Tag Archives: Baking

Eggless Chocolate Fudge Brownies

So how many of you eventually guessed right about what I made with those ‘yummy in the tummy’ Palak Pakoras? Yes, I made my version of Kadi Pakodi with them alright. Is that what you guessed I did? I know some of you did, from the comments you left me. Yoohoo! Full brownie points for knowing me well. No really, I mean the ‘brownie’ bit all the way. ‘Cos my dears, I have some piquant and divine brownies for you today. What’s more, they’re cocoa brownies so they’re really really easy-peasy to make as well. You cannot get away without making these. There’s no escaping now. Muhuhahaha! *evil roaring laughter* :D Continue reading

Deviled Potatoes

I love having people over, and I love hosting parties. I love everything to do with the hosting – planning, sending out invites, the prepping, and I don’t even mind the clearing up after everyone’s left too. There’s one thing I just hate doing though – preparing starters that entail deep-frying. Much as they are the easiest to dish up, I just abhor the thought of standing in front of the frying pan. Not my cup of tea. Uggghh! So when Nags suggested we all come up with ideas for savoury appetizers that would be easy to make in bulk (for about 50 people or more), it had me all excited. It was like she had leafed through my mind and decided to give me a chance to fix for my problem.

Continue reading

‘Tales from your Kitchen’ – Mridubhashini’s Chocolate Truffle Cake

It’s a wonderful feeling the way I share a really good bond with some of the readers of the blog. Some of them have gone on to become really good friends now. One of them is Mridubhashini, who is also fondly known as Mittu. We both end up chatting on IM almost everyday, and if I don’t catch her online anytime during the day, I feel like I’ve missed doing something important that day. Sometimes, because of our schedules and the different time zones we’re located in, its like playing hide and seek with each other, but we finally manage to catch up, and it feels so good. That’s how indispensable some friends become after a while, don’t they? Specially, when those friends are so like-minded! When I announced the Chocolate Fest event for CCN’s 1st Blog Anniversary, she immediately IM’ed me saying she would send me something nice for the event. And she definitely did! Mittu, am I glad we’re friends or what? For now, I’ll be content with the pictures, but when we finally meet, Im surely getting you to make this for me ;)

Now, over to Mittu -

“This is my entry to your choco-mania fest :D!!

I made this cake for my hubby’s birthday. The first one after we got married. It was pretty eventful that time, DC area was blanketed with snow and the whole place came to a halt and stepping out was a nightmare. I sent the birthday boy himself, to go get me the ingredients so I could bake it for him :D Teehee! This cake is a wonderfully chocolatey and not too sweet; its bittersweet chocolate and liqueur all the way. Hic!

Here is the recipe in the order I made it:

Chocolate Truffle Cake

(Recipe Source: Cakes: 1001 Classic Recipes)

Ingredients:

For the Truffle:

  • Bitter-sweet chocolate (broken into small pieces) – 1/2 cup (4 oz)
  • Heavy Cream – 3 tbsps
  • Unsalted Butter – 1 tbsp
  • Confectioner’s Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Orange liqueur – 1 tbsp (I used frangelico, hazelnut liqueur)
  • Cocoa – 1/3 cup

For the Cake:

  • All-purpose flour/Maida – 2 cups
  • Cocoa – 1/4 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Bitter-sweet chocolate (broken into small pieces) – 1/4 cup (2 oz)
  • Butter – 1/3 cup at room temperature
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Cream Cheese – 1/3 cup (3 oz), at room temperature
  • Eggs – 2 nos, at room temperature
  • Orange liqueur – 1 tbsp (I used frangelico, hazelnut liqueur)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Water – 3/4 cup

For the Filling:

  • Bitter-sweet chocolate (broken into small pieces) – 1 cup (8 oz)
  • Heavy Cream – 1/3 cup
  • Orange liqueur – 2 tbsps (I used frangelico, hazelnut liqueur)

For the Frosting:

  • Bitter-sweet chocolate (broken into small pieces) – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps (5 oz)
  • Butter (softened) – 10 tbsps
  • Confectioner’s Sugar (optional) – 1/3 cup (adjust as per taste, or avoid altogether)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Procedure:

For the Truffle:

  • Melt the butter, chocolate and cream in the microwave, or on a double boiler, over barely simmering water.
  • Add the confectioners sugar ( I sifted it once before adding) , liqueur until its smooth.
  • Refrigerate for about 30 mins atleast.
  • On a plate put about 1 tbsp of cocoa powder.
  • Roll spoonfuls of mixture into small balls and dust your hands with cocoa powder and coat the balls with the cocoa powder on the plate. Refrigerate till needed.

