Category Archives: Cakes and Bakes

Tiramisu

1tiramisu

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

For the second time in this series, I am here with a recipe that’s not originally from America but one that is extremely popular here. Tiramisu, a cake that tastes very light, is  not quite light on calories. This cake from Italy is relatively a new recipe (55 years or so). It is one of the best cakes I have ever had.

I remember trying to make this cake when I was in Chennai and giving up because it was difficult to get mascarpone cheese there. The cheese can be made at home or substituted with cream cheese which is more readily available. The cake is served chilled and tastes absolutely divine.

Tiramisu is not difficult to make, but it is rather time consuming. It has two main components : a mascarpone filling with whipped cream or eggs in it and a base cake (or ladies finger) soaked in a coffee concoction. Once the cake is all filled and frosted, it needs to be refrigerated overnight. The long refrigeration makes a significant difference to the flavor of the cake. I told you it was time consuming!

I had made this cake for a special occasion in our lives, but didn’t get enough pictures to do it justice. I might be making this soon again, in which case I will be updating the pictures here. I should update a picture of mine too, to show you all how much I am also “growing” with each of these recipes :-))

I have used Aparna’s recipe here which is eggless and alcohol free.

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Ingredients:

  • 9″ cake of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder for dusting
  • chocolate or wafers for sides, optional

Espresso syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Instant coffee powder

Mascarpone filling:

  • 1.5 cups Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup Icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Bake the cake, let it cool completely. Cut it into two even layers and set aside.
  2. Prepare the espresso syrup. Bring the water and sugar to a boil, turn off the heat. Add coffee powder, mix and set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate until needed.
  3. Whisk the cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whip the heavy cream separately using a hand mixer. Carefully fold in the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
  4. When its time to assemble,place the base layer of the cake in a plate or cake board. Sprinkle some espresso syrup evenly all over it. Add a layer of mascarpone filling. Top with the 2nd layer of cake. Sprinkle with espresso. Cover the top and the sides of the cake with mascarpone and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  5. At the time of serving, dust with cocoa powder and cover the sides with chocolate wafers or chocolate if desired.

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2tiramisu

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Lemon Pound Cake

1lemon pound cake

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Pound cake is a classic American cake. But that’s  not my choice for the alphabet ‘P’. Lemon also features big in America. Come summer and the web gets bombarded with so many versions of lemonade. I have read in many comics about kids selling it to make some extra money. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but this is only my second summer here.

So since pound cake is not coming up for this culinary journey, I opted for a compromise.Lemon pound cake : a classic cake in a popular flavor! That is a winner for sure and the best compromise I have made :-)!

Its a pretty straight forward recipe. Read on.

2lemon pound cake

Recipe adapted slightly from:  Once upon a chef

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup butter (~225 gms/2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (4 tablespoons)
  • zest from 2 lemons

*Substitute with milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line two loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
  4. In a big bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy, scrapping the bowl in between to incorporate all the sugar into the mix. Beat the eggs in, one at a time till it’s all incorporated well.
  5. Add 1/3rd flour, fold it in carefully. Follow this by ½ of buttermilk mixture and gently mix it in. Repeat once again (1/3rd flour & fold; ½ buttermilk & fold) and finally add the remaining 1/3rd flour. Fold it in until no streaks of flour remains. We are adding the flour in 3 batches and buttermilk in two batches. The last batch has to be the flour mix.
  6. Divide the batter into the loaf pans and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Check whether its done by poking with a wooden skewer before taking the pans out of the oven. If the skewer comes out free of crumbs, the cake is cooked. Let the cake rest in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Let it cool completely.
  7. For a more intense lemon flavor, you can drizzle with a lemon glaze. You can prepare this by mixing 1/3rd cup lemon juice (about 6 tablespoons) with 1/4th cup powdered sugar. Sourness of the lemon varies widely, so adjust the lemon and sugar quantity based on your preference. Use a fork or a toothpick to make holes all over the top of the cake. Drizzle the lemon glaze and serve.

3lemon pound cake

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Key lime pie

1Key lime pie

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

I am with the Pioneer Woman in more ways than one today. Not only is the recipe here adapted from her space, I am also in the same boat as her when it comes to the key limes in the key lime pie. I used ordinary limes in pie here and yet I am going to call it Key lime pie! I know I may have made some enemies in Florida today :D, but sorry, I was not able to get key limes.

