Chocolate Oreo Layer Cake

Chocolate Oreo Cake

I was invited to a very dear 11 year old boy’s birthday party. I offered to bake the cake and his mum was delighted to let me do it. His favorite ingredient is chocolate and so I decided to bake a chocolate cake with Oreo’s in it. That was the biggest surprise when the cake was cut – ‘Oh goodness – does it have Oreo’s inside? ‘. I have made an Oreo cookie birthday cake before and used more of a chocolate cake batter but I wanted this one to be lighter. I looked up one of my favorite chef personalities Ina Garten and this is a take on her Double-Chocolate layer cake.

I do not always have buttermilk in the fridge so I keep powdered buttermilk on hand and make it as needed.

I will say it was a hit. The birthday boy loved it and had two pieces. Then when I was taking the cake plate with me. He asked his mum ‘Do I get to keep the cake?’ Cutest thing ever!. I got a huge compliment from my mum. She said ‘Its your best cake ever!’

I am sorry that I do not have the times that I did to make the cake and frostings – but overall prep time should not be more than 20 minutes for the cake and 15 for each of the icings.

Ingredients

For the cake

1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee (1 1/2 tablespoon of instant Nestle coffee)

1 package double stuffed Oreos

For the filling

Oreo cookies crushed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream

1 cup milk chocolate chips or good quality milk chocolate
Oreo cookies to decorate

Method

For the cake

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 8 inch by 2 inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

Whisk dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, sea salt) in a stand mixer. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla (I use the electric whisk). Add this to the dry mixture and whisk until just incorporated.

With tongs dip 12 Oreo cookies in the hot coffee to soften just a bit and set aside. Add the hot coffee and whisk to incorporate. The batter will be very liquid. Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans. Distribute 6 Oreos per pan and make sure they are submerged.

Bake the cakes for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Take the cakes out and let them cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge, remove them from the pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Filling

Reserve 8-9 Oreo cookies and set aside. Crush the remaining in a food processor or seal in a plastic bag and run a rolling pin over them till they are finely crushed.

Cream butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. If your paddle attachment does not have a scraper, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice. Add confectioners sugar a half cup at a time beating well between each addition. Add the crushed Oreo cookies, vanilla and milk and beat. The filling should be fairly thick but spreadable. If it is too firm add a teaspoon of milk to reach spreading consistency.

For the frosting

Microwave the chocolate with the 2 tablespoons of butter for 20 seconds. Then go for two to three 5 second bursts making sure the butter has melted. Stir the butter chocolate mixture making sure that all the chocolate has melted and let it cool. If the chocolate has not melted microwave again in short 5 second bursts stirring between each burst.

Cream the 1/2 cup of butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, half the sugar and half the milk/cream and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and milk and beat again until incorporated. Add the cooled melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Again if you feel the icing is not going to spread at this time add a little more milk/cream.

To assemble

Place one cooled cake flat side down on your cake plate. Place strips of parchment   under the edges of the cake. This will help you have a clean cake stand at the end. Spread your filling on the top of the cake in an even layer.

Place the second cake – flat side (parchment side) up on top of the filling. Press down gently to get an even top. Using an offset spatula scrape off any filling that has squeezed out.

Pour your frosting over the top of the cake and using a clean offset spatula push it gently towards the edges and let it drip over. Then using your offset spatula turn your cake plate slowly and using your offset spatula make an even edge. Gently pull out the pieces of parchment paper and you have neat edges!.

Now split the remaining Oreo cookies and scrape off the filling. Use the Oreo halfs to decorate the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for about an hour. Take it out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before you serve it.

 

 

 


Meyer Lemon Squares – Brulee’d

 

Have you had Meyer Lemons? If not, run out and get them! They are amazing. They have the most delicate lemon flavor without being overly tart. We did not have Meyer Lemons growing up and I first tasted them when I came to the US. Now if you are thinking – wait a minute he writes about every fruit and loves it – then you are sort of right. I write about the fruits I love. There are some like the Guava that I do not like. I did not like it when I was growing up and refused to eat it. As an adult I tried it again and still have not developed a taste for it. In the future my taste buds may decide differently but for now ‘C’est la vie’.

I spend a lot of time (relatively speaking) on reading cooking books, magazines and blogs. The creativity is simply amazing out there in every facet of life. I love the fact that there are so many people who are constantly trying new things. For me being in the kitchen and baking/cooking is fantastic therapy. A lot of people think that baking is challenging. It can be a little daunting because you have to get the measurements right (and have a few of the right tools) but you can do it!. Start with this recipe, follow it to the T or make it your own!

