Category Archives: Desserts

Sugarpaste flowers

WeddingFlowers

This is not really a recipe but I just wanted to share the sugar paste flowers I had made for a friends wedding. I was so excited when they asked me to make the flowers for the wedding. I used a technique from Petalsweet for the buds and her coloring scheme as well. She has classes on Craftsy as well.

 

 

Advertisements

Brazilian Carrot Cake

 

Brazilian Carrot Cake

Do carrots scream out at you – ‘Use me’? The orange which brightens every meal. Now let me ask you another question – Did you know carrots were not always orange? Is that a – what the hell is he talking about look on your face? That is the same look I had when I first heard about it. I was in Amsterdam at the time when the tour guide bought it up and talked about how the Dutch hybridized the carrot because they wanted to honor ‘William of Orange’.

For full details you can go to Mythbusters for the entire information. However, the short version of it is that the Dutch farmers cultivated a lot of carrots (white, purple and yellow). They developed a new strain that was orange and started growing that in honor of William of Orange. The traditional just as colorful carrots were tossed aside in favor of the orange one. If you have ever been to The Netherlands you will know their national color is orange and everyone wears orange.

If you live in a big city you probably have access to a farmers market and can get heirloom varieties of carrots. If you do not and do your own vegetable gardening try growing the heirloom varieties, they will add so much color to your plate.

Now back to the cake. I have been fascinated with Brazilian desserts for a while and came across an article about their version of the carrot cake. I did a bit of research and found this site (thank you google translate) and decided to try it with some modifications. The cake is simply delicious and moist and the color. I do want to get other colored carrots and so I can try to make a carrot rainbow cake :-). The cake is not too sweet and the chocolate coating is optional. The carrot flavor is mild and the cake is really moist. Its also a very easy blender cake.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 280g carrots (about 3 medium sized carrots, peeled)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 360g sugar
  • 240g all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch sea salt

For the chocolate glaze

  • 170g dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter your Bundt pan and lightly coat it with flour.

Blend the carrots, olive oil, eggs, sugar and salt until it is smooth. Pour this mixture into large bowl and pour the sifted flour and baking powder over it. Gently stir with a whisk until there are no lumps left.

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Place it carefully into the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 425F. Then lower the temperature to 400F and bake for another 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the deepest part comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. Then turn the cake out onto the wire rack and let it cool completely.

For the glaze

Put the chocolate, honey and butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt it in the microwave on short 15 second bursts stirring everytime until it is smooth. This should take about 3-4 bursts depending on your microwave power. The butter needs to be melted and just keep stirring the mixture and everything will melt.

Once the cake is completely cooled place a plate under the wire rack and pour the glaze over the cake letting it run down the sides. If you are not able to cover the cake scoop up the chocolate from the plate and pour where needed.

The cake can be left at room temperature covered with plastic wrap or under a cake dome. Mine lasted only two days.

 

 

 


Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate bars

SeaSaltCaramelbars

Caramel is always in demand and there are so many ways of making it. This is a really simple one and you do not have to worry about getting the sugar burnt. This is also a really good recipe to make when you do not want to bake a cake and you get a fair amount of pieces to share. I will say there is a little patience required to make sure you have got your mixture to the right temperature so the caramel stays set for a while and does not run. Mine just took a way long time to cooperate and get to the 240C but I won out with patience.

Ingredients

for the Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 oz unsalted butter, melted

for the caramel

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

for the chocolate

  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso (or instant coffee

for the topping

  • sea salt flakes

Method

Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. If your pan does not have a removable bottom, line the pan like with parchment paper that looks like a plus sign when laid out flat. This will help you lift out the bars when they are done.

for the crust

Melt the butter and stir it into the graham crumbs until they are all evenly moist. Pour this mixture into you lined pan and press down gently to flatten. Use the back of a measuring cup to help. Heat your oven to 350F. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. The crust will look golden. Remove pan from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

for the caramel

Mix all the ingredients for the caramel in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium heat stirring until the sugar has melted and incorporated and you have a smooth look. Turn up the heat until the mixture boils (do not stir). Heat until a candy thermometer registers 240 C. This can take anywhere from 7-10 minutes. Once it reaches 240C take it off the heat and gently pour it over the cooled crust. Let it cool, then pop it into the fridge for 20 minutes.

for the chocolate

Heat cream in the microwave for about a minute. Pour over chopped chocolate and instant espresso and let it sit for about a minute or two. Then stir with a spatula until all the chocolate has melted. Let it sit for a minute. Take the baking pan with the caramel out of the fridge and carefully pour over the chocolate. Smoothen with a wet palette knife and return to the fridge for at least an hour.