Please don’t be mad at me…

Key limes are much smaller than regular limes. They are native to Florida. They are almost the size of gooseberries. To give you an idea, for getting 1/2 cup juice you might have to extract about 15-20 key limes where as 4-5 big limes can give you the same amount of juice. So you can imagine how much tinier they are. I have seen them in supermarkets here, but its never there when you go looking for it.

The pie base can be made in a jiffy at home, but I took the easy way out. This is a ‘tangy meets sweetness'(duh!) kind of pie that will appeal to lime/lemon fans. When making this, I also learnt that the ready made whipped topping that you get in U.S. is not meant for piping. It started weeping the minute I was done with decorating the pie. The next time, I am going to whip the heavy cream and stop looking for shortcuts :D.

Read on for the step wise pictures and the recipe.

3Key lime pie

Gather the ingredients: 9″ ready made (or homemade) graham cracker base, 3 egg yolks, 1 can condensed milk, 1/2 cup lime juice(about 4 limes) and 1 tablespoon of lime zest.

Beat the egg yolks well. Add the condensed milk can and whisk it in.

Add the zest and lime juice. Whisk well to incorporate.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350F in a preheated oven or until the pie is set. Let it cool completely. Decorate with whipped cream and lime wedges, if desired. Refrigerate an hour at least before serving.

Recipe adapted from : The Pioneer woman

Ingredients:

  • One ready made or home made 9″ pie base
  • 3 egg yolks
  • One 14 oz can condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • whipped cream and lemon wedges, for decorating

Method:

  1. Gather the ingredients: 9″ ready made (or homemade) graham cracker base, 3 egg yolks, 1 can condensed milk, 1/2 cup lime juice(about 4 limes) and 1 tablespoon of lime zest.
  2. Beat the egg yolks well. Add the condensed milk can and whisk it inAdd the zest and lime juice. Whisk well to incorporate.
  3. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350 F/ 180C in a preheated oven or until the pie is set. Let it cool completely. Decorate with whipped cream and lime wedges, if desired. Refrigerate an hour at least before serving.

2Key lime pie

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4Key lime pie

 

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Ice cream cake

1ice cream cake

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

The choice for alphabet ‘I’ was between ice cream, icebox cake and ice cream cake. I had ice cream, I had left over cake and the decision was easy.

I read in Wikipedia that Ice cream cakes are an American. They were quite popular sometime back. There is no particular recipe for this. There are so many different kinds that it was too confusing after a point. Some recipes just have different flavors of ice cream layered on top of each other and then presented like a cake. Some had one base layer and then 1-2 ice cream layers on top, kind of like a cheese cake. Still some others had ice cream sandwiched between two layers of cake. That was more like what was mentioned in Wiki and I decided to do that version.

So what you have here is a cake, an ice cream filling and another layer of cake of top. Whipped cream (I had leftover mango mousse, please don’t ask how I end up with all these leftovers!!) or ice cream goes all around it as a frosting and the cake is served cold, after letting it thaw for a few minutes.

Read on for my version on the cake.

4ice cream cake

Bake a cake of your choice. Here its a 4″ cake. Let the cake cool. Keep the ice cream to thaw a little bit when the cake is cooling.

Once the cake is cool,cling wrap it and set aside. Line the cake pan with cling wrap.Fill it with ice cream of your choice and smooth the top. This is going to be the filling. I just eyeballed the ice cream filling to about half the height of the cake, didn’t measure it. It was about a cup or so of ice cream. The height of filling can be of your choice and so the quantity can vary.

Cover the top and return the ice cream to the freezer until its time for assembling. When you are ready to assemble, level the cake and cut it in half.

Sandwich the ice cream between the two layers of cake. Whip some cream for frosting, I had some mango mousse which I wanted to use up, so I used that. Frost and decorate as you wish. Refrigerate if using immediately. If making ahead, freeze it and let it thaw for ten minutes before cutting it.

Ingredients:

  • cake of your choice, 4″ hot milk cake here
  • vanilla ice cream, about a cup
  • whipped cream, about 1/2 cup
  • whoopers for decorating

Method:

  1. Bake a cake of your choice. Here its a 4″ cake. Let the cake cool. Keep the ice cream to thaw a little bit when the cake is cooling.
  2. Once the cake is cool,cling wrap it and set aside. Line the cake pan with cling wrap.Fill it with ice cream of your choice and smooth the top. This is going to be the filling. I just eyeballed the ice cream filling to about half the height of the cake, didn’t measure it. It was about a cup or so of ice cream. The height of filling can be of your choice and so the quantity can vary.
  3. Cover the top and return the ice cream to the freezer until its time for assembling. When you are ready to assemble, level the cake and cut it in half.
  4. Sandwich the ice cream between the two layers of cake. Whip some cream for frosting, I had some mango mousse which I wanted to use up, so I used that. Frost and decorate as you wish. Refrigerate if using immediately. If making ahead, freeze it and let it thaw for ten minutes before cutting it.

