Butterscotch Ice cream ‘n’ Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel | Happy Birthday My Precious One !!


It’s that time of the year yet again….. 🙂
KJ’s Birthday…..special to me in more than one ways…..Not only that it’s my best friend, my husband, my partner in love-n-life’s birthday but also because his birthday means a new cake I bake !!
KJ loves to push my boundaries; always getting me out of my comfort zone and throwing in a challenge. He knows I’ll never say never for his birthday cake !!


It was a quiet weekend with a modern version of a shakespearean play, followed by dinner. I spent the morning baking the cake for him and we spent a lot of time together watching movies at home. For company we had some thunder and rain !! A perfect setting for a weekend birthday.


So coming back to the cake, this was a first for me….an ice cream cake. A couple of years back KJ baked an ice cream cake for my birthday and now it was my turn !!
Yes he did a cake which I had still not dared to. In the humidity of July, I must confess it is not the easiest thing to handle. After every 5 minutes of work and handling the cake had to be sent back to the freezer or else the ice cream would start melting. And equally difficult was the whipped cream frosting with salted caramel sauce for flavour; but nevertheless I loved every bit of it !! It’s always fun to experiment. Here I was not only experimenting with the technique but also combining new flavours.


Butterscotch Ice Cream and Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce



Ingredients

1 l tub / brick of Butterscotch 
Ice cream

1 packet of Oreo Cookies

2 tbsps Butter

Salted Caramel Sauce (Recipe at the end of the post)
300 ml of Whipping Cream


For the Chocolate Cake:

1 cup Flour

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

A pinch of Soda Bicarbonate

3/4 cup Oil

4 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Essence



Directions

1. Grease and dust a 8-9″ diameter round cake mould. Preferably a springform or a loose bottom mould. (I used a springform) 

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder together.

3. Separate the eggs.

4. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till stiff peaks are formed. 

5. Now add the powdered sugar in batches and keep whisking the eggs till they get a sheen to them. (Do not add the sugar in one go, we do not want the aeration to go flat) 

6. Add the essence to the egg yolks, mix and gradually add them to the egg whites. Whisk well.

7. Now add the oil to the eggs and whisk for 30 seconds.

8. Fold in the flour mix gently (do not use the hand mixer)

9. Transfer to the mould and bake for 35 minutes at 180 degree C.

10. Remove from the mould and transfer on the wire rack and let it cool completely.

11. Once the cake cools down completely, slice it horizontally to get two parts. These are your two layers of the cake.

Assembly of the cake:

1. Crush the Oreo Cookies coarsely. Mix in the butter and layer the cake mould with it. Press it in and set in the freezer for 45 minutes. (Use the same cake mould, you used to bake the cake in).

2. Once the base has set completely, brush a layer of Salted Caramel Sauce. Put it back in the freezer for 20 minutes.

3. Now take half of the ice cream and spread it on top of the caramel sauce. Place one half of the cake. Press it down. Now add the remaining ice cream on top of the cake layer. Smoothen it with a palette knife. Place the second half of the cake. Press it down and put it in the freezer for atleast 3 hours or overnight. I left it in the freezer overnight.

4. Whip the cream well. Till soft peaks are formed. Add 2 tablespoons of the Salted Caramel sauce and whip some more. If you are using Amul cream for the frosting, remove the water content from the cream. If using non dairy cream whip it well. For amul cream or any other dairy cream please add 1/2 cup of icing sugar as well. Whip it on an ice bath. Whipping up Amul Cream is difficult in humid summer months.

5. Once the cake has set completely, remove from the freezer. Cover with whipping cream. Place it back in the freezer.

6. After 30 minutes, again neaten the frosting and place it back in the freezer.

7. For decoration dribble some salted caramel sauce.

8. Chill it again. Serve chilled. Store in the freezer.



Recipe for the Salted Caramel Sauce


Ingredients

2 cups of Sugar
200 ml of Cream
10 tbsps of Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Sea Salt

Directions

1. Place the sugar in a pan. Put it on high flame. Once the sugar starts melting, keep an eye on your caramel. 
2. As soon as the caramel turns amber, add the butter. The caramel could bubble at this stage. Be careful. 
3. Once the butter melts in completely, remove from the flame and add the cream. Mix well. Now again the caramel would bubble, so be careful.
4. Add the sea salt.