For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter two 9-inch round pans and set aside.
  • Into a large mixing bowl, sift the flour cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on a double boiler and set aside to cool.
  • Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar till creamy (at medium speed).
  • Add the eggs one at a time, until blended after each addition, reduce the speed to low and add in the melted chocolate, liqueur and vanilla extract.
  • Add the dry mixture gradually alternating with water.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 25 -35 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 mins and remove from pans and cool on the cooling rack.
  • Once cooled, cling-wrap the 2 cakes and put them in the freezer for atleast 1/2 an hour. The cake is very very fragile and when splitting, the cake could come apart. plus this way you can avoid crumbs on the frosting and filling!

For the Filling:

  • Melt the chocolate and the cream in the microwave, or on a double boiler over barely simmering water. Add liqueur, stir well and set aside to cool.

For the Frosting:

  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave, or over a double boiler of barely simmering water.
  • With the mixer at medium speed, beat butter and confectioners sugar in a medium-sized bowl until creamy.
  • Beat in the melted chocolate until glossy and smooth. Set aside

To assemble the cake:

  • Slice each cake horizontally into two layers.
  • Place one layer on a flat base/serving plate, and spread 1/3 rd of the filling on top of it.
  • Repeat with the 2 other layers till you have one last cake layer left.
  • Top with remaining layer and spread the cake with the readied frosting evenly on the top and sides, using an offset spatula.
  • Decorate the cake with the prepared truffles and sprinkle with sifted cocoa.”

That looks like a very piquant dessert Mittu! Thanks so much for sharing it with us, and also for sending it over the Chocolate Fest :)

All you folks, Sree Vani’s Chocolate Tart is coming up next so keep those pretty peepers peeled, cos that is one big mamma of a chocolate tart. Vani, unless I get some of that tart, the giveaway book ain’t reaching you ;) Just kidding, but I’m coming over for that tart sometime soon, so please make some for me. Oh yes, Vani and I live not too far from each other, so we like to exchange our baked goodies once in a while. Do I see your face turning green with envy? Muhuhahahaha ;)

One-minute Vegan Microwave Black Forest Cupcakes

Yes, you read it right! These cupcakes get done in a minute. They’re vegan. They can be made in the Microwave. And they’re Black Forest cupcakes at that. Beat that! I must say, one of my most successful experiments born on one heck of a super-rainy, super-gloomy, super-cozy afternoon. Not being the kind to take such time out to nap (I can see some of you raising your eyebrows to this and thinking I’m nuts, but yes, I strictly save my afternoon siestas only for the weekends), and having watched the rain long enough to have gotten bored of that as well, I ended up donning my apron and heading to the kitchen. Put on some nice music while I could still hear the pitter-patter of the rain all around me, and I was good to go. The ambience was set, the ingredients were all available in my pantry, the power supply board wasnt playing spoil-sport…oh, I was a happy baker-woman alright :) And when these cuppie cake babies were done, did I do a little jig or what? You can be sure I did more than one ;) Having said all that, I must admit I had a much bigger and better reason to be making these delicious babies. I was meeting a special vegan friend later in the day, and I simply had to put something together for her. Want to know who that is? I’m sure you do! Y’all should know SunshineMom of Tongue-ticklers. Yeah, so she happened to be in town, and we’d decided to meet later that day. All the vegans out there, you must totally head to her space…she has wonderful, magical creations churning out of her cook-pot.

One-minute Vegan Microwave Black Forest Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes

  • All purpose flour/Maida – 3/4 cup
  • Cocoa – 1/4 cup
  • Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup (If you don’t have brown sugar or if procuring it is tough, just go ahead and use normal white sugar).
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Flax seed powder – 2 tsps mixed in 1/2 cup warm water
  • Warm Water – 1/4 cup ( This is in addition to the 1/2 cup of warm water for the flax seeds)
  • Oil – 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
For the Frosting:

  • Non-dairy whipping Cream – 3/4 cup (I used GoldTop)
  • Maraschino cherries – 15 nos
  • Cherry Syrup/Freshly squeezed Orange juice/Home-made Sugar Syrup –1/4 cup (Since the cupcakes are sweet enough by themselves, we wont be using any added sugar with the cherry syrup/orange juice. If you are using home-made sugar syrup, use not more than 2-3 tbsps sugar. The whole idea is to moisten the cupcakes, not sweeten them anymore. I used freshly-squeezed orange juice).
  • Rum (optional) – 1 tbsp, to be added to the cherry syrup (I didn’t use any, but feel free to dunk some in your syrup, and get all tipsy…hic!)
  • Dark Chocolate Bar – a small bit, grated (I used Chocolate Vermicelli)

Note: This proportion makes 15 standard-sized cupcakes.