3ice cream cake

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Cornbread and Chili

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When the idea for American dishes for Mega BM started playing in my head, I was a little concerned about the vegetarian choices available. But I needn’t have worried. There was enough and more dishes to choose from for most of the alphabets.

The choices for letter C proved to be as abundant as letter B. I had cookies (think chocolate chip!), cake, cupcakes, cheesecakes, cornbread, chip and dip, corn chowder, corn on the cob, Cobb salad (vegetarian version) and many more to choose from. As I was leaning towards healthier choices, I picked cornbread over everything else.

It is a classic Southern main course. Cornbread recipe – especially the presence of sugar – can be a touchy topic to many. It can be served in many ways, one of which is with beans or chili. And that’s the companion I chose for my cornbread. The chili here has an Italian touch to it. Omit the oregano and basil to take off the Italian influence.

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Cornbread 

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • One seeded jalapeno, optional
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice, optional

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 400F/ 200C.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter. Set aside.
  3. Add the dry ingredients in a big bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the buttermilk and egg in a smaller bowl and whisk well.
  5. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the melted butter also into this and mix well until you cannot see any streaks of flour. Add more buttermilk if needed. Tip in the cheese and jalapenos if using those.
  6. Transfer the cornbread batter into the skillet and bake for about 25 minutes until its golden brown and pulls away from the sides. Take off the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing. Serve warm with chili.

Pictorial:

Soak two cups of mixed beans overnight. Heat two teaspoons oil in a thick pan. Add 3 minced or crushed garlic to it. Once the garlic is slightly cooked, add one medium onion, chopped and one medium carrot cut into small pieces. I used julienne cut carrots.

Once the onions turn pink, add two chopped stalks of celery. Follow this up with one small bell pepper, 2-3 handfuls of chopped mushoom, salt as needed, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon basil paste. Mix to combine everything.

Add 4-6 medium tomatoes, dices and 1/2 cup corn. Add two cups of mixed beans that was soaked overnight or at least for 4-5 hours.

Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Taste test and adjust seasoning. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or until the beans are cooked well enough. Serve with cornbread.

Ingredients:

Chili:

  • 2 cups mixed beans, soaked overnight (I used 1/4 cup each of black beans, red kidney beans, whole masoor dal and garbanzo)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 handful mushroom, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon each chili powder, cumin powder, dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil paste
  • salt and pepper as needed
  • 4-6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 6 cups stock (or water)

Method:

  1. Soak two cups of mixed beans overnight. Heat two teaspoons oil in a thick pan. Add 3 minced or crushed garlic to it. Once the garlic is slightly cooked, add one medium onion, chopped and one medium carrot cut into small pieces. I used julienne cut carrots.
  2. Once the onions turn pink, add two chopped stalks of celery. Follow this up with one small bell pepper, 2-3 handfuls of chopped mushoom, salt as needed, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon basil paste. Mix to combine everything.
  3. Add 4-6 medium tomatoes, dices and 1/2 cup corn. Add two cups of mixed beans that was soaked overnight or at least for 4-5 hours.
  4. Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Taste test and adjust seasoning. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or until the beans are cooked well enough. Serve with cornbread.

2cornbread

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Biscuits

3biscuits

When I was making the list of American dishes for the alphabetical cuisine journey, the letter ‘B’ had so many dishes to choose from. For the letter A, I never really looked beyond Apple pie. I had zeroed upon the pie before even making the list. But for B, it could have been buttermilk pancakes, brownies, baked beans, buttermilk biscuits, bagel, Boston cream pie and what not!! Finally, I took the sensible decision of staying with the healthier choices and chose biscuits over brownies for B.

The plan initially was to make buttermilk biscuits, but a packet of fresh cream approaching the expiry date changed the chain of events. It turned out to be god, this way I was making the easiest biscuits possible on earth! These can be served with any sandwich with filling in between, but we poured some sweet honey onto it before popping it into our mouths :).

The term biscuit in American cuisine is totally different from the British and Indian concept. American cookies are more like the Indian biscuits and the English scones are more like American biscuits. Gotcha?

