How have you all been? As you can see, I haven’t really had much time to blog and cook as I have been spending time at the school and after with my little one. I stay at the school along wth my baby and once we are back we continue with activities etc together. Not cause blogging is not as interesting, its just that it really feels nice to spend time with Adi. In the last few weeks, as a mother there are so many changes in my little one and its just the best. I couldn’t imagine not sharing these changes with him. The perks of staying home with your baby, I guess 🙂
For March – April the temperatures are soaring like crazy and apparently they are only going to get worse. So I decided to make a little lemon sponge cake for the evening tea. The cake is light and spongy and so so delicious. Paired with a cup of tea this makes the perfect summer evening tea.
As the days go by there is this reality that hits you that these moments, hot, cold, summer or rain, will never come back. Little precious moments with the little boy and as a mum the only thing you want is for your little one to be able to make decisions on his own with a sensible head. As a parent we are so so weak. Some times even if its for his good, it takes a lot out of me to keep a straight face when I am trying to explain why he should do some thing . Or when I ask him if he wants to go to school and he replies with “OR THE MALL? ” like its really an option .. lol…. secretly I think he enjoys the car / auto ride to and from the school more than anything. He holds the railing behind the auto driver and pretends to be driving the auto with all the expression and sound effects the auto and its driver. Once we are home, everyday he makes a fuss to enter home. Cause he knows its time for lunch and then his afternoon sleep which is such a struggle!! But in all its the best feeling to see his little black straight hair flutter gently when he runs to jump, his little look from the corner of his eye when I ask him to keep back things or when I say “What did Amma say?” and he says ” No Skweeeeming ” … These little moments make my heart warm and every moment worth living. Oh my there I go again about how I love my little honey bee.
Ok back to the recipe. You want all the ingredient at room temperature and do not forget to butter and dust the pan WELL!
Flour – 1 + 1/2 cups
Butter – 1 cup
Eggs – 3
Butter milk – 1 Cup ( whisked well)
Caster Sugar – 1 + 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
Lemon Zest – from 2 lemons / 1/4 cup
Lemon Juice – from 2 Lemons
Baking Powder – 2 tsp
Extra butter and flour to grease and dust the pan
Extra powdered Sugar for dusting
Pre Heat the oven to 180C
Grese and dust a pan with butter and flour. Make sure to tap out the excess flour
Now in a large bowl, add the butter and sugar . Cream till pale and fluffy
Then add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to cream the mixture well and incorporate as much air as possible.
In a large pan, mix the flour and baking powder. Sieve the mixture thrice to incorporate air and to distribute the Baking powder well in the flour
Now into the butter and egg mixture, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and mix well ( if you are using a hand whisk this is easy, the same can be done with a hand held whisk)
Next add the butter milk to the lemon egg mixture and mix well
With a spatula divide the flour mixture into 3 and slowly fold the flour into the buttermilk butter egg mixture ( wet mixture)
Once you have added all the flour to the wet mixture, your batter is ready! ( do not over mix the batter)
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap to release bubbles
Pop the cake tin into the pre heated oven and bake for 45 – 50 mins or till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean
Cool completely on a cooling rack and then turn it out onto a plate
Finally dust with powdered sugar and lemon slices !
Today is Mothers Day!! Happy Mums days to all the wonderful mums out there!
This time I wanted to make it extra special so I baked a cake for my mum. In all honesty I am always looking for a reason to bake a cake and when something this wonderful comes my way, why wouldn’t I bake!! My mum loves simple subtle flavours. She like soft textures and warm colours. Everything I am today is because she taught me the right way. Often I stop in my tracks just to rethink and I ask my self, what would “Amma” / mum do right now? This usually happens when I am dealing with my son 🙂 You know many people say they won’t wanna have kids and for the longest time even I dint think I would ever be ready, but then today I look back and I ask myself, how could I have been so stupid to see the obvious. Yes I would have been able to travel more and meet more people and learn more languages and read more, but you know what? some day my little one will also fly away from my nest and then I will have all the time in the world for that. This journey that I am on is the most fulfilling journey ever! No it cannot be compared to anything and I will not undermine it by saying that it can 🙂 The reason I say all this is cause, today as a mother I realise how and why my parents said what they said. Today I realise how wrong I was and how miserable I would have been if I decided otherwise. There are exceptions to the rule, but the bottom line is, the only reason “Home” is “home” is cause home is where nothing can go wrong. My son will turn two in a few months and today we were learning how to eat mangoes with our hands. It was so funny! I had to give him a bath after the whole episode, but these baby steps are so precious. So heart warming!! These are the moment I thank my mum for having helped me decide what was right. When I see my child do well that is when I see how my mum made the right choices for me! Its funny how mums have it all under control no matter how things are on the outside!!