To serve, take the pan out of the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Sprinkle with sea salt. Take the bars out of the cake pan using the parchment paper as lifters. Cut into the size that you think in reasonable. Enjoy!

 


Apple Sharlotka

Apple S

I love trying out new desserts and am always looking to expand my horizons and I came across a Food and Wine recipe for Apple Sharlotka and I was intrigued. I had never made any Russian dessert before and bein that there are lots of apples around it seemed perfect.

On my trails to find out about it – I did come across Smitten Kittens recipe and history. She echo’s one of my dear friends who says – ‘When you know someone from a particular part of the world who makes good food – go to their house and eat it!’. I would make Indian food and she would make Vietnamese food and it was perfect. The whole description on her site is perfect. Its such a light airy topping to a nice Apple base. You have to try it to believe it.

So here is my take on it. The longest portion of this is peeling and slicing the apples. Of course, if you have one of those apple cutters then it would go much faster.

Ingredients

Prep time: 30 minutes, Baking time: 1 hour

  • 4 cooking apples (Preferably tart), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • 1 cup heaving whipping cream (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter (or spray) the parchment paper.

Toss the apple slices with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar and set aside for 15 minutes.

Sift the all purpose flour, ground cinnamon, salt and baking soda into a bowl.

Beat the eggs and the remaining sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir gently. Then fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture trying not to deflate it.

Spread the apples in an even layer in the pan (save any juice that has drained from the apples for later). Pour the batter evenly over the apples and let this sit for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden and crisp (I did not do the toothpick test but you can). Transfer to a cake rack to cool. Take off the springform sides and then the parchment paper from the sides. Gently slide the sharlotka onto your cake plate. Dust with confectioners sugar.

Beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 1.5 tablespoons of sugar and beat for another minute. Gently fold the apple syrup that you had saved before (If you did not get a lot of apply syrup you can use any fruit brandy)

Serve the sharlotka with a side of the whipped cream

 

 


Almond Cake, Caramel topping

2

Almond Cake Caramel Toppin

Back again after a short hiatus, it has been challenging trying to make desserts and also trying to reduce your sugar intake. However, the office always comes to the rescue as there are always birthdays to bake for and then people to eat the cake. This cake turned out really moist.

This request was for just caramel. I had made Sea Salt Caramel, Chocolate bars (recipe to be posted) a short while back and it was spectacular. So I decided to make a simple Almond cake and top it with caramel. It is really quite a simple recipe and I think the next time I try it, its probably going to be in the food processor. I am also going to try increasing the Almond flour and reducing to completely eliminating the plain flour. I also used brown sugar and I think I could have used less especially since the topping was really sweet- but it worked (something else to tinker with the next time).

I have also been using my Breville toaster oven and it has been working like a charm. It heats up really fast and once it is done cooking cools really fast. As long as you are just baking one cake and the pan fits it – voila!.

Ingredients

Serves 10-15 (depending no serving size), Prep+bake : 1 hour 10 minutes

For the cake

  • 8.5 oz almond flour
  • 3.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 8.5 oz light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1.5 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel topping

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method

Preheat your oven to 300F. Butter and flour your 9 inch square cake pan (or if you are using a silicone pan just lightly butter it).

Mix all the dry ingredients (almond flour, all-purpose flour, sea salt, baking power and baking soda) together in a bowl.

Cream the butter in your mixer and then add the sugar. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs once at a time beating until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches mixing well with each addition. Finally, add the extracts mix and pour into your baking pan.