Procedure:
  • Line your silicon muffin cups with paper liners and set aside. (I used individual silicon muffin cups).
  • Take a bowl and add all the dry ingredients to it – maida, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt (Yeah, no sifting…this is as easy-peasy as it gets!)
  • Add the sugar, stir well with a balloon whisk to incorporate.
  • Stir in the warm water, oil, vanilla essence and the flaxseed powder-warm water mixture. Mix well. The batter must have a ribbon-like consistency now.
  • Pour the batter into the readied silicon moulds. Pour the batter only about halfway up the moulds. I spooned 2 tbsps into each mould.
  • Now cook the cupcakes on high for a minute, or till done (My microwave sets to 900W at high power. Please check yours and increase the time by a minute or two, as required). I did mine in batches of 4 cupcakes each.
  • Give the cupcakes a standing time of 10-15 seconds and put them through the toothpick test to check if its done well. The cupcakes should be soft and springy to touch when done. If they’re too firm, they’re overdone, and if you try biting into them once they’ve cooled, they could be so hard as to even break your teeth. So keep checking every 10 seconds or so, unless you’re secretly in love with your dentist! Once you do one batch, you’d be able to confidently set the timer on the successive batches.
  • Once done, remove from the microwave and let the cupcakes cool in the moulds for a couple minutes. Remove from the silicon moulds, turn onto a wire-rack and let cool completely before you can do the frosting.
  • Poke short, small holes on top of each cupcake – about 5-6 holes on each cupcake should work just fine. And don’t go all the way to the bottom with the holes. Remember, the rock bottom’s paper, and you don’t want that getting soggy. Half-way down should work.
  • Pour about 1 tsp of the cherry syrup/sugar syrup/orange juice on top of each cupcake (that is all it can hold).
  • Now coming to the frosting, you should have chilled the whipping cream for at least 10-12 hours in the refrigerator. Also chilled the beater blades and bowl in which you plan to whip the cream, about 1/2 hour atleast. Stainless steel bowls work best for this.
  • Whip the cream on high for about 3-4 minutes, to a hard-peak stage (if you make a peak with a spoon, the peak should stay longer than 5 seconds).
  • Pipe the whipped cream in a swirly pattern onto each cupcake with a star nozzle.
  • Sit a plump cherry in the centre of each cupcake and sprinkle some chocolate vermicelli/grated chocolate, and voila!
  • Wait, don’t gobble them just yet. Refrigerate the babies for about half an hour before serving. Trust me when I say that it will only taste better if you do. Let the flavours get to know each other a little bit. They need to get ready for the big moment when you bite into them. And its all for your own good. You gotta treat those taste-buds well right? ;)
I made 2 batches of these cupcakes. By that, I mean I made 30 of them. Apart from sharing them with SunshineMom, I also shared some with my neighbours, and sent the remaining cuppie cake babies to the hubby’s workplace for them to gorge on while they slogged their butts out. You should make 30 cupcakes and share them with everyone around you too! The joy of sharing is absolutely un-paralleled. Period :)
Needless to say, this is going straight to my ‘Chocolate Fest‘ and sitting right at the centre, winking at you all, teasing you. So, have you had your share of chocolate today yet? You haven’t? Go, go, go…make some of these piquant, yet sooper-easy-to-fix cuppie cakes. You so deserve them!
If you want to make the big-mamma, ie the regular Black Forest Gateau, you can find the recipe here.
Before I wrap up this post, just a small note to SunshineMom: Though I’ve spoken to a lot many bloggers on the phone/IM, nothing quite like meeting the face behind a space in person! You’re the second blogger I’ve met and it was wonderful meeting you even if it was for a short while. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet up. Next time around, I’d love to have you over at my pad if you can make it :D

Dark Chocolate & Orange Gateau AND An announcement for a Giveaway!

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” - Julia Child

Happy Anniversary to my darling blog-baby ‘Cook-curry Nook’!

