Bag Cake

This is my first fondant work. The cake is baked in a round tin and then cut in the middle. The two pieces are stood with their backs against each other and stuck with buttercream icing. After an initial crumb coating, the fondant is directly placed on the cake.

The white fondant is cut individually for front, back and top by tracing the cake outline on a kitchen towel. Detailing is done with the pink fondant. The flower is made with fondant itself. The individual pieces of fondant are stuck using water.

The cake is a vanilla cake with layered rainbow colours.

Recipe for vanilla cake:

1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Recipe for buttercream icing:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2-3 tsp milk

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Rainbow Cake

Have fun with kids or surprise everyone with a rainbow cake. Simply make a basic vanilla cake mixture and divide it into 7 parts. Add food colouring for VIBGYOR – Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red to each part. There is no need to get seven different colours. The primary colours, blue, yellow and red can be used to make the rest of the shades. However, you need to use a lot of food colouring to get bright vibrant shades.

Once the seven batters are prepared, grease the cake tin. Drop violet cake batter in the middle. This will form the base of the cake. Drop indigo cake batter on top in the middle and continue till you have dropped the red one. The cake batter will move slowly on its own to fill the cake tin. You can also start from red and go to violet.

Bake the cake as per instructions and let cool completely before cutting and see everyone’s jaws drop and eyes light up!

Chocolate Brownies

The best part of making brownies is the lovely smell that fills the house. Just be careful not to overcook them or they will become too hard and too crumbly.

Ingredients

6 tbsp unsalted butter + more for greasing

170 gm good quality chocolate with atleast 70% cocoa solids

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp instant coffee granules

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Chocolate Brownies

Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence till light and frothy.

Break the chocolate into small pieces. Mix in butter, cocoa powder and coffee powder and heat in a bain-marie or microwave for 1 min till the chocolate melts. Mix the chocolate with the eggs.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the egg and chocolate mix and whisk slowly till the batter is of a similar consistency. Scrape down the edges to enable proper mixing of the flour.

Heat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil and grease it. Leave a little bit of the paper/foil hanging from the edges. This will help to lift the brownie easily.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tray and bake at 200C for 35 mins.

Take out the brownie and let it cool for 15 mins before cutting and serving.

 

Tip: Make it more gooey and kid friendly by making the following changes:

Add 3 eggs instead of 2

Add 140 gm unsalted butter and 150 gm of dark chocolate

Eliminate the cocoa and coffee. However, the flavor will not be as deep.

Bake at 160C for 40 mins and let cool completely before cutting.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Cookie man introduced me to home made cookies. Not the ones you get packed and ready in supermarket but those which are made fresh in front of you. They are fresh and warm and have an amazing sweetness to them. The aroma of freshly backed cookies hits you as soon as you enter the shop. It is an amazing experience and you cannot not buy some. And then when I moved to London where baking is a huge part of cooking, I wondered why not try to make some.

I bought a cookie sheet but I was always scared of making them. So after 2 months of resting the cookie sheet in the cupboard and having millions of dreams of milk and cookies, I finally took a chance. I chose an easy recipe for safeguard and I am happy to say, it was everything I could have imagined. The house was filled with the aroma of freshly baked cookies and the best compliment was from my hubby. He ate up the entire first batch without missing a beat and could not wait to have more.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups plain flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 pinch salt

2 tsp vanilla essence

2 eggs

1 cup chocolate chips

2 tsp baking soda

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Beat unsalted butter and oil with the white and brown sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs, salt and vanilla essence and mix together.

Sift flour and baking soda and mix it with the batter along with the chocolate chips.

Line a baking tray with cookie sheet. Drop 1/2 tbsp of cookie dough on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 10 mins at 175 degrees C till the cookies are golden brown on the edges. Take out the baking tray and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 mins. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.

The cookies will be crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. Store in an airtight box for upto 1 week.

