Date & nut cake


DSC_0515Oh this cake. I could sing songs, write sonnets and do a bit of dance and tell you how unbelievably heavenly this cake was. Instead I’m just going to do a bit of unhinged prose and explain with all the emphasis at my disposal about the fabulousness that is this Date & nut cake. ¬†It’s appearance as humble as it might seem is most beguiling and hides the delectable reality of this exquisite cake.

You might be tempted to write off this cake at the merest first glance as any old fruit cake, but one bite and you’d be lost. You’d be lost and in a labyrinthine maze of cake heaven realize with each chewy/crunch/crumbly/flavoursome bite that this cake is indeed one of the most tasteful, scrumptious cake ever to have floated out of your oven.

It’s the orchestra of soft sweet dates contrasting with nut crunch and underlined with a medley of sublime spice flavours that makes this cake an addictive must.

DSC_0486 copyit’s a date & nut cake, so it has dates and nuts and milk, sugar, egg, flour, butter, vanilla extract, clove powder (ground cloves), orange zest, cinnamon, baking powder, crushed pepper.

 

DSC_0487start by adding baking powder to the flour and mixing it thoroughly. Keep it aside.

 

DSC_0488As with most cake recipes this one starts with creaming the butter and sugar in a bowl. Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Mine was not ūüė¶

 

DSC_0490beat or cream the butter, add in the sugar

 

DSC_0491add the orange zest

 

DSC_0492beat until it sort of looks like this, or you can do a better job if the butter is room temperature.

 

DSC_0493crack in an egg

 

DSC_0495splash in some vanilla

 

DSC_0496and beat again until well mixed. My batter looks a bit curdled and that’s because I didn’t use room temperature butter. It’s too cold here for anything to be room temperature..but this curdling won’t matter..and you’ll see.

 

DSC_0497add in the flour

 

DSC_0498followed by spices..cinnamon, ground cloves

 

DSC_0499crushed black pepper

 

DSC_0501mix a bit and add milk

 

DSC_0503followed by chopped dates

 

DSC_0504chopped nuts

 

DSC_0506and mix until just barely mixed. Do Not overmix the batter.

 

DSC_0508scrape batter into a baking tin of choice. I’ve lined mine with some baking paper.

 

DSC_0509smoothen the top and bake at 180¬įC for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out completely clean

 

DSC_0522let it cool. Slice and enjoy!

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Ingredients

Dates: 170g (1 overflowing cup)

Nuts: 130g (1 cup). I used a mix of pecans and walnuts, but you can use whatever is easily available.

Sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

Flour: 120g (1 cup)

Butter: 100g (1/2 cup)

Milk: 50 mls (1/4cup)

Eggs: 1

Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

baking powder: 1.5 tsp

Orange zest: 1 tbsp

black pepper (crushed): 1/4 tsp

Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp

crushed cloves: 1/4 tsp

——————–

Recipe instructions: Chop the dates and soak in 1 cup of hot water to soften them and keep aside.

Add the baking powder into the flour and mix well and keep aside.

Cream the room temperature butter with the sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy. Crack in the egg, add vanilla extract and beat for another minute until well combined. Add in the flour, followed by spices. Mix roughly and add in the milk until just mixed.

Drain the dates and add into the batter, followed by nuts and do not over mix the batter.

Scrape the batter into a well greased baking tin and bake at¬†180¬įC for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out completely clean.

Let cool before slicing.

Enjoy!

 

 

No woe brownies


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Brownies as a rule work as devilish little mood elevator charms, and although there never can be one perfect recipe, these chocolate sodden, nuts bejeweled diabolical squares are indeed moan inducing.¬†The reason these are called no woe brownies is because they’re the perfect antidote to many a life’s sads. They will diminish most of your life worries, though¬†these do tend to have a rather crack life after effect, and you might be swayed to do something absolutely indecorous..but that shouldn’t stop you from either committing to that act or making these exquisite squares of forbidden pleasures. Not only do¬†these little babies lusciously gratify your most carnal cravings, they also do double duty as your sinning needs..so if you’re one of those straight-laced, down on your luck decent ones out there, baking and ingesting one of these is guaranteed to write you off as one dirty sinner, because these brownies are in fact the miscreant adulterers of all food groups.

Now these are called no woe brownies and they are but for the little side effect that these will make you fat, and what could be more woeful than that? on the other hand if you eat another one of these, you might not feel so bad after all, and they are the perfect remedy for an aching heart.

Let’s be absolutely clear that these are not the cakey brownie kinds, I mean what’s even the point of a cakey brownie when you might as well just eat a cake. No sir..these are dense, fudgey, and every bite is packed with chunks of sweet divinity, because these have three different kinds of chocolate components.

 

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bring on all the good stuff..chocolate chunks or chips separated into two heaps, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, cocoa powder, butter, chopped salted pistachios, sugar and coffee granules.

 

DSC_0313This is an easy easy recipe..all can me made into one bowl, and an oval bowl doesn’t really help much. So butter diced into chunks

 

DSC_0314and chunks of chocolate part-1. This one is meant for melting purposes with the butter. You can either melt the butter and chocolate over heating water in a heat proof bowl or melt in a microwave, in 30 second bursts.

