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!

 

 

 

 

Easy Shrikhand

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I love traditional Maharashtrian food- takes me way back to my days as a pesky brat, when I’d spend hours mooching off my kindly neighbors. Yep, Val, amti dal, puran poli & endless pohas were demolished in a swipe – dunno why, but as a kid I always thought food, however mundane, tasted better in somebody else’s house. Hmm?

 So anyway, this evening, I felt a strong longing for a bowl of tangy & nutty Maharashtrian Shrikhand ! Took me exactly 5 minutes to whip up this delicate dessert! (not counting the time it takes to hang the curds ).

 All you need:

 400gms  Pro-biotic curds

2 tbs castor sugar of according to taste

A pinch of saffron strands

1 tbsp warm milk

2 tsp cardamom powder

½ a cup of slivered pistachios & almonds.

All you have to do is:

  • Hang the curds in a muslin cloth in a cool place for about 3-4 hours until all the liquid has drained off.Alwyas looking for the easy way out,  I just invert the open curd box over a small sieve, over a bowl to catch the whey & leave in the fridge till all liquid drains.
  • Sit the saffron in the warm milk until it softens & infuses the milk with a lovely, well, saffron colour!
  • Mix together the hung curds, sugar, saffron mixture and cardamom in a bowl and whisk till light and fluffy. A little wrist work, yes, but the results are worth every minute!
  • Toss in the slivered nuts & stir- reserve a few to top up as garnish!
  • Serve chilled!

Nutella Mini Muffin Brownies

Craving for a sweet treat? These little guys make perfect guilt-free bites & also lovely little gifts (if you’re willing to part with ‘em! ) 

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For about 12 absolutely cute & delicious little brownie bites all you need is 15 minutes & strong restraint! (It’s really difficult not to just grab a teaspoon & polish off the Nutella there and then!)

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Ok, so there’s a whole lot of creamy, gooey & AWESOME Nutella in this recipe ! And with just 4 ingredients it’s so easy, there’s nothing I’d want to change about it!

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You’ll Need:

▪                ½ cup Nutella spread (or any other hazelnut chocolate spread)

▪                1 egg

▪                5 tablespoons flour

▪                ½ cup chopped hazelnuts or almonds

All you have to do is:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 C. You could line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper, but I just used the muffin wraps & they worked fine!
  • Toast the hazelnuts gently & remove skins. Chop up coarsely.
  • Put the Nutella and egg in a steel bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended. Finally mix in the chopped hazelnuts or almonds.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin wraps-about ¾ full is best ‘coz they pop up over just perfectly! Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely.
  • Serve immediately (these store at room temperature for up to 3 days but then they rarely make it till 10 minutes out of the oven ‘coz they are so awesome!)

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Have fun!

The Laziest Ice Cream Sandwich Ever

What do you do with leftover vanilla ice cream, most likely wedged deep in the freezer? Well, other that raiding it at midnight, here’s a more creative way at demolishing it. 

Also a great idea when you’ve got the gang coming over ‘coz it takes barely 15 minutes to assemble with another couple of hours in the freezer. Once you’re done, you’ve got stylish little sandwiches, you can brag about forever! 

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Ice cream sandwiches have always intrigued & inspired – there’s nothing more delicious than biting through a layer chewy biscuit & straight into sweet & creamy, possibly nutty, ice cream! Surprisingly, whipping up a batch of these pretty treats is easier than it looks-a perfectly suited to the lazy foodie!

For the filling, all you need is a tub of slightly softened vanilla ice cream, a handful of chopped almonds & fresh or dehydrated berries. (Fresh is always a better option, ‘coz of the lovely colour it lends to the dish). Basic digestive biscuits or even chunky cookies make the outer layers. You’ll also need some handy cling wrap & if you want to all out & impress, grab a bunch or greaseproof paper & string!

Assembly is the easiest part, and the quicker you are , the neater the results. Once the ice cream has been sat out for 5 minutes, whiz the nuts & fruits with it-but leave the pieces chunky. Quickly spread a dollop of the mixture between two biscuits & wrap each individual sandwich firmly with the Clingfilm. Pop the batch in the freezer & leave for 2 hours.

Before serving you may unwrap the Clingfilm & rewrap in greaseproof paper with a bit of pretty string. This step is avoidable, ‘tho goes a long way if impressive presentation is what you are aiming for!

 Note of Caution: These make great post dinner poppers when you’ve got company but are so tempting, even during assembly, that they may or may not make it to the table 😉

 

Warm Coffee Cake with Sour Cream

A Coffee ‘Time’ Cake, to be honest, as there’s no coffee added to this cake! It has loads of sour cream & just the right sprinkling of cinnamon, for my taste. Enjoy this moist & absolutely delicious cake with or without a hot cup of coffee. 

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This little treat has a double surprise to it ‘coz it’s layered with crunchy crumb yumminess both at the center & on top!

Crumb Topping:

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup milk chocolate cut in small chunks

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Coffee Cake:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of butter paper.

I prefer making the Crumb Topping first: Place the nuts on a hot pan for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool and then coarsely chop. Then, in a small bowl, stir together the chopped nuts, sugar, chocolate chunks, cinnamon powder and flour. Set aside.

Coffee Cake:

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl beat the butter until softened (can use you electric beater). Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, preferably in three additions, and sour cream, in two additions, alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Very importantly, mix only until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle about half of the crumb topping on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter and then sprinkle with the remaining crumb topping. Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

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Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan.

Wolf down with coffee while warm !!

Honey Yogurt & Berry Snack

Prowling around the kitchen last evening and suddenly came up with this ( healthy-ish) idea!! Tiny & tasty, gotta try this yummy yogurt treat. It’s fast, easy & creamily delicious! The best thing is, I got to use up leftover bits-pretty neat!

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You Need:

300g probiotic yogurt (Hung for a couple of hours, for a creamier & yummier texture)

2 tsps honey

2-4 large ripe strawberries

4-6 almonds

4-6 dried raisins

2 Shrewsbury biscuits (or Digestive biscuits for a healthier option!)

You Gotta:

  • Wisk the hung yogurt along with honey till smooth & silky in texture.
  • Cut one strawberry into thin slices- set this aside. The remaining strawberries to be roughly chopped up along with the raisins.
  • Finely slice a couple of almonds for garnish – set aside. Mince remaining almonds for mix.
  • Add the chopped fruit & sliced almonds to honey yogurt . Mix well. The mix should now have a pale pink colour !
  • In a tallish shot glass begin by layering the bottom with chunkily crushed biscuits. Next, line up the strawberries around the inner wall of the glass, before spooning in the yogurt mix. If fussy food isn’t your thing, avoid this step & instead just layer in the yogurt berry mix!
  • Lastly top up the glass with the yoghurt mix & swirl! Sprinkle top with finely sliced almonds & you’re done!