Coriander Thogayal

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Rice mixed with a gravy like sambar or rasam and served with a vegetable side dish is what we grew up eating. Even now, that’s our everyday meal. There are so many varieties of sambar and vegetable preparations. Their permutation – combination keeps the meal diverse and interesting.

But there are times when you feel like taking shortcuts. This is for one of those days. Thogayal is a kind of like a thick chutney preparation. It fits the bill as a side dish for rice or as something to mix with rice and eat. It pairs well with preparations like poricha curry or rasam as a side dish.

Here, I have made it to be mixed with rice. With a spoon of ghee and something crunchy like pappadam or murukku on the side, it hardly tastes like a ‘short cut meal’.

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Ingredients:

  • One bunch of washed and cleaned coriander leaves
  • 1.5 tablespoon chana dal
  • 1.5 tablespoon urad dal
  • 2-3 red chillies (or per taste)
  • 2 pods garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • salt
  • oil

Method:

  1. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add the two dals, red chillies and garlic pods. Fry for a minute.
  2. Add the coconut and fry for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and add the coriander leaves to the pan. It wilt in the residual heat.
  3. Once its cooled down, grind in a blender (adding a little water if needed) to get a slightly coarse thogayal.
  4. Serve with rice and rasam or mix with rice and serve a porial on the side.

Note: Garlic is optional and generally not added. I like it, so have added it here. You can add some mint leaves also here.

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Peanut butter fudge

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People talk to solve a problem. But if I am doing the talking, you can be sure that the problem is only going to get bigger. Why? Because I have very big mouth and very little sense :D.

There is this thing called understanding your audience and knowing when to zip up your yap. The little thing called common sense usually tells people when to do that exactly. Unfortunately, mine is on a vacation for a long time now.

If you tell someone that their food is too spicy, instead of checking the food, they will say something is wrong with your taste buds. If you tell them the dessert is too sweet, they will defend themselves by even offending you. It’s not about the truth, its about refusal to accept the truth most of the times. The sense to know what to tell whom is a capacity I lack :D.

Well, you live to learn from your mistakes, but then we go and make some more. That’s me anyway.

But the good thing is, I am learning that if someone I trust criticizes me, I should check the facts before I react. Take this fudge for example, I got a feedback that it’s too sweet. I took a bite and I had to agree. Five cups of sugar…not everyone’s cup of tea!! So the lesson learnt is that you can fine tune the sugar according to your taste and be receptive to feedback of all kinds. That’s the way to live life, because that will help you make better fudge next time :-)!

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Recipe source: All recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 – 3 cups confectioners sugar

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a thick pan. Add the brown sugar and milk.
  2. Bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Take off the heat.
  3. Add the peanut butter and vanilla essence. Mix well.
  4. In a separate big bowl, add the confectioners sugar. Pour the peanut butter mix over the confectioners sugar.
  5. Whisk using a wire whisk or a hand mixer until its smooth and without any dry lumps.
  6. Transfer to a 8X8 inch lightly greased square dish or line with cling wrap for easy removal. I have used a loaf pan with cling wrap here. Refrigerate until its firm and cut into squares.

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This entry goes to Lisa’s MLLA event, originally conceived by Susan of The Well seasoned cook. This month the event is hosted by PJ of Seducing your tastebuds fame.

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Vegetable Kurma

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Chapati-kurma is a standard item in the restaurant menu back home. Its an oft-repeated dish at homes too. There are too many versions of this dish, each one twisted and tweaked according to the family’s preference. The common base is that this a mixed vegetable curry with ground coconut in it. Everything from what goes into the ground coconut paste to the kind of vegetables you use is adjustable to your preference.

An aunty had prepared this kurma for a pot luck dinner long back and I got hooked on to it. I have made it several times, but not once had the taste come closer to her preparation. But I keep trying :-). This has become our version of the dish.

Try this kurma, add your own twists to it and make it your family recipe ;-).

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Pictorial

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Add 1/2 cup coconut, 1 tsp fennel seeds (perum jeerakam) and 1 tbsp roasted chana (pottu kadalai) and grind into a paste. You can add green chillies also, if you want.

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Add enough water to make a smooth paste. Keep this aside.

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In a thick pan, heat oil. Saute one big chopped onion along with 3-5 green chillies (per taste) and 2-3 crushed cloves of garlic.

