Tuesday, June 9, 2015

FOR A 40TH BIRTHDAY...

Bike Cake
This time the cake was for a 40th birthday. The birthday boy loves all outdoor activities especially biking. I must say it was good fun making this cake as I can see myself making similar cakes in the future. Ian loves being outdoors,like any other boy !We chose a cake photograph from Marj's blog which suited the theme. I also baked two kinds cupcakes to go along with the theme as per the photographs my friend sent me. It was fun!
Themed Cupcakes - Biking
They were Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting and Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone - Cream Cheese Frosting. They were super moist and delicious, if I may say so myself.I know that because I always make extra ones for us to taste ;-)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

ICED ITALIAN CREAM CAKE...for my 30th!

Italian Cream Cake
Iced Italian Cream Cake
This time,I just didn't want a birthday cake for my birthday. I don't know why but when Jobin started asking me about what cake I wanted for my big day, I couldn't decide on any. Finally I told him that I didn't want a birthday cake and I didn't have a reason to give him for that choice of mine.Then he told me that they both (Father & Son ) wanted to make a cake for me.I agreed to it with the condition that they can cut it the day after my birthday ;-)
Italian Cream Cake
Anyhow, I agreed to join them and we chose a cake that I have been eyeing for a very long time. It was an Italian Cream Cake by Trisha Yearwood. It's a pretty straightforward cake loaded with calories! Since it was my birthday,I didn't care for the calories.It's a day to celebrate and not sit around counting how many grams of fat a slice of cake has,right?
Ian was very eager to help his Appa in baking the cake. Every single time I turn on the mixer,he is by my side. It was the same this time as well. We have to be a bit careful when he is around as he likes to add an extra cup of flour or an extra tablespoon of baking soda to the mix!
Italian Cream Cake
This cake is super spongy,moist and delicious! It is filled with sweetened coconut and pecans, a very Southern thing! The crunch from the two were irresistable! I still cannot believe that it's been 3 years since I made the 30 layered Nutella Crepe Cake for Jobin's 30th! Time sure flies! I had made a list of stuff that I wanted to achieve before I hit 30 last January...you can call them New Year resolutions too! I had only 5 months to achieve them and yes,I have ticked off the main thing off my list! I hope this new decade has plenty of good stuff in store for me. I am pushing myself into doing new things now and I really hope it's for the best!
Also, have you guys heard about Food Panda? You can search, choose,order food online from your favourite restaurants and it will be delivered for you !

ICED ITALIAN CREAM CAKE
Italian Cream Cake Serves 12-15

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 stick unsalted butter,at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs,separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese,at room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 pound confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method: 
Cake: Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C and prepare 3 9 inch cake pans.

Sift flour and baking powder together .In a large bowl,beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. In another bowl, beat together butter,shortening and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks one by one and beat well after each addition,15 seconds each. With the mixer on low speed,add the flour and buttermilk alternately,starting and ending with flour.Fold in vanilla,pecans and coconut. Divide the batter among the tins and bake for 22-25 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto a cooling rack and let them cool completely.

Frosting: In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter till fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat well to incorporate. Frost the cake as desired and scatter the chopped pecans on top.



 

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

Monica Bhide
I know that this post is long overdue! Thanks for checking in on me to see if everything is alright! ;-) It was a celebratory weekend so things got very busy.I am sorry,many of you thought this was one of Monica's cookbooks but it isn't. It's a collection of personal stories related to food. It's as awesome as her cookbooks! So without further delay,here are the winners!

Congratulations Jina,Amrita,Kaveri & Serene!!
So send your address to airmathew AT gmail DOT com and I shall post your copies as soon as I can!
If I don't get a response from you within a week, I will be choosing another winner.

Monday, May 25, 2015

BLUEBERRY YOGURT MUFFINS

Blueberry yogurt muffins
I feel the need to explain something today. The difference between a muffin and a cupcake. Yes, they are two different things,if you didn't know that already. A muffin is a quick bread which uses the leavening agents like baking powder and/or baking soda for it's rise.The batter for a muffin should be handled very delicately or else you will have a tough end product instead of a moist,tender muffin.Whereas a cupcake,as the name suggests is a cake in a cup.The cupcake batter is made the same way as a cake batter is made. Instead of baking them into one large cake,they are divided and made into little ones in the shape of a cup.
Now that the weight is off of my chest, I can start talking about the muffins I baked a few days ago.
Blueberry yogurt muffins
The box of blueberries we bought the other day was very tart. Eating them as is was out of the question. So I checked my current favourite place for recipes-Pinterest. There were plenty of recipes to choose from but most of them called for something I didn't have at that moment. Then I saw a recipe from Ree Drummond's site which called for ingredients that I had on hand. Flour,sugar,yogurt,eggs,oil,leavening agents and nutmeg. It was a quick and simple muffin recipe,like most other muffin recipes. By now, you all must have noticed that I use quite a bit of yogurt in my baked goods.Cardamom Yogurt Cake, 100% Wholewheat Yogurt Bread,Lemon Yogurt Cake ,Two ingredient 5 Minute Pizza are some of the recipes I've baked with yogurt in the past. All of them are super good!
Blueberry yogurt muffins
Blueberry yogurt muffins
I am sure that you can substitute blueberries for other berries in this recipe. The addition of yogurt makes the muffins tender and extra moist.Like every other muffin or quick bread recipes, do not beat the batter. Just stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the last speck of flour vanishes.That's it. If there are any lumps remaining in the batter,it is okay. So here' the recipe!
BLUEBERRY YOGURT MUFFINS
Blueberry yogurt muffins Makes 15

