Daring Bakers March 2011- Meringue Filled chocolate cake

Now that I’ve got my blogging mojo back I figured I just had to be part of this month’s Daring Bakers challenge.

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

The cake, I must tell you was simply delicious and I cant wait to make it again. I halved the recipe so didn’t have enough of the dough to make the pretty circles the rest of my DBers are so beautifully making. But what the heck it was awesome! Trust me.

But before I share the recipe with you here’s something else I wanted to share.

I did mention I’ve forayed into teaching didn’t I?

So far the only little problem Ive faced is one of forgotten basics.I can’t for the life of me remember the (little) grammar I did know in the first place.

So in my quest to brush up on English Grammar I went looking for some grammar books at the local library.

Turns out they did not have that many books on English grammar. But lurking within the Humor section I found Grammar Sucks by Joanne Kimmes. It’s definitely one of a kind and i just wanted to share a small excerpt with y’all.

Interjections

The list of interjections sounds more like words from a porn movie script than words from the English language, for just about any word or utterance can serve as an interjection.Here’s a list of some of the most common interjections, which coincidentally , is the exact same dialog from the classics film Debbie Does Dallas.

ah oh ugh
aha oh no well
help ooh wow
hey ouch yeah

Interjections have their uses , but you need to exercise caution. Peppering your conversation or writing with interjections will make you seem at the least hyperactive, or at the worst an overly bubbly teenager. Because of this , interjections should be used only when necessary(unless, of course you are writing for the sequel: Debbie Does Dallas Again)

You gotta love a grammar book with a sense of humor.

Well, here’s the recipe…

FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
But I halved it.

Ingredients
For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 tsp cardamom(optional)

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:


1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
I found that I needed to add more flour to get the desired consistency.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.


Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

image from Ria-just using it for indicative purposes.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).Do not lay it on too thick or it may ooze out when you are rolling it up.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side.II found it rather difficult to roll it completely so just picked up the other end and completed the roll:)

Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.(or just leave it loaf like-like I did)

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

Apple Cake for the Monthly Mingle

We dont eat very healthy at home…What? YOU KNEW????? Is it that obvious????
Well, I dont wanna hear the answer to that one, so Im just gonna get to the point…
The point being that although fruits are NOT a regular part of our diet, we do consume it in its most unhealthy avatar- desserts! Yes I LOVE fruit desserts- You’ve probably seen the Apple Cheesecake, the Mango Upside down , the Pineapple Cake and various others I have already raved about.

This APPLE CAKE is another deliciously fruity cake I had bookmarked eons ago…
source:smitten kitchen

6 apples cored and chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pan and keep aside. Toss the apples with the cinnamon and the 5 tbsp sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Mix to blend all the ingredients.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

This one goes to Monthly Mingle whose theme this month is Fruit in Baking this month. Monthly Mingle is the brainchild of the wonderful Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey and hosted this month by my fav blogger Deeba of Passionate About Baking!

Swiss Roll Ice Cream- DB July


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Cake and Ice cream..Now that’s a combination that has the angels carousing in divine happiness..and who are we mere mortals to resist its exquisite pleasure.

To say we were thrilled at the prospect of making this dessert would be an understatement….and the end result did not disappoint. NOT ONE BIT. On the contrary it was a perfect dessert at a party we had a few weeks back that had my guests oohing and aahing like never before.

Taking a picture was another story altogether. Somehow the cake came apart by the time I took pictures so the pics I must admit belie its incredible deliciousness.

I made this dessert over the course of 4 days though it can be done in just a day. The ice creams took longer than I expected…..actually deciding what flavor of ice cream to make took even longer. But finally I chose to make a chocolate chip Ice cream and a caramel ice cream. Both turned out great….but sadly don’t have pictures. Maybe next time. Yes there will be a next time for sure. This one’s a keeper. Thanks Sunita.

Swiss roll ice cream cake

The Swiss rolls-

Ingredients-

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ 3 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /2.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Method-
1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
3. it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate until there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those. Gently add to the vanilla ice cream and mix well and freeze again.

