes included variety of toys, pencils, chocolates and fun star shaped sunglasses. Each kid could select any bag they wanted. Apart from the color of the toys/glasses and chocolates everything in each bag was same.


CAKE CUTTING


Cake cutting went really well...all the kids gathered around the cake table...they all got so excited that they started screaming on top of their lungs, which was quite noisy if i may say so, but they were all happy and that's what mattered.


Appu wanted to hold the knife and cut the cake all by himself which I had to reluctantly agree to unless I wanted a tantrum at that moment. 
The rotating carousel peeked everyone's curiosity and the kids wanted to touch it and try stopping the rotation...oh well! chaos with a big C :-D N to top it off, my cake was almost on the verge of melting due to all the heat so I just wanted to be done with it ...Lol! 


Everyone sang Happy Birthday while Appu decently cut a pretty slice all by himself and literally gulped the entire piece. He happily ate a slice from whoever gave him one and was the first to take another big slice to go n eat it all by himself...either he was damn hungry or he really loved the cake...hehe! 


It was a fun Polka dot inside White Chocolate cake with White Chocolate Ganache and everyone said the cake tasted amazing. More on the cake in a detail post...coming soon :)


PHOTOBOOTH

We kept a fun Photobooth with lots of cheeky carnival props for everyone to strike a pose! It was huge hit and everyone enjoyed taking a snap with the fun props. We forgot to take a pic of the props but you get it right? ;-)

Appu's favorite was the gumball machine and he used that as his prop and ate up all the candy in it too...Love the pics where the kids are posing with the props!



FOOD & DRINKS

When I asked Appu what he wanted to eat on his b'day he said without evening thinking - Pizza! So well, we went the easy route with the food, although I had a huge plan of a carnival themed food spread, but I'm so glad I didn't go crazy on that and ordered some simple food. The only hard work we did on the food was making the food labels...Lol!!
We decided to not keep any carbonated drinks as it was a kids party so instead there was plenty of refreshing and chilled homemade Mango lemonade and Strawberry lemonade and Water for drinks with Potato chips, colorful fryums and popcorn for snacking. 


Appetizers: Chicken Wings and Cheesy Garlic Bread 
Pizza: Variety of Veg and chicken options
Pasta : Veg and chicken Pasta from our favorite Italian restaurant - Bucca Di Beppo. 
Dessert: Chilled Mango custard with mixed fruits and nuts.
My mother-in-law and I made the delicious Mango Fruit custard for dessert which we forgot to bring out from the fridge until the last moment - oops! so a few friends missed that treat before they left. Sorry about that folks...we enjoyed the remaining dessert over the next few days...hehe!

In all it was a superb birthday party , the games and decor were a big hit and although it was a super hot day everyone seemed to have had fun. My parents-in-law, Manish (hus) and some close friends were so helpful in getting everything setup for the party. 
The night before the party my mother-in-law (mummy) and father-in-law (pappa) stayed up late at night to stick the personalized labels for the water bottles and the carnival prizes and pappa helped with all the balloon blowing and getting the directional board ready.  Love them!

Phew! Finally I'm done with writing down this b'day post. I feel like I've been writing this forever as I did not want to miss any detail, a lot of which I had to purposely omit to not make it too boring. It's also taken me sooooooo long to just get all the pics sorted out, for which I need to thank my friend and photographer Bishal for capturing such awesome moments of the birthday party.

If you've kept up with my rambling until here, then I'll be back soon with some more details on the cake soon in my next blog post, so stay put...until then, lets all have fun, be goofy and have a carnival time ;-)




-Manju