Category Archives: Cakes and Bakes

Black Forest-y cake

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This was a cake, that really took the cake! Reason? My son baked it.

From scratch.

I was the assistant. I was bringing him things, cleaning up after he left, greasing the pans, heating the oven…taking care of all the side jobs while the master chef was sieving, measuring, mixing, and making the cake.

It indeed felt proud to have a kid of 7 showing so much of interest in baking :-).

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This cake is from Sapana of Cooking with Sapana for her baby shower. It’s based on her version of black forest cake. I realized only half way through that I was short on cherries and other required stuff.

So in a nut shell, this is a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and decorated with grated chocolate and cherries and plum. I don’t think that’s too far from the local bakery’s definition of black forest cake :D.

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Assembling the cake:

  • One chocolate cake (cake of your choice would do)
  • Whipped cream
  • Syrup : 1 cup water + 1 cup sugar boiled until the sugar melts. Use once it’s cooled down OR  1 cup apple juice + 1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed in
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Cherry compote for the filling ( I didn’t make this, but definitely the next time)
  • Cherries / plum for decoration

Method:

  1. Help your kid bake the cake :-). Once the cake is baked, press down dome very softly with a clean kitchen towel. Let it cool in the pan for ten minutes.
  2. After that, take out the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a cake board or a plate and put it in a turn table.
  5. Carefully cut it into two, first turning the cake and marking with a knife from the sides and then slowly cutting through. Check this video on how to cut a cake using knife.
  6. Place the top layer into a separate plate.Brush away the crumbs on both pieces.
  7. Sprinkle some cooled sugar syrup on the lower cake layer, the one on the cake board. You can use your hands for sprinkling.
  8. Now fill the cake with whipped cream and keep the top layer on top of the filling. If the top layer has a dome, you either trim it off or keep the top layer upside down, so that the dome sits on top of the bottom layer’s filling. You can try this only if the dome is not too big.
  9. Sprinkle the sugar syrup on the top layer as well.
  10. Now, bring the whipped cream from the fridge and frost the sides and top of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfect since the top and the sides can be covered with chocolate shavings or even crumbled cake pieces. If you had cut the dome, you can crumble it and coat the sides.
  11. Once the cake is covered with fresh cream, pipe designs in the border using whipped cream in a piping bag.
  12. Fill the middle and sides with chocolate shavings or crumbled cake pieces. Decorate with cherries.
  13. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

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Simple Chocolate Cake

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At a time when I should ideally be packing as we are shifting soon, I find that I am baking a lot more than I usually do. One birthday cake order led to another and this was the second one.

I have done only a handful of orders till now. But I am learning that the more I do, the more I love this. The baking part, the decorating part, the clicking part…everything. It unwinds me like nothing else does.

More than anything, it stops me from gulping down the cake. Yeah, I am THAT bad. There is too much love for anything sweet.

Now I wish I had started taking orders earlier itself…sigh..

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This cake has eggs and was a real soft cake. I didn’t even consider adding syrup to moisten the cake. I was worried the cake will break if I do that! It’s taken from the ever-reliable Joy of Baking site. Its the Simple Chocolate Cake recipe from there.

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (400 gms)
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour (~250 gms)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (75 gms)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup warm water + 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Gather your ingredients and heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 9 inch pans with parchment paper. I wanted a tier cake, so I used a 9″ and a 6″ pan.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda, salt).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs first. Then add the milk, oil, vanilla and weak coffee.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients and the wet together using a spoon or whisk. Its better to do this in 2-3 shots. The batter will be very thin.
  5. Divide the batter between the greased and lined pans.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake.
  7. Once its baked fully, take off the oven and let it rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan itself. Slowly and carefully, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely in a wire rack, about 3 hours. At this stage, it can be cling wrapped and stored in the freezer for a later date. I always bake a day before and freeze the cakes.
  8. Once the cake is fully cooled, you can use this easy chocolate icing recipe to frost it. Final decoration for this cake was using ganache, sprinkles and gems.

