Kerala Style Plum Cake – Christmas Cake!

Hello My Dear Wonderful readers!

As I made this wonderful cake, I cannot believe how fast this year went by. It’s close to a year since I started the blog, my son is almost a year an a half old and everyday there is so much happening! Some times I cannot believe that so much happened in a year and on the other hand I cannot wait for the new year to begin. My little peach takes all my time and for some strange reason I am ok with that. Maybe thats what motherhood feels like! Even as I am typing this post out, my son is sitting on my lap and every now and then I have to hit the delete button cause there are random taps on the keyboard. But all I can see is a little boy, who can look at me and melt my heart just by a little smile. That being said, being a mother also has its hard days. Like when he gets up on the wrong side of the bed and he throws a tantrum and turns the whole house upside down. Yes, I am sure you know what I am talking about if you are a mum too.

Now while I was making this cake I was reminded of my childhood days in a small temple town in Kerala. My grandfather was an advocate and a man of great importance. No not just for his skills at advocacy but for his knowledge in Β science, maths and astrology. You know how in those days everybody knew everybody in villages and towns? Just like that everybody knew him and everybody loved the food my grandmother makes. So people would flock to my ancestral home for lunches and late dinners. But during this time of the year, my house would sing another tune. This was the time when every morning we would wake up to a delivery boy standing with a cake box in his hand and a note that wished all of us a “Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year”. The boxes would be left on the bigger dining table in the main room and we would wait for my granny to open it! Oh the excitement to see Kerala Plum Cake, dressed in hard royal icing, with leaves of a florescent green and roses of electric pink and dark red! And a little thin cardboard piece that spelled “Merry X’mas”. That was the best! My granny would bring a nice thin knife from the kitchen and we all would fight for the biggest pieceΒ and we would save the “roses and leaves” for the end. Finally we would be happy with cake in in our bellies, red colour tongues and little hard icing all over our face. Yes, Christmas was only about the food.

I almost forgot. The little delivery boy would also have two amber bottles in his hand. Wrapped in the local news paper and then tied with a string, these bottles housedΒ the greatest wines I have ever tasted! Β No they were not just grape wine. They ranged from passion fruit, to holy basil wine! Yes, Christmas was that time of the year when cake and wine was an every day affair in Kerala.

PS – we never ever got to taste the wine apart from the sweet grape “wine” which was served in plastic glasses to the children so they don’t break the glass πŸ™‚

This recipe was one shared by a close friend of mine and they make them inΒ Kilograms! They make them in trays and bake for almost an army! and believe me nothing ever goes to waste!

Soaking Dry Fruits and Nuts :-

  1. Raisins – 50 gms
  2. Pistachio – 50 gms (de shelled and plain)
  3. Sultanas – 50 gms
  4. Cashew Nuts -50 gms
  5. Walnuts – 50 gms
  6. Apricots – 7 -8
  7. Candied Ginger -4 – 5 (long)
  8. Candied Oranger Peel – 5 peels
  9. Dates – 100 gms
  10. Almonds – 50 gms
  11. Prunes – 4
  12. Candied Cherries – 12
  13. Rum – Β 180 ml

Instructions :-

  1. Open a zip lock bag and add all nuts. Close the bag making sure to push out all the air within the bag
  2. Now after closing the bag, using a rolling pin, roughly smash the nuts to bring to coarse mixture. Drop the nuts into a Β clean glass bottle
  3. Now place the rest of the fruits on a chopping board ( except the rum :p) and roughly chop to small bits
  4. Add the chopped fruit into the bottle with the nuts
  5. Now add the rum over the fruits and close the lid tightly
  6. Give the bottle a nice shake and set aside to soak away!
  7. Let the bottle at least 2 days to rest by the end of day two you will see that all the rum has been absorbed by the fruits and nuts!

Now when you are ready to bake this beauty, the first thing you need to make is the golden syrup. This is what gives the cake its colour and that dark intense flavour. This part is a little tricky cause you want the liquid to resemble honey. Also at all times use a long spoon/ ladle and watch out cause you are playing with hot hot sugar!

