Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HONEY COMB CAKE...celebration time for 200,000 hits!


Before we move on to the post, I would like to re-name this cake from Chocolate Buttercream & Vanilla Bubble Cake to HONEYCOMB CAKE. The credit for the new name goes to 'Appan', my dad. He said the former name was very lengthy and asked me to re-name it :)

This cake was featured as the Recipe Post of the Day on Foodblogs.com! Thank you all very much!

Okay, now onto the post.

I was very happy for my blog when it had 100,000 hits (in 7 months time) on 10 June 2010.  Today, I am even more excited that my blog had another 100,000 hits in less than 2 1/2 months! What more should a blogger ask for?

Thank you all very very much for your valuable support!  I have done a special something for you all, today.

If you look beneath my header, you will see a tab called YOU & I. Do read it if time permits. That's one way that I could show my appreciation for you all.

Now onto the cake.Let's celebrate people! Instead of opening a bottle of bubbly, let's dive straight into this decadent 3- layered Bubble cake! So get your forks ready! I'll provide the paper napkin :-) and yes, the cake too! ;-)











HONEY COMB CAKE

Things you'll need:
Traditional Vanilla Cake
Chocolate Buttercream
Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Surprise element- Bubble Wrap

Traditional Vanilla Cake
Recipe source: The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook


Ingredients:
Unsalted Butter- 1c
Sugar-2c
Eggs-4 large,at room temp
All purpose flour-2 3/4 c
Baking powder-2 tsp
Milk-1 c
Vanilla Extract- 1 tsp

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C
  • In a large bowl, cream butter on medium speed till smooth, about 2 mins.
  • Add sugar gradually and beat till fluffy ,about 3 mins.
  • Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
  • Combine flours , add in 4 parts , alternating with milk and vanilla, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour into the prepared pan (I used a 9" round tin) and bake for 35-40 mins or till the inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Cool in tin for 10 mins, then invert it onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream {EGGLESS}
Recipe source: The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook


Ingredients:
Unsalted butter- 1c, very soft & NOT melted.
Milk- 1 tbsp +1 tsp
Semi sweet chocolate- 6 oz, melted  & cooled to room temp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Confectioner's sugar/Icing sugar- 1 1/4 c


Method:

  • In a medium sized bowl, beat butter until creamy for about 3 mins.
  • Add milk and beat until smooth for about 1 minute.
  • Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat well till everything is mixed well.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes.
  • Gradually add in the sugar and beat until creamy and of desired consistency.


Bubble Wrap Decoration
Ingredients:
Semi sweet chocolate-10 oz

Method:

  • Cut a template out of a fresh bubble wrap.
  • Melt the chocolate and let it cool to room temp.
  • Pour over the template and wait till the chocolate is half set.


Assembly:

  • Cut the cooled cake in 3 layers, horizontally.
  • Apply the buttercream in between the layers ,sides and on top.
  • When the chocolate is half set, invert the bubble wrap over the cake and press it slightly.
  • Leave the cake with the bubble wrap on in the freezer for 15 mins.
  • Peel away the bubble wrap carefully.



Verdict: 
It was difficult for me to cut through the bubble layer. I actually did hear Jobin gasping when I cut through it. We both were admiring the bubble layer even while I was clicking the pictures,but when I had to slice it, our hearts broke.

But the moment we had a taste of the cake...we were least bothered about the bubble layer! :-)

Friday, August 27, 2010

CHOCOLATE & STRAWBERRY TRIFLE PUDDING & the winner!


Maybe it's the sheer pleasure of digging into all the layers and trying to eat that whole thing in one shot ...I simply love layered desserts! I have been making quite a few in the last one year. Tiramisu Cake in a Cup, Vanilla Butter Cake with Creme Patissierie and Vanilla Strawberry Compote,Viennese Chocolate Genoise Sponge with Strawberry Mascarpone, Mocha Chocolate Mascarpone Verrine etc are some of them.

Desserts play an important part of my life & my meals. I think Jobin is also getting hooked to it.He asks for a dessert after every meal ( no! not after brekky though :-D  ).


A few days ago, I went shopping to the Mall of America and I found an adorable fridge magnet which said, 'Life is short, eat dessert first'. My heart didn't allow me to leave it behind, so now, it adorns my fridge. We already have plenty of magnets from all our trips, but this one has a special place though.I did  a re-positioning of my other magnets so that I can give this one special attention, everyday. It reminds me to eat dessert everyday ;-)

As far as the name of my blog goes, it's mostly collected recipes. Though these days I use books from the library too.This recipe is a perfect testimony of the reason and the name behind my blog. 