 

DSC_0316add in the coffee granules. These make the chocolate more chocolatey.

 

DSC_0317this is what you get. satan’s swimming pool. Take a dip and salvation..or you can make brownies.

 

DSC_0319add in the sugar

 

DSC_0320mix well. You’ll see that the sugar doesn’t really dissolve and that’s alright, because everything will come together just fine.

 

DSC_0322crack in the eggs, one at a time and mix well before adding another.

 

DSC_0323make sure to incorporate the eggs well into the batter and you’ll end up with something like this.

 

DSC_0324add in the vanilla

 

DSC_0325and the cocoa powder and mix

 

DSC_0326add in the flour

 

DSC_0327chocolate chunks that are supposed to stay as chunks in here

 

DSC_0329and finally in with the salted nuts. It’s the salted nuts that add another dimension and elevate these brownies from fantastic to ecstatic.

 

DSC_0330mix it all in well. Ah, this marvelous mound of magnificence.

 

DSC_0331scrape the batter into a buttered baking tray

 

DSC_0332smooth well and bake at 180¬įC for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean

 

DSC_0340ah…sigh!!! cut into squares if you care to share, or just dive in with a fork.

 

DSC_0345here it is..in a rueful light..

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Ingredient amounts

Flour: 70g (1/2 cup)

Butter: 120g (1/2 cup)

Chocolate dark (for melting): 170g (1 heaped cup)

Chocolate chunks (milk or dark): 90g (1/2 cup)

Cocoa powder: 30g (1/4 cup)

Eggs: 3

Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Coffee granules: 1 tablespoon

Salted pistachio: 70g (heaped 3/4cup)- you can use any salted nuts of your preference. salted peanuts would be great here too.

————————————————–

Recipe instructions:  melt the butter, coffee granules and dark chocolate over a heat proof bowl or into a microwave. Add in sugar and mix briefly. Crack in the eggs, one at a time and mix thoroughly. (Let the mixture cool before adding in the eggs)

Add in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, flour, chocolate chunks and salted nuts. Mix until well incorporated.

Scrape into a buttered baking tray and bake at¬†180¬įC for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean

DSC_0369if this doesn’t push you into the kitchen with a slab¬†of chocolate in hand..you don’t deserve to sin.

 

 

 

Venetian carrot cake


 

DSC_1379In case anyone¬†was wondering¬†about my exile and the painfully invisible void I’d left in the world of food blogs, then let me tell you, it was only temporary..and though I might not be back with a bang, I am back with a gluten free (gasp) venetian carrot cake, the credit for which as much as I’d like to take isn’t mine to take at all but Nigella Lawson’s, and it’s her recipe I’ve adapted to make this unbelievable sphere (albeit sort of flat) of damp richness.

This is a carrot cake and it’s unapologetically..umm carroty? and absolutely gluten free, which is to say it does not require any flour, and as hipster as it sounds, we can take some solace in that it’s not vegan..though I promise nothing. On days of rage, I’ve been known to torture myself with vegan food stuff. But that’s another story for another torture chamber, because right now let’s marvel in the blistering warmth of this buff coloured cake, which sings to your soul and pleases your senses with such luxurious notes, that you’re left wondering whether you should eat this cake or marry it.

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So without further ado, we’ve the ingredients. Sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract, beaten eggs, almond meal, shredded carrots, pine nuts, lemon, lemon zest, raisins and rum (not pictured)

Just because a cake’s got almond meal which sometimes you don’t readily get at your grocery store, does not mean you put off baking this amber coloured love disc.¬†You’ve only to blitz almonds to get almond meal you know. It’s rocket science, but you can get around to it.

DSC_1331before we get started, put the raisins in with the rum and bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 3 minutes, after which turn off your heat and let the raisins plump up and cool.

 

DSC_1333 into a bowl of choice, add olive oil and sugar

 

DSC_1335and beat it for at least a couple of minutes. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable activity, I assure you.

 

DSC_1336beat until you’ve incorporated the sugar with the oil

 

DSC_1341mix in the eggs

 

DSC_1339followed closely by vanilla extract

 

DSC_1347and the zest

 

DSC_1348and lemon juice

 

DSC_1343mix well, until you’ve a summery ripple of golden ooze that speaks radiance in shiny ribbons.

 

DSC_1344tip in the now cooled swollen raisins along with any rum that’s it’s been standing in.

 

DSC_1349finally the almond meal

 

DSC_1350and the grated carrots

 

DSC_1354mix well, until everything’s incorporated and there’re no dry pockets.

 

DSC_1356scrape the mixture into a prepared cake tin. This is a springform pan

DSC_1330prepared simply means you’ve oiled the sides and the bottom and stuck a wax/butter/parchment paper on the base and oiled it as well.

DSC_1357now, with the careless abandon of abundance, strew the top with pine nuts

 

DSC_1358liberally or not..entirely up to you and bake at 180¬įC for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. As long as it’s sticky and not runny, you’re good.