Yoohoo, lookie who’s back! I started the first year of CCN with a Chocolate fudge Brownie post, and I’m starting the second year with this dreamy ‘Dark Chocolate & Orange Gateau’ post! What’s the common aspect? Chocolate of course! What? You didn’t see that coming? Really? You’ve gotta be kidding me! Ok, let’s get back to what we have here. Remember ‘The Chocolate Fest‘ announcement? Yeah so…much as I would have loved to post a chocolate-y recipe everyday, I haven’t had the time, cos work’s been pretty demanding, what with long work hours and all that, it has really been hard to devote time to the blog. I know, I know, that is SUCH a bummer, really. Nonetheless, starting today, I hope I can take you all with me, for a dive into the pool of chocolate nirvana! Are you ready? Go on, raise your hands…let me see them. Aaaaah, there you go! Good, now come along in a single line and await your turn as each of us dives into the pool. OK, now I really sound more like a college lecturer, physical training teacher, don’t I? Yeah I get it, work’s taking its toll on me, so you will pardon me won’t ya? So go ahead and ditch that stupid single line form, come running and jump into the pool of nirvana! Make a splash! And the one making the biggest, highest splash, wins a chance to make another, bigger, higher splash!! Ready? 1-2-3…get set…gooooooooooooooooooo!!

This mushy, heart-shaped Dark Chocolate & Orange Gateau was made for a cake order I had recently. Yes, I now do cake/pastry orders in Bangalore, thanks to all that motivation and support from family and friends. Thank you people! So if you are in Bangalore and need some piquant desserts, you know whom to contact, yeah? Of course it’s me silly! I also will have a separate blog up and running for the cake business pretty soon, and will share the link with y’all as soon as it’s ready, so keep your eyes peeled. So yes, no pictures of a slice of this cake since I didn’t get to cut it, however, I hope I can still have you drooling like a puppy! Go on, I give you the permission…drool away ;)

Before we get into the recipe, allow me to let you in on a small secret, no, make it a BIIIG secret. But it’s not a secret anymore if I’m going to tell you about it eh? So what’s the big deal about the BIIIG secret…it’s a G.I.V.E.A.W.A.Y!! Yoooooohoooooo, yessssssssssssssssss! Just a little something from me to you, to thank you for everything you have done to contribute to one great year CCN and I have had with you guys, and of course, we look forward to many more! So what is it you think? When I call for a Chocolate Fest, it’s only befitting that the giveaway be something to do with it yes? So here we go guys – I’m having a copy of ‘Chocolate Holidays’ by Alice Medrich to giveaway to one of you lucky guys out there! And how do we decide which one of you lady luck will favour? Easy! You send me your chocolate-y entry, and a random entry shall be picked by the end of the month. In keeping with this new announcement, Im extending the last date for sending in your entries to ‘The Chocolate Fest‘ till the 30th of November 2010. So that’s 15 more days than you first had. Go on, whip up those sinful delights, and send them over to the virtual party all this month!! Here’s the cover of the Giveaway Cookbook to help tempt you into making those treats more ;)

Dark Chocolate & Orange Gateau

Ingredients:

Fatless Chocolate Sponge

  • All purpose flour/Maida – 1 cup + 1 tbsp (120 gms)
  • Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup (30 gms)
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup (150 gms)
  • Eggs – 5 nos
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp (2.5 gms)
  • Warm water – 1 tbsp (15 ml)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp (I used 1 tsp of crushed Vanilla bean)

For the Filling:

  • Whipping Cream – 1 cup (I used Goldtop)
  • Chocolate emulsion – 2 tbsps
  • Orange Juice (freshly squeezed) – 1/2 – 3/4th cup (do not sieve the juice, include some of the pulp)
  • Powdered Sugar – 3-4 tbsps (to add to the orange juice, since the juice will not be very sweet by itself)

For the Frosting – Low-fat Ganache:

(Source: Suma of Cakes & More!!!)

  • Low-fat Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Dark Chocolate (chopped) / Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips – 2 cups (I used chopped dark chocolate)
  • Unsalted Butter (optional) – 2 tbsps (this is what gives you the velvety glaze, so if you’re not particular about it, you can skip it)
  • Vanilla essence  – 1 tsp (at room temperature)
Procedure:

Fat-less Chocolate Sponge:

  • Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Line and grease a 9 inch cake tin (I used a heart-shaped tin, as requested for the order).
  • Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl, and beat together till it forms soft peaks, about 10 minutes.
  • Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder thrice.
  • Fold in the flour mixture little by little into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, taking care not to lose any volume, at the same time ensuring there are no lumps in the batter.
  • Add the 1 tbsp of warm water, and mix lightly.
  • Gently pour the batter into the readied tin.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. It took exactly 32 minutes in my oven.
  • Remove from oven, and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before you turn onto the wire-rack. Once you remove the cake from the tin, remove the lining as well, and allow to cool completely.
Low-fat Ganache:
  • Heat the milk and butter in a thick bottomed saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  • Once it has started boiling, reduce heat to minimum and tip in the chocolate.
  • Stir vigorously with a spatula and you’ll find the chocolate melts in just a few seconds.
  • When the last of the chocolate is still melting, turn off the flame and continue stirring till you have a smooth, velvety mixture.
  • Cover your pan with cling film, and allow the ganache to come to room temperature, about a couple of hours. In the meanwhile, get cracking on assembling your gateau.
  • Once the gateau has come to room temperature, tip in your vanilla essence and give it a stir, and you’re good to go.
Assembling & Filling:

  • Chill the whipping cream for at least 10-12 hours in the refrigerator. Also chill the beater blades and bowl in which you plan to whip the cream, about 2 hours atleast. Stainless steel bowls work best for this.
  • Whip the cream along with Chocolate Emulsion on high for about 3-4 minutes, to a hard-peak stage (if you make a peak with a spoon, the peak should stay longer than 5 seconds). The whipped cream will be beige in colour (from the chocolate emulsion). Once done, set the bowl in the fridge.
  • Now, get down to assembling the gateau. Here’s a trick to get a smooth finished gateau – use the bottom of the cake (that was in contact with the lining) for the top. So this means, the actual top of the cake goes to the bottom of the gateau. If the cake has risen too much in the centre, gently level it with a long, serrated knife and then turn upside down. (That way, you also have some cake crumbs to munch on while you work on the cake ;) ).
  • Nest, this is a very important step to get a flat surface on top of the frosted cake. Using some food colour (I chose yellow), dip a toothpick in the food colour and draw a line anywhere on the side of the cake, from top to bottom. This line will act as a reference when you have to assemble the slices, and the cake will sit perfectly in place, and give you a wonderful flat surface on top. Miss this step and you’ve got to be content with a shapeless, wobbly cake once done!
  • Gently cut the cake into 2-3 slices horizontally (I cut mine into 2 slices).
  • Place the bottom-most slice on a turn-table if you have one. I used a thick piece of cardboard covered with glossy silver paper (like they use in bakeries) for the base. I set this base on a high vessel/pan (whose mouth was narrower than the base was wide) that would rotate easily, and that became my cost-effective turn-table! Much as I would love to own one, who says you have to own an expensive turn-table to decorate your cakes?
  • Drizzle the sweetened orange juice over the bottom layer of the cake. Ensure you cover all of the surface area.
  • Using a palette knife/offset spatula spread some whipped cream generously over the bottom cake layer (don’t spread the cream too much to the edge since the next layer coming over it will push the cream to sides anyway). The more whipped cream you fill your layers with, the taller your gateau will get. But don’t overdo it, else, you’ll taste only cream in the end. Cream layers about 3/4th-inch thick should work just fine.
  • Now place the second slice of cake over it (remember to match the slices by the yellow line you drew with the food colour), repeat with syrup and a thin layer of whipped cream on top, and finish the sides with a thin layer as well.
  • Now sit the cake in the refrigerator for atleast a few hours. Mine was sitting inside for almost a day, and boy did it work wonders for the flavours! Sitting the cake in the refrigerator for as long as you can manage really helps the flavours to marry well.
  • Once the cake has sat in the refrigerator for a good amount of time, get it out, and bring on the food porn! Of course, I meant the ganache! Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and smoothen gently with an offset spatula to cover the entire surface.
  • Carefully cover the sides of the cake also with the ganache. Dip your offset spatula in the ganache, bring it to the side of the cake, and turn gently to touch the sides of the cake. Work gently since there’s whipped cream on there already. Since the cake has been refrigerated for a while, the whipped cream will behave. If it doesn’t, you need to teach it to.
  • Finish by decorating the top of the cake as per your choice. I made swirls on the side like a border. Then I sat 3 sugar roses to a side, and piped a random doodle onto the other side to create that aesthetic balance, and tada! I had a mushy, smug-looking, heart-shaped, dreamy gateau to deliver to my friends celebrating their wedding anniversary!
Happy Anniversary Pria & Kaushik! As for the verdict, they both did come back to me and say they loved the dreamy gateau to the hilt. Did that make me jumpy and excitable or what?!! :D
Suma, thanks heaps for such a keeper of a ganache fix! You can be sure I’m going to be using this concoction very often ;)
For all you readers out there, here’s a heads up on what’s to come on CCN…Im left with about 8 tbsps of the ganache, which I have frozen, and Im definitely coming up with something sinfully provocative for you guys, so yes, stay tuned! ;)

Btw, I have some really melt-in-the-mouth sweets coming up for Diwali too! In the meanwhile, you might also like some other Indian sweets like these -

or even something not-so-traditional like Home-made Chocolates & Chocolate-coated Biscuits for your Diwali giveaways.