Caramel Ice Cream (Glace Caramel) Recipe
Adapted from here

Serves 4

Ingredients

70 g sugar
80 ml cream
3 egg yolks
360 ml milk
1 vanilla pod

Method
1. To make the caramel, put 45 g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until it dissolves and starts to caramelize – tip the saucepan from side to side as the sugar cooks to keep the colouring even. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream (it will splutter). Stir over low heat until the caramel remelts.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring just to the boil, then strain over the caramel.
4. Bring back to the boil and pour over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
5. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until it is thick enough to coat the back a wooden spoon.
6. Do not let it boil or the custard will split.
7. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave over ice to cool quickly.
8. Churn in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instruction.
9. Alternatively, pour into a plastic freezer box,cover and freeze.
10. Stir every 30 minutes with a whisk during freezing to break up the ice crystals and give a better texture.
11. Freeze overnight with a layer of clingfilm over the surface and the lid on the container. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

The Hot fudge sauce

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

ngredients-
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

Method-
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Assembly-

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
3. Soften the chocolate chip ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
4. Add the fudge sauce over the chocolate chip ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
5. Soften the caramel ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.
6. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
7. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Two Creations

A friend of mine had asked for a Tanjore painting as soon as she moved in to Goa 2 years back.

I finally finished the painting yesterday..a few days before she leaves for her next posting in Mumbai!

and now I’m tired!

As someone said “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

But nothing perks me up like baking so here’s something I made from the Deeba’s wonderful blog…

Gâteau à l’Orange

4 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
100 g of softened butter
100 g sugar
150 g flour
3 eggs, separated
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp rum
1 Tbsp orange essence (or Cointreau)
1 pinch of salt
Butter (to grease the pan)

Method:
Heat the oven to 170C.
Grease a 6″ cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment
In a bowl, beat the sugar and softened butter together.
Add the yolks one by one to the butter and sugar mixture, taking care to mix each one thoroughly before adding the next one and beat until you obtain a smooth batter.
Add the rum and the orange essence/Cointreau and mix again.
Mix the flour and baking powder together and add it to the batter by “raining it in”. Mix well.
Cut and juice the oranges. Pour half of the resulting juice in the batter, add the zest and mix.
Beat the whites until firm with the pinch of salt. Add them delicately to the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for an hour, checking the coloration from time to time. It will be dark orange when done.

Pour the other half of the juice into the cake while it’s still warm. Take care not to pour it too fast and not to let the cake cool too much before you do so.

Serves 8.

This Cake goes to the ongoing event Bake-off in Champas blog.

The Disgusting and The Delicious

Use your kitchen sponge to clean your toilet.

Wait! Did u read that right? Yes you did because with the way many of us live we could do this and be none the dirtier. So read on for a few tips to get you going to a healthier, cleaner life…

Let’s start with the Kitchen Sponge; that innocent looking green scrub that no kitchen can do without.
(image courtesy offthemark.com)
Did you know that it carries more than 134000 bacteria per square inch …Horrible isn’t it.
Sponges are a popular party venue for bacteria and the moist environment is a total bacteria magnet. Often people use the sponge to wipe up raw meat or fish from the sink counter and then use the same sponge to clean their baby’s bowl. Nice huh!!
So what can we do, you ask?

For one you could disinfect them, or better still stock up on a few and REPLACE them every week or so. Also leave them to dry in-between every few uses as most bacteria can only survive a few hours on dry surfaces.

Your Cutting Board is also a hot bed for germs. Don’t believe me? Read on.
It is said that there could be more that 200 times fecal bacteria on your seemingly innocuous cutting board than your toilet seat..YUK YUK YUK!
So what can you do? Divide and Rule, I say! Use separate cutting boards for vegetables and non vegetarian food items. That solves a lot of issues.
Clean your board using hot water and detergent and the wash using a chlorine bleach-water mixture. Do this often (and I don’t mean once a month!)

Another potential bacteria breeding ground is the Kitchen Sink. Full or empty, the sink is housekeepers sink of woe, as germs tend to LOVE to live here. Keep baking soda and an old tooth brush near the sink at all times and clean using hot water as and when possible including the tap and tap handle as well.
Now that’s wasn’t too difficult was it? A few extra minutes is all it takes and you have a cleaner home and life!

After that bit of kitchen gyaan let me share with you a delightful cake that I made using the recipe that I found on the Purple Foodies blog..


