Archive for the ‘Cake’ Category

Coconut Cup Cakes

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Since N travels a lot and we are vegetarians, it gives me a chance to share a lot of funny stories about food, particularly, airline food. When I accompany him on his tours, more than the joy of seeing a new place, I have the issue of preparing food for the travel. Usually I make tamarind rice or podi idli(both can stay fresh for atleast 2 days without using a fridge) for him to take for the journey. It sounds funny that at this age of freshly brewed coffee and to-go food options, I still make those old recipes.

But it was a life saver once- when N was on a non stop flight to Japan last year, though we had mentioned Vegetarian option, he was served Shrimp and chicken(as it is they offered food twice on the flight). And the only alternate options the crew had was a bag of peanuts and ice cream to munch for the 14 hour flight! Luckily I had made a pack of tamarind rice and he had that on the flight 😀

It helps a lot to have a sandwich or something in hand, given the flight delays and the options for vegetarians. If good food is served on the flight it is OK if the prepared food goes as a waste, but if nothing is there, then comes the trouble.

So many times N and I have munched on a plate of fruits (kiwi and honey dew melon to be exact), sadly looking at each other and watching others enjoy a hot and cheesey pepperoni pizza. That is a pathethic situation, you know?

I always make a point to pack something for our travels and if N has a early morning flight to catch, I make some fresh cupcakes or muffins for him to take.

These cupcakes are very simple, actually very basic recipe for cupcakes. You can alter it, add any flavors or colors or frosting and enjoy them. I made a basic batter and then baked two batches of cupcakes, one with cocoa and nuts and other with coconut.

Ingredients (Makes 12 cupcakes)

All purpose flour- 1 cup and another 1/4 cup
Baking powder -1/2 tsp
Butter- 1/2 stick (6 tbsp)
Sugar- 3/4 cup
Large eggs-2
Almond essence- 1/2 tsp
Coconut flakes- 1/4 cup
Milk- just to add if the batter is too thick
Cup cake liners- 12

Method:

Keep the eggs and butter at room temperature for atleast an hour before baking. Use self rising flour or add baking powder to the all purpose flour and mix the flours together.

Pre heat the oven to 365 F.

Beat the eggs in a bowl till fluffy using a hand mixer, then add butter into it and beat well again. Add sugar and flour, alternating them and mixing them and folding them into the eggs as you go along. Mix gently, not like the egg beating!

Add almond essence, coconut flakes and mix once. If you feel the batter is too thick, you can add 1-2 tbsp of milk to thin it out.

In a muffin pan, arrange the cupcake liners and scoop about 2 tbsp of batter and place it inside the cups. Do not fill the muffin pan till the brim, give some space for the cake to rise.

Bake in a 365 F oven for just 14-16 minutes, or till a fork inserted into the cake come out clean. Remove from the oven, let it cool for a couple of minutes and transfer the cupcakes on to a plate.

Serve with tea or enjoy them as a breakfast. These cupcakes(muffins) are starting their journey for Versatile Kitchen’s Bake off event.

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Zebra Cake!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Before you jump to conclusions, it is not zebra in a cake, but a cake like zebra(!!!!). I saw this recipe last year at Divya’s and also read about a lot of disaster’s while trying to make this cake from other blogs. But I wanted to try it anyways, thought if it does not turn out well, I can use the crumbs to make a cake on its own;

But the cake turned out to be a fantastic success. It was moist and colorful and quite different in looks from the ordinary cake. One thing you have to remember to make this cake is that you need patience- loads of it. Do not hurry to make this cake, thinking that you can put together everything in a jiffy. You have to wait before building each layer, so try it when you have nothing else to do.

Ingredients:

Eggs – 2
Self rising flour – 1 cup and another 3/4 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
Oil – 3/4 cup
Milk- Just under 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Baking Powder- 1 tsp
Dark cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons

Method:

Cakes taste better when all ingredients are at room temperature. Keep the eggs at room temperature for atleast a hour before baking the cake. If you are using butter instead of oil, soften the butter at room temperature.

Whisk the eggs well with a fork or a beater. Add oil, vanilla essence and milk and beat well.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Slowly add a handful of the flour to the bowl with eggs. Alternate with adding sugar and flour to the bowl. Do not mix vigorously as over mixing will result in a tough cake.

Once all the flour has been incorporated, check if the consistency is between that of a pancake batter- cake batter. If the batter is too thick, add either oil or milk to loosen it.

Now divide the batter into two equal portions. To one part, add the cocoa powder and mix well(let’s name this as cocoa batter). Keep the other half as it is(let’s call this white batter).

Putting together the layers:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. (Do this before making layers as layering takes time)

This cake looks good on a round pan so grease/dust a pan accordingly. Now, slowly add about a tablespoon of white batter as the base layer. Wait for it to spread thinly on the base on its own (takes about a minute). Do not hurry or shake the pan.

Once the white layer has stopped spreading, in the middle add a tablespoon of the cocoa batter. Wait for it to spread on its own on top of the white layer.

Repeat pouring a tbsp of white batter and wait for it to spread to the edge. Repeat with cocoa batter.

Keep alternating these two layers till you finish off both batters (or till the pan is 3/4th full with batter). As you keep filling each layer, you can see thick circles concentrating towards the middle as a peak.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or till the top of the cake turns golden brown in color. You can sense that the cake is done by the aroma or check by inserting a knife at the centre of the cake. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is done!

Remove pan from the oven. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Using a knife go around the cake pan to loosen the cake. Invert it on a plate. Let it cool completely and slice. Serve with tea! You can do chocolate frosting also.

