Monday, 20 April 2015

Birthday cake!

It was my mum's surprise birthday yesterday. The BIG FIFTY! It was exciting to watch my dad plan the whole thing. It was amazing because he is the last person to organize anything! They have been married for thirty three years and as far as I can remember, he has almost always forgotten her birthday! There was a time when all of us had forgotten her birthday and I still don't forgive myself for it.

My mum has always been the definition of love. Anyone who knows her will say the same. She is unbelievably genuine and doesn't hesitate to express her love. She is always hugging and kissing us, whether it is right after my run or right after my shower, a hug is what I ALWAYS get! We HAD to do something special for her. God knows she most certainly deserves it!

It was so easy organizing this party for her because EVERYONE agreed to be a part of it. I had to have a special cake for her. I just HAD to. This was the first time I've been nervous about a cake. Firstly, I couldn't bake at home since it had to be a surprise, and then there was the weather! So ridiculously hot! I was working with so much butter cream and I almost had a meltdown. My poor husband was at the receiving end of that! Last but not the least, I was baking for a big crowd. Well, thankfully the cake turned out well and my mum was happy with it :-)

Monday, 13 April 2015

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Cheesecakes are my favorite! Baked or 'no-bake', I love them. They are also extremely crowd-pleasing! A well-made cheesecake is almost always a hit at parties. It's funny, I usually don't like eating something I've made myself but this cheesecake is an exception. It's super easy to make as well!

It's going to be a busy week! Mum's birthday is coming up! Woo hoo! It's also my best friend's birthday tomorrow and my darling niece's birthday too. Sadly, they are both across the globe but

The weather has been AMAZING for the past two days. Just makes me so happy! So, when I'm happy, I make my favorite!

The recipe for this cake was given to me by a friend long ago. It has never failed me. Mango season is coming up and the mango version of this cake is DELISH!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tres Leche cake


So, I woke up early this morning to head out for a run. I gulped down a mug of coffee but I think I've become immune to the effects of coffee after drinking close to eight cups a day!

Anyway, I succumbed to my laziness and decided to skip my run. Instead, I made a cake! I'm not the most creative or "artsy" person but I usually bake when I'm inspired (as pretentious as it sounds ).

I've been best friends with three girls all my life. It started off in school and we still manage to keep it going. God knows I love them so... One is in New York and the other two are here with me. It is sad because as we grew up, we see less of each other. Like they say, growing up sucks! I decided to make this cake because one of them mentioned that they had recently it and it was delicious. I'm visiting her today, so I figured it's the best time to try it. This was the first time I made this cake (whoops!). It's relatively simple to make and is one of the best cakes I've ever tasted or made. It's just the right amount of 'moist' and 'rich'.
It's basically butter cake soaked in three types of milk. Hence the name tres leches (three milks).

The recipe is simple. It's even more simple if you use readymade yellow cake mix.

The three variations of milk used are condensed milk (sweetened), evaporated milk and fresh milk.

I made the cake from scratch as well and the evaporated milk since I didn't have any at home.

The recipe is as follows.

 For the cake


200 gm all purpose flour
3 eggs
200 gm butter
150 gm sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla essence


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line your baking tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs one by one till the volume increases.
Sift the dry ingredients and slowly add them into the egg mixture while gently folding it in.
Add the vanilla essence and milk to get the right consistency. Bake for 30-35 mins.

For the tres leche mix


One cup evaporated milk
Two-thirds a can sweetened condensed milk (you can add the whole can if you have a huge sweet tooth ;-) )
Half a cup fresh cream

Blend the three together and keep it ready.

Now, once the cake has cooled for about fifteen mins, transfer it into another dish where the edges are slightly higher than that of the cake.

Make holes in the cake (using a fork). Pour the milk mixture evenly onto the cake.

Refrigerate for about four hours.
Serve with whipped cream.

Liqueurs can be added to the milk mixture, For example, Baileys Irish cream, orange liqueur, etc.

Cocoa or cinnamon powder can be sprinkled on top for added flavor.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Dark chocolate brownies with salted caramel sauce

So, it's been a busy week and I've been craving some good old chocolate. I never seem to get enough chocolate. It seems to be the answer to everything and a cure for my mood swings. And my new favorite treat is salted caramel. The first time I had it was a true "OMG" moment! It's just fabulous. It goes with almost everything. My favorites would be crunchy salted caramel cake and apple pie with salted caramel sauce. Even better, it tastes AMAZING with vanilla ice cream.

So, being the chocoholic that I am, I had to try the sauce with something chocolate. Well, it worked. It's rich, fudgy and gooey! Being a dentist, I really don't have too much time to dedicate to food, at least not as much as I would like anyway. Multitasking is my solution. It doesn't always work, but I try.

What I suggest is to make the caramel sauce and store it in the refrigerator to use as and when required. The brownies are relatively simple to make. I usually use chocolate (cooking chocolate) to make my brownies, but I realized I had run out, so used some cocoa instead. But you definitely get a much "fudgier" brownie if you use chocolate instead of cocoa.