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Simple Chocolate Buttercream Recipe : Step by Step pictures

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There was an order for an egg less chocolate cake for a sweet girl who was turning nine. Given that my artistic skills are quite pathetic, I was wondering how to decorate the cake. A dark brown chocolate cake with an equally dark chocolate butter cream is not that easy to decorate!

I spent two whole days browsing the net, looking for a pattern that I could use. Chocolate butter cream tastes awesome, but it leaves a dark and dull looking cake if not dressed up and presented nicely.

I was out the whole morning and that meant less time for thinking about decoration. I had almost decided on the easy ‘kitkat cake’. The thing that stopped me was that I couldn’t get enough kitkat for this cake.So I picked up some random items that could go into the cake : some cherries, Cadbury’s Gems (similar to M&M), gift chocolates from Amul etc.

And finally with a bit of sprinkles and the birthday message on top (yes, you are right : that’s a straw!) and I was as happy as the birthday girl :-).

You can check out this post for the eggless cake and for the mocha syrup as well. Scroll down for the butter cream recipe.

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Source: Maria’s menu 

Enough for covering a 6″ cake

Ingredients:

  • 100 gm butter, softened (1 stick of butter)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (1/3 cup for deeper chocolate flavour)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water (more or less)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 Method: 

IMG_3916 In a bowl, add the softened butter and cocoa powder. I wanted a lighter shade, so took only 2 tbsp. You can go upto 1/3rd cup for a deeper colour and more chocolate-y buttercream.

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Mix with a smooth until no chunk of butter remain, adding a tablespoon or two of hot water for this. IMG_3924

Sieve the icing sugar and add it to the mix. Start with 2 cups and add another half cup, if required.
IMG_3926 Mix again, adding a tbsp or two of hot water, until you get a smooth and shiny butter cream. You can add more sugar after a taste test.

I doubled this amount for the cake in the post (Two 6″ cakes)

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Toadstool Cake

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My son’s first birthday was celebrated in a very simple manner. There were no invitees, no celebration, no party and no, not even a cake. The day was special, but I didn’t want to crowd the day with unknown faces for my son.

A friend was invited for lunch, that’s all. Her call came an hour before lunch saying that she and my husband would be coming home with a cake. And I, in turn, rushed to the nearby houses and called all the kids there to come over for cake cutting.

Soon, the cake and the kids were there and we had so much of fun. Nothing was planned, but those kids were his closest friends at that point of time. They were all older than him by 4-5 years at least. They made the kiddo’s day special by doing some silly acrobatic stuff for him and how he laughed!!

And how happy I was :-)!

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It’s no wonder I am late catching up with some milestones of this virtual space of mine as well. The cake was made to celebrate two occasions. One to mark my son’s ‘all rounder’ performance and his promotion to third standard. Another to mark three years of ‘My Kitchen Trials’.

All this happened in April, in between the Indian Food Odyssey.

I forgot to celebrate three hundred posts here, but before I could make up my mind about celebrating, I have already reached at the 400th post. So, well, this cake is for that as well.

I started the blog as a strict one-year project. End of the year, I decided to extend for another year. And now its three years completed and  I am looking at 5 now.

I would never have reached here, if not for the support of fellow bloggers, especially my Blogging Marathon friends.

And You : who is right now reading this post. Thank you :-).

The cake here is a hot milk cake, covered with fondant and decorated using small fondant cutters.

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

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There are times when you sit and ponder over a hundred things that you can do nothing about. There is this non-stop worry about kids, parents, spouse, house and so many other things.

I worry about the water pressure in the bath room shower, plumbing spindle in the kitchen, DG automatic switching problems when the power goes off, the car that has gone for servicing, the cost of living, the kid answering me back, my parenting skills, my driving skills and the builder asking for extra money.

Lots of worries?? Yes…but these are the ones I won’t trade.

For these are minor worries in the larger scale of life. These are stuff that can be attended to : with time or money. And I thank God that my worries are limited to the water spindle in the kitchen or how the cake turns out when its taken out of the oven.

It’s stressful at times, but on the whole, it’s a blessed life indeed.