5. Once it cools down completely, store in an airtight jar. It stays happy in the fridge for about a month.


Yes this is indeed a tad tedious, but trust me it’s worth all the effort !! Nothing like a chilled frozen dessert on a summer afternoon !!



Happy Baking !!


Arabian Date and Walnut Cake


Baking a cake is always special and baking it for someone’s birthday is only icing on the cake !! 🙂
It was my uncle’s birthday and I wanted to do a different cake though non icing. This cake is a hands down winner so full of flavour !!


I’m sure you’ll wonder that most of my cakes are baked in the bundt mould. Well, when I’m baking a cake for someone’s birthday the round is common and kinda boring. Bundt makes the cake look really interesting. There is no hard and fast rule for the mould. You can use any shape you like.



Arabian Date and Walnut Cake


Ingredients

1 ¾ cups Plain Flour

125g Butter

1 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 cup chopped, stoned Dates

½ cup chopped Walnuts

¾ cup hot strong Coffee

½ tsp Baking Soda (soda bicarbonate)

½ tsp Salt (omit salt if using salted butter)

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Vanilla Essence


Icing Sugar for dusting





Directions

1. Dust a ring mould or a bundt mould.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes.

3.Pour hot coffee over the dates and walnuts and allow it to cool.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together.

5. Cream the butter and sugar and then add one egg at a time. Beat well.

6.Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture.

7. Lastly mix in the date and nut mixture and the vanilla essence.

8. Pour into the prepared mould and bake for 50-60 minutes at 180 degree C.

9. Let it cool down. Demould and dust with icing sugar.

10. Serve.


Happy Baking !!

Coconut Colada Pound Cake for Dad’s Birthday | Baking

It’s that time of the year again…time to bake…time to try new things… time to push my limits !!! It is dad’s birthday. I’m always motivated to try something new for him. 
He expects me to :-).


Amongst the many flavours he loves, Coconut is high on his list. Be it Malibu, the Caribbean White Coconut Rum or the Bounty Chocolates or the good old simple local bakery-made Coconut Macaroons.
But then who doesn’t like coconut macaroons? It’s a sweet comforting flavour that makes you happy.


This time for dad’s birthday I had other plans…. instead of a cake I wanted to make Cream Rolls or Cream Horns for him. Something he had been telling me to make for almost 4 years now, but I always shied away from them.


So while the cream horns were in the making (recipe coming up in my next post), I had time at my hand and thought that a birthday is never complete without a cake. So I set off looking for the right cake for him and instantly knew it had to be a coconut cake.
Found this absolutely amazing recipe, tweaked it a bit and voila….one of the best cakes I’ve ever made :-). Absolutely happy with the results and everyone loved it !!



Coconut Colada Pound Cake

Ingredients

175 g, ¾ cup Softened Butter
175 ml, ¾ cup Coconut Milk
290 g, 1 ½ cups Regular Sugar
4 – 6 tbsps Desiccated Coconut
225 g, 1 ¾ cups Plain / All purpose Flour (sieved)
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
For the Topping
4 tbsps Coconut Milk
1 -2 tbsps Desiccated / shredded coconut for sprinkling

Directions
1. Heat oven to 180 C. Grease and line your baking tin. If using a Bundt Mould, just grease it. ( I used a bundt mould)
2. Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until a pale light colour.
4. Add eggs, one at a time on a low speed setting. If the mixture starts to curdle or split, add a spoonful of your sieved flour.
5. Add half the coconut milk with half of the flour, keeping the mixer on a slow speed. Once combined, add the desiccated coconut and vanilla essence.
6. Transfer the cake mixture to the greased and lined cake mould and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for one hour or till the cake is done. (Test with a think skewer. It’s ready if the skewer comes out clean once inserted on the side of the cake).
7. While the cake is baking take the coconut and toast is lightly till golden brown. Be careful, it browns quickly.

8. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and leave in the cake tin until cool. Whilst the cake is still HOT, using a skewer, prick holes all over the top of the cake, pushing the skewer through to the bottom of the cake. Gently pour the coconut milk all over the surface of the cake, distributing evenly with a brush if needed. The cake will quickly absorb the liquid. Then immediately sprinkle the dried coconut all over so it sticks.



Happy Baking !!

Lemon Pound (Bundt) Cake

One cake which never leaves my cake dish, this is my anytime ‘go-to’ cake. When nothing else seems right just bake this. Everyone loves it. They love the way it looks and love the way it tastes.
Serve it with ice cream and you have a perfect dessert or serve it as it is with tea.
I love it first thing in the morning with my cuppa coffee. The perfect balance of caffeine and zesty sweetness. 



To tell you honestly I love the way it looks and love it so much that I don’t ever feel like cutting it.Cutting the first piece is always heart breaking.
I think the Bundt moulds make the most beautiful moulds for non icing cakes. Usually a little more expensive than other cake moulds but sure the investment.



So coming back to the cake, this is super moist cake with a fresh punch of zesty lemon.
A pound cake which is classically made in the shape of a  loaf has been transformed into a bundt shape. ( The loaf shape is always last on my priority for the cake)

A Bundt cake is essentially the type of mould, inspired by a traditional European fruit cake known as Gugelhupf, but Bundt cakes are not generally associated with any single recipe. So I chose the lemon pound cake recipe here.
I’ve dusted my cake with some castor sugar, you could also dribble some lemon glaze on it.

Lemon Pound (Bundt) Cake:

Ingredients:

3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Salt
3 cups Sugar
1 cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature
½ cup Shortening, room temperature ( I did not use any shortening, instead I used another 1/2 cup of butter)
5 large Eggs
1 cup Whole Milk
6 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Lemon, zested

Direction:
1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180 C
2. Butter and dust one large Bundt pan.
3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.  Set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each one.
5. Add dry ingredients in three additions to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Mix in lemon juice and zest.

6. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes.  Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.

7. Dust with some castor sugar.

Happy Baking !!


I’m back…and how !!

I’ve missed you guys and this space a lot more than you would have. Blogging and my readers give me the kinda high nothing does, but life has been one roller coaster for the last 4 months. A lot happened. 

We moved to our new house and in the midst of all of that, some health issues came up in the family. 
Well all’s well now. I’m warming up to the new place and getting used to my new kitchen.
The mood is now being set and my comfort zones created.
Last night’s dinner was out of the ordinary for me…. Hummus and Chicken Wraps with Tzatziki. Though this post is not about any of that. the recipes for the same would follow shortly.

My cooking and baking had slowed down in the last 4 months ….also because I was staying with my parents for bit and how my mother pampers me rotten with all her cooking (so why will I cook).
These were some of the things that happened in my kitchen in the last 4 months, though I couldn’t shoot them as well as I wanted and couldn’t write about them as well:



Just when we were packing for moving to our new house, a Daring Baker’s Challenge came up where we were supposed to bake a dessert / cake with vegetables hidden in them. Inspite of all the chaos in my life I couldn’t resist it and attempted two different recipes.
While I missed the challenge date I enjoyed it all the same and so here is what I did:

I made 2 different types of vegetable cakes:

 Beet Cake – 
Looks like a regular chocolate cake but is enriched with beetroots.

Adapted from Bakerycakery.com


(yields one 9” round layer)

Ingredients
¾ cup Pureed beets (Boil 2 medium sized beetroots till tender) 
½ cup Oil
¼ cup Milk
1 tbsp Plain yogurt (this is a strangely small amount to me)
½ tsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Eggs
¾ cup Flour
⅔ cup Sugar
½ cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking powder
½ tsp. Baking soda
¼ tsp. Salt
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. 

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Blend the wet ingredients until uniform.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until combined.


Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the center comes out clean.


Dust with powdered sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature.





Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake




Ingredients
1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons All-purpose Flour

½ teaspoon Baking Soda

½ teaspoon Baking Powder

1-teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Salt

2 cups Grated Zucchini (about 2 small ones)

½ cup Orange Marmalade

¾ cup Vanilla Sugar

½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large Eggs

½ cup Walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

½ cup Chocolate Chips

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
Directions:
Spray, line, and spray again a 23cm x 12.5cm (9×5 inch) loaf pan and set aside
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix all the remaining ingredients (except the walnuts, if using) in a large bowl until combined (no giant lumps of marmalade at least).
Sift the dry ingredients into it and stir until just combined (don’t worry about it being smooth, just be gentle).
Stir in the walnuts if using. Pour into the prepared loaf pan.
Sprinkle the top with the about 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
I served this with a a dollop of mascarpone cheese.



Happy Baking !!

Earl Grey-n-Lemon Cup Cakes

“Tea fixes everything !!”


Drinking Tea is such an integral part of our lives, especially in India from the cutting chai to special malai chai or the winter favourite masala tea. Tea is such a barrier breaker…. people love their cuppa chai across all ages, and across the social canvas. Tea doesn’t know colour, caste, creed, social status, age or gender. 
From socialising to fixing headaches, tea works everytime. 🙂

While I get all fussy with my tea at home / office,  I like the whole ritual of tea serving…..in a kettle with tea cosy, separate milk and sugar (and I can get snooty about my blends …. favourite being the Earl Grey and English Breakfast blended together),  however on the other hand I love the road side tea stall masala chai with rusks or suji toasts !! Perfect for a winter morning. 





So taking tea consumption to a different level I recently tried tea in my baking – Earl Grey-n-Lemon Cup Cakes. Using tea in food is the new global trend, though my mother has been using tea to improve the colour and add a little flavour to her infamous punjabi chhole (chickpeas) which the whole family (read extended family as well) cannot stop raving about.



So coming back to the cup cakes, the Earl Grey leaves and lemon is a delicate balance of flavours. The bergamot oil which is infused in the earl grey leaves  beautifully compliments the lemon rind.

Earl Grey-n-Lemon Cup Cakes – Recipe

Adapted from: Joythebaker
Yields: 12 even sized cupcakes + 1 small cupcake




Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
¼ cup (56 g) butter, softened
1 cup (120 g) flour
¾ cup (150 g) caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
3 tbs Earl Grey tea (about 9 tea bags)
1 cup (240 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the honey icing:

1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 tbs honey
5 tbs double cream (I used Amul Fresh Cream straight from the refrigerator)


Directions
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 deg C and line a cupcake tray with liners.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, tea leaves and zest with your fingers to help the zest release the fragrance – about 2 minutes. 
3. Then, use a hand mixer (or a stand mixer – although you don’t need any vigorous beating) for a few minutes till the mixture is sandy and damp.
4. In a measuring jug, add the milk, egg and vanilla extract. Whisk quickly with a fork and add to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix lightly till everything is combined.
5. Pour about ¾ of the way into cupcake liners and bake for 15 – 20 minutes till cupcakes test done.
6. For the icing, whip the cream till soft peaks form, add the icing sugar and honey. whisk a little more. Put the mixture in an icing cone and swirl out.
7. Serve.
Happy Baking !!


Chocolate Orange Mousse` Cake


Chocolate-n-Orange – a marriage made in heaven and Mousse`-n-Cake is the second !!!


The combination of orange and chocolate was first introduced to me by Baskin-n-Robbins….their Chocolate Orange Ice Cream was to die for !!! The flavour duos have never looked back in our lives ever since !!
It was dad’s birthday, and I, as usual wanted to try something new….something I’ve never done before, but with his favourite flavours so it had to be chocolate-n-orange and nothing else.


Birthdays are occasions when I invariably end up pushing my threshold by trying something new….a new technique…a new recipe or a new ingredient. (Though the rule says go with the tried and tested to avoid goof ups 😛 )



For me this cake was all about technique. I loved the very concept of treating the cake like a bow for the mousse` rather than layering the mousse` in the traditional way. 

Recently I had come across Donna Hay’s Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie and I have adapted the same technique for this recipe.
It was a lot of fun scooping the cake out from the centre  – a very satisfying feeling for some strange reason….probably because I was vary and anxious of scooping it a little too much; and KJ had a field day gobbling up all the scooped out cake crumb !!


Hope you enjoy reading this and baking it as much as I did !!

Ingredients For the Chocolate Cake:

100 g Flour

4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
A Pinch of Soda-bi-carb
40 g Unsweetend Cocoa Powder
120 g Powdered Sugar
150 ml Oil
100 ml or 1/2 cup of Orange Squash

Directions
1. Grease and dust an 8inch round baking dish2. Sieve together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda-bi-carb and reserve.
3. Separate the eggs. Add vanilla essence to the yolks.
4.Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree C for 10 minutes.
5. Whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Add the powdered sugar in batches and whisk till resembles a meringue (glossy mixture).
6. Now gradually add the oil and mix for 1 minute.
7. Fold in the flour mixture in the egg mixture gently but quickly till well incorporated.
8. Lastly add the orange squash to the batter and mix well.
9. Pour the cake batter in the baking dish and bake for 35 minutes at 180C.
10. Remove the cake from the oven. Transfer on the rack and let it cool a bit.
11. While it is still warm, place an inverted plate (I used a saucer) on the cake, making sure it is centred and cut around with the knife.
12. once there is a clear demarkation, remove the inside of the cake…scoop it out gently, with a spoon.
13. the thickness of the walls should be about 1-1.5 cm and the base should be about 1inch thick for the mousse` to hold in.
 If you are doing this for the first time, it will be a good idea to use a ruler, especially to know the depth of this cake bowl.
14. Keep aside and let it cool down completely.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Mousse`

2 Eggs

3 tsp Gelatin dissolved in 1/4 Orange Squash
300ml Milk
7 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
200g Cream 
1/4 cup Orange Squash

Directions

1. Mix gelatin in orange squash in a heavy bottomed pan. Leave aside for 5-7 minutes. Heat on very low flame to dissolve it. Do not let it boil. Keep aside.
2. Separate the eggs.
3. Mix milk, sugar, cocoa and egg yolks in another heavy bottomed pan on medium to low heat. Keep stirring continuously so that the cocoa doesn’t burn over. Once the custard coats the back of the spoon remove from fire and let it cool down to room temperature.

4. Add gelatin and mix well. Make sure gelatin is completely blended in the custard. Add the orange squash. Mix well again, using a hand beater/ blender.
5. Chill in the freezer till only thick. Make sure it doesn’t start setting.
6. Once the custard is chilled and thick add the cream and beat well. (Preferably use a hand blender).
7. Chill again till thick.
8. While you set the cream-custard mix to chill again, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over whisk.
9. Now add these egg whites to the thick cream-custard and whisk for incorporate properly.


Assembling the Mousse`- Cake:

Once the mouse is ready (step 9) pour the mousse` in the cake bowl (hollowed cake)and let it set in the fridge for atleast 4 hours, though I prefer overnight or 8 hours.
Once properly set, decorate as you like and serve chilled.


Note: 
Do not put it in the freezer for setting. Always set mousse` in the fridge. The freezer can form crystals on the mousse` which will spoil the dessert.
You could do the same thing with just chocolate: chocolate cake and chocolate mousse` or try to contrast flavours if you like.

