“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward”
Kurt Vonnegut

Ombre ... Almond Layered Cream CakeHappy New Year with an Ombre Almond Layered Cream Cake. Sorry I haven’t made an appearance yet. The beginning of the year is always BUSY! Call it bad planning, but the elder teen was born on the 2nd of Jan 17 years ago. In this absolutely freezing cold, where the temperature dips and the power trips, I’ve been baking birthday cakes every 1st January for the past 16 years.

Ombre ... Almond Layered Cream Cake 2We’ve broken ‘cold‘ records for the past 45 years this January. With a country not planned with central heating, we are surviving in ice boxes at 0.7 C temperatures. Absolutely bone chilling here these days. It’s one thing to shiver; another to shiver and bake!! Must be a glutton for punishment as I shiver through the process every year. I made an ombre cake a while ago for a dear friends birthday. It was TALL with many shades of pink. How the daughter whined! “You never make tall cakes in shades of pink for me”, “Why have I never got one like this”, “I WANT pink for my birthday”.

Ombre ... Almond Layered Cream Cake 3Then I saw this beautiful piece of art at BS in the Kitchen. Stunning and inspiring. I set off to replicate it but this January has been tougher than ever. Bitterly cold, power cuts galore … and if I may be allowed some more whining, cream that refused to oblige! I got down to whipping the low fat cream thrice … every single time we had a power cut. It usually obliges. Not this time though. I almost wept.

Ombre ... Almond Layered Cream Cake I should have made a buttercream; really should have. We don’t particularly love buttercream at home, so I decided to innovate. Lesson learnt: roses are made from firmer stuff i.e. buttercream! In sheer desperation, I began piping my frosting which was good enough to pipe roses on top, but played slip sliding roses on the walls of the cake. Thank heavens for lace collars. When all else fails, it seems to salvage the situation somewhat.

Ombre ... Almond Layered Cream CakeThe cake tasted great and the birthday teen loved it to bits, pink and all. It got over really quick. In all the running around that day, I never did manage a proper picture before it was cut. It was worth the heartache though, well worth it!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too.”
Gladys Taber

Almond Raspberry Quark Layered CakeAlmond Raspberry Quark Layered Cake for the pink time of the year on PAB! It’s become an annual feature on my blog. Every October I bake Mr PAB pink birthday cake in support of national breast cancer awareness month. Pinktober cakes have become a quintessential part of his birthday, so much so that the terrible tiresome teen always asks about PINK a day before!Almond Raspberry Quark Layered Cake She was away for a school trip in the Himalayas this year, but came back late in the night and dug into her share. “Breast cancer?” she reconfirmed at 2am, then was back to devouring her share. “This is good“, she declared between hungry bites, “Really, really good! So pretty too.” Some things are worth the effort. This certainly was!Almond Raspberry Quark Layered CakeMan Friday came grinning from ear to ear with a bunch of flowers for the mister! Always remembers! It was a mad rush that morning so the cake was simple, very basic. A simple almond sponge cake with a dash of olive oil to add lightness and moistness. It’s an original recipe that I have developed over the years; it holds up well and tastes good too. Almond Raspberry Quark Layered Cake‘Ombre’ {n. A French term meaning “shaded.” Usually a multicolored stripe, with colors graduating from light to dark.} was on my mind but time wasn’t my friend. Hasn’t been of late so I cheated on the layers. I baked both colours in one single cake. First ladled light pink batter into the tin, then added a few more drops of pink to the remaining batter and poured it over.Almond Raspberry Quark Layered CakeArtisan ombre? Probably. Tada! Once baked, I sliced them into separate colored layers and alternated them with the cream filling. I did a light, dark, light, dark and kept the filling/frosting white. Such fun!Almond Raspberry Quark Layered Cake Not perfect but perfectly good for me. It worked kind of alright in the big cakes {my notes prior cutting the cake} and rather well actually in the small cake. Will improve the technique next time, maybe use a slightly smaller tin. Got different coloured layers that looked pretty with the white quark cream contrast.

Almond Raspberry Quark Layered Cake The filling was a joy to make. For all the ‘low fat cream anguish‘ of the years gone by, homemade quark is to the rescue. I’m having a field day with it. Used it to fill and frost the cake, and what a beautiful combination this turned out to be. Finger lickin good, thick like whipped cream and well behaved too!Almond Raspberry Quark Layered Cake Beautiful balance of flavoure and least expected goodness. Since quark is a curd cheese it is slightly tangy and pairs beautifully with fruit. Moist soft sponge layers matched by the sweet tartness of the quark raspberry filling, the slight hint of almond teasing the palette with texture and taste! For a simple cake, the flavours were unexpectedly very good; the layers stood out pretty too!Almond Raspberry Quark Layered CakeThe cake was a huge hit, with seconds being requested for even though we were just back from quite a filling Indian dinner out – chicken tikka & paneer tikka, rogan josh, butter chicken … with naan, tandoori roti and Rampuri parathas. We thought we could eat no more! {I had made the little cake topper for the teen just in case there was no cake left for her. Spot on. The cake disappeared really fast.}Almond Raspberry Quark Layered CakeA light, sweet, tangy Pinktober cake that was a delectable end to our meal! I had warned everyone that it was just a simple plain cake baked on the trot earlier that day. Plain it certainly wasn’t and I was HAPPY!

