Almond and Orange Cake

This new year’s eve, we were going to visit a friend in the neighborhood. As always happens, it strikes you at the last minute that you must take something after all it’s New year’s eve!  I had all the listed ingredients at home and what better way to enjoy citrus burst of the season along with the goodness of almonds! Needless to say I made this cake in a jiffy and my friends became its fan, so here we go with the recipe…

Ingredients:

Breadcrumbs – 45 g
Ground almonds – 100 g
Castor sugar – 200 g
Cooking oil – 200 ml
Baking powder – 1 & 1/2
Eggs, beaten – 4
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1/2 lime

For Syrup:

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of half a lime

Sugar – 2 tbsp

Cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch

Cloves – 5 to 6

Cointreau – 1tbsp, if you like!

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together and beat well.
  • Pour the mixture in a greased and lined cake tin.
  • Place it in the cold oven and start the oven (Yes, you put it in the cold oven!). Set the oven to 180 C and bake it for 40-45 mins until golden brown or skewer comes out clean.
  • In the meantime, to make the syrup put all the ingredients in a pan and bring it to boil on low flame/heat.
  • Simmering  for 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
  • Once cake is done, remove from tin, prick with fork and slowly pour the syrup over the cake using a spoon. You need to  evenly soak it in the syrup.

Enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves: 10-12

Rich Carrot Cake

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The winter season….. ahh! what I like most about it is lovely colourful vegetables. My little one is very fond of carrots, loves to eat red juicy carrots raw as snack, more than cooked. Moreover, in this part of Asia carrot is cooked, in fact simmered in milk for hours to make ‘Halwa’, a dessert! I grew up eating loads and loads of carrot halwa everyday during winters.

So the other day I planned to make halwa ‘ for my kids and therefore grated about a kilogram of red juicy carrots. But my little one insisted on cake, any type of cake.

“Well then” I said “cake you must have for dessert!” I found this really easy recipe in my old notes (a diary where I have been making notes for past 19 years! Must admit it has torn apart but I still love to write in it…..it’s precious!!!)

What I like about this recipe is that it’s light and nutritious as you use whole meal flour and lots of dry fruits.

So here we go with the recipe:

Ingredients:

Grated carrot 200g

Whole-meal flour 200g

Sugar 175g

Sunflower oil (any cooking oil) 150 ml

Two large eggs, whisked

Grated coconut ½ cup

Chopped walnut ½ cup

Or/and chopped pistachios ½ cup

Sultanas ½ cup

Zest of one orange

Cinnamon powder 1 tsp

Baking powder 1 tsp

Baking soda 1tsp

Instructions:

  • Whisk sugar and oil together until it looks light and seems mixed thoroughly.
  • Separately mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and sieve it to add in some air.
  • Into the liquid mixture now add beaten eggs slowly while whisking.
  • Next add in all the dry ingredients one by one and fold in well until it’s all mixed thoroughly.
  • Transfer the mixture into greased and lined baking tin and bake in pre-heated oven at 175oC for 40- 45 minutes or until cake leaves the side of the tin.
  • Remove from oven and let it rest for about five minutes before removing from the tin.

I believe it tastes much better the next day if one has patience to keep it for a day (or children allow it to rest!!!) with some whipped cream.

 

 

 

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Yorkshire Pudding recipe

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe:

Yorkshire Pudding

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Recipe of Yorkshire pudding is so easy that I wasn’t sure whether should I call it a recipe or not. Anyways as one needs to know how to cook it so certainly it is called a “recipe”. There are lots of good things about this recipe like very few ingredients, mostly available at home and one can prepare the mixture and leave it to be baked just before serving without much hassle.

Well then let me not keep you all waiting and open the magic recipe box!

Ingredients:

Eggs, four (measure them in a measuring cup or any cup)

Milk, same amount as eggs

Salt, a pinch

Ground black pepper, a pinch

Plain flour, almost the same measure

Cooking oil – 2 tbsp, for greasing

And that’s it!

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients, accept flour, together with a whisker and leave it aside to stand until you are ready to serve (just about 20 minutes before serving you need to work with it)
  • Grease generously a muffin tray with cooking oil, slide it in the middle rack of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 270oC.
  • In the meanwhile mix plain four in the liquid mixture of eggs and milk, one spoonful at a time. The batter should be of the same consistency as that of crepes/ pancake and of course lumps-free!
  • When you can see the smoke coming out from the oil in the oven and/or smell the oil heating, whichever happens first, pull the tray out.
  • Using a ladle to spoon the mixture in each case about ¾ th level of the case. Put the tray back in the oven and allow it to bake for 18-20 minutes. (Note that you do not need paper muffin/cupcake cases)
  • They rise beautifully like muffins, you can see them oozing out of the case, when they turn slightly more than golden brown take the tray out.
  • Serve it with hot chocolate sauce as a warm dessert in cold winters, or with ice-cream topped with hot chocolate sauce.