This is not the usual thick, creamy, oozing with chocolate kinda cake, but this cake has enough chocolate to enjoy without feeling guilty! I am sending this Zebra cake to Divya’s Chocolate Cake Event.

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Say Cheese with Cheese Cake

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

United Kingdom…. A place I want to call home(after India of course). Some of the best years of my life were in the UK, got my first job there, secured a flat and experimented with lots of cuisines, but the best part was making so many friends. We would eagerly wait for Wednesdays in the uni cafeteria as the menu would feature orange cheesecake. My friends and I used to sit and enjoy till the last crumb of the cake is finished, helping ourselves to pots and pots of coffee.

After marrying N my cooking improved as he was a total foodie and most of his friends were almost like chef’s in their own field- most of them are master’s of the grill. I have already written about PM, who taught me the trick of tasty salads. One of our friends, C and I are absolute dessert lovers. Whenever we all meet to eat out, I try to catch his eye after dinner to make sure that I will have some company for dessert.

It goes without saying that cheesecake is my favorite. I have tried making cheesecake lots of times(failure is the tasty step to success here) and finally got it almost like a cheesecake. I followed some recipes by friends and also from food network(Giada- but I have to trust this skinny chef for cheesecakes). The official and unpaid photographer of this blog (N) is traveling and I hope the clicks I took are OK.

Ingredients:
For the base:

Crakcers/Cookies – 10 numbers
Sugar- 2 tsp
Butter- 2 tbsp

For the cake:
Cream Cheese- 1 cup ( 8 ounce can)
Whole milk Mascarpone Cheese- 3/4 cup (you can also use Ricotta cheese)
Eggs-3
Sugar 3/4 cup
Vanilla Essence/ Almond essence- 1 tsp
Lemon zest/ orange zest- 1 tsp (optional)

Method:

The best way to make cheesecake is to keep all the ingredients at room temperature. That way the cheeses softens on its own instead of beating it with a hand blender. Let the eggs and cheese stay at room temperature for two hours before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a blender, add the crakers(or cookies), sugar and powder well. Melt the butter in a pan slightly and add it to the blender with the crackers. Pulse once or twice so that it forms like a dough.

I prefer a deep (dish)baking pan than a broad cake pan as the cake gets the height from the pan we choose. Select a baking vessel accordingly and sprinkle some butter on the bottom of the pan and press down the cracker dough(to act as a base).

Use a tin foil and cover the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or till the cracker base turns golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cool. Do not remove the base from the pan, just the pan from the oven.

In a mixing bowl add softened cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Just use a hand mixer and go around the bowl twice or thrice, do not over mix the cheeses.

Add one egg at a time and incorporate the eggs into the mix. Add sugar and essence and mix well again. Add orange zest for color and flavor(if you are adding the zest) and slightly mix.

Heat water in a kettle till it reaches a boiling stage.

Pour the cheesecake mix into the pan which has the cake base( the cooled cracker base). Do not remove the tin foil used to cover the sides and base of the pan.

In a cake pan, pour the hot water till half the level and slowly place the cheesecake pan into the water bath.

Slowly place the water bath into the oven. Bake at 350 for one hour and ten minutes.

To check if the cake is done, slightly shake the cheesecake pan. The cake has to be firm. If there is some liquid at the centre and it moves slightly, that is fine and it will settle after cooling.

Remove the cake from the water bath and cool at room temperature for an hour or two hours. Cover and place the cheesecake in the fridge for 8-10 hours before serving.

Notes:
Baking the cheesecake in water bath gives the texture for the cake and also the softness. You can add any topping for the cake or even mix it with the cheese batter. Options are strawberry jam, sauce, chocolate sauce, fruits, powdered sugar etc etc.. I just did not want to make the cheese cake heavy by adding a topping 😉

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Savory cake for a change

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Dhokla

One weekend morning I was looking into my pantry thinking of putting together a breakfast. I grabbed some chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour or gram flour) and made this dish for a hearty breakfast. This has been sitting in my draft for quite some time and I am posting it today. Read very carefully till the end and you’ll know why it got its name :)

Ingredients:

Chick pea flour – 1.25 cups
Salt- to taste
Sugar- one pinch
Grated ginger- 1 tsp
Finely chopped green chilies- 1 whole chili
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil- 2 tbsp and another 1 tbsp
Water- 2 cups(approx).

For the topping:
Curry leaves- 1 handful
Cilantro – one handful
Green chilies-2
Salt- to taste
Lemon rounds- to garnish

Method:

Sift chickpea flour and baking soda together with salt and sugar. Add water to this and keep whisking to avoid any lumps. The batter has to be thick like a pancake better/idli batter.

Add grated ginger, chopped green chilies and 2 table spoons of  sesame oil to this flour mixture. Let is sit aside for 10 minutes.

Grease a broad,wide vessel (not tall vessel) with one table spoon of sesame oil. Pour the garbanzo flour mixture into it and steam it in a pressure cooker for 15-17 minutes. Check if it is done by inserting a fork into it, if the fork comes out clean, the cake has steamed well. Let it cool for a minute and slowly go around the edges with a knife. Invert it on to a plate.

The topping:

Grind the curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt, green chilies together into a thick paste. Add about 3 table spoon of water to this paste so that it is spreadable.

Arranging:

Spread the cilantro paste on top of the cake. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lemon wedges.
Slice and serve with khatta-meeta chutney.

If you are wondering, yes, it is dhokla! I just wanted to try it this way to see if I can add some more flavor and moistness to the dhokla. And this version was a change from the usual dhokla we make that I thought of building another layer with some other chutneys the next time.

I added plain water, but you can also add yogurt instead of water or a mixture of water and yogurt.

Garbanso-Cake

And I am sending my savory cake for a change to Divya’s show me your cake event.

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