Chocolate Walnut Marbled Cake

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup coarsely ground walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
9oz. / 250g. butter
3oz./ 85g. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/4th cup hot milk
1 3/4th cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Butter and dust a loaf pan.Use a loaf pan..I didn’t have one at the moment so used a regular cake dish…thats why they dont look so good…The marbled effect comes out beautifully in a loaf tin.
2. Whisk together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt.
3. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt 2 tbsp butter with cocoa and chocolate. Heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Mix together the butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes .
5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, until the mixture looks smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
6. Now either on a reduced speed, or by folding in by hand, add the flour and hot milk alternately.
7. Now take a little less than half the flour and mix it with the chocolate mixture that you set aside earlier. Stir till it is thoroughly blended – don’t overmix.
8. Pour in the white mixture into the pan then the chocolate mixture and then the white mixture again into the bundt pan without stirring and then run a knife through it once or twice for very visibly distinct two layers. For a pronounced marbled look, stir the knife through the batter a few more times.
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the knife comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so before unmoulding.
Hope you enjoy it…

The Easiest Dessert Ever- From Portugal


I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure

I’m a typical Libran. Most qualities that apply to the Libra Zodiac usually match mine. And one that certainly stands out is my indecisiveness;my friends and family will vouch for it I’m sure!

I suck BIG TIME at making decisions. Seriously. Ask me to choose between A and B and maybe we’re OK, but ask me to choose between A,B and an infinite number of other choices and boy! are we in a Buridan’s ass situation

First i want this, and then i want that …and then i want this again….i can do it all day long.

Sourse: CartoonArt

To chose one dessert off Portuguese Cuisine put me in such a quandary. I had so many I wanted to make…there was the Portugal Leite Creme – Egg and Milk Custard, then i decided to make the Bolo Rei – a traditional Portuguese cake/bread. Finally it came down to deciding between Bolas de Berlim which are plump little ovals of fried dough–white flour tanned by the ovens heat and filled with custard(YUM!!) and the Bolo De Bolacha- Chocolate Cake Roll.

What I finally did make was the Queijadas Economicas or simply Milk Tartlets . I finally chose these because they seemed ridiculously easy to make. It was so easy that i JUST HAD to try it out.

The end result was really nice. It didn’t have great texture or anything but tasted delicious…comfort dessert, if i may….

The addition of cinnamon gave it beautiful flavour and I was extremely pleased with my decision.So were my kids:)

The recipe I found here.Its a lovely blog with lots of great recipes.

And Hey! Have you ever noticed that Libra is the only inanimate sign of the zodiac, all the others representing either humans or animals? Doesn’t that make us most unique and desirable ????What say you?

Ingredients

300 gr/ 2 cups sugar
50 gr/ about 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
0.5L/ 2 cups milk
150 gr/ 1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs

Preparation
Mix all the ingredients well well then pour into greased muffin pans.

Bake at 375 º for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with a mix of cinnamon and icing sugar.Serve warm(I did!)

This quick and easy dessert goes to the A.W.E.D event started by DK of Chef In You and hosted this month by the lovely Priya.

Give me a TINKLE anytime…

supandi
“I have been asked to keep an eye on the boiling milk…….any suggestions on what I can do with my other eye till then??!” – a Suppandi original.

Did you know that Suppandi, of the Tinkle Comics fame will make his debut on the silver screen next November 2010?It seems that the producers of the 28 year old comic series, ACK Media, are producing a stereoscopic 3D animation film with Suppandi as the protagonist.

For those not-in-the-know, the Tinkle and ACK comic magazines were one of the standard reads for loads of Indian kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and Suppandi of Tinkle fame was a rectangular-headed village simpleton who often got into troubles because he insisted on thinking for himself. His clumsiness and uncanny ability to get into trouble and his journey from one mishap to another made him such an endearing fool. .

When I read this snippet of information in last week’s Economic Times it brought in a deluge of memories. Did you know the idea behind starting Amar Chitra Katha came to its founder Mr. Pai when he watched a quiz contest on Doordarshan in February 1967, wherein participants easily tackled questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question “In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?”

I too read a whole lot of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle magazines all though my early school life and even now I sigh with fondness every time I can lay my hands on one. These magazines helped me and many others develop an interest in Indian Mythology and its vibrant history.

I have spent countless hours lost in the vivid stories of poets, dreamers,magical lands, valiant kings and queens, courageous freedom fighters, the clever animals, sly animals… the repertoire was endless and best of all was the eternal victory in all stories of good over evil…if only life were as black and white now….

Anyway I’m going to leave you with a pudding that is as simple as it is delicious …but don’t go by the picture. Its one of those ugly duckling puddings; the taste of the pudding is in the eating……
Chocolate magic mud pudding
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Serves 4

50 g butter
200 g brown sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup self-raising flour( I used its sub i.e.for 1 cup self-raising flour substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75 ml cocoa powder

Vanilla ice cream to serve.
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease and keep ready an ovenproof dish( preferably use a soufflé dish as it will support the sponge as it rises)

Put in the butter, ¾ cup of the sugar and 2/3 cup of the milk in a saucepan and heat gently until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remember to stir frequently.