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Once the onions are cooked, add one diced tomato. Add 2 tsp coriander powder, required amount of salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder(optional). Cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Add 2 cups cooked vegetables along with the water its cooked (about 1.5 to 2 cups). Bring it to a boil.

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Add the ground coconut paste and one big pinch of kalpasi (optional). Mix and cook covered for 5-10 minutes, stirring in between. Taste test and adjust the spices. You can mash the vegetables a bit to thicken the consistency.

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Add a handful of chopped coriander leaves and close with a lid and turn off the gas. Let it rest for sometime for the flavors to mingle and serve hot with chapati or parathas. You can add a tablespoon or two of vinegar, if you want to enhance the sourness a bit.

  • Recipe source: Our neighbor aunty in DLF 
  • Serves : 4-5 

Ingredients: 

For grinding:

  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (perum jeerakam)
  • 1 tbsp roasted chana dal (pottu kadalai)
  • 2-3 green chillies (optional)

For the curry:

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3-5 green chillies or as needed per taste
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, crush or minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt as needed
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables, cooked ( suggested vegetables: a combination of potatoes, carrot, green peas, beans, cauliflower )
  • one big pinch of kalpasi /stone flower/dagad ke phool (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (optional)

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the vegetables and keep aside.
  2. Grind the coconut with fennel seeds and roasted chana. Keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, green chillies and crushed garlic. Saute until the onion turns pink.
  4. Add the diced tomato. Cook for a minute.
  5. Add the coriander powder, salt and turmeric powder, if using. Turmeric powder is optional and you can skip it for kurma. Cook for a minute or two.
  6. Add the cooked vegetables along with the water its cooked. Bring it to a boil.
  7. Tip in the ground coconut paste and kalpasi. Kalpasi is, again, optional.
  8. Mix everything, taste test and adjust the seasonings. Let it cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes. You can mash the vegetables, especially potatoes, to thicken the gravy a bit.
  9. Turn off the heat and mix in 1-2 tbsp of vinegar if you want the curry to be a bit more sour. Serve with chapati or parathas.

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Tawa pulao

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There are times when you feel like preparing an elaborate meal and then there are times when you feel like just putting everything in a pot and getting over with it. This recipe falls in the latter category. You still need to prep the base vegetables – but once that’s done, the job is almost over. A simple raita or plain yogurt is all that’s needed on the side and the rest of the evening is free to do whatever you want.

Pictorial:

Soak one cup rice for at least half and hour and keep aside.

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Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee/butter in a pan and saute one big chopped onion.

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Add 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and cook until its done.

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Add 2 chopped tomatoes and cook until its mashed.

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Tip in one chopped capsicum. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala.

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Add the rest of the vegetables and cook further until its all mixed well. I used 1.5 cups thawed frozen mixed vegetables.

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Add 2 cups water, salt and the soaked rice. Check the seasonings and adjust if you have to.

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Cook until the rice is done and serve with raita.

Recipe adapted from: Veg recipes of India

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 capsicum chopped
  • 1.5 cups mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala
  • salt
  • oil/butter or ghee

Method:

  1. Wash well and soak the rice for half an hour at least.
  2. In a wide pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee, butter or oil.
  3. Add the chopped onion and saute until pink. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 20 seconds.
  4.  Now its time to add the chopped tomatoes and cook until its mashed up.
  5. Add the chopped capsicum and saute for a few more minutes and then add the spices (turmeric powder, chilli powder and pav bhaji masala). Mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the vegetables and mix well.
  7. Pour 2 cups water and salt. Check and adjust the seasonings. Add the soaked rice.
  8. Cook until the water is absorbed into the rice and its cooked well.
  9. Take off the heat and serve with a cup of raita.

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Banana Ice cream

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There are few things in this world that everybody loves. Ice cream and chocolate can be counted in that few. Young or old, summer or winter, healthy or sick, everybody wants to have these. (If you don’t like it, please don’t tell me. You will be shaking one of the most fundamental beliefs in my life).

Unfortunately, ice cream is high in calories. Fortunately, we can create our own recipes that are healthier and totally guilt free. Like this one ingredient banana ice cream here. This is a great cheat recipe. It’s not quite the real deal, but comes pretty close to it.

Enjoy the recipe and cheat with these once in a while…

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Recipe source: thekitchn

Makes 2 small servings (depending on the size of the banana)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced into rounds

Method:

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Slice the bananas into rounds and freeze them overnight or for at least two hours.