 

DSC_1360once done, let it cool before you devour..always a good practice.

 

DSC_1383and behold! the answer to dreary winter months, the saviour of one too many dinnerless nights..or just a sponge to wipe your tears, while you wallow in the dull ache of loneliness in your bed. A cake of such splendour and sumptuous depths that you’d kick yourself for sharing it.¬†It’ll light you up on the inside, and how can it not?

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Ingredients

 

  • carrots-2 medium ¬†(about 200g)

  • pine nuts -3 tbsp
  • raisins-75g (1/2 cup)

  • rum- 60ml

  • sugar- 150g (3/4cup)

  • olive oil (regular)- 125ml (1/2 cup)

  • eggs-3
  • vanilla extract- 1 tsp

  • almond meal- 250g (2.5 cup)

  • lemon- 1/2 (zest and juice)

______________________________________________

Preparation

In a saucepan bring to a boil the rum and raisins and let simmer gently. Turn off the heat and let them stand and cool.  Grate the carrots and absorb any excess liquid with a kitchen towel.

Into a bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until well mixed. add in the eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and the now cooled rum and raisins, and mix well. Finally fold in the almond meal and grated carrots.

Scrape into a prepared cake tin, and cover the top with pine nuts. Bake¬†180¬įC for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. As long as it’s sticky and not runny, you’re good. Let it rest for at lest ten minutes before removing it from its cake pan. Let it cool completely and enjoy

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Blueberry muffin crumble cake


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Are you seeing this? are you feeling it? Behold the rocket science behind making a muffin batter, only to make a cake instead, and top it all off with a crumble. gasp!

Before I begin with the alchemy of innovation and the complicated discoveries of pouring a muffin batter into a cake pan, let me just tell you about the divinity of this blueberry muffin crumble cake.

The rustic golden top,¬†splattered¬†with the ooze of violent violet of tart sweet blueberries, has known to make grown men weep. It’s guaranteed to make a painter out of the¬†most banal harsh hearts,¬†and turn your cold cemented soul into a benevolent rasp of tenderness. It doesn’t masquerade as a sinful dessert, but rather bleeds of such hearty compassion, that you’d want nothing better than to cry your woes to this plate of cake, and promise to turn over a new leaf. It’s seriously that good!…Also it takes no more than mere moments to conjure up this holiness.

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totally basic ingredients involving sugar, oil, lemon zest, baking soda, baking powder, salt, blueberries (obviously), yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, flour and crumble toppings that include flour, sugar & butter.

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so let’s just begin with the crumble topping and that’s one less thing to bother about. So, flour in a bowl

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and sugar

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and butter

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and mix with a fork

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until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Now refrigerate this and forget about it for a bit.

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now because this is a muffin cake, we go the basic dry ingredient+wet ingredients way. So this is our wet ingredients bit..lol wet! in a separate clean bowl, crack and egg.

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beat it with some vanilla

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add in the yogurt

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and the oil.

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and mix/beat/whip until it forms a real nice smooth batter..real smooth.

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now for the dry ingredients. In a separate larger bowl, add in the flour.

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and the sugar

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and the baking soda, baking powder and salt. and phew!

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in with the lemon zest

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and the blueberries that hardly ever look blue, but whatever!

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and mix! yes sir.

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mix until everything is..umm..mixed. That is to say the blueberries are coated with the flour mixture and all ingredients are evenly dispersed.

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dump in the wet ingredients..you remember..that egg, oil and yogurt batter

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and now you get a mixing..but remember DO NOT OVERMIX!

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mix only until it has just come together..just barely come together..

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scrape the muffin batter into a cake tin/pan/dish. make sure you’ve oiled it first. Even out the top as best as you can

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and sprinkle on the crumble topping that has been resting in the fridge

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like so..bake in a preheated oven at 190¬ļC for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Can you see the gorgeously golden cracked crumble top?

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see???

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see..sigh! flecked dangerously vivid with blueberries, this muffin cake is a joy to bake and a wonder to eat. Serve just as is, or with ice cream or cream or custard or tears.


Ingredients

egg: 1 large

yogurt: 240 mls (1 cup)

vegetable oil: 80 mls (1/3 cup)

flour: 250g (2 cups)

sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

baking powder: 1 1/2 tsp

baking soda: 1/4tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

lemon zest: 1 tsp

blueberries: 320g (about 1 1/4 cup)


for the crumble topping

sugar: 50g (1/4 cup)

butter: 30g (2 heaped tablespoons)

flour: 70g (1/2 cup)


 Blueberry muffin crumble cake: make the crumble topping by mixing in the flour and sugar and using a fork cut in the cold butter, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. you can do this using just your finger tips as well.

wet ingredients: In a large bowl mix together egg, vanilla extract, yogurt and oil.

dry ingredients: In a separate bowl mix in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and blueberries. Mix until the blueberries are well coated with flour and all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Now gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and do not over mix. The batter will be a bit thick, but desirably so. Scrape into a well greased baking dish and even out the top as best as you can.