Now, sift the flour, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of the cocoa powder into the pan and stir into the mixture.
Pour this batter into the prepared dish and level the surface.

Sift the remaining sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl, mix well and sprinkle over the pudding batter. Pour in the remaining milk over the top and bake for 40 minutes or until the sponge is firm to tough.

Serve hot with ice cream.

Retro- All the Way……

pineapple upsidedowncake

Decided to go RETRO this week and bake what (for me) screams retro like no other- the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I had earlier very successfully baked its mango namesake.
( it was praised with such superlatives that have not been bandied about since) and I decided to try out the original version this time. Although I didn’t have the cherries to adorn these beauties, they still turned out looking great (my below average photography skills don’t do it complete justice- in case you are wondering what I’m talking about!!) They tasted absolutely divine too!!!
arvind_swamy then
arvindswamynow
Also on that retro note I wanted to share with you this somewhat recent picture of Arvind Swamy(for those of you in the know). He had such charming and cute looks earlier and I was a big fan. The college where I did some studying (Stella Maris, Madras) was right next to his home and we would wait longingly for him to make his appearance in his balcony. What a transformation..

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
16 oz can of pineapples
4 eggs, separated
grated rind of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Melt the butter in an oven-proof cast-irom frying pan about 25 cm in diameter.Set aside 1 tbsp of this melted butter.

Add the brown sugar to the frying pan and stir until melted.

Place the pineapple slices on top in one layer.Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining melted butter and the lemon rind until smooth. Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff using an electric mixer, and fold in the granulated sugar 2 tbsp at a time.

Fold in the egg yolk mixture.

Sift the flour and baking powder and fold this into the egg mixture in three batches. Spoon this batter over the set pineapples.

Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean..about 30 minutes.

While still hot place a serving tray on top of the pan bottom side up. Holding them together using oven gloves flip over.

pineapple upside down Cake

Serve hot or cold.

Moroccan Chocolate Yogurt Cake

Night-Out
The venue was Fisherman’s Wharf, a lovely restaurant by the river Sal. The Food was good, the ambience great and the company outstanding. We were meeting some old friends who were holidaying in Goa and we had such a fabulous time.
Options for vegetarians are a bit limited in Goan restaurants but thankfully for my friends, this place had an almost fair share. All-in-all a great evening.

Earlier in the afternoon when my kids took a nap I made a Moroccan chocolate cake. It was all that it claimed to be…and oh-so-soft.

Moroccan cuisine is very new to me and I must thank DK of Chefinyou who started A Worldly Epicurean Delight (A.W.E.D) event and this months host Cooks hideout for giving me a chance to read up so much about this wonderful place. There were so many things I wanted to try out (Brochetter-a lamb kebab, pastilla,baklava-a very popular dessert, the moroccan tea
…..) and a few I didn’t want to try(brain fry, liver sauce, calves heel, snail…) but I had the ingredients for this cake so that’s what I baked…
Moroccan Cake

First make the Chocolate Sauce

In a saucepan, mix together:
3/4 cup of cocoa powder (in Morocco this is “Caobel” powder)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
1 1/3 cups water

Bring these ingredients to a boil. Cool 2/3 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator.

Now the Cake
Sift 2 2/3 cups of flour along with 3 tsp of baking powder.

In a mixing bowl, beat four eggs, together with ¾ cup granulated sugar, and 2/3 cup of cooking oil. Add ½ cup of yogurt. Add the flour to this mixture.

When the remaining chocolate sauce has cooled to room temperature, add it into the batter, and mix well.

Bake in a greased and floured bundt (circular tube) pan, in a medium oven (350 °F, or gas mark 5) until a knife, or toothpick comes out clean. When done, immediately remove from pan, while still very hot, and pour the refrigerated chocolate sauce all over the top of the cake, while the cake is still very hot. Immediately take a table knife and poke the cake in various places so that the sauce goes through. There you have it. Chocolate drenched cake….

Nutty Banana Cake

Nutty Banana Cake
3 dozen bananas! That’s how many I had at home. I brought some and my husband got some more and we got even more in our monthly ration (thanks to the navy). I had to do something with at least few of those bananas- and fast.

I had a long day, what with my youngest son’s birthday fast approaching so I wanted to bake something that was easy to make and appealing to everyone. Then I remembered the Banana Cake recipe my mother had given me. The resulting cake was super moist, fluffy, sweet and tender. It’s a good cake for almost any occasion –a birthday, dinner or anytime you have some extra bananas languishing in your kitchen.
This is a rather large cake so you might need 2 9-inch pans, esp if you intend to frost the cake.