I made this for a dinner we had at a friends house. It was a pot luck dinner and it was simple but so delightful. I will say it is best to have these on the day they are made as the brulee cracks really well. If you do keep it in the refrigerator you will have to brulee another round of sugar on top. I really liked using my torch for this one.  You can certainly try doing the brulee in the oven, but only if you have done it before.

Ingredients

Recipe adapted from here

Prep time: Cooking Time:

For the crust:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh meyer lemon juice (about 4 meyer lemons)
  • Zest of the meyer lemons used
  • 2/3 cup  all-purpose flour
To Brulee
  • Demerara sugar

Method

For the crust
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper in two rectangular overlapping strips. This will allow you to lift the entire tart out easily.
Using the scraper attachment (or paddle attachment) of your mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the flour and salt and stir until incorporated.
Press this into the baking pan. I use my measuring cup to help flatten it down. Make sure you get it all the way to the sides. Put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pop it into the oven and bake until the crust begins to turn a golden brown (15 – 20 minutes). Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
For the filling

Whisk all the ingredients for the filling until well blended. Pour into the pan with the cooled crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Start checking at 25 minutes to make sure the middle has set. To do this jiggle the pan and make sure the center barely moves. This means that it has set as it will continue to firm up after you take it out of the oven.
Let this cool completely and then use the parchment overhangs to lift it out of the pan.

To brûlée

Sprinkle the sugar in an even coating over the top. Ignite your torch and move slowly from left to right as the sugar begins to melt and then caramelize. Cut and serve.
If you are not going to eat all of them that day. You can just brulee the portion you are going to serve.

 


Coconut Cake with Passion Fruit Icing

Coconut Cake + Passionfruit ice cream

 

I love birthdays especially since I get to bake something. Its not all about me, really. Its about finding out what the person likes and then coming up with something for them. Well Lorne loves anything coconut (which I incidentally love as well). So I looked through all my recipes and online to see what was there with coconut and then one other ingredient. I found it – ‘Passion fruit’.

Now that’s a whole other story. If you have been on my blog before you know I love Passion Fruit. Ever since I first had it in Hawaii, I went bonkers. When I returned from Hawaii, I even bought a couple of bottles of concentrate back. Well I found Passion Fruit pulp in the farmers market – and yes they even carry Passion Fruits ever so often. I use the frozen pulp which is a little tart and does not have the beautiful looking seeds that I think scream – Passion Fruit. I found a variety of passion fruit that grows down south, I nearly bought it till I found they are pretty aggressive so I depend only on what I get at the market.

The decision was to make a coconut cake and frost it with a passion fruit icing. The initial idea was to make a curd and split the cakes and fill it with passion fruit curd. Well time on Thursday got a little better of me (sorry Lorne) and I decided to take the easy way out. This recipe is based off a recipe in an Australian magazine ‘Taste’. The cake was super moist and the passion fruit icing was the perfect touch of sweetness and tartness.

I hope you make it and enjoy it as much as we all did.

Ingredients

for the cake

  • 175g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt

for the Icing

  • 5 tablespoons passion fruit pulp
  • 1 1/4 cup icing (powdered) sugar mixture, sifted
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut toasted

Method

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line and grease and line a 9 inch cake pan. I have a silicone pan and do not grease it.

In a food processor blend all the ingredients except the shredded coconut until well mixed. Pour the mix into a large bowl and then add the shredded coconut and stir to combine. Pour this into your prepared pan. Bake for 40-43 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan and let it cool completely before icing.

For the icing

Cream the butter until smooth. Add the icing (powdered) sugar and passion fruit and continue to beat until it is smooth. Add the toasted coconut and stir.

Put the cake on your platter and pour the icing over and spread it.

 

 


Cauliflower Kofta Curry

Cauliflower Koftas

Cauliflower Koftas

So what is a Kofta one might ask, for those non South Asians it is generally some form of ground meat shaped into a ball, that is cooked and then simmered in a sauce. The vegetarian version generally uses potatoes as the binding agent and another vegetable or cheese stuffed into the center. I have made a variety of Kofta’s – paneer (indian cheese) and raisins being popular centers for them. I came across this recipe using cauliflower and since I love cauliflower I thought I would give it a go with a few modifications. And I have a cauliflower paratha recipe that follows.