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Once its frozen, run it in a small food processor for 3-4 minutes.

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You are looking for smooth ice-free ice cream texture. Keep beating it until its smooth and creamy. I did this in two batches and each one took about 5 minutes.

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Pour into a freezer friendly bowl. Cover and freeze the “ice cream” again until its hard. Scoop out and serve with your choice of toppings. I served it with honey and chopped pistachios.

Things to keep in mind:

Bananas discolor. So scoop these out only at the time of serving.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 53

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Multigrain pancakes

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Morning time is the worst at my place. The kid’s school bus comes around 8:15 AM, but we get up from our slumber at 7:40. It’s an active, adrenaline filled half an hour of the day. Me and my son would rush up, run down, drink milk, brush teeth, take bath, eat breakfast and get ready in general. Not in the same order, but you get the meaning. It’s like an emergency room in a hospital, no casualty – but lots and lots of activity. Oddly enough, we have never missed his bus despite getting up so late.

There is no way I can serve anything other than a bowl of cereal at that time. And there is no way the kid would eat anything other than cereal at that time. So we have a mutual understanding about weekday mornings.

But weekend, that’s when I relax and prepare something more elaborate than corn flakes. I ignore the demands for cereal from the protesting kid and serve him whatever the blog demands. And the blog demanded guilt free indulgences this week and so a healthier, multi grain version of pancake was on our breakfast plate this weekend.

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Recipe source: The perfect recipe for losing weight

Makes:about 16 pancakes, depending on the size

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup whole wheat flour ( I used multi grain atta flour)
  •  1/2 cup each all-purpose flour, oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients ( flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt) in a bowl.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and mix well in a separate bowl.
  3. Combine both and whisk until no lumps remain. You might have to add a little more milk if the batter is too thick or a bit more flour if its too thin.
  4. Heat a pan and spray oil on it. Add 1/4 cup full of batter and cook until bubbles appear and then burst on top.
  5. Flip and cook the other side. Take off the pan and repeat until the batter is used up.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 53

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Fruit Ice pops

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We moved again. This time to an apartment close to my husband’s office. So another school change for the kid. The good thing is that there is only two more weeks to go before the summer vacation starts. The bad thing is that he has been to three schools for his 3rd grade! First in India, then in our previous place in US and now, the current one…talk about being a global student!!

I do feel bad about pushing so many changes into his life, but then you gotta go where life takes you. And wherever we go, the kid has to follow us. The earlier we accept that, the easier it is. He is getting around that, but yet the pining for home and his friends hasn’t gone yet.

It’s a guilt laden life at the moment. No wonder, I wanted to go guilt free in the food department at least!

Coming to the recipe here, this is a recipe that I had seen in Vaishali’s place long ago. Its simple, fun and totally guilt free. Perfect indulgence for summer.

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Recipe source: Ribbons to pastas and Martha Stewart.com

Ingredients:

  • Sprite/lemonade/white grape juice, as needed (I used about 2 tbsp per mold)
  • Choice of fruits – chopped, as needed ( I used kiwi, strawberry and mango)

Method:

  1. Slice the fruits. Fill the ice pop mold with the sliced fruits.
  2. You can add as many or as little fruits as you want. The more fruits you have in, the more packed it is and the better it looks. I was short on fruits, so I put only 5-6 pieces in each.
  3. Fill the mold with the liquid of your choice. Any see-through liquid is fine. Freeze overnight. Done!

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 53

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Fire up your oven – April Mega marathon

This is a recap of the month-long baking marathon – Fire Up your Oven- for April 2015.

You can imagine the sugar high and the weight gain in process ;-)

Click on the image to take you to the post.

