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!

 

 

 

 

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. 

Retro Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love all things Retro Americana; especially food that was popular during the 1940’s & 1950’s. So, no surprises here, the Red Velvet Cake / Cupcakes easily tops my list of retro food favorites 🙂

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Have to say-this is the most satisfying thing I’ve baked. The intense red, lightness & the sheer deliciousness of the RV cupcake just gets dreamier with the right amount of cream cheese frosting. Having tried a couple of recipes, oh about 50 times or so, I’ve finally settled for this easy one. Seems just wrong not to share…

Makes about 20 delicious cupcakes.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter (Traditionally oil is used instead of butter, but I find butter so much tastier. I use guilt free Nutralite)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 110 g butter or margarine softened
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 11/2 tsp red icing colour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar (White vinegar reacts with the baking soda & creates an airiness that helps the cake rise more, making the cake fluffy.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda

All you have to do is:

  • Preheat oven to 180 c.
  • Line standard muffin pan with paper liner.
  • In a medium bowl, sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; keep aside.
  • In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, icing color and vanilla extract; mix well until icing color is well mixed– be sure to scrape down sides of bowl when necessary.
  • Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, add water and mix well.
  • In small bowl, combine white vinegar and baking soda-then gently stir into cupcake mixture.
  • Spoon into baking cups. Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cupcakes from pan, cool completely before icing.

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For more moisture & a salty-sugary hit, I find cream cheese compliments this cupcake perfectly, so went the extra delicious mile to whip up this quick frosting. It’s much easier to make & more appetizing than it looks!

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 110 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs milk, if need to make thinner.

Place butter in bowl and beat until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well-combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. If too thick, add 1 tbs milk.

Fill in prepared piping bag with nozzle of choice. I like being fancy with the piping, but you could just use a spatula or butter knife to apply frosting to cupcake, as creatively as you like.

Frosting the Cupcakes:

Once, the cupcakes are cooled, peel off the paper liner & slice the cupcake horizontally- as neatly as possible 🙂

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Pipe icing generously on lower layer, shut cupcake & pipe swirl on top! That’s it; gorgeous red velvet cupcakes are ready!

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The Cutest Chocolate Cupcake

Wanted to end the year on a sweet note-and with a swirl! So my latest fave, the Meltingly Moist Chocolate Cupcake with Marshmallow Frosting- or to make it easier- the Cutest Chocolate Cupcake makes it to the top!

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This recipe, nicked from the net & modified to suit, I think is the most easy & fun cupcake I have ever baked. The Marshmallow frosting adds a delicate & delicious finish, while making these little cupcakes cuter than they already are!

I love this little recipe so much coz all ingredients are usually lying around at home – no last minute treks to the shop required at all.

To make about 12 cupcakes , you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hung yogurt

All you have to do :

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 12-cup regular muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Into a bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; if adding, and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, lastly beat in vanilla. I use a hand held electric whisk – so much easier!
  •  Switch to a spatula, adding flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the yogurt and beginning and ending with flour. Gently, mix the together, avoiding lumps.
  • Spoon batter into cups, sure to fill each 3/4 full.
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    • Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
    • Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then ice the cupcakes, if you like.
    • For the Marshmallow Frosting:
      • 4 large egg whites
      • 1 cups sugar
      • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
      • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      • Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
      • Use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the warm mixture, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form- this should take around 5 to 7 minutes. Finally add the vanilla and mix until combined. I added a touch of pink to half the frosting & mixed both into a piping bag.
      • It’s recommended to frost the cupcakes immediately. The frosted cupcakes can be stored in the fridge, in airtight boxes for up to 3 day.

Red Wine, Dark Chocolate & Pear Tart

Occasionally, I get into these fitness binges & stuff my fridge with fruits of all types. And, as these outbursts last no more than a few hours, I’m often left with a huge amount of quickly-softening & over-ripening fruits! Never a good thing.

A frantic search on the net led me to this GORGEOUS recipe that turned a load of neglected pears into this decadent & delicious little dessert!

Had to share my version 😀

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Makes: two 9-inch tart cakes

You Need

For the pears:

  • About 4 pears
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup red wine.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar- finer in texture the better.
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 150 g butter, I used salted.
  • 100 g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp whiskey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

 You Have to

Make the pears:

Peel pears and slice in half, removing core and stems. Place in a saucepan with the water, red wine and cinnamon. Make sure the pears are submerged, so a medium sized pan is the best fit! Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 mins until tender.

Remove pears from pan & keep aside liquid. Slice each half lengthwise so you have quarters, set aside for cake.

Simmer liquid for about 15-20 mins until reduced by half to a thick syrup, cool and set aside. This is the stunning sauce for the cake & the BEST part; so gorgeous & rich!

Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 180C, lightly butter base and sides of two 9-inch removable base tart tins.

Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, set aside.

Now for the tricky (but rewarding) part! Spread sugar in the bottom of a large heavy-based saucepan. Cook over medium heat; do not stir until the sugar turns to liquid around the edges. With a large metal spoon gently drag the edges into the centre, continuing until all sugar is melted.

Remove the pan from heat, once the sugar is lightly caramalized, and immediately pour in the wine, stir vigorously but very carefully until the bubbling subsides and mixture is smooth. Again, be really patient during this step, as the contents of the pan are REALLY hot!

Once smooth, add in the butter & stir until mixture turns glossy. Add the chocolate and continue to stir until melted. Stir in whiskey.

Pour a little of the chocolate caramel into the beaten eggs, whisking vigorously. Pour egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining chocolate caramel and whisk until smooth.

Whisk in all remaining ingredients – buttermilk through baking soda – until smooth. Pour half the batter into each prepared pan. Gently place 8 quarters on top of the batter.

Bake for 25 minutes until just firm in the centre. Cool completely in tins before removing sides. Serve a warm slice with a scoop of the best vanilla ice cream plus a drizzle of the reserved wine sauce!

Recipe adapted from this gorgeous original:

http://84thand3rd.com/2013/07/01/spiced-pear-red-wine-chocolate-cake/#comment-18030

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!