Ingredients

For the Kofta
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated
2 medium white potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 medium sweet potato, boiled and mashed
3 tbsp. quinoa flour (or oats flour)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1/4 tsp black Pepper powder
A pinch of Baking powder
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/2 tsp kastoori methi
1/2 tsp salt
Coconut Oil (or Olive oil) for frying

For the Gravy
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
salt
4 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
3 tbsp. quinoa flour
1/2 cup water
Coconut oil (or olive oil) for frying

Method

For the Kofta’s

Skin the potatoes and boil them in water for about a half hour on high or until a knife goes through them easily. Pour out the water and let them come to cool in the pot. Put them through a potato ricer or mash them with an implement of your choice.

Heat a pan on medium low heat (more low than medium) and toast the grated cauliflower, stirring occasionally. You want to get the moisture out of the cauliflower. This should take about 5-7 minutes. The cauliflower should not brown.

Mix the all the Kofta ingredients together and form into 1 inch balls. You want to make sure your Kofta’s are more firm and not soft or they may disintegrate. Heat a little oil in the pan (medium high) and once its hot add the Kofta’s in the pan and fry turning the balls once they have formed a skin about a minute. Once they are done take them out onto a plate and set aside. Repeat with the remaining Kofta’s.

For the gravy

Heat a pan on medium high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and let them sputter for 30-40 seconds until a little brown and they have released their fragrance. Add the ginger (carefully) and stir for 20 seconds. Then add the red chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder, turmeric and stir for another minute. Add the tomato paste and fry stirring for about 2-3 minutes or until the oil separates.

Add the salt, water and stir to incorporate. Add the quinoa, cilantro and kasturi methi and stir. Add the milk and heavy cream and let the sauce simmer for about 5-10 minutes. If your sauce is too thick you can thin it by either adding water or more milk.

Add your Kofta’s to your sauce and enjoy them with Roti’s/Paratha’s or rice.


Bread Rolls/Pav

 

I love bread and growing up in Bombay (Mumbai) we used to get a variety of bread rolls for breakfast. There were a couple of types one being Kadak Pav (Hard bread) and my favorite just called Pav. The reason I was not a fan of the Kadak Pav is that it had a really hard outer crust. The insides were really super but I just did not appreciate chomping into that hard crust. The only times I did eat it was when I was not feeling well and would dunk a liberally buttered one into Tea.

Some of the ways I would eat Pav for breakfast was with a little butter and then some sugar sprinkled over. At other meals I would love to dunk it in whatever curry we had as it would soak it all up.

Pav’s are also eaten with one of the very popular street foods call ‘Pav bhaji’ – literally translating to Bread vegetable. The vegetable portion of it is a mixture of veggies (tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, peas …) cooked down to a thick gravy. The cooking down is totally dependent on the cook. The Pav is toasted with butter and served alongside to what I consider an amazing dish.

After trying multiple recipes on the net, here is one that I have come up with that works for me. There were 4 batches of this made over Christmas along with the bhaji for our 2nd dinner.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 + 1 tablespoon melted butter
Method
Stir yeast and sugar into warm water and let it sit for 5-7 minutes till frothy.
Warm milk to tepid and then whisk in the egg, vegetable oil, salt and one tablespoon of the melted butter.
Pour both above liquid mixtures into a mixing bowl and then add the flour. Knead until it all comes together. I use my kitchen aid on slow at first and then for about 8 minutes. The dough will be smooth and slightly tacky. Put the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover. Set it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size about 1 hour.
Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
Dust your counter top with a little flour. Turn out the dough and form it into a rectangle. Cut 12 equal parts out of it using your dough cutter. Roll each into a tight ball and place in the prepared pan. When all the balls have been rolled, cover the pan and let the dough balls rise for 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Pre-heat your oven to 375F.
When the dough balls have risen brush them with the remaining butter and put the pan in the oven. Bake the rolls until the tops become golden about 15-18 minutes. Once they are done remove pan and let it sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the rolls and letting them rest on a wire rack until cool.
The rolls will stay out on the counter wrapped for about 3 days and then another 3 in the fridge. They are delicious toasted with a little butter.

 

 

 


Oreo Cookie Cake

oreo_cookie_cake

When you have a blog you have to have a schedule to make sure you can put note and blog about what you do. My schedule is set on my calendar but as you can tell that did not work really well for me. I had a lot of things come up and while I continued my cooking and baking none of it made it past the kitchen – or rather I should say past my friends delighted palettes.