Sprinkle the crumble topping thickly and bake at¬†190¬ļC for about 25-30 minutes¬†in a pre heated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Almost – fudge gateau


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In case you ever wondered what gateway to heaven was really made of, then please look no further. The gateway to heaven or even the stairway to one was/is most definitely made of this dense, moist disc of chocolate bliss. I’d love to say that this was something that came out of my kitchen in a moment of godlike inspiration, but sadly it isn’t. This is a recipe I adapted¬†from Dorie Greenspan’s book (baking, from my home to yours), and the moment I made it I knew this would be that moment of magical sin, when I’d plunge headlong into this shiny matt dome of chocolate and wish for no rescue.

The real reason I’d made this cake was because I was in a celebratory mode, as I’d just become a part of this fantastic¬†website put together by a bunch of serious food lovers called¬†Gastronazi.com¬†and that I was doing metaphysical somersaults and driving myself into a food frenzy would be a serious understatement. This website is exactly what it sounds like, and puts not only well researched, well thought food related articles but also comes up with excellent how to videos and recipes that you always thought belonged in a pricey French kitchen. So do check put this website and know more about how to kick it up a notch or two in your home kitchen.

Coming back to this gateau, here’s all you need.

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sugar, good quality dark chocolate, eggs separated, flour, butter and salt.

DSC_1064start with prepping your springform pan by buttering the sides and bottom

DSC_1066lining with a parchment paper

DSC_1067buttering that as well

DSC_1068sprinkle in some flour to coat the entire pan and shake off the excess

DSC_1070something like this

DSC_1072add the butter to your chocolate and melt either using a double boiler or nuking in the microwave

DSC_1074this is what you should end up with. stir it all together to form a chocolate pool, then dive in and forget the world, or just continue making the cake.

DSC_1076to this add sugar

DSC_1077stir well to mix as well as you can

DSC_1078add in the egg yolks, one at a time and stir until all’s well combined.

DSC_1080add in the flour and mix well

DSC_1081to make it look like this.

DSC_1082in a separate, very clean bowl we have to whip up the egg whites to form firm peaks, they should be glossy and not dry

DSC_1083so add a pinch of salt to the egg whites

DSC_1085and whip like a maniac, until they kinda look like this

DSC_1086now the part where you exercise caution. First fold in about a third of the egg white mixture into the batter, to lighten it a bit. I generally do this step by cut and fold method too. Very gently fold in the egg whites to form a part of the batter. I do this by scraping the bottom of the batter and bringing it to the top of the egg whites and keep repeating this step 4-5 times until the egg whites become a part of the batter.

DSC_1087once you’ve lightened the batter, fold in the rest of the egg whites using the same method.

DSC_1088and the batter should look something like this.

DSC_1089scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the sides just a bit to even the batter (I always use foil on my tray because my springform pan can be slightly dyslexic). Bake at 180¬įC for 35-45 minutes. ¬†thin knife inserted will come slightly smeared with chocolate when its done.

DSC_1090the cake when done looks something like this. Let it rest for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. If you think the cake is sticking to the edges, just run a blunt knife around the edges and it will come out easily. The way we’ve buttered and floured the pan, it might be almost impossible to stick.

Let the cake cool completely before glazing it.

DSC_1092for the glaze we need heavy cream, dark chocolate and honey

DSC_1097start by heating the chocolate on low flame until it’s just nearly boiling but not boiling. Turn off the heat and add in the chocolate and let them sit without stirring for a couple of minutes.

DSC_1098after a few minutes, stir together to combine

DSC_1099add in the honey and stir again. Wait for a few minutes until it’s just cool because it has to be pourable, for you to do

DSC_1103this. Yes! slather that cake with that glaze baby..ooh yeah.

DSC_1116cut yourself a piece and watch yourself melt into a pool of luxurious indulgence

Ingredients

Eggs- 5 (separated)

bittersweet chocolate- 250g

sugar- 150g (1 cup)

butter- 70g (5 tbsp)

flour-50g (1/3cup)

salt- pinch

For the glaze

Dark chocolate-100g

heavy cream- 90 mls (about 1/2 cup)

Honey- 2 tsp

Baking instructions

Butter a sprinform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust with flour to ensure the pan is evenly coated on all sides and shake off the excess.

Melt the chocolate and butter and mix in sugar, then add in the egg yolks, one at a time and mix well. Add flour and mix to form a smooth batter.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whip to form firm peaks. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and fold in to lighten, then gently fold the rest of the egg whites, cautiously. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle a bit to even out. Bake at 180¬įC for 35-45 minutes. A thin knife inserted will come slightly smeared with chocolate when its done.

Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Once out of the pan and let it cool completely.

For the chocolate glaze: heat the cream to a point when it’s just about boiling, don’t let it come to a boil. Add in the chocolate to the saucepan and let it sit without stirring for a couple of minutes. Stir the mixture after a couple of minutes until smooth and add the honey and keep mixing until it’s shiny. Let it cool a bit before pouting over the cake. Let the glaze set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cutting into the cake.