This brownie is rich and not too sweet. I really dislike desserts being a little too sweet. I find that in many Indian desserts like jalebi, jamoon, etc.

This dessert tastes amazing with ice cream as well (if you want to fatten it up some more :-) )!

Recipe for the sauce:

- 2 cups sugar
-1/2 cup cream
-3 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt

Heat the sugar in a saucepan till it turns amber (this step sounds easier than it is - don't let the sugar burn).
Add the butter and gently whisk it in.
Next, add the cream slowly (it may splatter, so be careful) and bring the whole mixture to simmer.
Add the salt.
Bring it down to room temperature and use it or refrigerate it.

Brownie Recipe

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped roasted nuts (almonds,walnuts, etc.) optional

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line your tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together.
Sift the dry ingredients and fold it into the wet mixture.
Add vanilla and then the nuts.
Bake for 20-25 mins.
Cut into squares after cooling and pour the sauce over it.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Honeycomb crunchies!

It's been three months since I've been married and I've realised one thing (well, one of many things). Men are happy when good food is around. My husband is no exception whatsoever! He LOVES his food. I didn't realize this when we started dating, but I do now. He unvieled his grumpy, hungry side much later. He loves his meat but he also loves his caramel. Just like I'm obsessed with chocolate, he's mad about caramel.

So now, I try experimenting with caramel. Sugar can be a total pain in the ass. For those of you who have tried making caramel sauce from scratch, you know what I mean. It takes only a couple of seconds for sugar to get burnt. I've learned the hard way but now, I've pretty much got the hang of it. Oh, and it's ridiculously delicious. I will post the foolproof recipe for caramel sauce very soon.

This is another version of caramel which is super easy and quick. The best part is that it can be refrigerated and used as a perfect topping for other desserts. It's like a crunchy version of cotton candy. It's also known by a variety of other names such as hokey pokey, puff candy, etc.

I prefer this with chocolate. You can use tempered white chocolate or milk chocolate but I find that to be a bit too sweet. I've used tempered bittersweet dark chocolate this time.

The recipe is simple. Here's what you'll need:


200gms fine castor sugar
2 tablespoons liquid glucose or golden syrup
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons baking soda


Line a tray with non-stick baking paper and keep it ready.

In a sauce pan,  place the sugar, water and syrup over medium heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve and it slowly changes colour to a lovely amber. This is when it's ready.

Remove from heat and quickly sprinkle the soda over the sugar mixture and using a whisk, mix the entire mixture for a maximum of two to three times. You can see that the mixture dramatically increases in volume.

Pour the mixture onto the tray and let it cool for about three hours. Use an appropriate kitchen tool to break it into smaller pieces.

Dip the honeycomb in tempered chocolate and allow it to cool.

This can be refrigerated in an airtight container for about a week.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

No Fail Chocolate Cake

So, I've been baking since I was thirteen years old. To me, baking never seemed difficult but rather intriguing instead. It all started with my mum's chocolate cake. I remember everything about the cake. The taste,the smell, the guests it would attract... She had got the recipe from an old Cadburys recipe book. What I loved about it was that my mum always involved me in the preparation of the cake, be it just watching her, licking up the batter bowl or breaking the eggs. I've been hooked ever since. 

Better than the cake was the frosting. It was to die for! I've tried to make it at least a hundred times now but I can never get it to taste like hers.So, this first post is dedicated to my mum. She still doesn't know that she's the reason I got into baking.

The chocolate cake I make now is not exactly the same as her recipe. This recipe never fails me. It's simple and the cake is delicious. It can be eaten plain but I prefer it with ganache. 

One thing I've understood with baking is that the quantity of the ingredients matters. Following a recipe to the 'T' is mandatory (if it's a reliable and tested recipe of course). It's really not difficult. I prefer tasty cakes to fancy looking ones. I focus a lot on the taste than the presentation (which I'm working on now  ;-)). There is a lot of science behind baking, so it's best to follow the recipe exactly.

For the cake -
3 eggs
2 cups powdered caster sugar (can be reduced to 1.5 cups if using sweet cooking chocolate)
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup good quality cocoa
1 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup milk 

For the ganache -
300 gms milk or dark chocolate (cut into pieces) 
200ml cream
2 tablespoons butter 

 For the cake -
 Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius. Line the baking dish with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar till fluffy and light. The butter becomes pale and slightly increases in volume. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature for better aeration of the cake.

Sift the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egss mixture slowly, while carefully "folding in" the batter. Do not use the whisk once the dry ingredients are added. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the mixture.

Add the vanilla essence and milk accordingly to get the right consistency. What we are looking for is a smooth batter which "tears away" from the spatula when held high. 

Pour the batter into the dish and let it bake in the oven for 45 mins at a temperature of 160 degrees Celsius or till a wooden fork comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for at least an hour.

For the ganache -
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream till it starts to bubble. Pour it over the chocolate and mix. Add the butter (adding butter is optional, but it gives the ganache a good sheen). Mix with a rubber spatula till all the chocolate has melted.

Let it cool down to room temperature. Now, it's ready to use!

I used fresh strawberries and kiwis dipped in glaze for decoration.