Ok this recipe is actually a very simple white chocolate cake with fresh mangoes, mango cream and a hint of cinnamon. Super simple to make and it is both decadent and yet so simple and fresh!! You should totally try it. Its the best Mothers Day cake ever!!
Ingredients for the White Chocolate Cake :-
White Chocolate – 400 gms
Butter – 400 gms
Cake flour – 4 cups
Cinnamon Powder – 1/4th tsp
Powdered Sugar – 2 cups
Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
Whole Milk – 1 + 1/2 cup
Vinegar – 1 tsp
Baking Powder -3 tsp
Eggs – 5
Pre heat your oven to 180 C and grease and dust two cake tins with butter and flour. Set aside
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, powdered sugar and cinnamon powder
Sieve the mixture into another bowl and set aside
Now heat a large pot of water. In another bowl, add the butter and white chocolate. Now place the butter and chocolate bowl over the mouth of the boiling hot water (without touching the water) Let the chocolate and butter melt completely. Once the mixture has melted set it aside to cool down
In another bowl add the milk and the vinegar. Stir with a fork and set aside. It will curdle ( thats what you want)
In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the eggs. Beat till well combined
Then add the butter and white chocolate mixture and mix for one minute on medium
Next add the milk and vinegar mixture and finally the vanilla extract
Mix well on low speed till it combines well
Next add the flour and cinnamon mixture into the wet mixture, in 3 batches. Give the mixture a good mix (make sure to stop in the middle to scrape down the sides of the bowl)
Weigh the enter wet mixture and then pour equally into the two tins
Bake at 180C for 45 – 50 min or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean without any batter stuck to it
Once the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and set to cool down to room temperature for 15 mins
Then run a knife around the sides of the cake and demold the cake and let it rest till completely cool.
Ingredients for the Filling and the cream :-
Mangoes – 3 cups of finely cubed
Whipping Cream – 3 – 4 cups
Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
Fine Powdered Sugar – 1 cup
Sprinkles – as much as you like ( optional)
Take one cup of the chopped mangoes and blend to a fine paste. Set aside
In the bowl of your stand mixer add the whipping cream and whip on medium speed. Once the cream reaches a soft peak consistency, add the vanilla extract and mango puree. Now with the speed on medium, slowly add the sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Set aside ( you could make some without the mango puree just for colour contrast)
To assemble the cake, cut the cake into two equal halves, pipe the mango whipped cream, add chopped mangoes and top with the next level of cake
Once you reach the top, pipe a little mango cream anyway you like and top it off with sprinkles!!
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 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 piece 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 housed the greatest wines I have ever tasted! 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 🙂
This recipe was one shared by a close friend of mine and they make them in 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 :-
Raisins – 50 gms
Pistachio – 50 gms (de shelled and plain)
Sultanas – 50 gms
Cashew Nuts -50 gms
Walnuts – 50 gms
Apricots – 7 -8
Candied Ginger -4 – 5 (long)
Candied Oranger Peel – 5 peels
Dates – 100 gms
Almonds – 50 gms
Prunes – 4
Candied Cherries – 12
Rum – 180 ml
Open a zip lock bag and add all nuts. Close the bag making sure to push out all the air within the bag
Now after closing the bag, using a rolling pin, roughly smash the nuts to bring to coarse mixture. Drop the nuts into a clean glass bottle
Now place the rest of the fruits on a chopping board ( except the rum :p) and roughly chop to small bits
Add the chopped fruit into the bottle with the nuts
Now add the rum over the fruits and close the lid tightly
Give the bottle a nice shake and set aside to soak away!