2 ½ cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ cup buttermilk
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup eggs( 3 eggs)
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ ripe bananas, mashed well
½ cup finely chopped nuts

banananut

Preheat your oven to 350 C. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients together and beat on low speed for 1 minute and the beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour mixture into a prepared baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and pulls away from the sides of the pan

Golden Cake

Soft & Fluffy

Soft & Fluffy


My mother has been baking these cakes for a long long time. In fact I remember eating this even when I was in her womb..ok ok, maybe I am exaggerating a bit too much, but the point is if there is ANYTHING you want to try from this blog THIS IS IT (well I do hope I haven’t said this very same thing about anything else) have I? But really,I beseech you to try it. It’s outrageously effortless and tastes just DIVINE! Oh, do try it, you’ll thank me. I promise.

Golden Cake

2 ¼ cup flour
1 ½ cup table sugar
3 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup milk, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

This is super super easy, and the texture is just WOW. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients together and beat half a minute on slow speed and then 3 minutes on high. Pour into a prepared (greased and floured) cake tin and bake at 190 C for 35 minutes or until a fork/skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble with Topping

Apple Crumble with Topping

“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.” Mark Twain

I started off making this recipe as a ‘It’s a Sunday, let me make SOMETHING!’ sort of experiment. I have friends who rave about apple crumbles and though i’ve never liked them too much, this one seemed different, and different it was! In a good way, of course! Everyone loved it; I mean it was an absolute minx of a cake. This one definitely gets the THUMBS UP! Serve with ice cream- A heavenly after-dinner dessert.

Apple Crumble with Brown Sugar Icing.
Adapted from chocolateandzucchini.com

180g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 apples cut into small pieces
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
Walnuts, as many as you prefer.

Set your oven to 180 C .

Beat the butter and sugar together till fluffy and light then add the eggs.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in the remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, apples and milk).
Spread it into the prepared baking dish and bake for around 35-40 minutes. Set aside to cool. Serve with ice cream over top with icing.

Icing
100g butter
3 Tbsp milk
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup icing sugar

This is an unbelievably simple to make, just melt the sugar and butter together, add the milk and bring to a boil, all the while stirring continuously. You can add more milk or reduce the sugar depending on the consistency you like the frosting. Remove from heat and put in the icing sugar once the mixture has cooled. Carefully spread over the baked and cooled apple crumble.

Mango Upside-Down Cake

Mango Cake -Just Yummmm...

Mango Cake -Just Yummmm...

“It’s better to loose a hand… than lose a mango”…I read that somewhere. Mangoes are really precious to most.Very few people actually dislike the taste of the mango-the so-called ‘King of Fruits’. The mango originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years, and apart from being a tasty comfort fruit they are pretty nutritious as well. Did you know that they contain vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to the papain found in papayas? Cool huh?
I had actually just read all this off the internet, and what do you know, I did have some
extraneous mangoes lurking in my kitchen. So I did what I know best-Bake. I pulled out a recipe from a cousin’s old hotel management book for pineapple upside down cake and used it for the mangoes. Voila!!
The cake was exquisite. I’m sure they would have looked a lot more lovely had I paid some attention to arranging the mangoes neatly. But the taste was GOOD! I swear I could hear angels chorusing when I took a bite. Try it out. If there is one thing you will never regret, THIS IS IT.

INGREDIENTS
40g unsalted butter (melted)
100g caster sugar
2 large mangoes
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp baking powder
75ml milk, at room temperature
225g plain flour

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180 C

Butter your cake tin well.

In a small saucepan , over low heat dissolve the castor sugar and 2 tbsp water over a

Bring to the boil and continue to cook without stirring until the sugar has turned a deep caramel colour. Immediately add the 40g butter and
swirl the pan to combine. Pour immediately into the
cake tin, covering the base evenly. Keep aside to cool.

Cut the mangoes into even sized strips and arrange neatly over the hard caramel
in the cake tin.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and the salt and mix well with a spoon.

Now beat the softened butter and the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly add in the beaten eggs, beating well after each addition.

Fold in the flour mixture into the butter mixture using a spoon until just blended.

Add the milk and mix again until the mixture is smooth.
Carefully spoon the cake mixture over the mango slices, ensuring that the mango slices stay where they are.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle
of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before turning on to your serving dish.

Hawaiian Delight

Hawaiian Delight

Okay, I must admit I’m rather excited about this particular recipe so I’ll launch straight into it rather than try and get into some sort of esoteric lead-in paragraph. This recipe is just pineapples all the way. And so rich and yummy..An assured crowd pleaser!

Hawaiian Delight
Recipe courtesy: Martha Stewart

Ingredients
1 recipe sponge cake (I used pineapple essence instead of vanilla)
1 tin pineapple slices ( I used fresh ones)

Icing
250 gm whipping cream
6 tbsp powdered sugar
Yellow colour (if required, a pinch)
1 tsp pineapple essence

Topping
Almonds- 2 tbsp toasted
Sugar-1/2 cup
Water 2 tbsp
Pineapple

Hawaiian Delight

METHOD

Prepare a pineapple sponge cake. Let it cool and cut horizontally into 2 pieces.

Beat the chilled cream till it becomes stiff and forms soft peaks, add sugar and essence and mix well. Chill.

Chop the pineapple very finely.

Prepare praline topping – Add sugar to the water in a saucepan and boil. Let it caramelize. Stir in the almonds and take off heat. Spread on a steel plate and let cook. Grind coarsely when cool.

Soak the 2 pieces of cake with the pineapple syrup. Since I used fresh pineapples I used sugar syrup mixed with 1tbsp of rum to soak the cake. But remember do not make it too moist. Just 4-5 tbsp should suffice for each piece of cake.

Spread 3-4 tbsp of the chilled and beaten cream over the base of the cake.

Now sprinkle some pineapple pieces all over the cake. Carefully place the second piece of cake over the base of the cake. Press gently and now spread the remaining cream icing all over the cake. Chill. Decorate with chopped pineapple pieces and the praline topping.

Lemony Cheese and Yogurt Cake

Lemony Cheese and Yogurt Cake

Lemony Cheese and Yogurt Cake


Although my kids and husband are die-hard chocolate lovers, i dont mind trying out different flavours every once in a while. So it was with a certain bit of apprehension that I tried out the following recipe. I got the recipe from Farida’s Azerbaijani s wonderful site.Although Feta cheese was what was actually recommended, I opted for the regular processed variety as anyother variety is rather hard to come by here in Goa.The recipe did say specifically no salted cheese….but i didnt have a choice and bravely decided to go ahead!!

The cake was sweet and moist and tasted very much like a cheesecake and i am a sucker for cheesecakes! I loved the lemony flavour in the cake but my kids( not surprisingly) did not really like it too much. Nevertheless, it was a good easy recipe and the end result was quite nice.

LEMONY CHEESE AND YOGURT CAKE

Ingredients

(250 g) unsalted white
1/2 cup (4 oz/113 g) butter, melted
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
Coarsely grated zest of one lemon
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C

2. In a large bowl crumble the cheese into small bits; add the flour, eggs, vanilla and the melted butter. Beat at medium speed until blended.

3. In another bowl beat together the yogurt, sugar and the lemon zest.

4. Combine the yogurt mixture and the cheese mixture. The batter will be quite thin, as it is supposed to be.

5. Pour into prepared pan and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the cake is slightly golden on top and spongy when lightly pressed. The cake would not have risen, but that’s the way it should be. Once cool dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Zebra Cake

Check Out My Stripes :)

Check Out My Stripes :)


Was not so sure about this recipe but am so glad i did try it out. It was absolutely fun to make and had such a different pattern to it. My family loved it and when i served it to some friends who came to visit they loved it as well. The original recipe called less sugar so i needed to dust icing to suit our tastes. The texture turned out perfect too. All-in all a good cake. This one is for keeps!

ZEBRA CAKE

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake

INGREDIENTS

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

You’ll also need: mixing bowls, electric mixer or wire whisk, 9 inch (23 cm) non-stick round cake pan.

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar until the mixture is creamy and light in color.

3. Add milk and oil and the vanilla essence and continue beating until well blended.

4. In a separate bowl, sift, combine and mix flour,baking powder and the baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly blended. DO NOT OVERBEAT to prevent air pockets from forming in the batter.

5. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder into the another and mix well.

6. Lightly grease the pan with oil.

7. Now come the most important part. Scoop a big ladle of the plain batter into the middle of the baking pan. Then using another ladle of the same size scoop the cocoa batter and pour it over the center of the plain batter. Do not stop and wait until the previous batter spreads – KEEP GOING! Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them.

8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Enjoy with or without icing…..

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