Recipe's bloodline: My mom. My mom got it from her twin -sis , Daisy. Daisy got it from her husband's sister's daughter, Thresi Ramapuram.

Ingredients:
Sponge Cake- 1 (made using 3 eggs,1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar)
Custard powder-2 tbsp (vanilla flavoured)
Semi-sweet chocolate- 200g, chopped fine
Milk- 300 ml
Sugar-2 tbsp
Heavy cream/Fresh Cream- 300 ml
Fruits of your choice- 350 g, cut up into bite sized pieces.
Jam-4 tbsp ( I used Homemade Cherry & Pluot Jam)
Rum/Brandy/Medium Sherry/Any other soaking liquid- 6 tbsp ( I used rum and brandy)

Method:       
  • Cut the sponge cake into small squares (size is upto you) and sandwich them together with jam. ( I slit the whole cake into 2, horizontally and sandwiched it with jam. Then I cut them into squares.)
  • Line the bottom of a dish with the sandwiched sponge squares and sprinkle the soaking liquid over it.
  • Spinkle 1/2 the quantity of prepared fruits over it and refrigerate it while you make the custard.
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the custard powder, sugar and milk. Boil till thick.
  • Add the chocolate and stir till blended and cooled.
  • Pour over the fruit layer. Refrigerate it while you whip up the cream.
  • Beat the cream to soft but firm peaks and spoon over the chocolate layer. You can sweeten the cream if you wish to.
  • Decorate the top with the remaining fruits and chill it (well covered with a clingwrap) till you serve.


Verdict: I don't think I need to brag about how much we enjoyed digging into each layers. We enjoyed our first share (taste-testing or whatever that excuse maybe) in individual trifle glasses.The next day, we dug into the big bowl.

You can use any kind of fruits for this. My Amma uses mangoes, apples and pomegranates.        
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The winner of my postcard giveaway is comment no:8 Priya Yallapantula Mitharwal. Congratulations Priya!! I shall get in touch with you for details. 
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Thank you all for participating! I now know why you all come back to my blog! xo


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CHOCOLATE FUDGE CUPCAKES...the next LBD!

Talk about cravings! I get very specific cravings all the time! A few days ago I was craving for a homemade chocolate cake and this is what satisfied me! It really did satisfy the chocolate hungry girl in me!

I have read in many places that a girl should have a good chocolate cake recipe with her, just like a LBD. I would say, in my case, this chocolate cake would be my Lil' Black Dress! :-) The simplicity of this recipe and the amazing result it gives you, you can never go wrong. There was a frosting recipe for the cake and I didn't do it because I am trying to divide my butter intake in 2 cakes rather than in 1 :-)

I couldn't wait for the cupcakes to cool down, got Jobin also along with me. So, as soon as the tray popped out of the oven, we both gobbled up  one each. B.L.I.S.S.
Some of our friends ( I would say LUCKY!) dropped by that evening, so we shared some with them as well.I think my life has a new motto now...bake & share! :-)










CHOCOLATE FUDGE CUPCAKES
Recipe source : Alice Medrich



Ingredients:


Flour-1 c
Unsweetened cocoa powder-1/4 c + 2 tbsp
Baking soda-1/2 tsp
Salt-1/4 tsp (omit salt if you are using salted butter)
Unsalted butter- 1 stick/ 113 g
Brown sugar-1 1/4 c, packed
Eggs-2
Vanilla extract-1 tsp
Hot water- 1/2 c


Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C /350F. Prepare your baking tin.
  • In a heat proof bowl, melt butter and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Add the sugar to it and mix it up using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
  • Add in both the eggs & vanilla together and mix till combined.
  • Dump in all the dry ingredients (no sifting needed unless cocoa is lumpy) and mix till flour is just incorporated.
  • Add in the hot water and mix till everything blends in well.
  • Pour into the baking tin and bake for 35-45 mins.
  • Cool the cake in the tin for 10 mins and then demould it and let it cool completely.
  • I baked them in my silicone cupcake moulds and this batter yielded 12 cupcakes.


Verdict: How can a chocolate cake get more simpler? It's a one bowl, mixer-free,easy clean up cake recipe! An absolute winner! Try it for yourself and see!

This is going to be my most fave chocolate cake until I find the next one! Usually my search for the perfect chocolate cake never ends, but after trying this one, I think I can rest my search! Phew!