Ingredients:-

  1. Sugar – 1 cup
  2. Water – 1/2 cup ( make sure you have a table spoon in hand)

Instructions :-

  1. In a sauce pan, over low flame add the sugar and let the sugar begin to melt. Do not stir till you see the sugar begin to caramelise from the sides
  2. Slowly when you see it begin to bubble just slowly use a ladle and give it one stir and add one table spoon of water
  3. The sugar will slowly turn from white, to yellow to brown to a dark brown, that is when you will see the sugar begin to bubble, take the pan off the heat and slowly add rest of the water one spoon at a time and stir well
  4. Finally you will have a nice thick, dark brown syrup! That is the heart of this recipe

Baking the Cake

Ingredients :-

  1. Maida/ Cake Flour – 250 gms
  2. Powdered Sugar – 1 + 1/2 cup
  3. Baking Powder – 1 + 1/4 tsp
  4. Baking Soda – 1/2
  5. Butter – 250 gms
  6. Salt – 1/4 tsp
  7. Soaked Fruits
  8. Prepared Golden Syrup
  9. Eggs – 4
  10. Vanilla Extract – 2 tsp
  11. Cloves – 5 Β –
  12. Cardamom – 5
  13. Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 tsp
  14. Nutmeg – half a nutmeg
  15. Dry Ginger Powder – 1 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. Pre heat your oven to 180C and line a 9 inch pan with baking paper. Make sure to line the sides of the pan with paper a few cms above the height of the pan
  2. Drain out any excess rum from the soaked fruits and receive for later use
  3. In a bowl, combine flour , baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sieve the mixture twice to make sure the ingredients have combined well. Take a table spoon for the dry mixture and mix into the drained nuts. This stops the nuts from sinking to the bottom of the pan while baking
  4. Powder all the whole spices with the powders and set aside
  5. Separate the egg whites and set aside. Beat the egg whites to form soft peaks
  6. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine sugar and butter and mix together for a nice paste
  7. Then add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and spices
  8. Then add your golden syrup that was made earlier
  9. Now divide your flour mixture into 3 parts and slowly combine with the spices egg butter mixture within the bowl
  10. After the flour, add the egg whites also into 3 parts
  11. Finally add the soaked fruits and nuts. If you have any liquid left from the soaked mixture then add only 3 – 4 tbsps of the liquid to the batter
  12. Pour the batter into the greased and lined cake pan
  13. Bake for 50 – 55 mins or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  14. Once done take the cake pan out of the oven and set to cool for 10 mins, then run a knife alone the side of the cake pan to release the cake
  15. Invert the cake over a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature
  16. Make sure to cut only after it has cooled completely!
  17. Enjoy

Ginger Bread White Chocolate Cheesecake

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

Some times I wish there were more hours in a day! I cannot believe how fast this week has gone by. In the back of my mind I think I have done so much but when I look around I figure there is so much more to do. Like this post which has been pending for over a week now. Time is a luxury for a mother of a 1 year old and as a person who loves to cook and bake, some times it feels like nothing is getting done.

3 days were spent trying to develop a biscotti recipe and after 3 failed attempts I nailed it. I will post that recipe soon. Needless to say “soon” could mean tomorrow or two weeks from now. For now this is the recipe for my Ginger Bread Cheese Cake. Have fun!

Ingredients Β :-

  1. Ginger Bread Cookies – 12 – 13
  2. Butter – 100 gms
  3. Cream Cheese – 400 gms
  4. Eggs – 3
  5. Vanilla Extract – 2 tbsp
  6. White Chocolate – 250 gms
  7. Icing Sugar – 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
  8. Diary Cream – 3 tbsp

 

Instructions :-

  1. Melt butter in a microwave and then cook to room temperature
  2. Powder the Ginger bread cookies in a blender to fine
  3. Now mix the butter with the powdered cookies
  4. Grease your spring foam pan with butter and then tip in the butter + cookie mixture
  5. Press down firmly into the pan evenly to create a nice even layer. Set the pan aside
  6. Pre- heat your oven to 160 C
  7. Heat water in a pan. Then in another bowl add the white chocolate and set over the boiling water
  8. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water in the pan below
  9. Slowly melt the white chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside to cool completely
  10. In the bowl of your stand mixture, with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and cream cheese to form a nice smooth paste
  11. Then add the vanilla extract. Once the extract has combined start adding the eggs once at a time
  12. Finally add the white chocolate (at room temp) followed by the cream
  13. Stop the mixer and crap down the sides of the bowl and give it one nice mix again
  14. Slowly pour your white chocolate cream mixture into the prepare tin over the ginger bread layer
  15. Pop it into the oven and bake for 50 – 55 mins
  16. Now the only way you will know if the cheesecake is done is when the time is up, shake the pan a little bit the centre might be a little wobbly but the sides should stand firm
  17. Now leave the pan inside the oven ( the oven turned off) and let it rest in the oven for 4 – 5 hours
  18. You wil see that the little rise in the cheese cake, falls down. Too much rise and fall indicates that is has over cooked
  19. After letting the cake rest, serve withΒ a warm drizzle for caramel over the cheese cake and some ginger bread cookies:)