This recipe was so simple that I didn’t take any step wise pictures. But go through this link here for a detailed post on cream biscuits. The key to the recipe is high fat cream, so don’t try this recipe unless you can get hold of the kind of cream that makes you real fat! Did I talk about healthy choice sometime back? Well..scratch that off:D!

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Recipe source: Serious Eats

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 400F/ 200C.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Once its all mixed well, stir in the heavy cream slowly and mix it in until the flour is wet and sticky. You can add a little more cream if it is not enough.
  3. Turn the dough into a well floured surface and gently press it to form a rectangle, about 1/2″ high. Now fold it one or two times and pat it down again into 1/2″ thick rectangle. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits.
  4. Gently press the leftover dough scraps together and cut more biscuits out until the dough is used up fully.
  5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. You can brush the top of the biscuits with melted butter when it goes into the oven to get a golden brown color. Let it cool slightly before serving. 

1biscuits
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for recipes from other participants.

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Apple Pie

3apple_pie

Every year I prepare myself for a big speech on the first of April. I clear my throat, clean my fingers to type in long posts and what not! Because first of April means two things to me. Its the mega Blogging Marathon month. Secondly, its when I celebrate my blog anniversary.

My blog, which I started off as an year long project, is now five years old and its still here, alive and kicking :-). Its hard to believe that its almost half as old as my son!

A good way to celebrate this would be with some sweet and that’s what I have for you all here. A good ol’ apple pie! Why apple pie? Because I have chosen ‘popular American cuisine’ as the theme for this month’s mega marathon. What’s a more American than an apple pie!?!

This month it is an alphabetical exploration of any one country’s cuisine or a choice of four Indian states for the Mega BM. I have chosen American cuisine and this is Day 1. So scroll down for a pictorial on how to make an apple pie and then some more for a lot more pictures.

See you tomorrow with a recipe for the alphabet B!

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Pictorial

Peel and slice the apples. You can choose the same kind or mix up 3-4 varieties, about 6 medium apples in total. Add into a big bowl with half a lemon’s juice (about 1 tablespoon lemon juice).

Add 3/4th cup sugar (brown or white), 3/4th teaspoon ground cinnamon, a good pinch of salt and ground nutmeg and two tablespoon flour. Mix well and set aside.

Place a ready made pie crust on a 9″pie dish which is not greased. Press firmly against the sides and bottom so that there is no gap in between.Add the apple filling to the pie crust. There will be a lot of liquid in the filling. Add that as well.

Cover with the second crust. Make slits for steam to escape. Bake the pie in a preheated oven at 400F for about 50-55 minutes or until the top is golden. Place the pie in a tray when it goes into the oven as the liquid inside might bubble over.  Once out of the oven, let it rest for at least 3 hours before slicing it.

Recipe source: Pillsbury

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 medium apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar, brown or white
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a good pinch salt and ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 ready made pie crusts or home made crusts

Method:

  1. Peel and slice the apples. You can choose the same kind or mix up 3-4 varieties.
  2. Add into a big bowl with half a lemon’s juice (about 1 tablespoon lemon juice).Add 3/4th cup sugar (brown or white), 3/4th teaspoon ground cinnamon, a good pinch of salt and ground nutmeg and two tablespoon flour. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Place a ready made pie crust on a 9″pie dish which is not greased. Press firmly against the sides and bottom so that there is no gap in between.Add the apple filling to the pie crust. There will be a lot of liquid in the filling. Add that as well.
  4. Cover with the second crust. Make slits for steam to escape.
  5. Bake the pie in a preheated oven at 400F for about 50-55 minutes or until the top is golden. Place the pie in a tray when it goes into the oven as the liquid inside the might bubble over.
  6. Once out of the oven, let it rest for at least 3 hours before slicing it.

4apple_pie

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for recipes from other participants.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63

This post also goes to A to Z blogging.

5apple_pie

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Chocolate lace collar for cakes

3collar

One of the easiest ways to dress up a cake is to make it wear a chocolate collar. I always felt intimidated by it and didn’t try it for a long time. My first trial in Chennai resulted in a semi broken collar. I had let the chocolate set for a long time and so it lost the malleability to go around the cake. It broke in places and resulted in some gaps in the design, thankfully no one commented on those (except me who kept point it out!).

The next time was after  long wait. I followed the dosa/ pancake way this time. When you are pouring the pancake batter onto the pan, its in liquid state. Soon the liquid vaporizes and it starts to set a bit, though it still is a little wet on top. At this point, you can get the spatula under it for flipping and the pancake will bend to your will. That’s what we are looking for. The fine line between fluid and solid state.