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!
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1/2 cup ( make sure you have a table spoon in hand)
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
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
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
Finally you will have a nice thick, dark brown syrup! That is the heart of this recipe
Baking the Cake
Maida/ Cake Flour – 250 gms
Powdered Sugar – 1 + 1/2 cup
Baking Powder – 1 + 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda – 1/2
Butter – 250 gms
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Prepared Golden Syrup
Eggs – 4
Vanilla Extract – 2 tsp
Cloves – 5 –
Cardamom – 5
Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg – half a nutmeg
Dry Ginger Powder – 1 tsp
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
Drain out any excess rum from the soaked fruits and receive for later use
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
Powder all the whole spices with the powders and set aside
Separate the egg whites and set aside. Beat the egg whites to form soft peaks
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine sugar and butter and mix together for a nice paste
Then add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and spices
Then add your golden syrup that was made earlier
Now divide your flour mixture into 3 parts and slowly combine with the spices egg butter mixture within the bowl
After the flour, add the egg whites also into 3 parts
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
Pour the batter into the greased and lined cake pan
Bake for 50 – 55 mins or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean
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
Invert the cake over a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature
Make sure to cut only after it has cooled completely!
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!
Ginger Bread Cookies – 12 – 13
Butter – 100 gms
Cream Cheese – 400 gms
Eggs – 3
Vanilla Extract – 2 tbsp
White Chocolate – 250 gms
Icing Sugar – 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
Diary Cream – 3 tbsp
Melt butter in a microwave and then cook to room temperature
Powder the Ginger bread cookies in a blender to fine
Now mix the butter with the powdered cookies
Grease your spring foam pan with butter and then tip in the butter + cookie mixture
Press down firmly into the pan evenly to create a nice even layer. Set the pan aside
Pre- heat your oven to 160 C
Heat water in a pan. Then in another bowl add the white chocolate and set over the boiling water
Make sure the bowl does not touch the water in the pan below
Slowly melt the white chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside to cool completely
In the bowl of your stand mixture, with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and cream cheese to form a nice smooth paste
Then add the vanilla extract. Once the extract has combined start adding the eggs once at a time
Finally add the white chocolate (at room temp) followed by the cream
Stop the mixer and crap down the sides of the bowl and give it one nice mix again
Slowly pour your white chocolate cream mixture into the prepare tin over the ginger bread layer
Pop it into the oven and bake for 50 – 55 mins
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
Now leave the pan inside the oven ( the oven turned off) and let it rest in the oven for 4 – 5 hours
You wil see that the little rise in the cheese cake, falls down. Too much rise and fall indicates that is has over cooked
After letting the cake rest, serve with a warm drizzle for caramel over the cheese cake and some ginger bread cookies:)
There was a time when I would sing so loud that people would stare at me from across the room. But I couldn’t care. I sang cause the world would just rush to my tongue and I couldn’t hold them back. Same way as how you touch leaves on a “touch me not” plant. You just can’t stop till the entire bush is closed and no more leaves are spread open. Emotions have a way of being trapped and locked up in music. Any kind of music. Music, the rain makes on a stormy night; music that a car makes when you do 100 mph on a highway; music that a tin can makes when you drag it over a muddy road. Some times we make noises and some times we make music. Music that takes us back to memories. Memories that we might not be able to label happy or sad, angry or mad. The same thing happens when you make food. If you love time travelling then I suggest you learn to sing or pick up a few pots and pans and get going! Make some thing that your mum makes on birthdays. Sing a song that you sang in the 6th grade and was a hit! When I cook, I love listing to acoustic covers of all my favourites songs. And trust me, the food just tastes better.
I have decided to make food that runs with the seasons. Food that runs in the family and food that makes music in my home. Yes. Food can make music too. Like when you snap a carrot into two, cut leeks fast, the sound that your whisk makes when you wanna make meringue nests. Ok I wanna continue this post but I have a little bunny rabbit running around me .. some one needs my attention and I think its criminal to be here.. So bye bye for now… see you on the next post…..