Zucchini Bread

Well, there are these zucchinis lying in my fridge, courtesy Hubby’s colleague. And hubby was quite tied up about the zucchini bread. So the search began again and the internet offered multitudes of zucchini bread recipes. Here is my adapted version. Turned out quite well I suppose as hubby could not have enough of it and even took some for his colleague as a thank you gesture.

This recipe makes a 2 pound loaf or you can divide it into two smaller ones.

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups white sugar

2 cups grated zucchini

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped almonds

Zucchini Bread

Beat the eggs till light and fluffy. Add oil and sugar and mix till well blended. Add the dry ingredients except flour. Add the grated zucchini and the vanilla essence. Mix thoroughly. Leave the skin on the zucchini for this gives a wonderful color to the bread. Squeeze out excess juices before mixing it in.

Add the flour one cupful at a time and fold in gently.

Grease the loaf tin and pour the bread batter in it. Sprinkle the almonds on top.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 165 degrees C for 60-70 minutes or till a toothpick when inserted comes out clean. Let it cool on a wire rack before serving.

Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Exotic things are always, well, exotic. Mostly becau se they are not in our reach. Be it locations, people or in my case, fruits and vegetables. Zucchini has always puzzled me. It is there in Chinese food and Italian food and is served in all exotic restaurants. However, the concept of the vegetable always seems to have escaped me. Until recently that is.

Hubby dear has a colleague who, I have heard many times, a wonderful garden which he loved to tend. He grows many flowers, fruits and vegetables and does this and does that. All that was fine till we became the recipient of the exotic vegetable Zucchini. Four big fat green pieces of it and I had no idea what to do with them. So hubby and I did some research on it. We found that zucchini, also known as courgette (another puzzle of one more exotic food solved), is a small summer squash very akin to cucumber. However, zucchini being a vegetable, is always served cooked. The texture is different and it is harder than a cucumber. The color of the vegetable might vary from yellow to various shades of green. It can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as soufflés. It also can be baked into a bread, or incorporated into a cake mix. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep fried, as tempura.

Wow, I have this amazing vegetable at my disposition and I do not know what to do with it. So I again searched for zucchini recipes. I did find many but since we wanted to thank our dear benefactor, I mainly took the hint from souffle and looked in that direction. I came by a recipe I liked – chocolate zucchini cupcakes. Cupcakes look very serviceable because of their size and are suitable for gift giving purposes.

My adapted recipe is mentioned below. However, after searching high and low, I could not find the most basic thing about zucchini. That is grows back at home in my own garden in India and we call it Turai or Ninua! I have eaten it hundreds of times and have even had the fried tempura flower and man, is it yummy. So much for exotic!

Turai vs Zucchini

Ingredients – Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 egg

1 cup grated zucchini

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp orange zest

2 tbsp milk (optional)

1 tbsp slivered almonds

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake

Beat the egg till light and fluffy. Add oil and sugar and mix well. Then add cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla essence, cinnamon powder and orange zest and mix. Add a little flour at a time and fold gently. Add milk if the batter consistency is too thick. Squeeze out the juice of the grated zucchini and mix it with the batter.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake holders. Fill them upto 2/3rd of the way with the batter and sprinkle some slivered almonds on top. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 25 mins at 220 degrees C.

Once baked, let them cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight box.

Eggless Chocolate Banana Wheat Cake

This recipe has been submitted to Monthly Mingle – Bread and Chocolate (February 2010) hosted by Life’s a Feast and What’s for lunch hunney?

The whole wheat flour makes the cake healthy. Mashed banana holds the cake together so eggs are not required.

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat cake

1 cup mashed banana

1/3 vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tbsp baking soda

1 small milk chocolate bar (I used 4 Lindt eggs)

Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Eggless Cake

Mix oil and sugar in a bowl. Sift wheat flour with baking powder and baking soda on it while mixing the batter. Add banana, vanilla essence and cardamom powder. Slowly add milk tablespoon-by-tablespoon and mix the batter till it is of pouring consistency.

The cake will rise and will deflate when cooled. Do not worry. It will retain its shape. This cake is great for people who do not have eggs. Also, for vegans, milk can be replaced with water.