Gosh, ok now, this was a really really long post…longer than I intended. But after 15 days of no talking to you guys, I sure had a lot to spill out!

So don’t forget to make all those yummy chocolate-y treats and send them over to the virtual party. Stay tuned for I have a lot of interesting stuff brewing in my cook-pot. Looking forward to another great year with all you foodies. Bon-Appetit!

Pineapple Fresh cream Pastry

“My Daddy strongest!” Oh yes, I’m definitely Daddy’s girl, and the kid-bro is Mamma’s boy. I didn’t even for a single second, have trouble deciding what I should make for Daddy’s Birthday. He loves Pineapple pastries right from the time I can remember, and I’d decided long back that I was going to make it for his B’day. Much as I thought I had everything perfectly planned, there were many factors already pitting against me to play spoil sport. BESCOM (our electricity board here in Blore), was the miscreant. There was a time last month, when we used to have power every alternate hour, but I didn’t know that yet, bcos it had just then started. Two days before Daddy’s b’day, in the evening, I got ready to bake the sponge, and just as I set out to put everything on the kitchen counter, power cut. Phbbt! Power didn’t come back till early next morning. I didn’t get worked up much since I had another 2 days to go. Next day, I get back from work, same sardonic power cuts before I even start off, so same sad-me, same sad story all over again. This time, I silently started having panic-attacks. “What if I’m not able to bake the cake at all”, NO, I didn’t even want to think about it. I didn’t want Bakers’ nightmares….nooooooooooooo!

On Daddy’s B’day morning, I determinedly set out for the third time. This time, I got as far as preparing the batter, and just about putting the cake into the oven to bake, and phbbt, power cut again! I happened to be chatting online with Suma, and cried my heart out to her, and she suggested I quickly move the cake tin from oven to an empty cooker, which I did. I knew the cake took exactly 32 minutes to bake in the oven, and I figured it would take the same amount of time, give or take 5-10 minutes. So I put the cake tin in, sent up a little prayer, and waited…the house was wafting with the smell of pineapple and I was almost on the brink of pineapple-wafting-though-the-house-nirvana. Finally, after what felt like hours, on the 25th minute, I open the cooker and what do I see? Blasphemy! The cake was burnt on the sides! *sob* It was just not my day; maybe I’d woken up on the wrong side of bed that day. Whatever it was, I thought this experimenting was not going to work and I had to get back to the oven when power came back. By then, I had noticed a pattern in the power cuts and told myself I had to win this battle at any cost. So the next hour when power came back, I quickly whipped up the batter,  poured it in the cake tin, baked it, and took it out of the oven, just in the nick of time. The second I took it out, power cut again! But this time around, I couldn’t care less. B’cos, as the cake was baking, I’d also whipped my whipping cream for the frosting, and I didn’t need power anymore. Whatever lighting I needed, I managed with our inverter back-up, and phew! yes, I finally managed to make Daddy his B’day cake. Though the cake didn’t really get time to soak up in the syrup like I normally would have loved for it to, there was absolutely no compromise on the taste. The B’day boy simply loved it, and so did the others who got to peck at it. At the end of the day, I was a happy person. To hell with BESCOM, I managed to put up quite a fight, and everyone loved the results. That’s what mattered most after all.

Phew! OK, are you still there? Good, ‘cos having bored you with this story, now’s when we move onto the interesting part – how you can make this treat too (sans all the trouble from your electricity board, of course), and wow your family! So sit up tight in your seats, and gear up for a gastronomical experience that will have you salivating like an adorable puppy!

Ingredients:

For the Fat-less Sponge:

  • All purpose flour/Maida – 1 1/4 cups (150 gms)
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup (150 gms)
  • Eggs – 5 nos
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp (2.5 gms)
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsps (I used 1 tsp of crushed Vanilla bean)
  • Pineapple essence – 2 tsps

If you do not wish to make this fatless sponge with egg, I’ve also made an eggless sponge and will post it soon enough, so gear up for it if you aren’t an eggitarian. The rest of the procedure for frosting/decorating the cake stays the same.