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The best way to relax when you ‘worry limit’ reaches a point is to just pick that cocoa powder up and get baking! Like this pudding cake, for example.

This can be baked in 6 individual ramekins as well. You need to add about 2 tbsp of cocoa-sugar topping and 3 tbsp of coffee for each ramekin. Baking time should be reduced to about 20 minutes.

Recipe Source: The Family Baking Book, by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

For the topping:**

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I didn’t have any, so I used white regular sugar itself)
  • 1.5 cups water + 2 tsp instant coffee powder for coffee

** I found the cake to be a bit too sweet, so I would suggest cutting down a bit on the sugar – May be 1/4 cup each.

For the cake:

  • 60 gms chocolate, cut into small bits
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 85 gms butter (6 tbsp), cut into smaller pieces
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk (I skipped this)

Method: 

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Gather the ingredients first.

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Chop the chocolate into bits, microwave it with 1/3rd cocoa powder and butter for 30 seconds intervals until melted and smooth. Keep aside to cool down.

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Whisk the flour and baking powder. Keep aside.

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Keep the topping ready : mix 1/3 cup cocoa powder with 1/3 cup white granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar.

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In a big bowl, add the milk, remaining 2/3 cup white granulated sugar, vanilla essence and egg yolk. Whisk well until its all mixed.

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Add the microwaved (now cool) chocolate mix to this. Whisk until everything is incorporated.

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Add the flour-baking powder mix in 2-3 batches, mixing until just combined.

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Pour the batter into a well-greased pan.

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Add the cocoa powder + sugar mix on top.

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Prepare the coffee mix – heat 2 tsp instant coffee powder with 1.5 cups water.

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Pour this weak coffee on top of the levelled sugar layer.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges have come off the sides.

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Let the cake cool for at least half an hour before serving. Serve with some home-made ice cream.

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Whole wheat banana bread recipe

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This post goes to Home Bakers Guild as part of Blogger Tuesday.

Hi all,

I was here last week with an egg less chocolate cake and a story about my baking journey. I am back again this week with a banana bread recipe and some more stories. Thanks for having me here again for the Blogger Tuesday.

It’s been almost five years since I started baking and to this day, my interest (and my weakness) remains the same. Cakes. Coming to think of it, the only reason I started baking was to eat more cake. And some brownies too.

I am getting friendly with the yeast guy only now as bread has never been a temptation. Main reason was failures from the past, but with the instant yeast that my husband got from abroad, the story is different now. Soft and spongy breads come out of my oven now, but still I remain faithful to my cakes.

I love baking cakes, I love decorating it. But the problem is not that. It’s eating it.

My man hates everything sweet and my kid hates food in general. So when a cake is left around, my sweet tooth is becomes more assertive than my common sense and I end up paying for my indulgence ‘inch by inch’. Literally!

That’s where the guild helped me. It gave me this idea of baking the cake and NOT eating it. It gave me the idea that I could take orders! That way, I can meet my love of baking and decorating, but won’t have any other choice than to part with the cake when the customer comes calling for it.

I haven’t gotten around working on the idea yet, but yet it’s firmly planted, thanks to this group. I love the immense talent here and I can spend a whole day looking at each and every creation.

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Coming to the recipe here, I wanted an easy to do recipe and this banana bread fits the bill perfectly. I bake it frequently.

The first picture is an egg less version. The second one(blue background) has eggs and is almost fully whole wheat flour. I prefer the one with eggs (I always prefer egg in bakes). There was some left over melted chocolate which I swirled onto the top of the first bread.

You can refer the notes to check out the variations.

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Recipe adapted from: Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 large bananas)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  •  2 eggs (you can skip this and add milk later to the batter if it’s not wet enough)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup flour (can replace this with whole wheat itself)
  • 1 cup sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf pan.
  2. Mix/blend the bananas, oil, eggs,vanilla and yogurt together.
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients – whole wheat flour(atta), plain flour(maida), baking soda in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients gently until no lumps remain. Don’t over mix the batter.
  5. Stir in the chopped nuts, if using.
  6. Transfer to the pan and bake for about 60-70 minutes. Take it out from the oven once a skewer comes out free of crumbs when inserted in the middle.