The chocolate is in a fluid state when we are doing the pattern. It has to solidify a bit, but it should not be so hard that it is not malleable any more.If it hardens, then it will lose the flexibility to bend when we apply it against the round shaped cake. So it needs to go into the fridge for a minute or two until it just stops being a fluid.

You need to keep a sharp eye on the time here. A minute more and you will have rock solid chocolate which will not bend around the curved sides of the cake. Result : Broken lace!

I have tried making smaller patterns. Like hearts with patterns inside it. You can pipe hearts or any pattern you like and let it set completely. You don’t have to worry about the flexibility, because its a single piece and doesn’t have to go around the cake. It will be a series of single pieces. You can freeze them for using later.

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Go through the pictorial below. Please keep in mind that I am far away from perfecting this art. The height or patterns in the collar are not even. The patterns are very basic (O’s and 8’s is what I mostly do), but I feel that even the most simple pattern brightens up the cake like nothing else.

Another major plus point is that you don’t have to worry about the cake’s frosting. The finish needn’t be perfect at all. You can cover up pretty much all flaws when the collar goes all around it. If the buttercream finish is really bad, you can melt some chocolate and simply spread it evenly on the wax paper. That would give a solid chocolate collar with no pattern, but will look stunning at the same time.

Since its chocolate, it can be used over buttercream, fresh cream and all other kind of frosting. No limits there. So lets get melting some chocolate!

IMG_2328

Ingredients:

  • Parchment/wax paper
  • chocolate
  • ziploc/piping bag
  • Frosted cake

Method:

1-001

Measure of parchment paper against the sides of the cake pan used. I prefer two shorter sheets against one long sheet. That makes it easy to handle and to fit in the fridge as well. My fridge is not wide enough to keep the longer collar. Make sure you have a little extra than the exact circumference.

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Keep the parchment papers ready. Line them in a tray or silicone liners for easy moving and handling. Free some space in the fridge for this to go before you begin.

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Take about 1.5 cups of chocolate in a bowl or a microwave safe piping bag/ziploc. Microwave in 30 second bursts until all the chocolate has melted. You will have to take it out in between and press with your hands to help the spread the heat and melt the chocolate evenly.

3-001

All melted and no lumps. (This is the first time I am using a piping bag for melting, I prefer the bowl better I think. Its easier to mix in  between and handle it on the whole.). Now snip a small cut at the end for the chocolate to come out.

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Make your design (simple looping ‘O’s here, I am no Da Vinci :D). If you are artistic, there is a lot you can do here. If you are not, you can keep the parchment over print out of some designs and follow that for piping.

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All looped and ‘O’ed.

3

Now, I add another shorter layer of looping O’s on top and bottom. Creative juices were flowing freely :D.

4

Looped and ‘O’ed at the top and bottom. The time chocolate takes to set depends on the weather. When I made this in summer, it took 2-3 minutes in fridge for it to set a bit. But now, in peak winter, I could see that the first loops were already loosing its sheen and hardening before I was even done with the whole thing.

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Into the fridge it goes. I left it there for exactly one minute. What we are looking for is for the chocolate to lose some of its sheen. It means that the chocolate is hardening and not a fluid any more. But it should not harden completely because then it will break when you apply it to the round sides of the cake.

I would suggest refrigerating for 2 minutes in warmer weather conditions, but check after one minute to be on the safe side.

Another method is to apply the collar directly to the cake after piping the pattern. The cake is then refrigerated for sometime to allow the chocolate to dry. I haven’t tried that way yet.

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Now, after exactly a minute (thank you, kitchen timer!), I took out the collar and applied it against the cake. I kind of gently,but firmly, pressed the collar with my hand all over the sides to make sure that all of the chocolate is touching the cake. Again, be careful not to break the chocolate.

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The cake goes back in the fridge again. This is not needed, but playing it safe here.

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Now for the fun part. Peel off the parchment paper. See, even simple Os result in OOHs here :-). I don’t like tall collars, I like it to stay lower than the cake. When you are cutting the cake, a serrated knife works best to cut through the chocolate layer.

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Lemon and Ricotta cheese cake and eggless mango cakes, all decorated with chocolate collar. Its one of the easiest way to decorate a cake.

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This post is also going to Kid’s Delight event for this month’s theme :Chocolate.

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Chocolate Cake

2chocolate cake

They say necessity is the mother of inventions. But there are times when shortage in the ingredients list also leading to discoveries. I was making my all time favorite chocolate cake from Hershey’s when I realized that I was short on milk. I went ahead and substituted buttermilk and the cake came out wonderfully nice.