This recipe is adapted from the book Indulgent Cakes and it is divine!!!!
Leaving you with the recipe
Blanched almonds – 2 cups
Confectioners Sugar – 2 cups
Pistachio – 2 + 1/2 cups (not the salted kind)
Cardamom Powder – 1/2tsp
Lemon Rind – 2 tsp
Eggs – 2
Egg White – 5
Green Colour – ( optional) depending on how dark you want it
Almond Flakes – 1/2 cup
Whipping Cream – 300ml
Greek Yoghurt – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 2 cups
Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a round cake pan and line base with baking paper
Process blanched almonds, pistachios, icing sugar and cardamom until fine; transfer to a large bowl. Stir in rind, eggs and egg whites. Tint green with a few drops of colouring. Spread mixture into pan; smooth surface. Sprinkle evenly with flaked almonds
Bake cake for 1 1/4 hr; because this cake contains no flour it is tricky to test for doneness using a skewer, instead expect the cake to dome slightly, have a cooked smell and a golden top. Cool cake in pan
Meanwhile, make poached persimmons. Split vanilla bean lengthways; scrape seeds into a large saucepan, add bean to pan with sugar, the water and rind. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, add persimmons, covering with a round of baking paper (this keeps them submerged); cook for 8 minutes or until just tender. Cool persimmons in syrup
Beat cream and yoghurt in a small bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form
Place cake on a cake plate or stand; dust with extra sifted icing sugar. Serve with poached persimmons and cream
Last week Mr R turned 30 and I want to share the cake I made for him. On the eve of his birthday I asked him what cake he wanted and he said ” I want a nice chocolate cake! full of chocolate! You know how much I love chocolate!” So decided why not combine all his favourite chocolates and make one nice big chocolate cake. The result was a close to 5 kg oooeeeyy gooney chocolate cake. When he came back home that evening I told him I was too unwell to bake a cake. When when I got the cake out of the fridge and set it out onto the table, that look on his face was Priceless!! He figured that the cake had all his favourite forms of chocolate. A quadruple Chocolate mud cake with nutella butter cream frosting and each layer stuffed with butterscotch chocolates and topped with all his favourite chocolates.
Here are the photos –
I would also like to share my nutella butter cream recipe that I used for this cake so here it goes
Nutella – 1 cup
Butter – 2 cups
Powdered Sugar – 2 cups (more if you want it more sweeter)
Vanilla Extract – 2tbsp
Milk – 3 tbsp
First in a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add 1 tbsp at a time
Once the sugar and butter have combined well, slowly add the nutella one tbsp at a time
Finally add the vanilla extract and if you find that the texture of the cream is too hard to be piped add milk a little at the time till the desired consistency
Now cranky up the speed of the whisk and cream for another 3 – 4 mins
Finally let the empty the butter cream into a piping bag with the nozzle that you want and you are set to pipe you nutella butter cream
Ok I know that sounds off! Beetroot in cake?!? Well even I was apprehensive the first time some one mentioned beetroot and cake in the same sentence! But once I made the cake I was actually surprised how that red red vegetable can add so much more to a simple chocolate cake! Well if you are someone who likes a little change sometimes, maybe you should try it!
This one is not my recipe and I have adapted it from http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/beetrootchocolate-cake-1273
I did make a few changes to the original recipe as it produced a harder cake.
Beetroot – 1 Cup ( Boiled – puree)
Flour – 1 + 2/3 Cup
Sugar – 1 Cup (plus 2 table spoons)
Coco Powder – 2/3 Cup
Baking Powder – 2 tsp
Milk – 2 tbsp
Eggs – 3
Oil – 200 ml
Preheat the oven to 190 C. Butter a 20cm cake pan and set aside
In one bowl combine flour, sugar, coco powder, baking powder and set aside
In another bowl combine the pureed beetroot, oil, milk, and eggs. Whisk together all wet ingredients till well combined
Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet beetroot mixture in three halves. Scrap the sides of the bowl to mix all the ingredients well
Finally add the batter to the cake pan and bake for 40 – 50 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean