Cakes n bakes

Carrot Cake

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Carrot Cake

I guess we really need no reason to bake such cakes.. Carrot cake being one of our favorites, I bake this every time with a little twist to satisfy my husband a little more, he prefers cakes and frosting with less sugar than overdosing it with sweetness. This recipe has a wonderful balance between sweet and fluffiness and leaves you with a great taste wanting you to have more.

I have always tried carrot cake with cream cheese frosting which I feel is the ultimate combination. But today I did frost the cake with regular confectioner’s frosting as I had some left over kept in the refrigerator and this did not disappoint my husband at all!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

All purpose flour- 2 cups (sifted)

Light/dark brown sugar- 1 cup

Vegetable oil- 3/4 cup

Yogurt- 1/4 cup

Large eggs- 3

Baking soda- 1 tsp

Cinnamon powder- 1 tsp

Nutmeg-1/4 tsp

Vanilla extract- 2tsp

Salt- 1/4 tsp

Grated carrot- 2 cups

Chopped walnut/ pecan- 3/4 cup+1/2 cup for decorating

Confectioner’s frosting:

confectioner’s sugar/ Icing sugar- 4 cups (sifted)

Unsalted butter- 1 cup

Vanilla extract -1 tsp

milk-2 to 4 tbsp

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350degree F. Spray a 9 inch pan with cooking spray. In a bowl of your electric mixer or stand mixer combine sugar and oil, beat in the yogurt until fully combined on medium speed. Add in the eggs and mix well after each addition and set aside.

In another bowl combine all the dry ingredients ie flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder. Now with a spatula mix the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients until just combined. Add the grated carrot and walnut/pecan pieces, give it a quick stir. Do not over mix the batter. Pour it into the greased pan.

Carrot Cake

Bake for 32-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to completely cool before frosting.

Frosting:

In a bowl of your electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, mix in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the sifted sugar and beat in the sugar completely. Add around 2 tbsp of milk, scrape down the sides and mix well. On high-speed beat the mixture until smooth and fluffy. Add in a tablespoon of milk or sugar to get the right consistency ,if needed (the frosting should be of dropping consistency).

Frosting the cake:

Once the cake is completely cooled, add the frosting on top of the cake and spread it evenly over the cake, you can frost the cake completely, I just limited myself to the top of the cake. Decorate with chopped walnut/pecan pieces as you wish!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Appetizers/Snacks

Cream Cheese Puffs

Cream cheese puffs

These are delicious melt in the mouth rolls. I found this amazing recipe from www.compulsivefoodie.com. Asmita has shown this recipe in a very simple and easy to follow video.  I will definitely make it again :) Original recipe can be found here http://www.compulsivefoodie.com/2012/08/06/cream-cheese-puffs-2/

Ingredients:

Pillsbury Crescent roll- 1 box

cream cheese, at room temperature-4 ounces

garlic powder-3/4 tsp

red chilly powder-1/4 tsp

 finely chopped cilantro-1 tbsp

Method:

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, garlic powder, red chilly powder and cilantro . Keep aside.

cream cheese puffs

Cut out a wax paper or parchment paper, open the crescent roll, split it into 2 halves and join the perforated lines together and apply the cream cheese liberally on one side.

cream cheese puffs

Roll this and close both ends. Roll this in parchment or wax paper and keep aside . Do the same with the remaining dough and take both the rolls and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

cream cheese puffs

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, cut the rolls into 4 or 5 pieces, and place them on a cookie sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove and let it cool for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with sauce of your choice. Enjoy!

cream cheese puffs

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Main Course

Methi mutter corn pulao (Fenugreek peas and sweetcorn rice)

Finally we get ample amount of rain in our bay area and its a great relief to everyone….