October 1st marks the beginning of breast cancer awareness month all over the world. American Cancer Society uses this time to boost their campaign to raise awareness to breast cancer and to inform people that there is now a 98 percent rate of survival if the cancer is detected early. October is the month where you will see pink ribbons everywhere, which has been the national symbol for breast cancer awareness since it was first introduced back in 1991.

Think PinkHave you gone PINK this October?

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too”
Gladys Taber

Chocolate & Strawberry Cream Cake This ones going to be a short post. Its the PINK time of the year and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t shrug Mr PABs pink birthday cake off my shoulders. The dieting diva with all her charm, asked sweetly, ” Is ‘it‘ going to be PINK again!”. I love how well the kids grasp things that are important, so we had a fast track Chocolate & Strawberry Cream Cake this year!

Pink ribbon - breast cancer awarenessThe pink ribbon is an internationally recognized symbol of hope and awareness in the fight against breast cancer

Chocolate & Strawberry Cream CakeLife has been a race against time and I had thoughts of barely throwing together a cake for Mr Man, PINK beginning to look pretty elusive. But the PINK Plum Fro Yo post had a couple of readers connect with me over the past few years, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear them ask about a PINK cake for Mr PAB… guess the pressure was on!
Chocolate & Strawberry Cream Cake Dive into the freezer and it was back to simmering strawberries and balsamic vinegar in brown sugar like Speedy Gonsalez. Gosh! Why did October get here so fast, and why did his birthday have to be at the very beginning? Sigh….Chocolate & Strawberry Cream CakeIn the midst of this, Jamie and I discussed Octobers theme for MacTweets and we both voted for PINK there too. I was really ambitious…really! No aged whites, a new recipe and lack of time is obviously a recipe for disaster. Ambitious me also piped pink mac ribbons! Needless to say the feet speedily failed me. I used a meringue/macaron ribbon to top my cake. A dusting of sugar hid its failings, yet added to the PINK!

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

Chocolate & Strawberry Cream Cake Here we go … my strawberry and chocolate cake for Pinktober since the teen insisted on chocolate. Before I get to the recipe I have to tell you that she decided to bake some cupcakes for her Dad all by herself {that DOES NOT include kitchen clearing and cleaning services}, and she set to work at the same time I was trying to layer the cake. I could have wept, but was VERY brave and soldiered on!Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream FrostingThe teen made pretty cupcakes {from my blog here} and declared they were better looking and tasting than any I had ever made! Of course they were… and then she went on to dress them up with butter-cream, sprinkles, oreos … ! She really did well on her first independent bake and frosting!

Chocolate & Strawberry Cream Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 15-18

Chocolate & Strawberry Cream Cake

A simple, moist, delicious cake that can be made ahead. The oil in the batter keeps the cake moist.



280gm plain flour

50gm cocoa

50gm cornflour

4tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

300gm powdered sugar

10tbsp oil {any neutral oil}

10tbsp water

4tbsp milk

6 eggs, separated

2tbsp kirsch

2tsp pure vanilla extract



300ml low fat cream

200gm strawberries, chopped {I used frozen}

1/4 cup sugar

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 vanilla bean, split


Chocolate Ganache

275gm dark chocolate, room temperature

150ml low fat cream, room temperature


  1. Cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 2 9" spring form tin.
  3. Sift the cornflour + flour + baking powder + salt + icing sugar (yes, it’s correct) into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat the egg whites till they stand in soft peaks & keep aside.
  5. Lightly beat the oil, water,yolks and vanilla extract together & stir into the dry ingredients.
  6. Beat until smooth, & stir in the kirsch.
  7. Fold the whites gently into the yolk mixture.
  8. Divide into lined tins & bake for about 45 minutes till well risen & golden brown. Check if it is done with a wooden pick.( Slide a sheet of foil lightly over the top if it begins to brown too fast).
  9. Leave in tin for 10 minutes, & then cool completely on rack.
  10. Once cool, cut into 2 or 3 layers. If it feels a bit dry, brush the layers with a simple sugar syrup while layering.
  11. Sandwich with filling {recipe follows}. Allow to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then frost with the chocolate ganache {recipe follows}. Let it sit out for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  12. Filling:
  13. First prepare filling: Place strawberries, sugar, scraped vanilla bean and balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan, and simmer till it becomes thick and jam-like. Cool completely. {Discard the bean}
  14. Beat cream to medium stiff peaks, and gently fold in cooled strawberry mixture, taking care not to release the volume of the cream.
  15. Chocolate Ganache:
  16. Place the chocolate with 100ml cream in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds {if the weather is warm as it is here, else try for minute}. You can also simmer it in pan until the chocolate melts. Stir until smooth, add the remaining cream and stir well to combine both into a smooth ganache.
  17. Give the cake one basic thin coating with this ganache, and reserve some for piping decorations. Add the remaining cream and mix until smooth.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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