Notes:

  • Flour can be plain flour alone or whole wheat flour fully or a combination of two.
  • You can increase the sugar to 1.5 cups for a sweeter version or reduce it to 3/4 cup.
  • You can replace the fat with applesauce (yet to try that though, but I read somewhere you can do this) or melted butter.
  • The liquid can be milk, buttermilk or yogurt.
  • You can add the eggs or skip them totally. In the latter case, if the batter is dry, add a bit of liquid. 
  • You can add melted chocolate, peanut butter, berries, tutti frutti, chocolate chips, nuts to this and bake. 

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Easy chocolate glaze recipe

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I have been mentioning this glaze recipe a lot. So finally I thought it deserves a post on its own, with step by step pictures.

This is a very easy to prepare glaze from Hershey’s. You can add more sugar to make it thick or more milk/water to thin it down.

Chocolate Glaze : Hershey’s

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar/icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a pan over low heat.
  2. Add cocoa and water and cook till smooth and slightly thick. Don’t let it come to a boil.
  3. Take off the heat and add the sugar, vanilla extract and mix until smooth and shiny.
  4. Spoon over the cooled cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Melt butter in a pan over low heat.

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Add cocoa and water and cook till smooth and slightly thick. Don’t let it come to a boil.IMG_0319

Turn off the heat, add one cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until it’s smooth and shiny.

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Ready for use!

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Hot Milk Cake with Step by step pictures

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I don’t remember how I stumbled on this recipe, but now it’s become one of my most used recipes for cake. The main reason for me liking this recipe is that there is no beating the butter and sugar.

I LOVE recipes where butter is melted…saves the hassle of beating it with sugar.

This recipes gives two slightly thin 9″ cakes or three tall six inch cakes. I usually make three cakes and freeze two of them for later use.

I have gifted them plain and with a glaze on top another time. I have made this cake to go under fondant also. This makes a great snack cake as well.

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Recipe Source: The Family Baking Book, by America’s Test Kitchen

Makes : three 6″ cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (I use 100 gms)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs

Method: 

  1. Heat the oven to 180C. Grease three 6″ pans. Here I have used a 9″ pan. The rest were made into cupcakes.
  2. Cut the butter into cubes. Heat it with milk until it’s very hot. The mix shouldn’t boil. Take off the heat and add vanilla.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Keep aside.
  4. In a big bowl, beat the sugar and eggs using a hand mixer. Add the milk-butter mix and beat once again.
  5. Tip in the flour mix in 3-4 batches until no lumps remain.
  6. Pour into the prepared pans (until 2/3rd full) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes free of crumbs.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges of the cake and flip it down to a cooling rack. Let the cake cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
  8. I suggest mixing the batter before pouring it into the pan for baking. If you are doing multiple cakes (say three 6 inch cakes), then mix and pour the batter into the pan only when it is ready to go into the oven.

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Gather the ingredients.

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Cube the butter and heat it with the milk until its very hot and the butter has melted. It shouldn’t boil.

 

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Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

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Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a smaller bowl.

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In a big bowl, add the sugar and eggs.

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Beat, using a hand mixer until its combined, about a minute.

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In low speed, add the hot milk mix to the egg mix and beat for 1-2 minutes.

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Beat in the flour in 2-3 additions, until just incorporated.

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Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until  a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle. Let the cake cool in the pan for ten minutes. Flip it upside down to a cooling wire rack and let it cool completely before icing/slicing it.

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Eggless Chocolate Cake

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This post is for Bloggers Tuesday at the Home Baker’s Guild.  

Intros have always been tough for me and today also I am struggling for words to get this started.

Hello! I am Rajani – a blogger, baker and a home maker. Thank you for having me as a Tuesday blogger here. I am from Kerala, now settled in Chennai. I worked in the IT field for seven years before quitting to take care of my son, Shreyas.

When our son turned one, we relocated to London. That year marked a lot of changes in my life. For the first time, there was an oven in the house. I was excited and soon started trying out recipes from the net. Not surprisingly, a series of flops followed. Dry cakes, soggy cakes, extremely chewy biscuits,  teeth breaking breads and what not!