DSC_1108enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Citrus butter cake


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It’s been a while since there’s been any sun in our frigid little Chinese town, but I’m not complaining.Maybe I am because everything is cold and freezing and butter at room temperature is a solid brick and my bread dough doesn’t rise and it’s always raining and everything is wet and it feels like I’m living in a glacier…..but there are moments when there’s plenty sunshine in my kitchen, courtesy this golden cake, that looks like sun-rays and tastes like sunlit oranges bathed in sweet butter and love.

I’m not exaggerating, ’tis true and you know it and not least because you can make this cake at the snap of your fingers and smugly too.

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Yes there’s fanta and no shame. Regular stuff that is butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, lemon and orange zest plus extra for icing, a whole lemon, fanta, flour, baking powder and

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eggs that I forgot to include, but here they are.

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into the flour add salt

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and baking powder and keep aside for a while

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this is a citrus cake and we want every breath to speak of it, which is why into our sugar we mix in the lemon zest

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and orange zest

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and using our fingers we just mix it all in so every bit of sugar is infused with the citrus twang.

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in a separate glass juice your lemon

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and add in the fanta.

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beat together room temperature butter and zest mixed sugar until nicely mixed and kinda fluffy. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.

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crack in the eggs. one at a time and beat after each addition to mix thoroughly, so here’s the first

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and the second. It turns a fabulous yellow/orange after each addition.

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once it’s all mixed well in add the vanilla extract

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beat again and now it’s time for the flour which we will add in three additions. So here’s 1/3rd of our flour, mix briefly

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and 1/2 of our magic potion that is fanta and lemon juice. Mix after each addition just until the batter comes together

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another 1/3rd of flour, beat briefly.

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add the remaining fanta, lemon juice, and mix to combine.

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followed by the rest of the flour. Beat to make a smooth batter. It doesn’t take long.

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You’ll finally get this. A pool of sun in a steel bowl.

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Pour into baking tin of choice. I was too lazy to butter a loaf tin so I lined it with a baking sheet, but please feel free to butter and flour your cake tin. Bake at 180¬įC for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Like so. The kitchen at this point smells like orange marmalade doing a cabaret. You can eat it as it is but a bit of embellishment never hurt anyone.

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an easy glaze or make up if you prefer. add some reserved zest into icing sugar

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with a spoonful or so of leftover fanta in case you haven’t been too greedy.

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mix to form a pourable consistency like so.

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and let your cake have it, make sure it has cooled down completely.

This cake may look sober but it’s oozing with oomph. It smells like sun and tastes like light. Every bite carries a citrus hit and honestly any cake that uses a can of fanta cannot go wrong. it’s easy, delightful and a much desired change from everything boring these winters.

Ingredients

butter: 100 g (1/2 cup)

flour: 170 g (11/2 cup)

sugar: 110 g( about 1 cup)

fanta: 200 mls (3/4cup)

lemon juice: 1 tablespoon

eggs: 2

salt: 1/2 tsp

baking powder: 1 tsp

vanilla extract: 1 tsp

orange and lemon zest: 1 tablespoon + extra for icing.

For icing

icing sugar: 100 g (about 1 cup(

lemon + orange zest (1 tsp)

fanta: 1 tablespoon

Recipe instructions: mix flour, salt and baking powder and keep aside. add the lemon and orange zest in sugar and mix in with fingers until fragrant. In a glass squeeze in one lemon and mix with fanta.

In a separate bowl, beat room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for a minute after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again.

Add the flour in three stages alternating with fanta and juice mixture in two, and beat well after each addition until the batter is smooth.

Pour into a baking tin and bake at¬†180¬įC for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely.

For the icing mix in the zest, fanta and icing sugar until you have pouring consistency. Pour over the cooled cake and let set before serving.

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Make this now!

Double chocolate chunk cookies


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This isn’t the first chocolate chip/chunk cookie post on this blog, and most certainly not the last. But before you roll your eyes and dismiss these sweet little discs of joy, at least stare at them for a while, and notice that there are two kinds of demonic babies in there. I meant dark chocolate and white chocolate; a pairing made in gluttonous heaven of sweet sin.

These golden halos of chewy rapture are sweet, rich, and sometimes responsible for stealthily increasing your waistline..but that’s a different story for a boring day. Make a big batch and freeze some for later I say.

These need no heavy machinery, or special equipments or even muscle power. The ingredients are few and it takes moments to conjure these lovers

DSC_098h2

 

just butter (softened to room temperature), dark brown sugar, white sugar, flour, an egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, and of course chocolate chunks both dark and white. Feel free to use chocolate chips instead (only they won’t be as awesome)

DSC_0983add the softened butter to a bowl of choice. Ahem! notice my gorgeous new pink spatula?

DSC_0984rain in the white sugar

DSC_0985and the brown sugar and simply beat it together. It shouldn’t take long if the butter is nicely soft.

DSC_0987a minute of creaming together and it comes to look like this.

DSC_0996crack in the egg

DSC_0997splash in the vanilla

DSC_0998and beat again, until it looks something like this.

DSC_0990in a separate bowl, add in the flour and salt

DSC_0991and the baking soda

DSC_0992and mix to combine

DSC_1000and stir it into the butter sugar mixture.