Happy Baking !!


Mint Choco Ice Cream Cake for my birthday….

Surprise Surprise Surprise…… I was so pleasantly surprised on my birthday this time.

As a child I’ve always been excited about my birthday (err that you can say it has lasted till as recently as last 2 years)…..the excitement typically starts a month before…. yes I do !! 🙂
I love my cards, the flowers, the surprise gifts and friends ‘n’ family dropping-in uninformed….. I just love it !!
As much as I love the whole ritual of giving and receiving flowers and cards especially on birthdays, KJ is the complete opposite. Over these years I had given up on him and reconciled to the fact that boys are after all boys and should not expect the unexpected….


This time around however KJ, 3 days before my birthday announced over a lazy dinner (while watching Master Chef Australia) that he’s gonna bake a cake for my birthday……well the thought itself had me all melted….
Everytime KJ cooks he doesn’t do the ordinary…..he loves to be on the edge and stretch his limits…..only increasing my benchmark !!
He baked me a Mint Choco Ice Cream Cake…..I’ve never worked with ice-cream and cake together. He did all of this without me being around……… I’m so proud of you KJ. :-))


(sorry for the images…I never got a chance to shoot it properly)


Mint Choco Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake:
4 large eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup Oil
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
A pinch of Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla Essence


For the Icing
Mint chocolate ( KJ used the After 8 thins)
Choco Chip Ice cream


Directions:

1. Grease and dust a 7″ diameter round cake mould.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder together.
3. Separate the eggs.
4. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till stiff peaks are formed.
5. Add the essence to the egg yolks, mix and gradually add them to the egg whites. Whisk well.
6. Now add the oil to the eggs and whisk for 30 seconds.
7. Fold in the flour mix gently (do not use the hand mixer)
8. Transfer to the mould and bake for 35 minutes at 180 degree C.
9. Remove from the mould and transfer on the wire rack and let it cool completely.
10. Cut 2 horizontal equal layers of the cake….giving you three layers.
11. Soak (using a brush/spoon)the cake with some flat coke.
12. Cut the ice cream in about 1 cm thick slices and put it back in the freezer.
13. Take some Mint chocolate and grind it in a mixer.
14. Take the ice cream out of the freezer. Place it on one layer of the cake.
15. Sprinkle the mint chocolate flakes on the ice cream layer and place the second layer of cake on it.
16. Repeat the steps and also cover the sides of the cake with the ice cream.
17. Finally place the top layer of the cake. Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes and then keep in the fridge till serving.

Happy Baking !!


Good Ol’ Cup Cakes

The buttery vanilla taste of a plain cake that my mum would bake is still so fresh in my mouth even today !!!
The first cake that I ever baked as well, was the Plain Vanilla Cake. Don’t we all start our cakes from that ?? It is the mother of all cakes…..the foundation cake !! Nothing beats that !! and it is still my favorite tea cake. As a child I used to have it with my glass of milk in the evening, before I’d run to play and now I have it with my evening tea in my office.

I learnt this wonderful cake from my mother. She used to bake this cake for me all the time….The cake box was never allowed to be empty, even though dad and I would sneak to the fridge, in the middle of the night to have our little ‘midnight cake snack’ !!
This cake was even a fab hit at school among both teachers and friends …..Maa would often bake it for my school parties.
There would two variants….one with mixed nuts for teachers and one plain for my friends and I (remember kids are not too fond of nuts :P)
Unlike me she would never accurately measure her ingredients. We had this one coffee mug in our ktichen which was her standard measure for flour, sugar and butter / oil and to that she would always add 5 eggs. Besides this much of measuring she never weighs any ingredients when she cooks, but still every time…every single time the dish is perfect !!! I wonder how she does it ??!!
I’ve adapted the same recipe in cup cakes plain and decorated with chocolate ganache.
Now this has become a perfect ‘take to office’ lunch dessert for KJ.