Monday, August 23, 2010

MOCHA MARBLE CHEESECAKELETS...for Nachiketa


We both are CRAZY about desserts and we love baking them and sharing it too! Is there something called as the baking soul-sisters? If so, maybe we are one of that :-)

So,When I recieved an email from Nachiketa asking if I could do a guest post for her as a part of her 200th post celebrations, I willingly accepted. I had to make something which we both haven't made before, and of course, it had to be a dessert!That evening I went to our library and went through the whole section of dessert books and finally picked up one. Then it was a task to choose from it. I know Nachiketa & myself has a soft spot for cheesecakes & coffee,especially Tiramisu Cheesecake, so cheesecake it was!









MOCHA MARBLE CHEESECAKELETS
Recipe adapted from A Year in Chocolate by Alice Medrich


Ingredients:
Crust:
Chocolate wafer crumbs/Oreo cookie crumbs-1 1/2 c ( I used Parle-G + 2 tbsp of cocoa powder)
Butter-6 tbsp, melted
Sugar-1/4 c
Coffee powder-1 1/2 tsp

Filling:
Milk chocolate-40 g
Coffee powder-3/4 tsp
Boiling water-1 1/2 tbsp
Cream cheese-650 g
Sugar-1/2 c
Vanilla extract-1 1/2 tsp
Eggs-2, at room temperature


To see rest of the post, hop over to her beautiful blog!

This is a guest post for Nachiketa of The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa. You can also Catch her on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts Join her page and leave a comment to become eligible for her special Giveaway prize.
www.crazyoverdesserts.com

Nachiketa, I wish you all the best  and may you have many many more! To another 200!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

OF SOAKING FRUITS, MAKING WINE AND HOMEMADE JAM...I can smell X'mas already!


Was that a weird title? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Let me tell you what I have been doing all these days, since last Thursday, since the last post of mine :-)

I have been trying to be proactive (what a change!) and preserve some fruits for:


1.Cake for which you might have to wait till December for the recipe :-/ . I you are impatient like me, you might have to be happy with my Ultra Moist Fruit Cake for the time being.

2.Jam

&

3.Wine : Uh-oh! Can't help but wait till December! :-/
The fruits that you see in the above picture are cherries and pluots. Pluots are a cross between plums and apricots. For me and Jobin, they tasted more like plums. So, it is tart and a bit sweet. They can be substitued with plums or apricots.

For this jam, you can use any fruits of your choice.







CHERRY- PLUOTS & GINGER JAM
I developed this recipe from the basic jam recipe shared by Helene on Facebook.




Ingredients:
Any fruits -1 kg, one variety or mixed. (I used a mix of cherry and pluots)
Sugar-0.5 kg
Ginger-a small piece, grated fine
Lemon juice- 1/2 to 1 tsp

Method:

  • Peel (optional) and chop the fruits and transfer it to a heavy bottomed sauce pan .
  • Add the sugar and mix well.
  • Grate the ginger into it and mix.
  • Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then simmer on medium- low  for 1-1.5 hours or till the setting point *.
  • Bottle it into clean jars.
* Setting point is exactly the stage at which you need to stop cooking your jam.To find out whether your jam has reached that stage, take a plate, leave it in the freezer for a while, pour a drop of the jam onto the chilled plate and touch it with your pointer finger and see if it's holding it's shape and not coming away with you as you pull away your finger.Start checking for the setting point after 1 hour of simmering.

Verdict:
I loved the addition of fresh ginger to it, it gets you back to reality when you lose yourselves in the sweetness of the fruits. A very simple recipe with endless possibilities!This recipe is a winner!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI OLIVE OIL CAKE ...mighty delicious!

We live in the MidWest and there is a story about MidWest and Zucchini. Zucchini grows in abundance here. People sometimes did not know what to do with the crop!So we should not be surprised if we find a crate of Zucchini on our doorstep one morning! :) And if I do, which I doubt, since we live in an apartment, I would be more than happy! I'd have another reason to bake! :)

I had 3 main reasons to bake this cake :

1. Our dear friend Cory, has this dream yard full of vegetables and herbs! He even has a herb which tastes like sugar when you chew it's leaves! How cool is that??? So, last week he had dropped by to have some Dosa, Sambar and Garlic n Shallot Chutney with us and this was what he brought for us! A BIG Zucchini,almost the size of hand from his yar :-) I had to use it somehow. So, half of it went into the cake and the rest went on the grill! YUM!

2. I have been getting many requests and questions as to why I am not baking a cake these days! It's not that I have anything against it, it's just that I am enjoying the summer bounty to it's maximum! :)

3. It is a no-butter, vegetable filled cake!

So inorder to satisfy the above mentioned reasons, I baked...a cake...almost after 2 months! :)

I was in a hurry while I baked this cake because we were grilling that night and things were happening side by side. So, there won't be as many pictures as I usually have,but will spare you some that I managed to click during that time.









DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI OLIVE OIL CAKE
Recipe source: Chocolate & Zucchini


Ingredients:
Flour-2 cups
Cocoa powder-1/2 cup
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Baking powder-1/2 tsp
Salt-1/2 tsp
Light brown sugar- 1 scant cup
Olive oil-1/2 cup
Vanilla extract-1 tsp
Coffee powder-1 tsp
Eggs-3, large
Zucchini- 2 cups, grated (unpeeled)
Chocolate chips-1 cup (I used semi-sweet)
White chocolate- for decoration


Method:
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Combine zucchini, chocolate chips and 1/3 of the flour mixture.
  • Beat together the sugar and oil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the eggs one by one and beat for a minute after each addition.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and coffee powder.
  • Fold in the flour till everything is just mixed.
  • Add in the flour coated zucchini and chocolate chips and fold in till everything is incorporated.Do not over fold it.
  • Pour into a prepared tin ,level the top and bake in a pre heated oven at 180C/ 350 F for 45-50 minutes or till the skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Let it cool in the tin for 10 mins , then demould it and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Drizzle melted white chocolate over the cake.



Verdict:
This is a super moist cake with teeny weeny bits of green in it. It is hardly noticeable, but sharp eyes like mine can! I really loved the deep deep chocolate-y colour of the cake and while the cake was baking our lil apartment did smell like heaven! Jobin couldn't resist the smell of it and he was sniffing around our home till I finally decided to cut the cake!

Jobin adored this cake! He didn't even look up till he finished gobbling up! :) His dad used to work for a UN agency back in India and Jobin says this cake tasted like the ones they had in ICRISAT's cafe( Jobin must have been 7-8 yrs then). Maybe they baked Zucchini cakes in there  many years ago! Who knows!


Monday, August 9, 2010

LAVENDER INFUSED STONE FRUIT TARTELETTES...go summer!

Whenever we go grocery shopping, I pick up some fruits, mostly which are new to me. But sometimes, and this 'sometimes' happen very often these days that I pick up stone fruits to eat and I end up baking with it. Talk about the sugar dose that I need quite often! ;-)
Luckily, these fruits are very ripe and sweet on it's own, so we don't end up adding cups and cups of sugar unlike cakes (wait till the fruit season is over! I bet I'll be back to cakes!) :-) Well, I would like to call them as healthy desserts, though some of you might not agree with me :)
I always adored lavender. I love love love it's smell in soaps, talcum powders, body lotions, shampoo etc. So when I got hold of a bag of lavender, I treasure it like gold! They stay fresh for about a year! The cupboard in which I store it smells of lavender now. It smells so good! All those who haven't ever smelt it, go ahead! Try it for yourself and see!
Lavender adds a beautiful flavour to whatever it is added into. It is very subtle and does not overpower the flavours of the main ingredients, unlike a lot of other flavouring that we get in the market. I absolutely detest almond extract for it's very strong taste. Vanilla is my all time favourite and now, lavender too!

So, this was another dessert that I made over the weekend for the friends get-together. This time we had an overload of desserts! Sometimes all the good things come at the same time leaving us with no space for more!









LAVENDER INFUSED STONE FRUIT TARTELETTES
Recipe source: Helene


Ingredients:
Crust:
Unsalted butter- 5 tbsp , room temp.
Egg yolks-3
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Flour-150 g
Cold milk- 2tbsp -1/4 cup

Filling:
Peaches, red plums, black plums- 2, each (ripe)
Sugar- 1/2 cup or to taste
Lavender- 1/2 tbsp


Method:
Crust:
  • In a mixer, whip the butter on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add the salt, and all  flour, and mix briefly. Add enough milk to moisten it. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
  • When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic to fit your prefered pie pan. If the dough tears while you roll or/and transfer into the pan, just patch it with your fingertips. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, fill with pie weights or dy beans and par bake for 10-15 minutes until almost completely baked. Remove the weights and parchment paper. At this point you can refrigerate the baked crust for up to 3 days before using. Roll some extra dough to form lattice pattern on top if desired. You can also freeze the extra raw dough for up to three months.

Filling:

  • Place the chopped fruits in a non reactive bowl. Rub the sugar and lavender together and sprinkle over the fruit. Gently mix with a spatula. Let the fruit marinate for about 20 minutes. 
Assembly:
  • Divide the fruits among the tart shells, top with lattice if desired and bake 20 minutes. Let the tarts cool completely before eating. 



Verdict: A fruit lover's delight! I loved the pairing of the not-so-buttery crust with the tartness of the stone fruits.
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