DSC_1001mix until it just about comes together.

DSC_1002clatter in the chunks..the white

DSC_1003and the dark,  and mix until just barely there. Do not over-mix the cookie dough. Please!

DSC_1004this is how it comes together. Now cover with a cling film and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

DSC_1006in the meantime, line your baking tray with parchment or butter paper, ignore that this is full of creases.

DSC_1007after 45 minutes, we’re ready to bake. It’s easiest with an ice cream scoop.

DSC_1008like so

DSC_1009like so.. bake at 180‚ĄÉ for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just start to slightly brown

DSC_1011tadaa!! do not attempt to transfer the hot cookies immediately onto a cooling rack, they will all too easily tear. let them rest for at least 2-3 minutes.

DSC_1021

and finally this!

Dunk into milk, crumble over ice cream or just apply to face as is, they’re fantastic either way..and..and oh so gorgeous. The sides are slightly crispy, the center chewy, the chocolate chunks absolutely blowing these darlings into another dimension.

Ingredients

butter:  110g

white sugar: 70g (about 1/3rd cup)

brown sugar: 80g (a little less than 1/4 cup)

egg: 1

vanilla: 1 tsp

flour: 150g (1 and 1/4 cup)

baking soda: 1/2 tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa): 70g (1/2 cup)

white chocolate : 70g (1/2 cup)

Preparation instructions:

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) into a separate bowl and set aside.

In a clean bowl, add in the softened butter and the sugar and cream until they’re light and fluffy. Crack in the egg and add in the vanilla extract and beat again for about a minute.

Add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Tumble in the chocolate chunks and stir again until all chunks are just incorporated into the mixture.

Cover with a cling film and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30-45 minutes.

layer your baking tray with parchment paper, and using an ice cream scoop place them at least an inch apart, since these cookies will spread.

bake at¬†180‚ĄÉ for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just start to slightly brown.

Let them rest for a few minutes before you transfer them to cool on a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and they should disappear by the end of day.

DSC_1024now you seriously gotta make these. Enjoy!

 

 

Love letters.


DSC_0923How could you ever go wrong eating something so melodiously lyrical and so dramatically picturesque? These bountiful babies are rather romantically called love letters, and why not! Gracefully golden and poetically charged as they are, these fattened cigars are also tastefully sublime.

These happen to be a very popular Keralan tea time snack, of which rather embarrassingly though, I got to know of very recently through a dear friend I met on twitter called Febin Mathew, who also happens to be a fantastic writer and runs a wonderfully whimsical blog called (epicfaildotcom.wordpress.com) or you can check out his writings here

Love letters, as gorgeous as they sound are really just thin crepes that are filled in with coconuts and sugar.

DSC_0879m copythe ingredients are simple enough. Sugar, desiccated coconut. flour, egg and cardamom pods.

DSC_0881this recipe requires cardamom powder and its a good practice to make some from scratch rather than buying the dried up bottled stuff. All you really need is a mortar and pestle.

DSC_0882to make a somewhat fine powder.

DSC_0883into a bowl, dump in your flour

DSC_0884crack in the egg and get mixing.

DSC_0885somewhere here I realized I should have used a bigger bowl, but a bit of mess never hurt anyone. we need a thin batter and an egg alone won’t thin it.

DSC_0886add in water, a little at a time to make a thin consistency. I ended up adding about 100mls of water, that is about 6-7 tablespoons

DSC_0889this is the consistency we are looking for. It should be thin and pourable, with no visible lumps.

DSC_0894add in about 3/4ths of the cardamom powder. Mix well and keep aside.

DSC_0895now this step is entirely optional and not a part of the authentic recipe, but I like to do it. Take a good heaping tablepsoon of vanilla sugar.

DSC_0896and half the sugar of this recipe and put it in a pot over slow flame.

DSC_0899until it very lightly caramelizes and just starts turning golden.

DSC_0900at which point we add in the remaining cardamom powder.

DSC_0901and all the desiccated coconut

DSC_0902turn off the flame and stir it all in. Put this mixture in a grinder and grind it for a couple of seconds.

DSC_0905and you’ll get this. It’ll have faint whiffs of caramel, vanilla and cardamom.

DSC_0906mix in the remaining sugar and reserve for stuffing.

DSC_0907put your pan on a low medium flame and add a dollop of¬†butter/ghee. I’ve added ghee as per the recipe.

DSC_0908tilt it well to coat evenly.

DSC_0909take a ladle full of your batter.

DSC_0910gently on to the pan

DSC_0911spread as thinly as possible.

DSC_0912it will start cooking the moment it touches the surface

DSC_0913flip to cook the other side.

DSC_0916filling these crepes is fairly simple.

DSC_0917put a good heaping mound in the middle

DSC_0918fold over from the top and from the sides, like so

DSC_0919and like so.

DSC_0920and finally fold over to make neat little packages.

DSC_0922arrange on platter of choice.

DSC_0924sprinkle on some castor sugar and sigh a little, because this might be your only chance at receiving any love letters, and devour them with milk, coffee, tea or just plain.