One would think that it being the New Year I have started off with a new resolution. Well I will say this I am not about New Years resolutions but I am going to try to keep up with the blog. It helps me in a couple of ways :

  1. I get a list of what I have made and how I made it
  2. Whenever someone needs a recipe – its already published

So here is my first cake of the year. One of my very dear friends wanted an Oreo cake for his birthday. I was thrilled to have him ask me to make it. He throws the most fabulous parties, for a very tasty spread with wonderful drinks to go with it. I had never made an Oreo cookie cake before but it is apparently quite popular. I did a fair bit of research to figure out whether I wanted to bake with Oreo’s in the cake or just have Oreo frosting. I also tried to decide whether I wanted to frost the sides of the cake of just leave them ‘Au Natural’. Guess which one won the contest.

This is a really simple cake to make. You can choose to double the icing and frost the top if you like and the sides.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bases of two 9 inch baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk 1st 5 dry ingredients together and set aside
  3. Cream butter for a few minutes and then add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy about 5 minutes
  4. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each is incorporated before adding the next one.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and then the buttermilk in a slow stream continuing to whisk.
  6. Finally add the dry ingredients in two batches. Do not overbeat the batter.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the cake pans
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake
  9. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove them. Let the cool completely on a rack if you are icing them the same day. If not double wrap them in cling wrap and freeze them.

For the filling

  1. Cream the butter for a few minutes and then add the crushed Oreo’s and beat until incorporated.
  2. Add the sugar one cup at a time beating until incorporated
  3. Add the heavy cream and vanilla.

For the chocolate ganache (Make this after you have assembled the cake)

  1. Heat the heavy cream in a microwave until hot but not boiling. It takes about a minute and a half. Pour the cream over the chocolate and corn syrup.
  2. Let it sit for about 10 to 15 seconds and then start stirring slowly.
  3. Keep stirring until all the chocolate has melted use immediately.

Assembling the cake

  1. If you have frozen the cake take it out.
  2. I normally level the cake by cutting off the top, but that is not by any means necessary
  3. Brush with simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup water, boiled for about 5 minutes).
  4. Layer on the filling and spread evenly across the 1st cake
  5. Repeat with the next layer (level and brush with syrup)
  6. Put the cut side down onto the filling
  7. Make your chocolate ganache
  8. Pour over the cake and decorate with Oreo cookies. I used smaller Oreo cookies that were separated on the side

 


Green Apple Pickle

Green Apple Pickle

Another recipe from my trip to London, I got to spend a lot of time with my Aunt and she showed me quite a few recipes. This is the green apple pickle. I had never had it before and so we set out to make it. I was not quite sure what it was going to be like but it was absolutely delicious. My Aunt never really uses recipes but goes by how it tastes and so she showed me how she makes it.These recipes are the best – when you actually get to learn from a great cook.

The apples and peppers that were there were a little different from the ones we get here in the states but I did make it and it turned out absolutely delicious. We have been slathering it on everything – well nearly.

It paired really well on baguettes with cream cheese and topped with the pickle.

Go ahead and try it.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons methi (Fenugreek) seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 heaped teaspoons jeera (Cumin) seeds
  • 3 medium sized banana peppers
  • 1 cubanelle pepper
  • 1 red sweet Italian red chilli pepper
  • 20 curry patta leaves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 8 flakes of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 3 medium sized granny smith apples
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup rasins or crasins
  • ¼ cup apple cider or malt vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp Sea salt

Method

Chop the apples into cubes, discarding the centers and stems. Salt the apples and let them sit for about 2 hours.

Roast the methi (Fenugreek), mustard and jeera (Cumin) seeds for about a minute (they should smell fragrant). Set them aside to cool and then grind them to a powder

De-seed the peppers and cut into chunks.

Grind the garlic and ginger into a paste with about a tablespoon of brown/malt vinegar.

Heat a cup of oil on medium heat in a medium sized pan. When it is hot add the curry patta leaves and fry for about a minute – do not let them brown. Lower the flame to a medium low and add the garlic ginger paste and saute for about a minute. Add the ground spice and saute for another minute. Add the turmeric and Kashmiri chilli powder. Stir for about a minute.

Now add the peppers and saute for a minute. Pat the apple chunks with a paper towel and then add them to the pot. Stir to distribute all the spices. Cover and cook. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes. Add extra oil if needed.

After about 15 minutes, add the sugar and crasins. Stir to incorporate and cover. Cook for another 15 minutes on a low flame, stirring intermittently. The apples should be very soft by now. Add the salt. Taste and add more salt/vinegar/Kashmiri chilli powder. Add the vinegar only if you want it more tart.


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