My family likes to eat it with meat curries as well! You should try in various different ways and find a new combination for yourself. Happy cooking!

 

 

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse:

A friend at work once mentioned about her fondness for chocolate mousse. At the same time like many others she was also concerned about calories. May be that is the reason yogurt has been taking over cream cheese products and ice-cream big time among calorie-counters. She asked me “Like frozen yoghurt can something chocolaty be made out of yogurt?”

I wonder why not, Greek yogurt or hung curd is as good and smooth in texture as any cream cheese or mascarpone. As my children are a great fan of chocolate desserts as well, and so I tried whipping up a chocolate mousse using homemade curd. It turned out great, lusciously chocolaty! Best of all I felt it is one of those recipes where I know best of ingredients are going in as I make it right from the scratch i.e. even making the curd/yogurt at home.

Trick here is not to let the curd go sour during setting. For that use luke warm milk, place it in warm corner of the kitchen add about spoonful of the curd/yogurt culture, cover and leave it to set for 2-3 hours.  Check after 2 hours, if it is set refrigerate instantly (if you are not using right away).

Secondly you need to remove excess of whey from the curd when you want to use it. For that all you have to do is tie up homemade curd in a cheese cloth and hang it on handle of a water filled pan in a refrigerator and don’t forget to put an empty bowl underneath to collect the whey. Making hung-curd in refrigerator ensures that it stays chilled and sweet (I mean sweetness of dairy, no added sugar).

 

Ingredients:

Hung curd – 250g

Dark cooking chocolate – 100g

Eggs – 2, beaten (at room temperature)

Castor sugar – 75g

Rum – 2 tbsp (optional) or

Almond/ orange essence – tsp (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a double boiler melt the chocolate, stirring every now and then.
  • Using a whisker, whisk in the two eggs and sugar while chocolate is still warm. It will be slightly runny at this stage.
  • Add hung curd/ Greek yoghurt, and whisk further until well incorporated.
  • Transfer into small serving bowls or glasses and chill for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

I bet once you make it you are going to make it again and again like me. Ever since I have made this, we have been having it for dessert almost every evening., all I have to do is to remember to set curd every morning.

Moist Egg-less Chocolate-Almond Cake

In the months of October- November every year, most of the Indian households observe religious rituals for their ancestors and then nine days fasting and of course after that celebration for Dusshera and Diwali begin. During most of this period many families completely go vegetarian avoiding eggs as well, and so is the case in my family, well..………. for few days!

I have been trying different recipes, with our own variations in each (I say ‘our’ as my elder daughter has been helping me here) to get the perfect recipe for egg-less cake.  We finally arrive at the one which we baked on my husband’s birthday. I would also like to mention here that this recipe is especially for our youngest member in the family, a little princess, who is allergic to eggs and I am sure she is going to enjoy it too!

Moist Egg-less Chocolate- Almond Cake:

Ingredients:

 All Purpose Flour – 2 cup

Baking Powder – 1 and ½ tsp

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – 10 tbsp

Almond powder – 1 tbsp (optional)

Castor Sugar – 1 and ¾ cups (grind granulated sugar in a grinder)

Vegetable oil – 1 cup (sunflower oil)

Hot Coffee – ½ cup (2 tsp of coffee in ½ cup of hot water)

Milk – ½ cup

Natural Curd/ Yogurt – ½ cup

Almond essence – 1 tsp

Natural vinegar – 1 tsp

Instructions:

 Preheat the oven to 180oC, at least 8-10 minutes before baking (This is the time when you mix all your ingredients together). Lightly grease the cake tin and line with a parchment paper.

  •  In a large bowl sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, almond powder and sugar. Make a well in the center. Add all the wet ingredients one by one.
  •  Beat the mixture using an electric mixer on low speed for 2-3 minutes until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. Do not over beat it.
  •  Pour the batter in the prepared tin. Tap the tin to spread the batter evenly.
  •  Bake in the pre-heated oven or pre-heated pressure cooker for about 30 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer or fork.
  •  Take it out of the oven, and allow it to cool. After about half an hour remove the cake from the tin and let the cake cool completely before you dig in.

As I mentioned earlier, I baked it on my husband’s birthday, children couldn’t wait for it to cool down completely, so we hurried him to cut it while it was warm. It tasted great….. moist and spongy without icing! So go ahead, bake one and enjoy the way you want it!!!