DSC_0929this is what the insides look like.

Ingredients

all purpose flour : 100g or 3/4 cup

cardamom powder: 2 teaspoons

sugar: 80g or 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

desiccated coconut: 100g

water: 100mls about 1/2 cup

butter/ghee: 1 tablespoon

Preparation instructions:  make a thin batter from flour, egg and milk. Add in 3/4ths the cardamom powder and reserve.

In a saucepan, lightly caramelize the vanilla sugar and half of the sugar from the recipe. Just as it starts melting and turns light golden, turn off the flame and in remaining cardamom powder, and the desiccated coconut and mix. Grind this mixture and reserve.

In a non stick pan, melt the butter/ghee over a low medium flame and pour a ladle full of the prepared batter. Spread evenly to form a thin crepe and flip to cook the other side.

For filling, lay out the crepe and put a heaping mound in the middle. Fold over 1/4 of the top, then fold from both sides to pack and finally fold over from the top again to make a roll.

Sprinkle with castor sugar and serve warm.

DSC_0923enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate chip cookie bars


DSC_0878So here it is, the most luscious enemy you’d want to feast on. Chocolate chip cookie turned into bars; so now not only do you get to eat a cookie, you get to eat it in a crispy thick slab of voluptuous bar. It’s rich, moist and crunchy, loaded with chocolate.. in all it’s an orgy of scrumptious¬†exquisiteness. You might die eating it, but oh! what a happy death will it be. I do not recommend making a lot of these, because sweet and rich as they are, they’re also too easy to eat, and while your mouth might say no, your soul will want it all. I promise!

What’s more, it’s tinted ever so lightly with salted peanuts, and this sinful pairing of sweet and salt will definitely bring all the boys to the yard. So let’s get cracking!

DSC_0828nbasic chocolate chip cookie ingredients: butter, flour, vanilla, chocolate chips, salted peanuts, egg, salt ,baking soda,light brown sugar, regular white sugar.

DSC_0830no heavy machinery needed. A friendly steel bowl and wooden spoon will do the trick.

DSC_0831cream the butter for about a minute. it’d help a lot if your butter is at room temperature.

DSC_0832in with the sugars..the white

DSC_0833and the brown.

DSC_0834beat it again till it takes on a fluffy appearance or looks something likes this. You needn’t worry about going wrong. it’s a forgiving recipe.

DSC_0835pour in the vanilla.

DSC_0836crack in the egg

DSC_0837and beat again.

DSC_0838dump in the dry ingredients. This is flour, salt and baking soda.

DSC_0839mix it all in till it just comes together.

DSC_0840finally the salted peanuts

DSC_0841….and the chocolate chunks.

DSC_0842mix until well combined and keep aside for a minute.

DSC_0844prepare your cake tin. I lined it with aluminium foil and buttered it generously.

DSC_0846pour it in, or rather gloop it in and level the top using back of a spoon and bake at 180¬įC for 35 minutes, or until the top is crisp and burnished and cracking brown.

DSC_0851like so! beautifully brown and crunchy looking. Let it rest and cool completely.

DSC_0859cut into bars and apply to face.

Ingredients:

flour: 130 g (1 cup)

salt: 1/2 teaspoon

baking soda: 3/4 teaspoon

butter: 110 g

white granulated sugar: 100 g (1/2 cup)

light brown sugar: 70 g (1/3 cup)

vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

egg: 1 large

bittersweet chocolate: 60 g

dark chocolate : 60 g (or use any combination you want)

salted peanuts: 20 g (3 tablespoons)

Preparation instructions: cream room temperature butter until light and airy. add in the sugars and beat again until fluffy. add the vanilla extract and egg and beat again for about a minute.

Add in the dry ingredients except chocolates and peanuts and mix well together. Finally ad in the peanuts and chocolates and mix until just combined.

Prepare a cake tin of choice preferably square and line with a buttered aluminium foil. scoop in the cookie dough and even out the top to make it flat. Bake at¬†¬†180¬įC for 35 minutes or until the top looks crisp and the batter has risen a bit.

Let cool completely before slicing into bars.

This recipe is not only easy to put together but also all too easy to devour as I already mentioned. So instead of making some mere cookies, glitz it a bit and turn into bars.

DSC_0865enjoy!!

Chocolate mocha marbled bundt


DSC_0827I’m sorry if this sounds like a mouthful, but calling this magnificence a mere cake, would be like calling the ‘Taj Mahal’ a mere tomb. Did I go too far? It doesn’t matter, because what really matters is this cake, its refined elegance, sophisticated marbling and luxurious taste.

One bite and you’re in bundt heaven. Superb taste, beautiful crumb and criminally fun to put together.

This is the kind of cake (gasp! dies) that you could serve for dessert with a scoop of ice cream, or with coffee, cut into sort of thin slices, as I did.

In fact I had made it for a big party I had in my house, and served it as a post dinner accompaniment to coffee, since most of my Chinese friends are not very big on desserts, but Coffee! they love, and as I keep getting requested to make my regular vanilla cake, I decided change it a bit and turn it into something more exotic.