For the Filling & Frosting:

  • Whipping Cream – 2 cups (I used Non-dairy whipping cream ‘Gold Rich’s’, and since it was slightly sweetened, I didn’t any additional icing sugar to my whipped cream. It made 4 cups whipped cream)
  • Canned Pineapple – 1 tin
  • Pineapple Syrup – from 1 tin canned pineapple (OR) Home-made sugar syrup by mixing 1 cup powdered sugar in 2 cups water, and chilled.
  • Powdered Sugar – 3-4 tbsps (to add to the pineapple syrup, since the syrup will be very tart by itself)
  • Rum (optional) – 1 tbsp, to be added to the pineapple syrup (I didn’t use any, but feel free to dunk some in your syrup, and get all tipsy…hic!)

Procedure:

Fat-less Sponge:

  • Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Line and grease a 9 inch round cake tin.
  • Put the eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and pineapple essence in a bowl, and beat together till it forms soft peaks, about 10 minutes.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder thrice.
  • Fold in the flour mixture little by little into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, taking care not to lose any volume, at the same time ensuring there are no lumps in the batter.
  • Gently pour the batter into the readied tin.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. It took exactly 32 minutes in my oven.
  • Remove from oven, and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before you turn onto the wire-rack. Once you remove the cake from the tin, remove the lining as well, and allow to cool completely.

Assembling, Filling & Frosting:

  • Chill the whipping cream for at least 10-12 hours in the refrigerator. Also chill the beater blades and bowl in which you plan to whip the cream, about 2 hours atleast. Stainless steel bowls work best for this.
  • While the cream, beater blades and bowl are doing their bit and chilling in the refrigerator, chop half the tinned pineapple slices to make 1 cup of chopped pineapple pieces. Set aside.
  • Reserve the pineapple syrup and rest of the pineapple slices.
  • Once you’re good to go, start by whipping the cream on high-speed. Whip until thick and starts holding peaks, about 5-7 minutes. Once done, set half aside in the refrigerator (for the frosting).
  • Next, get down to assembling the gateau. Here’s a trick to get a smooth finished gateau – use the bottom of the cake (that was in contact with the lining) for the top. So this means, the actual top of the cake goes to the bottom of the gateau. If the cake has risen too much in the centre, gently level it with a long, serrated knife and then turn upside down. (That way, you also have some cake crumbs to munch on while you work on the cake ;) ).
  • Now, this is a very important step to get a flat surface on top of the frosted cake. Using some food colour (I chose yellow), dip a toothpick in the food colour and draw a line anywhere on the side of the cake, from top to bottom. This line will act as a reference when you have to assemble the slices, and the cake will sit perfectly in place, and give you a wonderful flat surface on top. Miss this step and you’ve got to be content with a shapeless, wobbly cake once done!
  • Gently cut the cake into 3-4 slices horizontally (I cut mine into 3 slices).
  • Place the bottom-most slice on a turn-table if you have one. I used a thick piece of cardboard covered with glossy silver paper (like they use in bakeries) for the base. I set this base on a high vessel/pan (whose mouth was narrower than the base was wide) that would rotate easily, and that became my cost-effective turn-table! Much as I would love to own one, who says you have to own an expensive turn-table to decorate your cakes? Make the most of whatever you have at home. Adapt! At the end of the day, it is survival of the fittest!
  • Drizzle the pineapple syrup (to which you have added adequate powdered sugar) over the bottom most layer of the cake. Ensure you cover all of the surface area (I feel like a Geometry Teacher now!).
  • Now, using a palette knife/offset spatula spread some whipped cream generously over the bottom cake layer (don’t spread the cream too much to the edge since the next layer coming over it will push the cream to sides anyway). The more whipped cream you fill your layers with, the taller your gateau will get. But don’t overdo it, else, you’ll taste only cream in the end. Cream layers about 3/4th-inch thick should work just fine.
  • Next, spread half the chopped pineapple pieces generously over the cream.
  • Now place the second slice of cake over it (remember to match the slices by the yellow line you drew with the food colour), and repeat the syrup>whipped cream>chopped pineapple pieces ritual.
  • Place the last and final layer of the cake (remember again to match the slices by the yellow line you drew with the food colour), repeat with syrup and a thin layer of whipped cream on top, and finish the sides with a thin layer as well.
  • Now sit the cake in the refrigerator for atleast 2-3 hours, to allow the flavours to marry and get to know each other well. The longer the better; overnight works best. (And if you’re worried about the other half of your whipped cream going flat by this time, don’t worry, good whipping cream if whipped properly, should stay intact for atleast 3 days. If my word still doesn’t instill the confidence it should in you, then whip 1.5 cups cream for the filling, and whip another 0.5 cup just before you want to complete the frosting).
  • Once the cake has sat in the refrigerator for a good amount of time, get it out, finish the top and sides of the cake with more whipped cream. Work with your palette knife/offset spatula and dip the knife/spatula in cold water every 3-4 strokes, to get a smooth finish on top of the cake.
  • Next, use a cake comb if you have one/want to use one, and make fancy patterns on top of the cake, if you fancy it that is. Else, move onto the next step.
  • Finish by decorating the cake with the remnant pineapple slices and other toppings of choice. I piped swirls with a star nozzle at equal distances on the rim, and sat some yellow vermicelli in the centre of each swirl. And then I piped swirly patterns all over the top of the cake, and stood three yellow sugar flowers in the centre. Lastly, since I had some more pineapple slices left, I quickly put some all around the cake and, voila! I had my most beautiful creation right before me, and boy was I happy!