The Good Ol’ Cup Cakes….with Chocolate Ganache Incing

Ingredients

Flour 220g
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Castor Sugar 120 g
Butter 120 g
Eggs 5
Vanilla Essence 1.5 tsp

Directions
1. Sieve the flour and baking powder together. Reserve.
2. Cream the butter and castor sugar together till light and creamy.
3. Separate eggs. Add the vanilla essence to the egg yolks.
4. Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Be carefull not to over beat.
5. Add the egg yolks to the stiffly beaten egg white one by one.
6. In batches, to the eggs, add the butter-sugar mixture and keep whisking till all ingredients are incorporated.
7. Fold in the flour in batches. Mix well.
8. Grease a 12 muffin tray with butter or line with paper muffin cups.
9. Pour the batter in and bake at 180 degree C for 45 minutes.
Serve warm or otherwise.
You could also add some nuts like almonds/ walnuts / cashew / raisins.
Dust the nuts in some flour and add to the cake batter at the end. Mix it to incorporate and transfer to the baking dish.
Happy Baking !!

Danish Apple Cake…..with love from Shimla !!

This year it was dad’s 60th birthday and what could be better than a quick vacation to Shimla. His favourite hills and mine too.

Shimla the Queen of Hills, located in Himachal Pradesh was also the Summer Capital of the British Raj in 1864. A big small town located in the North-West Himalayas, the city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali.

The beauty of Shimla is it’s overbearing Colonial Flavour. The British have left a deep impact on these lovely hills covered with Pines and Oaks. Inspite of it being so densely populated, Shimla has not lost its old world charm, even today. The long walks…….the Colonial Architecture like the Viceregal Lodge, Auckland House, Gorton Castle, the Grills on the walkways and Mall….and the Gaiety Theatre……one of the five ‘Gothic Architecture’ Theatres in the world and the only one in South Asia!
And of course the World Heritage Rail Track. The oldest train track in the scenic hills in India with 105 tunnels.

I never have enough of these hills and my vacation calendar is never complete without a trip to Shimla each year. Though, to make the most of these beautiful hills, avoid going in peak seasons like the Summer time between May-July.
The things I love doing the most and do year after year are the long walks on the mall and beyond….. the sweet corn soup from Krishna Bakers………gazing at the valley at night from a particular point outside Hotel Clarkes. This hotel is the first Oberoi property and till date maintains its old world charm.

Himachal is also home to the Apple Crop of the country besides Kashmir. The apples from Himachal come from Kotgarh, It is at a distance of 82 kilometers from Shimla on the old Hindustan-Tibet road and 6,500 feet above the sea level. The most of the various varieties are Royal, Golden and Richard Red.

On our way back from Shimla around Solan we saw these apple wholesale shops and the foodie in me obviously couldn’t resist it…….I could already see the Apple Pies and Apple Cakes in my Oven !!
So here it is the recipe for the Danish Apple Cinnamon Cake….with love from Shimla:

Danish Apple Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients:

2 Eggs
175g Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
A pinch of Soda-bi-carb
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
75g Powdered Sugar
75 ml Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Apple – cored and chopped (1 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

For the topping mix together:
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Oats
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tbsp Chopped Walnuts

Directions:

  1. Grease and dust an 8″ diameter cake mould
  2. Sift flour with baking powder, soda-bi-carb and 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  3. Separate eggs. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, till stiff. Add sugar in batches and beat well after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla essence to the yolks and add one yolk at a time in the white egg & sugar mixture.
  5. Add oil and beat for 1/2 a minute.
  6. Add flour gradually and fold gently. (DO NOT USE A BEATER).
  7. Fold 1 cup apples and chopped & dusted walnuts into the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the greased mould.

    9. Evenly spread the remaining 1/2 cup apples on the batter and sprinkle the topping mixture on the apples.

   10. Bake in  a pre-heated oven at 180 degree C. for 45 minutes
   11. Serve hot with butterscotch or vanilla ice cream.