Last week was really easy-going, work as well as house wise, as I had to work only four days since there was a major electrical shutdown in our building on friday, and we had to take a mandatory off. We knew this before so I had asked my husband to take a day off too and we planned for a day out starting with a nice lunch at a restaurant called dish dash (Mediterranean food) the food was heavenly and we enjoyed it thoroughly followed by watching a movie in the theatre. We watched “The grand budapest hotel”  which recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend… its a comedy drama and all the casts have played their role wonderfully…..I recommend it to all who have not watched it yet. Having a relaxed friday, I was all refreshed to cook at home over the weekend and planned to make “Methi mutter corn pulao”. This is a very simple yet delicious recipe with flavorful spices and rice.

Methi Mutter sweet corn pulao

Ingredients:

Cooked green peas- 1/2 cup

Cooked sweet corn kernels- 1/4 cup

Chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves- 1 cup

Oil-3 tbsp

Cooked white long grain rice- 1  1/2 cups

Thinly sliced onion- 1/4 cup

Ginger paste- 3/4 tsp

Green chilli paste- 3/4 tsp

Peppercorns-4

Cloves- 2

Cardamom- 2

Cinnamon – 1/2 inch

turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a non stick pan, add pepper corns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sliced onions, sauté on a medium flame for 1-2 minutes. Add  turmeric powder, ginger and chilli paste and sauté for 30 seconds.

Methi Mutter sweetcorn pulao

Add cooked green peas, sweet corn kernels and chopped fenugreek leaves. Sauté again for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of water if it becomes very dry.  Add salt according to your taste. Once everything is cooked. Add the cooked rice, mix well. Adjust salt to your taste and serve hot with yogurt or just plain.

Methi Mutter sweetcorn pulao

P.S. I  soaked the rice in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water completely. I added 2 cups of water to 1 1/2 cups of rice and cooked in a rice cooker.

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Salads

Kale and apple salad

 

Kale salad

Having determined to post every week since the beginning 2014, I need to excuse myself this time, as I am already two days behind my schedule. My aunt and uncle visited us from India last week and was pretty excited about their arrival, so I was busy cleaning the house which is nearly impossible having a toddler at home but tried my best. Thought I would enjoy completely with them as I was going to see them after a year and thought to start my blog work on sunday, which is a day ahead of my schedule, but still felt okay with the plan…Well I had a wonderful time with them and they returned back to their son’s place by saturday evening.. I just spent sunday morning doing nothing but play with my son… and evening went in planning which recipe to post first :) So, here I am with no further delay in posting a refreshing salad which was actually hated by my toddler “naturally” but my husband and I loved it and will be making it again!

Ingredients:

Fresh lime juice- 3 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil- 2 tbsp

1 bunch kale, ribs removed- leaves thinly sliced

Soft dates- 1/4 cup sliced

Cranberries- 1/8 cup

Honey crisp apples- 1, sliced thin and long

Carrots- 1/2 cut into match stick size strips

Purple cabbage- 1/4 cup chopped (optional)

Roasted pumpkin seeds- 1/4 cup

Freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt

Method:

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  Toss kale in this mixture, allow to stand for 10 minutes. Massage the kale in between, which helps it to soften….

Kale salad

Then mix with dates, sliced apples, carrots, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. I also added some chopped purple cabbage which I had in hand. Add pepper and salt according to your taste, mix well and serve!

A very refreshing salad and having massaged the kale removed the bitter taste and eating with apples and dates gave the perfect sweetness to the salad!

Kale salad

 

 

 

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Cakes n bakes

White butter cake

White butter cake

White butter cake

Time to celebrate my brother’s birthday! My sweetest and dearest brother turned 34 on March 14th and this cake is baked thinking of him…

He is in Spain completing his masters in business administration. Having his masters in engineering degree already he had a desire to do his MBA in one of the top ranking business school in Europe and is pursuing it. And we are all very proud of him..  he loves to explore and learn and keeps everyone happy in and around him.  I have a darling sister-in-law, who is as sweet as him.

Its nostalgic ……My dad had an opportunity to work in different states when we were growing. Being a girl, I was much protected and taken everywhere, my parents moved, while my brother was living at my aunt’s place until he completed his high school. So, I did not get to spend much of my childhood days with him. That might be the reason, I never got to fight with him when we were together during holidays. I was the naughty one and got yelled by my parents every single time something went wrong! and he was a polite, decent and well-behaved child in my family.