Ingredients:
3 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heavy pinch of salt
Dash of ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 generous cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 c fresh blueberries
Some brown sugar (optional)

Method:Preheat the oven to 380F.Line a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a bowl,whisk together flour,baking soda,baking powder,salt & nutmeg. In another bowl,whisk together sugar,oil,egg and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until the last speck of flour vanishes. Fold in the blueberries and divide the batter into the tin.Sprinkle some brown sugar over the tops and bake for  20-25 minutes or until the muffin is completely baked.
These muffins were perfectly sweet that you won't think twice about grabbing another one. They make a great snack as well. Just know that it doesn't have a long shelf life,so use it within 2-3 days of baking it.
 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

The first time I heard about Monica Bhide was through Twitter.That was when her latest cookbook, Modern Spice just hit the stands. From then on, I was hooked onto her recipes and stories. We became friends on Facebook and I must say,we have been enjoying each other's company over the years now. When she asked me if I could review her latest book, A Life of Spice,I was humbled and excited at the same time. She even sent me a paperback copy for myself and FOUR for you guys!
Monica Bhide
This book has the most beautiful stories about food and culture. I am a person who cooks to create memories and to relive my beautiful past.When I read through all the chapters in the book, I felt the same about Monica. I could relate so well with her. Some stories were so powerful that it brought tears to my eyes especially the one about her father's childhood in Multan. Some were so light and jovial that I laughed out loud. I must say, I couldn't keep this book down and I finished it in one go.
Creamy Tomato & Coconut fish Curry
                                Creamy Tomato & Coconut Fish Curry from Modern Spice (click for recipe)

I have so much to talk about this book because it connected me so well with my past. The stories about her Grandmother's house had me dreaming about my childhood in Mamma's kitchen. When she went back to Old Delhi with her little boy to show him her Grandmother's house, all they could see were rubbles.It brought tears to my eyes as I know how it feels since our Pallikuttumma house is no more.I try not to think about it because of the fear that the happy memories might vanish with the lack of the house there.I might be wrong but I don't want to take a chance.
Chicken 65

Since she has given you all a chance to win one of the FOUR copies, you really should try your chance. This is one book you will cherish for the rest of your life. A book filled with stories about food and life that can transport you to your beautiful past. Thank you Monica for writing a book like this. I feel I have been able to relive the good old days and didn't want the book to end. I wanted more.I still want more.
SPICY GRILLED PANEER SANDWICH
                              Grilled Spicy Paneer Sandwich from Monica's website (click for recipe)

After reading it all and staring at our white popcorn ceiling, I was wondering how it would be to live inside Monica's head for a day! :-) We think alike in many ways. In one chapter,she discusses whether the food is better if it's cooked in a glamorous kitchen.In another chapter,she talks about the ghosts of the cakes past.I could relate to it so well because of my Idli adventures. My Idli's are usually spongy soft, porous and feather light.It wasn't the same for the past almost 3 months. I tried and tried. I would soak rice and dal every other night. The batter never fermented.I even started to doubt my cooking skills. I made batters of different consistency at the same time.My kitchen looked like a research lab.Finally, I found the culprit. The brand of urad dal I was using was of poor quality.I changed it and my Idli's were back to where it belonged...into my hot case /Casserole...instead of the trash can.

For a chance to win this book
1. Leave a comment on this post saying why you would like to win Monica's book.
2.'Like' my Facebook page. You can use the widget on the right hand side or you can click here.Do come back and tell me in another comment that you did so :-)

You can choose to do one or both of the above mentioned options. If you do both, you have doubled your chances of winning a copy!

This contest is open to all but the copies can be sent only to a US address.
Contest is open till 1 June,2015.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A CAKE FOR A BABY SHOWER -5

Baby Shower Cake
There are so many cakes going in and coming out of my oven but only a handful makes their appearance here. It's mostly because of the lack of time to photograph them. I baked this cake for a friend's baby shower last year. Yeah,it took me almost 7-8 months to post it here! B & S sent me the photo of the cake they wanted and I made the exact same cake. They were really pleased with it. The only request was to add some pink stuff to the baby on the cake,since they were having a girl. A big thanks to Divya Maiya for the photographs!
Baby Shower Cake
I also baked a dozen of red velvet cupcakes for the party. Each cupcake was decorated according to the theme. If you look carefully, you can see them in the photograph above. I will be posting another cake I baked for another friend of ours almost a year ago! I should get it all done really soon before their baby turns One! :)
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