Week 1 : Celebration Cakes

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Ponque – Puerto Rican pound cake

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Tres Leches – Three milk cake

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Ombre cake

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Sofa cake

Week 2: Simple fruit based Cakes (except the first one :D)

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Chocolate cake : base for sofa cake

Eggless fruit cake 1

Eggless fruit cake 1

Eggless Fruit cake 2

Eggless Fruit cake 2

Caramel banana cake

Caramel banana cake

Easy Banana cake

Easy Banana cake

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Strawberry cake

Week 3: Savory Bakes

“Crazy dough” focaccia

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes

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Roasted garlic

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables

Masala loaf

Masala loaf

Eggizza - Quiche with a fancy name

Eggizza – Quiche with a fancy name

Week 4: Cookies and quick breads

Eggless chocolate chip cookies

Eggless chocolate chip cookies

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies

Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies

Quick chocolate cupcakes

Quick chocolate cupcakes

Coconut quick bread

Coconut quick bread

Week 5: Everything else

Plum Clafoutis

Plum Clafoutis

Egg puffs

Egg puffs

Pound cake

Pound cake

Rich chocolate buttercream

Rich chocolate buttercream

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Rich chocolate butter cream and an ombre cake

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Oh fine!! This IS a cheat recipe.

I already have the cake recipe on the blog and this one is just for the frosting.

But hey…the cake was a humongous effort. Three 9″ layer cake is no small thing for me. I could handle 6″ cakes, but 9″ isn’t so easy. Despite 6 straws for support inside, it was doing a jiggle jiggly dance when I was trying to frost it.

Finally, I gave up trying and reached out to my neighbor. I have told you that she is a professional cake decorator, rt?

Now this cake, which I baked for our friend’s son, is the biggest cake I have ever made. And for my neighbor, this is tiny. This would be the size of the top-tier of her cakes.

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It took her less than five minutes to frost this cake for me. FIVE minutes. And the finish was so much better than mine. Boy, I am so sorry that I have to move again! It’s so rare to get a friend who shares the same passion as you.

This frosting recipe is also from her. The quantity is huge, but it freezes very well. And if you freeze it, you can eat it like you eat ice cream ( you didn’t hear that from me :D).

The final decorations are made with ready-made fondant. I colored them and used a Wilton mold to get the designs. These can me made ahead to save time.

This cake is the final in the series of bakes for the month of April.  Check out the linky to see amazing entries from other bloggers.

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Recipe source:  My neighbor Lizy, originally from allrecipes.com

Makes : 10 plus cups of frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butter (450 gms), softened
  • 2.5 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 cups icing sugar
  • 1 – 1.5 cups milk

Method:

  1. Using a hand/stand mixer, beat the butter until its soft and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the cocoa, vanilla and sugar in batches adding enough milk till it reaches a good spreading consistency. You need to be careful and start slow with this, else the sugar will fly all over the place.

NOTE:

  • This recipe freezes well.
  • The quantity of sugar and milk are approximate. You need to adjust this until you get the consistency and sweetness you are looking for.
  • I have used only 8 cups of sugar here and 1 1/4 cups of milk here. I found the sweetness to be perfect with this quantity itself.
  • You can try salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. There will be a difference in taste, but both versions are delicious.

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Pound cake

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My husband shares his birthday with one of his close friend (and with one of my close friends as well). They all decided to come out of their mothers’ tummy just two days before new year. Another interesting thing is that their wedding days are a day apart. My husband’s friend was in the same neighborhood in India before he moved to US. And after ten long years, the two of them are in the same neighborhood again. Little surprises of life :-).

Same neighborhood means they could cut their birthday cake together after over a decade! And I jumped in at the opportunity of baking the birthday cake.

I wanted a ‘surprise inside’ cake which reveals their age when they cut into it. I wanted a gingerbread house cake for my son for his birthday. So I decided a trial cake would be a good idea for both the events. I am glad I did!! The surprise inside cake surprised me totally when the numbers just floated up!! It just wasn’t as elegant as I thought it would be. And the less I said about the gingerbread house cake, the better! Words are not needed to describe that.

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Yet, I wanted a surprise element for their birthday. So I baked this pound cake again (I loved the taste when I baked for the surprise inside cake) and didn’t decorate it. When everyone was up and looking for the birthday cake, I told them this was the one.

It was pin drop silence and a collective relief when they knew I was kidding :D. Happily they cut into their decorated cake and were happier when their age didn’t pop out of the cake.

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Recipe source: Martha Stewart’s book – Cakes

Makes : 2 9 X 5 inch loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (~450 gms) butter, softened
  • 3 cups (~450 gms) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups (~450 gms) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 eggs (Yes, 9!!)

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease two 9X5″ loaf pans.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar using a hand or stand mixer, until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beat it in.
  5. Add the flour in 4 batches, beating until just incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter between the pans. Smooth out the top.
  7. Bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least  5-10 minutes before taking it off and letting it cool completely.

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