DSC_0747mnothing too strenuous. Just good quality dark chocolate, instant coffee granules, salt, baking powder, butter, strong cooled coffee (the real deal not instant coffee this time),eggs, vanilla extract (I’m using my own,DIY)¬†, flour, almond meal (grind some almonds in a grinder, jeez), sugar and milk.

DSC_0750ok, this is my bundt pan, fairly basic, fairly average, fairly good! We need to prepare this and yes you can use any other regular baking pan except it won’t be as exquisite.

DSC_0751first we need to prepare this pan so that our cake comes out in one perfect shape. brush with some melted butter.

DSC_0752paint it well, all the nooks, the crevices

DSC_0753all the walls.

DSC_0754sprinkle in a bit of flour. We’re taking precautions and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that my love.

DSC_0756move around the pan in all directions so the flour sticks to the butter. Move that real well. turn it up, turn it down, turn it round and round and round, or just make sure it’s coated well

DSC_0758like so…. now forget about it for a while.

DSC_0761take a big bowl and dump in your flour

DSC_0765and almond meal

DSC_0766and salt

DSC_0767and baking powder…and phew!

DSC_0768mix it well and forget about it for a while.

DSC_0769in a separate bowl too sizes too small add some butter to the chocolate

DSC_0772then the coffee granules (the instant kind)

DSC_0773then your strong brewed coffee, the real kind

DSC_0775melt in a microwave in 30 second bursts, or melt in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. I shifted mine into a bigger bowl because things were getting pretty cramped. Now forget this for a while.

DSC_0778in a separate bowl, add the sugar to the butter which should be soft btw.

DSC_0780and beat¬†together for a couple of minutes until they’re kinda fluffy.

DSC_0781add in the eggs one by one, beating briefly after each addition.

DSC_0783Once all the eggs are beaten in, you will end up with something like this.

DSC_0785add in your vanilla and beat for another half a minute or so.

DSC_0786now add your flour mixture and milk alternately. The flour mixture should be added in three stages and the milk in two, and the beginning and ending should be with the flour mixture. Got it? ok beat in 1/3rd of the flour mixture.

DSC_0787then half of the milk, then 1/3rd of the flour mixture, then rest of the milk and finally ¬†last¬†of the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. This alternating stage is important so that you don’t end up over beating the batter.

DSC_0788the mixture will look like so, specked with almond meal. Do not over beat the batter at any stage or your cake will be tough and you’d hate it and blame me.

DSC_0789now bring back your chocolate mocha pool of sin.

DSC_0790Take a little less than half of the vanilla batter

DSC_0791and add it into this chocolate coffee pool of love and mix together very briefly

DSC_0793to get this.

DSC_0795now bring back your bundt pan and do this

DSC_0796then this, basically alternate between the batters

DSC_0797to form this

DSC_0798then take a tooth pick or a knife or in my case and offset spatula and swirl it lightly in the batter. Don’t Jackson Pollock this! You need to be gentle about it or the marble pattern will be all kinds of evil. But of course it’s your cake and you do what you want!

DSC_0799so mine looked something like this. Bake at 180‚ĄÉ for about an hour

DSC_0801to get this! Let it cool in the pan for a while

DSC_0802and with all that greasing and flouring, it will come out like a song! Look at this! oh my, oh dear, oh wow! Carry this triumphantly to a table full of people, and see how quickly they whip out their phones to instagram this baby!!

DSC_0807marbled pattern in my cake.

Ingredients

Flour: 350g

Almond meal: 70g

baking powder: 1 teaspoon

salt: 1/2 teaspoon

butter: 210g + 2 tablespoons

dark chocolate: 90g

strong coffee: 60mls(1/4 cup)

instant coffee: 1 teaspoon

sugar: 230 g

eggs: 4

vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon

milk: 250mls (1 cup)

Baking instructions:  butter the bundt pan and dust with flour to coat completely and shake off the excess flour. Keep aside

Mix together the flour, almond, salt and baking powder.

combine the chocolate, 2 tablespoons of butter, instant coffee and coffee and melt in a microwave. I did in 30 second burst mixing after each, until nicely melted and combined.You can also melt in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. Microwave is just easier and less fussy.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. beat in the vanilla extract. add the flour mixture in 3 portions and the milk in 2, so the beginning and ending should be with flour mixture. Beat only until just combined.

Add a little less than half the vanilla batter into the melted chocolate coffee and mix.

Start layering these 2 batters into the bundt pan as you wish. You can alternate them as I did, or even layer them separately with chocolate layer sandwiched in between vanilla.. Once done you can take a knife or a tooth pick and gently swirl it through the batter.

Bake at¬†180‚ĄÉ for about 60 minutes. You might want to increase the time depending on your oven. Just keep checking by inserting a tooth pick, if it comes out clean, the cake is baked.

Once done let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes. Unmoulding would be very easy if you’ve greased and floured the pan well.

This cake will be your pride and joy and the centre piece of your party table.

DSC_0827enjoy!