Like I said before, don’t let the elaborate steps in the procedure deter you from making one of these fancy bakes. The joy you get when you hear a loved one appreciating you for your efforts is simple unparalleled and worth every bit. So the next time there’s a birthday or special occasion in the family, don’t rush to your favourite bakers to buy a cake; instead make this, this or this pineapple pastry by hand, and I assure you, you’ll be overwhelmed by the response you get! Go on, just do it!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I came across the original recipe on Ambika’s blog last week and ever since, have been so tempted to try these. I made a couple of changes to it and I had some yummy Double Chocolate Chip cookies to go with my chai this evening. I managed to give the mister a pleasant surprise when he got back home after a weary day at work. That million-watt smile on his face when I handed him the usual cuppa with the unexpected plate of these delicious cookies, was priceless! ;)

Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat flour – 2 1/4 cup (I used whole wheat flour to make it healthy. Feel free to replace with all purpose flour if you aren’t feeling too health conscious!)
  • Cocoa powder – 2/3 cup
  • Baking Soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Butter – 1 cup (softened)
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Brown Sugar – 2/3 cup(packed)
  • Pure Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Eggs – 2  nos, large size (for the vegans, replace with 1 teaspoon of baking soda along with 1 tablespoon of white/apple-cider vinegar, for each egg to be replaced)
  • Dark Chocolate chips – 2 cups

Yield: Makes roughly about 60 cookies.

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350F).
  • Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together about 2-3 times to ensure even mixing. Set aside.
  • Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract till it forms a peak consistency (The mixture should form peaks on the top surface).
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually beat in the sieved flour mixture.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  • Using your hands, make small portions of the dough and form small balls.
  • Slightly flatten them with your palms and place them on the cookie sheet/tray, leaving at least 2 inches gap between the cookies.
  • Bake for 11 minutess or until the centers are set. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 mins, then remove to cool completely on wire racks.
  • Enjoy the heavenly treat with a nice, hot cuppa in the evening, or just with a glass of chilled milk to go along with your breakfast…you know, like I call it that ‘Chocoholic Bliss’!! ;)

I am sending these cookies over to Mahimaa’s Contribute Your Recipes Event – Cakes and Cookies.

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

I finally made some time to bake, and what best to resume with after a long sabbatical, than something with Chocolate in it! It so appealed to the Chocoholic in me!! I decided to try my hand at some Chocolate Fudge Brownies. They turned out so yummy and I knew right then that this would be the first post on the site. So, here you go –

Ingredients:

  • Butter – 250 gms
  • Dark Chocolate – 200 gms
  • Powdered Sugar – 300 gms
  • Eggs – 4 nos
  • Vanilla Essence – 1tsp
  • Maida – 160 gms
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Walnuts (finely chopped) – 50 gms

Makes: 26 square slices

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 250 deg C
  • Line the base of a cake pan (10″ x 7″) with butter paper, or grease the base with butter and dust with maida or sugar till well coated and keep the dish aside.
  • Beat the Eggs well till fluffy and keep aside.
  • Powder Sugar and keep aside.
  • Seive the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Seive 2-3 times for better results.
  • Cut the dark chocolate into small pieces and microwave with the butter for 1-2 minutes till the mixture melts into a brown liquid.
  • Mix together, powdered sugar along with the butter and chocolate mixture and blend well for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the beaten eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla essence.
  • Fold in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, stir in the chopped walnuts and blend the mixture well.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the greased cake dish and lightly pat the dish on the floor to even out the cake mixture inside the dish.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, till done. A toothpick test should give you a clean toothpick, and then voila! Yummylicious Brownies…all yours. Bon Appetit!

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