Category Archives: Desserts

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.


Intensely Chocolate Cake, Raspberry frosting

strawberry-cake

Here is a cake I have been making recently. I started with inspiration from here. I normally do not use shortening and for the first time used it in the cake and it was really delightful. I then tried making it a few more times and have managed to get the shortening out and added butter. I also went just for regular cocoa as I have friends who are chocoholics but like the milky variety better. Kara’s cake is absolutely delightful and if you do like dark chocolate – it is absolutely YUMMM!

I have made the icing a couple of different ways including one that uses raspberry jam so feel free to be creative. I made this cake for a bake sale and it was the highest bid cake and went for $80. It was shared in the office and got a lot of compliments. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 packet freeze dried raspberries
  • 3 cups icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon milk (optional, for smoother texture)

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 8inch cake tins with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar for about 3 minutes on low in your kitchen-aid mixer, scrape down the sides if your beater blade does not have a scraper. Add the oil and turn the mixer on again until incorporated about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine and break up any lumps. Add half the dry mixture to the batter and on low to combine. Add the buttermilk and beat again to combine. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the boiling water very slowly and gently down the side. This will help your thick batter thin out and avoid the forming of lumps. If your beater blade does not have a scraper make sure you scrape down the sides a couple of times. Let the mixer run on slow for about 3-4 minutes. Your batter will be fairly liquid.

Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake in the oven for 33-35 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes before taking it out of the tin and letting it cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting

Beat cream cheese until soft. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is fluffy. This may take about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the freeze dried raspberries either in the food processor or using a rolling pin. If you use a rolling pin you may not get a fine powder, but that is fine as you will gets bursts of raspberries when you eat the cake. Pour the crushed raspberries into a bowl and sift the icing sugar into it. Use a whisk to blend.

Add the vanilla extract to the butter/cream cheese mix. Beat for about 30 seconds. Then add half the icing sugar mix and beat to blend. Then add the remaining icing sugar and salt and beat till incorporated. If your mixture is too thick you can add a teaspoon to the mixture and beat.

To assemble

Level the cakes. Brush a little sugar syrup (optional) on the cut side of the cake. Top with 1/4 of the frosting. Place the second cake on top of the frosting and brush with sugar syrup (optional). Frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh raspberries. Place in the refrigerator for the frosting to firm up. Keep the cake out at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

 


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.

 

 

 


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.

 

 


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

 


The Stacks

 

The Stacks

The Stacks

I was trying to decide on a dessert to make for Altaf’s birthday and since he loves chocolate as much as I do, there was no doubt that it was going to definitely be chocolate related. I waffled throughout the week about what I was going to make and went through a few of my cook books looking for ideas. Well it came around to Saturday and I still had not come up with any idea. I happened to be reading King Arthur’s blog on cookies and spotted this cookie recipe that looked amazing.

So I went about making them. I will say they are very easy and a lot of fun to assemble. The one thing that is important is to roll them out evenly. I used a crinkle cookie cutter as I wanted to get a pretty edge. However, once the cookies were baked you could not really tell that they had a scalloped edge to them.  Another important factor is that you want them to all be the same thickness. These cookies do not spread so you can bake quite a few of the per sheet.

Once you have assembled them cookies refrigerate them. The longer you let them sit in the refrigerator the softer they become as the cream softens them. Which allows you to very neatly eat them with a spoon. They only stayed in my refrigerator for about 6 hours and were not really soft to be eaten with a spoon. Everyone ate them a cookie at a time licking the cream off of them just like you would a sandwich cookie.

I used Bailey’s to add a bit of oomph to the cookies but you can add Kahlua or any other liquor that would pair well.

 

Ingredients

Cookies (Makes 50) 

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 large egg (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder

 

Chocolate Baileys Cream
 
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish cream

 

Method

Cookies

Line two baking sheets (11×17) with silicone sheets or parchment paper.

Using your electric mixer (with the paddle attachment) beat the sugar, butter, salt, baking powder and espresso powder until well mixed.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.  Add the flour and cocoa powder and continue until combined.  Place the dough ball in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment/wax paper. I used the rubber guides on my rolling pin to get an 8th of an inch thickness. Well its pretty thin really. I used a circle crinkle cutter of about 1 1/2 inch. Place the cut cookies (they are not going to spread so they do not need to be placed far apart) on your baking sheet and then re-roll the remainder of the dough and repeat. The advantage of using the parchment paper is that you do not need to flour any surface.

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes checking them prior to the 10 minutes and removing them if done. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.

Cream

Whisk the cream until it starts to thicken. Then add the sugar and cocoa powder and continue until you get soft peaks. Then beat for a little bit more. Add the bailey’s if using and fold into the whipped cream.

em>Assembling
Put a cookie, spoon a  tablespoon of filling then stack the next cookies and continue until you get a  5 layer stack. Gently press down each cookie as you add it to the stack. Top with some more cream. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Dust with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings before serving.


Apricot Macroons

 

Apricot Macaroon

Apricot Macaroon

I love coconut – and growing up we did eat an abundance of it. Goa has an abundance of coconut sweets. Where does one start – Doce, Coconut Ice, Bibinca …. the list goes on and on. We use it in curries (vegetarian and non-vegetarian). In Goa we are not big on vegetables so we mainly had them two ways – veggies with freshly grated coconut or veggies with a green coconut gravy. I grew up disliking vegetables – (which can be pretty true of most kids except kids of vegetarians then I guess you do not have a choice 🙂 – Not like you were missing out on something that you never had).

So I was looking for recipes that had coconuts and came across this one. It looked like a breeze to make and I had a lot of dried apricots. Adding rum gives it just that little something.

I did take a few that were left to the office and they were gone really quickly.  I even got two requests for the recipe. So I am finally getting down to writing it. Hope you enjoy it just as much as they enjoyed it.

In addition, this is gluten free!!!

 

Ingredients

Total time : 1.5 hour

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 14 oz sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup soft dried apricots, coarsely chopped (stirred with rum if using)

Method

Preheat oven to 325F. Use a silicone mat on your baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.  Whisk your egg whites and sugar until frothy and thick. Do not overwhip as it will dry out the whites. Stir in the coconut and apricots.

Using a cookie scoop (medium) shape mixture into rounds. Place on baking sheet half an inch apart. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden, rotating he sheet halfway through the baking. Place baking tray on a rack and let the macaroons cool.  Store in an airtight container.

It lasted all of 2 days (as I took a whole batch into work and they were gone).