Rosemary & Strawberry Madeleines with White Chocolate

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Hello Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? IsΒ theΒ ChristmasΒ season turning out to be wonderful for you as well? It’s been a month of many changes for us, starting with potty trainingΒ my son (Phew!!)Β and introducing cows milk into his diet and making him learning to say ” Boww boww” when you see a doggy.Β My sonΒ has also started learning to eat on his own and when I mean eat I mean spill half of what’s onΒ his plate and the other half may find it’s way to his mouth but first it has to be on a place on the table/floor (otherΒ than his plate) and then intoΒ his mouth!Β (Lol!!).Β Β Its a long process but at the end I am so proud of him for every piece ofΒ fruit that he eats on his own. We have officially said “No” to keeping a nanny too, that means lesser number of posts (but more time with my son).

So I wanted to start my Christmas inspired baking with simple, sweet, light and airy madeleines and they are unbelievably yum! This one has rosemary infusedΒ with the sweetness of strawberries giving it a wonderful twist and the sweet and spicy aroma of strawberries, rosemary and vanilla is just delightful! The basic madeleine is just the right kind of sweet with a cup of hot coffee right? This one infuses fruit and herb to giveΒ  a delicious twist to the French Madeleine. Personally I think they are miniature versions of cupcakes which look like cookies! What do you say? Not really sure why they are classified as cookies! Yes I know some cookies are soft and gooey as opposite to crunchy and chewy but Madeleines are light and airy, soft and spongyΒ like cake! Yup I am going to say they are like butterfly kisses sent from a cupcake πŸ™‚ Ok so here is how I made them!

Ingredients :-

  1. Butter – 120gms
  2. Rose Mary – 2 tbsp (chopped)
  3. Strawberry – 1 +1/2 cup
  4. Flour- 250 gms
  5. Sugar -150 gms
  6. Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  7. Eggs – 3 at room temp
  8. Red colour – 5 – 6 tbsp
  9. White Chocolate – Β 200 gms

Instructions :-

    1. In a clean sauce pan, add the butter and melt. Then add the chopped RoseMary to the butter and let the butter simmer for a few mins ( Make sure not burn the butter). After 2 – 3 mins turn off the flame and leave the butter mixture to rest for 15 to 20 mins
    2. Clean and de-stem fresh strawberries and chop them up into small pieces
    3. Then using a stick blender, blendΒ them intoΒ a nice thick puree. Your puree should measure to one cup
    4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Using the paddle attachment, blend on medium till the eggs are nice and foamy
    5. In another bowl add flour, baking powder and salt
    6. Once the egg mixture is foamy add the strawberry puree and mix for combine
    7. Then add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix only to combine ( do not over work the batter)
    8. Now using a strainer, pour the melted butter into the mixer bowl making sure not to drop any chopped rosemary into the batter
    9. Add as much food colour as required
    10. Now butter and dust your madeleine trays with butter and flour and scoop out the strawberry batter into the moulds
    11. Set the madeleine tray into the fridge for 20 mins
    12. During that time pre heat your oven to 180 c
    13. After 20 mins pop the tray into the oven and bake for 6- 8 mins
    14. You will know when the madeleines are done when they become slightly golden from the sides
    15. Once they are done, take them out of the oven and set to cool for 5 mins. ThenΒ take them out of theΒ tray and place on a wire rack to cool
    16. While they cool, melt your white chocolate in the microwave at 20 sec intervals (strict in between)
    17. Once the madeleines have cooled completely, dip them into the white chocolate and place on the cooling rack to dry
    18. Serve along with a hot cup of coco/coffee, as you likeΒ πŸ™‚