Soft As A Cloud- Banana Cake

 

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Soft as a cloud 

Now that I’m working from home, I find myself wandering around the kitchen, looking to stuff my face, more frequently than usual…a bit like Yogi Bear, minus the pic-a-nic basket- but with the bearlike appetite.

 Prudently, I’ve taken to yoga & replacing all snacks to fruits! While this military behaviour works well for the 1st couple of days, the charm begins to wear off & given the general lack of interest in eating healthy, my kitchen is soon laden with slightly overripe fruit. Not a great situation, no.

So, after a good amount of research, I’ve come across a few great bakes that require ripened banana. And it’s a complete win, this situation, as A- The banana is the quickest & easiest form of energy intake & B- My kitchen is no longer a ripe old forest of mushy bananas! Yay!

 Now, banana cakes always make me happy- the aroma, moistness & the fact that they are simply the easiest to bake! All this month, I’ve been experimenting with this new recipe & every time I bake it; the cake just seems too be getting lighter, fluffier & tastier! It’s almost like a friend that never, EVER, lets you down (God, I have to get out of the house more often)!

The steps to this recipe are ridiculously simple & it would be a crime to keep it to myself. What I like most about this bake is that every ingredient is so easily available at home.

 You need..

2-3 large over ripe & speckled bananas

½ Cup castor sugar

1/3 Cup canola oil

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 ¼ Cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp soda bicarbonate

1 tsp cardamom powder

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

A handful chopped walnuts, dried figs & I also added dried rosemary. for a healthier option, use a handful of mixed seeds- such as flax, sunflower & pumpkin.

All you do is:

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

  • Line an 8×8 inch baking tin with baking paper. Tricky but fun, once you get the hang of it.

  • Sift flour, baking powder, soda bicarb & cardamom – add the nutmeg & keep aside.

  • Using a food processor (the easiest way) whiz together the bananas, oil, vanilla & eggs till completely mixed; about 3 spins.

  • Evenly spoon over the flour mix onto the wet mix, in the processor & whiz only about twice- do not dump in the flour as it tends to make the batter lumpy. Do not over mix as this would lead to a tough & heavy cake.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin, scatter the nuts or seeds & bake for about 25 minutes.

  • The cake when done should be a lovely golden brown & pass the skewer test- or should come out dry when skewer inserted.

  • Take the cake out of the oven & let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes before you cool it on a wire rack.

  • I love to cut up this pillowy soft cake into chunky squares & pile ‘em high to serve. You could also dust the slices with icing sugar or wrap the slices in baking paper & twine.

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Wrap slices in baking paper with twine.

 

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Pile ’em high!

See how easy & healthy this cake is?

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Golden banana cake with walnut, fig & rosemary

This is when I say “Enjoy”..

Bombay Style Mawa Cake

Having lived & worked away at Gurgaon, all of last year, I’ve missed everything about my city; the noise, bad roads, terrible weather & most of all- the food! My demanding job left me no time at all to do the one thing I really love- to bake. Now that I’m back home, there’s no stopping the madness that has taken over-not a day goes by when I’m not obsessing over what to bake next.

Have decided, in all fairness, that my homecoming post should be a dedication to my favourite city- and so, here’s the Bombay Style Mawa Cake!

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Golden & Delicious

If you’ve ever stopped by an Irani Cafe in Old Bombay, surely you’ve come across these delicate little beauties. Stacked neatly, in golden rows & under glass cases- perfectly warm, buttery & delicious the Mawa cake is best enjoyed with a hot cup of milky tea. Standing out with it’s distinct cardamom aroma,the Mawa cake commands full attention amidst the warm & freshly baked goodness that is a given at any good Irani cafe.

For those wondering, Mava or Khoya is a soft and granulated paste that’s made by continuous boiling and stirring milk. It is a commonly used ingredient in most Indian sweets & is easily available at any dairy shop, across the city.

I just love the aroma that fills my kitchen & home while these bake & with a recipe that’s so very easy, I find myself baking these cakes quite often. Here’s a super simple & very very effective little recipe for the perfect & moist Mawa Cake..enjoy!

To make about 16-18 cupcake size;

1 1/4 cup All purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

120 grams soft or room temperature mawa or khoya

100 grams soft or room temperature butter

1 cup castor sugar

2 eggs

6 Tbs milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almonds or pistachio, halved or slivered

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift the flour, baking & cardamom powder into a bowl & set aside for later.
  3. Mix the vanilla with the milk & set aside.
  4. Using a hand mixer, beat the mava, butter & sugar, on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until light, pale & fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat at low speed – be sure to scrape the bowl down frequently so that all ingredients mix well.
  5. Once the eggs are mixed, add the flour mix & the milk in 3 lots , starting with flour & ending with milk. Ensure that you do not over beat the batter by keeping the speed at minimum.
  6. Using a standard ice cream scoop, add a heaped scoop of batter into the lined cupcake tins, till about 3/4 full & scatter the nuts on top. I’m a sucker for anything old school so I kinda centrally place a nut per cupcake- but that’s just me. Bake for 20-22 mins. I prefer using the central rack of the oven.
  7. The cakes should be baked till golden & , when pricked with a skewer, should come out clean & dry. By now your home should be bursting with the most delicious aroma!
  8. Once out of the oven, let the cakes cool in the tin for 8-10 mins. Pop out of the tins & let cool on a rack before your store them. When I bake these, there’s never the need to store as they’re polished off almost as soon as they’re out of the oven, however they can be stored for 3 days in the ‘fridge, in an airtight box.

Warm Mawa cakes,  deliciously golden on the outside & buttery yellow, light & fluffy on the inside, make great accompaniments to a hot cup of milky tea or coffee. Let me know how yours turns out!

 

 

 

 

Nutty Banana Bread with Walnuts & Pumpkin Seeds

I have two states of mind. I’m usually wracked with guilt for not going to the gym enough or obsessing all day about what deliciousness to bake next. This weekend, as most weekends, baking won! So I decided to compromise a bit and bake a healthy, fruity loaf instead of my usual decadent cupcakes etc.

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Found this super easy Banana Bread online, and as most ingredients were at hand, got going instantly. Amazingly, the prep time for this recipe is less than 15 mins!  

So if you have the time and a hankering for a slice of warm, delicious & guilt free banana bread, this one you got to try-it’s just brilliant.

Rustle up..

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup canola or vegetable

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

2 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon flax seeds

Then…

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place the rack in the center of the oven. 

Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf tin with a bit of oil or butter.

In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the baking soda and yogurt. Allow it to rest while you prepare the rest of the batter.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. You’ll get a gluey mix-don’t panic.

In another large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, ground cinnamon, almost all the walnuts (reserve a few to scatter on the top of loaf) and salt.

Then combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until all the ingredients are moistened. Pour this thick & doughy mix into the prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a spatula. Sprinkle on the remaining walnuts, pumpkin & flax seeds. I also like giving these toppings a little press to coax ‘em into the dough a bit.

Bake for about 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. The crust should be a nice delicious golden.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I also made myself a hot cup of tea- best friends with warm cake, I tell you.

Perfect weekend :)

 

Nothing Like Starry Watermelon

Nothing Like Starry Watermelons

So, it’s been a while since I’ve baked cookies- it’s mad hot here in Mumbai & a hotter kitchen is terrifying! This morning tho, I happened to stumble upon my darling cookie cutter stash ( yes, I have a whole bunch of ’em, extravagant purchases from X’mas ’13- also known as the Gingerbread Man/Cookie Era ) and decided to get a little crafty!
All you really need is a largish watermelon, a bunch of fresh mint leaves & the cookie cutter of your choice!
I then plunked the cut fruit chunks in a glass with torn mint & chilled in the ‘fridge!
Maybe I’ll drizzle a little lime or honey & toasted sesame seeds on ’em or maybe will just eat the whole lot as is😀 Any way you look at it, just the pretty shapes’re enough to get you fruit friendly , this summer!

Spoil Your Appetite with Three Mouthwatering Food Blogs

A delicious read!

The WordPress.com Blog

Blogging tends to make us hungry, which explains our tendency to highlight great food blogs. Today, you’re in for a particular treat: three food blogs that serve up gorgeous design on top of mouthwatering creations. Now, if only we could invent a Tasting Widget…

PornBurger

Don’t be alarmed by the site’s name — it’s perfectly safe for work, though probably less so for your keyboard (drool alert!). In this blog, burger-meister Matthew Ramsey unveils a new, groundbreaking masterpiece every week.

Each burger-of-the-week gets a playful name — the lobster patty pictured above, for example, is the Mac Daddy, since it’s sandwiched between fried mac and cheese “buns.” Matthew is using the Kiore Moana theme, which offers full-bleed (no pun intended) featured images. That’s how we get to view each gorgeously stacked, perfectly shot creation in all its glory.

With the Grains

A refreshing palate-cleanser, anyone? Quelcy T. Kogel, the…

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Summer Love Lemon Cupcakes

Airy & light, with just the right amount of tangy to sweet, Lemon Cupcakes makes perfect little treats for summer- and are insanely delicious!

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Discovered on a TV show, I’ve made minor tweaks (sometimes I use lime instead of lemon- coz this is Mumbai & lemons aren’t always at hand!) to this perfect little cupcake recipe & am thrilled with the results! Very easy to whip up & totally impressive, these babies have taken over number one position on my favorite-cupcakes-to-obsessively-bake list!

Sharing!

 For the Cupcakes:

        25g butter, softened

       125g caster sugar

       Finely grated zest ½ large lemon (keeping the zest of the remaining ½ lemon for the lemon icing) or a couple of large sour limes.

       2 eggs, beaten

       150g plain flour

       ¼ tsp baking powder

 For the lemon butter icing:

       75g butter, softened

       125g icing sugar, sifted

       Finely grated zest of ½ large lemon- or 1 lime

       1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

All you have to do is:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft.

Add the sugar and grated lemon/lime zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour + baking powder and fold into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until risen and golden.

When cooked, the centre of each cake should be slightly springy to the touch.

Remove the cakes from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely before you ice them.

To make the lemon/lime butter icing, cream the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon until very soft. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar and beat into the butter, along with the lemon/lime zest and enough lemon/lime juice to soften the icing, to a spreadable consistency.

When the cupcakes are cool, spread a generous heaped teaspoon of lemon butter icing over the top of each one. Decorate with fresh mint sprigs!

And, as a friend suggested, you could also add a generous sprinkling of lemony sugar crystals to glam it up completely! Yes, these cupcakes are really gorgeous. 

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Squares with Peanuts.

What with my latest obsession for ‘sweet with salty’ getting uncontrollable, I decided to finally do something about it. Sure, I’m on a diet, as how can it be any other way? Anyway, to cut a long story short (mostly about the struggle within) I spotted this easy recipe off the ‘net. I can safely say that if you’re feeling the urge for a brittle, sweet & salty, agonizingly delicious caramel & chocolate treat, you’ve stumbled upon the right page.

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This treat is really simple to put together ‘coz almost everything is should be available in your kitchen cupboard. All you need is the strength to watch 250g of lovely milk chocolate slowly turn from delicious little squares to the gooiest pool of chocolate madness without giving up the plan & just polishing off the bowl instead. Yes, so deep breaths.

 Now, assemble:

  • caster sugar-100 g
  • butter, softened and diced-200 g
  • self-raising flour, sifted-300 g
  • boiled condensed milk-400 ml
  • salted peanuts, roughly chopped-125 g
  • milk chocolate, broken into pieces-250 g

All you need to do next:

Pop a sealed tin of condensed milk into a heavy bottomed pan – cover completely with plain water & bring to boil. Then simmer for 2-3 hours. Be sure to top off the water to ensure that the tin is always submerged. Once done, cool off the tin. You should get a lovely dark & very gooey caramel instead of the pale runny condensed milk. Dulce de leche, made easy!

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the base of a 20 x 30cm tin with baking paper. Sure, it’s tricky, but so worth the effort.

In a large bowl, rub together the butter and flour in a bowl with your fingertips and stir in the sugar. Press into the prepared tin with your hands or a palette knife – be sure to level out the mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown all over, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

Only once it is cool, the fun really begins! Spread over the condensed milk to cover the shortbread, and then press the roughly chopped peanuts into it, making sure they are evenly distributed.

Now for the challenging part- place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. It’s also important here to keep an eye on the chocolate as too much heat can turn it grainy. Once the chocolate’s glossy , smooth & evenly melted, remove from the heat and pour over the peanut-studded dulce de leche, allowing it to cool, and then leave in the fridge for 1–2 hours to set. Once set, cut the mixture into squares in the tin.

That’s it- simple and delicious!