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℃ 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℃ 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!

 

 

 

 

 

DIY: Make your own Vanilla extract


DSC_0799Vanilla.. this smell defines sheer heaven for me. There is something so soothing about the way it wafts into your being. Vanilla has helped many a boring desserts become something of an urban legend, lent its perfumed fragrance to many a custard, ice creams and puddings and made them that much easier to devour.

Everything that I’ve mentioned above only and only implies to vanilla EXTRACT!! not ESSENCE!! for vanilla essence is vile, disgusting, synthetic and can only bring out feelings of deep loathing and hatred.

This aversion to essence doesn’t come from any food snobbery on my part, but the bad flavour on the part of essence. I have watched many cakes falling prey to its stench. The synthetic flavour of the essence just does not help any dessert.

Vanilla extract is a bit pricey if good, but it’s all worth it. It’s not always easily available, and I say it with good authority for none of the stores in and around my town or even within a few hundred kilometer radius keep anything even remotely resembling a vanilla extract.

My only options are to order it online or make it at home. Of course I stack my pantry with the best extracts I can get my hands on.. you never know when the proverbial apocalypse might strike, and all you’d want to do in those last hours is eat butter and make desserts smelling of vanilla.

But a couple of days back, overcome with a sense of DIY, I decided to make it at home. I know I won’t be able to reap the fruits of this process until a few months from the time I make it, but what the heck? It can sit serenely in a cool dark corner, and one day I will be making desserts with my vanilla extract!! So there!!

The  process is extremely simple.. It’d the waiting that’s a bit hard. YOu need only 2 ingredients.

DSC_0782Vanilla beans, vodka, a clean jar/bottle. try to get the best quality vanilla since the quality of the extract will depend on the vanilla beans you’ve used.

DSC_0783I halved these beans to fit into the bottle. If your bottle is long enough you don’t really need this step.

DSC_0785Split these beans down the middle so as to expose the caviar (vanilla seeds).

DSC_0787LIke so. Take a minute and inhale deep. your kitchen, your hands, your knife, your kitchen shears all smell of divine vanilla.

DSC_0790Put all these split beans into the bottle.

DSC_0792They should fit in without difficulty.

DSC_0793In with the vodka. This can be any generic inexpensive vodka. It’s the beans that matter.

DSC_0796Admire your handiwork. Slap on a sticker mentioning the day and date you made it and store in a cool dark place.

DSC_0799This picture was taken mere hours after steeping. Make sure the vodka is poured in generously. Don’t be stingy with the alcohol and make sure you drink the rest.

I’d be updating almost every week with the changes in the extract.

Ingredients

Vanilla beans (4-5) or depending on how big your jar/bottle is

Vodka (nothing expensive)

a glass bottle/jar

How To: Split the vanilla in the middle to expose the vanilla seeds. Put these into your glass bottle and top it vodka. Make sure the bottle cap is on tight. Store in a cool dry place, away from any direct sunlight. A pantry or as in my case some space in the bookshelf works best.

This extract will take anything from 3-4 months before you can use it, and the best part is that you can keep replenishing it as you use it. Just keep adding vodka.

 

Bread Pudding


DSC_0704Feast yer eyes, for this is the easiest, most heavenly addictive dessert you’d make. Bread Pudding evokes everything that is homely, classic & decadent.

Put together in a matter moments, nothing gets easier than this dessert.

I haven’t got any step by step pictures for this recipe since there really weren’t too many steps and because I was making it to satisfy my man’s cravings for something outrageously weekend.

Did I eat this? Not a lot, since I’m 50 shades of Lactose Intolerant, but really I did sneak in a few bites here and there, and they were so gorgeous I could have kicked my system for hating on milk.

Also the bread pieces are slathered and sandwiched with orange marmalade and this is what gives it a different flavour with every bite, but of course you could as easily change that to any jelly or jam of your choice. From blueberry to ginger jam to pineapple to mixed fruit.. Suit yourself. It’s a very forgiving recipe

Ingredients

Milk 500 mls (2 cups)

Eggs 2 and 1 egg yolk

Sugar 50 g (3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) + extra for topping

vanilla extract 1 teaspoon

Bread preferably stale (baguette would work great) or 6-8 slices of bread

Orange marmalade or jam/marmalade of your choice

Butter 20 g (1 tablespoon)

Recipe: Make sandwiches out of your bread pieces with jam of your choice. The bread amount can be varied. It could be 6 or 8 slices of regular bread or half a baguette as I used here. If your bread is too big you can make triangles out of them, if it’s the same size as the baguette here, then just cut about 1/2 inch thick pieces and slather them generously with the marmalade.

Fit them snugly in the oven dish of your choice, making sure it’s buttered well.

In a separate bowl, mix in the milk, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla. Mix well making sure the egg is incorporated.

This batter now resembling the summer outside needs to be poured over the bread pieces in the dish. Pour it evenly so that no bread remains dry. Gently coax them into the eggy custard, do not mush them. Sprinkle some more sugar on top so that it caramelizes in the heat of the oven, bronzing the top and adding crunch.

Awesome, now let the dish stand this way for about 10-15 minutes and finally dot the top with some butter to make it golden and sunny and crunchy, after which bake it in a 190℃ oven for 15-20 minutes.

DSC_0704

The results are fabulous, every bite is a song and you’ll fall in love with how easy this recipe is.

Enjoy!!

Buttery Vanilla Cake.


Not the best picture, I know. This cake was made on a special request, fairly late in the evening, for my younger brother. His demands were simple. A very unpretentious, basic, spongy, no frill vanilla cake, which is easily wolfed down.

This is a recipe I have on my finger tips and it’s so buttery, so luscious and spongy that you don’t feel the need to slather any icing on it. Tea cake, breakfast cake, anytime cake- this will fit the bill.

My photographs have to be excused, I clicked them without any natural lights and edited them a bit on instagram.

Ingredients

Butter 150 gms

flour 250 gms

sugar 180 gms

2 large eggs

milk 200mls

1.5 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

It’s fairly simple as cakes go. Sift the flour and baking powder and keep aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (I used a hand mixer for this). Crack in the first egg, beat until well incorporated, now crack in the second egg and mix well.

Add the vanilla extract, keep mixing all through. It’s this addition of air that makes this batter so light and spongy.

add the flour mixture and milk, in 3 alternating additions. Mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl. The batter is done.

Transfer into a well greased baking pan and smoothen the top. I also tap it a bit on the surface so there are no air bubbles and it doesn’t result in a dome shape.

bake at 170℃ for 35 minutes. Ovens may vary sometimes, so you need to check with a toothpick for doneness after 30 minutes.

This cake though easily eaten just as it and in fact tastes best that way can also be iced, filled, frosted to your liking.