Time moves by so fast, now we have our own lives and families but one thing is for sure, no matter where we are or how far we live, I love him and respect him for what he is!

Though I cannot share my cake with him, I share it with my family thinking about all the happy times we have spent together! CHEERS….

Ingredients:

2 large egg-  separated

Sifted flour- 175 gms or 1 3/4 cup

Baking powder- 2 tsp

Salt- 1/4 tsp

Unsalted butter- 1/2 cup room temperature

Granulated white sugar- 1 cup

Pure vanilla extract- 1 tsp

Cream of tartar- 1/8 tsp

Milk- 1/2 cup

Filling

1/4 cup any of your favorite jam/ fruit sauce

Frosting:

Unsalted butter- 1/2 cup room temperature

cream cheese- 8 oz room temperature

Confectioner’s sugar- 2 1/2 cup

Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

zest of 1 lemon or orange

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Grease two 8 inch pan with baking spray or butter. While the eggs are still cold, separate the white and yolks and place them in separate bowls. allow them to come to room temperature.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In an electric mixer or hand mixer beat butter until soft, add 3/4 of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolk, scrape down the sides and beat well. Add vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Now alternating with flour and milk, mix them with low-speed. Beginning and ending with flour.

White butter cake

In another clean bowl, beat the egg white until foamy, add cream of tartar and mix until soft peaks appear. Add the remaining 1/4th of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks forms. Now with a spatula slowly take little of this mixture and fold it with flour mixture. Then mix the remaining of this mixture with the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix and deflate the batter.

Pour equal amount of batter into the 8 inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cream cheese frosting:

Cream the butter and cheese together and until nice and smooth. Add the confectionary sugar one cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the zest and vanilla extract and beat on high-speed until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Assembling the cake

I did not assemble my cakes, instead I made two separate cakes spreading the frosting completely over the cake.

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If you wish to assemble the cake, place one of the cake layer, top facing down. Spread 1/4 cup of your favorite fruit sauce or  jam. Now spread 3/4 cup of the frosting on top of the jam/sauce and place the next cake layer, top of the cake facing down onto the filling. Spread the remaining frosting on top and sides of the cake and refrigerate until its time to serve. Decorate with colorful berries or just serve it plain!

White butter cake

Reference:

Purdy, Susan G. ‘A Piece of Cake‘. Collier Books. New York: 1989. 

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Appetizers/Snacks

Onion Pakoda

onion pakoda

Having rain in California is a relief to all of us here. Well, we are not completely out of drought situation but something is always better than nothing. There was nothing much for us to do outside, while it was raining. My son was taking his afternoon nap, and it was the best time for me to watch a movie with my husband on a weekend! While my husband was browsing the movie list on Netflix, I thought I would quickly make some of these pakodas and munch them while we watch it. Movie was decided, pakodas took a little time for frying but we could wait… Pakodas turned out crispy and crunchy, and we were all set to watch the movie!

Ingredients:

Onion – 1 cup (sliced very thin)

Gram flour- 1 cup

Rice flour-1/4 cup

Curry leaves- 4 to 5 leaves

Baking powder- 1/2 tsp

oil- 2 tbsp

Green chillies-1 (minced)

Red chilli powder- 1 tsp – 1 1/2 tsp (according to your spice level)

Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp

salt- to taste

Oil for deep-frying

Method:

Slice onion into very thin strips.

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Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. (add red chilli powder according to your spice level) Add onion, minced chilli and 2 tsp oil to this mixture and combine everything well.

onion pakoda

Sprinkle very little water (1 to 2 tbsp) and mix.  Mixture should not come to a dough consistency, it should just come together when pressed gently.

Heat oil in a frying pan and take a ping-pong ball size mixture in your hand, press very gently and drop into the oil slowly.

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Fry until golden brown and remove and place them on a paper towel. (Do not shape or press the dough mixture too hard while dropping into the oil). The long strips of onion slightly coated with flour gives a wonderful crunchy texture.

onion pakoda

Enjoy with tomato ketchup or just plain!

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