Put this into your oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Take the pan out of the oven and place on a rack until completely cooled. Once cooled take it out of the pan and cover with the caramel topping.

 

Caramel topping

Heat (on medium heat) butter, sugar, heavy cream and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Once the butter has melted keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved (about 3-5 minutes). Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then take it off the heat and let it cool. As it cools, it will start to firm up. You can spread this on the cake now and let it cool completely or heat it up right before serving and pour over the cake slices.

 

 


Mocha Pudding

 

 

Mocha Pudding

So this happened for a friends birthday. The ask was for something Mocha. I was scouring my recipes for something that I could make without turning on the oven and had initially thought that I would make a Mocha Crepe Cake. It did go through a couple of iterations before I finally settled on a pudding. This is a very rich pudding and as one of my friends said it was more like a Bodino (an Italian dessert) than what you generally think of as an American pudding.

This does require just a little bit of cooking but can be put together without a lot of fuss. You can make endless variations on this – making it a fruit pudding but omitting the cocoa powder and chocolate, but adding a fruit puree and fresh fruit, or making it just with white chocolate. The combinations are endless. You will also realize that you do not have to use the ready boxed pudding mixes and this is really easy to put together.

Ingredients

Time: 20 minutes, Serves: 8 – 10 depending on the size of your glasses

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch (spoon this into your measuring cup)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 56% cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 sachets instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • biscuits dipped in a sweet wine to serve

Method

Whisk the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and salt together in a saucepan. Add the milk slowly constantly whisking to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Turn the heat on to a medium low and continue to whisk. The mixture will start to warm and then thicken. Make sure you are whisking it constantly. You will see the mixture thickening, wait a few more seconds for it to thicken a little more (total of 10-13 minutes) and then take it off the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla extract, espresso powder and Kahlua (optional), gently stir to make sure everything is blended. Put a piece of plastic (saran wrap) on the surface and let it cool. Once it is cool put it into your serving glasses.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form and then add the sugar continuing to whip for another minute or so until the sugar is dissolved. Fold in the Kahlua (optional). Put it in a piping bag and pipe or just put a lovely dollop on top of the pudding.

When ready to serve, dip the biscuits into the wine and stick it into the pudding and serve. Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Luscious Lemon Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake

This is my second successful attempt at making an eggless cake. This inspiration came from here. I have made just a few modifications. In my 9′ square pan it did not rise a whole lot (about an inch) but the syrup did soak through very nicely. It also got a really nice crunchy edge because of the sugar, which crust/end lovers will absolutely go for.

You have to make sure that you have all your dry ingredients well stirred so that the baking soda is evenly distributed so the cake rises evenly.

I took this to work for a colleagues birthday and he cut the cake into small bite sized pieces. Everyone was really nice and just took one first which really just was a one bite size. Then they all quickly went back for seconds. The best part was folks taking a couple of pieces home with them.

 Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1.5 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of two whole large lemons
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For the frosting

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk (to thin the frosting)

For decorating

  • zest of one lemon

Method

Butter a 9 inch square pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt together in a bowl. Use a whisk to stir it to make sure you have distributed your baking soda evenly. Rub the sugar into the lemon zest and then add it to the dry mix. Stir again.

Mix the wet ingredients together and pour over dry ingredients. Whisk with a balloon whisk until it is all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put it in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Start the syrup. Put the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a pot and bring to a boil while stirring to make sure the syrup has dissolved. Cook it just for a minute longer to thicken just a slight bit (you do not want the syrup to be too thick,

it should flow). Set aside to cool.

Once the cake has cooled for 10 minutes. Take it out onto your serving tray. Poke holes with a toothpick all over the cake and then slowly spoon the syrup over the cake. This may take a few goes as the syrup gets absorbed. You do not need to use all your syrup. Let the cake cool completely.

For the frosting

Mix the lemon juice with the confectioners sugar with a whisk.  Once it is as incorporated as you can get it add the milk to get to a pouring consistency. (Taste and see if you would like it sweeter and add more sugar). Pour over the completely cooled cake and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining zest over the cake. The cake tastes good both warm and cold.