Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake

Those of you who hail from Colombo, you know what I'm talking about. The ribbon cake that you had for every birthday cake since infancy. The ribbon cake your mum makes. The ribbon cake that Fab (sorry I can't find a link for their website) is famous for (at least in my books). And you can't get it anywhere else. 

So when I wanted to make a cake for a very special little girl (my cousin's two year old daughter), I looked no further. And the recipe wasn't too hard to come by (I used the recipe on Malini's Kitchen, which you can find here, they have called it a butter cake, but in my books, its the same recipe. I used more butter and less icing sugar for the frosting, other than that, I followed the recipe and it came out perfect)

Its basically a cake made using the creaming method, so the cake is rather dense, but not too wet, like dessert cakes. Its really easy to make, and its called ribbon cake because you use three different layers (usually blue, red and green, but really, any colours you fancy), and layer the cake with butter cream icing. I hate sugary sweet icing, so I reduced the sugar and increased the butter. This made decorating a bit of a pain because I had to keep chilling the icing, given the heat wave we are suffering with these days. And the fact that my tiny kitchen was really really hot because I had just baked the cake. 

You know how it is, you are all organised and decide to make the cake the previous day and decorate it on the day. So you start making the cake on friday (night, at 11 PM when all the shops are closed) and realize you don't have an essential ingredient(s) like flour, and eggs. Oh, and butter. And you then wake your husband up at 7.30 am the next day and have him scour the open shops for these ingredients. And the sleepy shop keepers in Colombo open up at 10. And you have a couple of hours to bake, hyperventilate, decorate, hyperventilate, shower, spruce up and get yourself to the destination. Yeah. Life is so complicated when you are organised. 

I seriously cut things rather close that day, I started baking at 12 and had to leave by three; I had three separate layers to bake, and the cake refused to cool. I even stuck it in the freezer at one point in desperation. Luckily one of my besties was home that day (we did brunch as well, to add to the complications), and she willingly helped me. She even offered to tie me to a chair with an extension cord if I didn't stop poking the cake every five seconds to see if it was cool enough. What with melting icing and a hot cake, it was rather a stressful day. 

But the result was worth it. The little girl I noted above was thrilled, and insisted it was her birthday and even blew out candles after we obliged. I tried to recreate the 'rose cake' of i am baker fame, but since I didn't have the 1M tip, the result was rather, well, not rosy. Not very much. But I like it. And the two year old liked it. So it must have some artistic finesse. And I think the adults invited to tea also enjoyed the flavor if not so much the looks. Really, the Sri Lankan Ribbon cake cannot be beat when it comes to afternoon tea. Try it and you'll realise what we are talking about. Absolutely five stars. I even found a blog named ribbon cake, written by a Sri Lankan. I know Sri Lankans who live abroad, who refuse to have any other type of cake for their birthdays. They find a Sri Lankan, somewhere in the vicinity, who can bake and decorate a ribbon cake, a la Sri Lankan style, for them. 

Word of caution, this type of decoration takes a lot of icing. Make extra. You can see the gaps in the picture below. Luckily, when you are 2, you hardly notice these things. The candles take up all your attention. 

1 comment:

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