The worst was the cake which I fondly baked, beautifully decorated and proudly presented as a birthday gift to my friend…only I didn’t know that it wasn’t cooked properly! Batter oozed out when my friend cut it – can you imagine that!? I was lucky that there was no one else there and that she was a very close friend.

Soon after the cake incident, my friend (yes, we are still friends!) sent across some blog links to me. Slowly I got hooked to the blogging world. More cakes, bakes and flops followed – but I kept trying and my husband kept suffering.

I started clicking pictures of whatever I cooked – more as an evidence that I am not starving my family than anything else. But slowly, a genuine interest in food photography developed.

We came back to Chennai an year later and this time, we bought an OTG. It’s a long time since and my OTG has stood by me through many successes and many flops.

Three years before, I started scribbling my cooking and baking trials in my own space : My Kitchen Trials.

Now, coming to the recipe here, I was looking for an eggless chocolate cake and a good friend suggested this recipe. This has become my ‘go-to’ chocolate cake recipe now. The icing too is wonderful and pairs well with the cake.

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Recipe Source: Maria’s Menu

Makes: One 6″ cake

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup flour (maida)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup hot coffee (1 tsp instant coffee pwd+1/4 cup hot water)
  • Vanilla essence
  • Sprinkles and candies for decoration (Cadburys shots are perfect for this)

Method:

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Sieve flour and the cocoa powder. This gets rid of all the lumps easily.

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Add sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk until mixed.

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Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients one by one. Whisk until everything is incorporated and no dry lumps remain.

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Pour the batter into a greased and lined 6″ or 7″ cake pan.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake.

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Once the cake is baked, take off the oven and let it sit in the pan over a wire rack for 10 minutes.

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Flip it cover and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely for at least 1-2 hours before decorating it.

Scroll down for the icing recipe.

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Chocolate icing recipe: (Source: Maria’s menu). You can check out this recipe with step by step pictures here.

  • 1/4 cup hot water (more or less)
  • 100 gm butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder (1/3 cup for deeper chocolate flavour)
  • 2 cups icing sugar  (you can add a bit more, if required)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Syrup:

  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Mix everything well and spoon over the cake before starting to frost it.

Method:

  1. Using a spoon, mix the softened butter and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of hot water to help with the mixing.
  2. Add 1 cup sieved icing sugar and incorporate it into the butter mix. Again, add one or two tbsp of hot water for mixing, if needed.
  3. Add one more cup of icing sugar (after sieving) and the vanilla extract. Mix again until you get a smooth icing. You can add hot water to get the desired consistency.
  4. You can add a bit more sugar if required, for me this was sweet enough. This amount is enough to cover and fill a 6″ cake.
  5. For the glaze, I took about 2 tbsp of the icing in a bowl, added 1 tbsp cocoa powder and some hot water. I went to add icing sugar to get the consistency required (which turned out to be a bit runny than I wanted :-(! ). For a better glaze recipe, check out this post (Hershey’s recipe).

I have used alpenliebe candies for decoration. I was not able to buy Cadbury’s shots.

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Braided Breadsticks

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With the left over bread after baking a round sandwich bread, I baked these braided bread sticks.

The inspiration came from FoodiliciousNan. Hers look much more sleeker and better, where as mine is a bit on the thicker side. These are perfect suited for some mindless munching and pairs really well with soups of all kind.

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Recipe Source: Any sandwich bread recipe, I have used King Arthur flour’s.

Method:

  1. Prepare the bread dough. After the first rise, punch it down gently and kneed for a minute.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  3. Pinch out three small balls from the dough. Roll each of them into pencil thin ropes of equal length. You can rub the dough between your palms for this. You can bake these just like this as well.
  4. For braided shape, take the three ropes, pinch the top together and braid them. Once you are done, pinch the other end together as well. Make more bread sticks the same way.
  5. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Munch on!

You can sprinkle grated cheese on top before baking, or add herbs, sautéed onion etc to the dough to get a flavoured bread.

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