Now I wish I could say that it was an Eureka moment, but the thing is this recipe (“Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate cake) has been there forever and every possible alteration has been done to it. The base structure of the cake is same; about 2 cups of flour and sugar each, 3 teaspoons of leavening agents, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1 cup of milk. This is followed by a cup of boiling water which thins down the batter considerably. This recipe has been improved by many in many ways. The eggs have been replaced by 1/2 cup of yogurt, milk replaced by buttermilk and boiling water improvised to weak coffee by adding a spoon of instant coffee powder.

The cake takes in all the changes and yet gives good results.

This is my go to recipe for chocolate cakes (with eggs) and I still prefer the original recipe with the addition of coffee. But I have tried the buttermilk version also 3-4 times now with pleasing results.

Read on for the age old recipe that’s been through so many modifications and yet remain the same and popular as ever!

1chocolate cake

Recipe adapted very slightly from Hershey’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup odorless oil like sunflower or canola
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water + 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (or one cup weak coffee)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line two 9″ round pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure everything is combined well.
  3. Beat the eggs separately. Now add in the eggs, buttermilk (or milk), oil and vanilla extract to the flour mix. Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon or a hand mixer.
  4. Add the coffee powder to the hot water. Mix it in. Add this (or one cup of weak coffee) to the cake batter. Slowly and carefully mix it in.
  5. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Check whether the cake is done by inserting a wooden skewer into the middle. If it comes out free of crumbs, the batter is cooked and the cake is done. Take off the oven and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes in the pan before taking it out.

Note: This cake is very soft, so make sure the pan is lined and the cake is allowed to rest for sometime before trying to take it out of the pan. Else it might just break into pieces.

3chocolate cake

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for more recipes from other participants.

This post is also going to Kid’s Delight event for this month’s theme :Chocolate.

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Filed under Cakes and Bakes

Double chocolate cookies

cookies

A trip to IKEA always results in unintended purchases. It also involves a whining kid, sulking husband and an over excited wife. The store is HUGE and it takes a good amount of time to even get from one end to another.

My son and my husband dislike the store for the same reasons I like it – its a huge place and you have to spend a lot of time once you are there. I won’t say that the furniture quality is the best, but for people like me who just want to get something decent without having to spend an arm and leg, its a great place.

Its the small things that I like there – like the glasses and cups and napkins and water bottles. The quality is good, the price is low, so everyone buys it. Now, THAT is the problem. Your props might just end up being one among the many if you do prop shopping in IKEA. But that hasn’t stopped anyone from doing it, though :D.

The use and throw baking tins are one of the impromptu purchases from there and it came out useful for gifting these double chocolate butterscotch cookies. These were baked as a gift for a kid and so the perfect dish to bring in for the Kid’s delight Anniversary party :-).

Read on for the pictorial and the recipe.

cookies

Pictorial

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Cream together softened butter and the brown and white sugar using a stand or hand mixer. Beat until the mix is light and fluffy.

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Add the egg and beat it in.

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Add the vanilla essence and blend it in as well.

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In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

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Fold the flour mix in 2-3 batches to the butter and egg mix. Gently incorporate everything together.

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Add the butterscotch or chocolate chips and fold it in carefully.

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Take tablespoonfuls of dough and place in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Leave enough space for the cookies to expand.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180 C for about 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye once it reaches the 10 minutes mark. The cookies are done when they are firm around the edges and a little soft in the middle. Take off the oven and let it sit undisturbed for at least 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Recipe source:  Joy of Baking

Makes : 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick or 113 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour/maida
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch salt
  • 1.5 cups butterscotch chips/ chocolate chips or a mix of both

Method:

  1. Cream together softened butter and the brown and white sugar using a stand or hand mixer. Beat until the mix is light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and beat it in. Add the vanilla essence and blend it in as well.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  4. Fold the flour mix in 2-3 batches to the butter and egg mix. Gently incorporate everything together.
  5. Add the butterscotch or chocolate chips and fold it in carefully.Take tablespoonfuls of dough and place in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Leave enough space for the cookies to expand.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180 C for about 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye once it reaches the 10 minutes mark. The cookies are done when they are firm around the edges and a little soft in the middle. Take off the oven and let it sit undisturbed for at least 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

cookies-001
This post goes to Valli’s Kid’s delight – Anniversary special and to Blogging Marathon 57.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 57

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Filed under Cakes and Bakes