Cakes n bakes

Super moist chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting

As a mom of two kids my mind and heart always leans towards homemade cooking, not that we don’t eat out but my first preference goes to home cooked meal. When my kids ask for something I ask myself if I can do it at home before buying and this is one such thing I love to do! I not only get the satisfaction of knowing what goes inside it but when my kids show a thumbs up and gives a big tight hug all my efforts are worthwhile 😊

These cupcakes are so moist and tender that you can’t just eat one! Since oil and buttermilk is used, cupcake remains moist for 4-5 days at room temperature covered.

Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients

3/4 cup -all-purpose flour

1/2 cup – unsweetened natural cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon- baking powder

1/2 teaspoon -baking soda

1/4 teaspoon -salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup – granulated sugar

1/2 cup – packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup -vegetable or canola oil/ any flavorless oil

2 teaspoons – pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup – buttermilk, at room temperature

Frosting: chocolate buttercream

Ingredients

1 cup – unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 and 1/2 cups- confectioners’ sugar. I personally prefer less sugar. You can add another cup depending on your sweet tooth.

1/2 cup -unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder

2-3 Tablespoons- heavy cream or milk

1/4 teaspoon– salt

2 teaspoons -pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 3 to 4 liners – this recipe makes about 15-16 cupcakes. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk or beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.

Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream or milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.

I have used a 1mm star pipette to decorate my cupcakes!

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Appetizers/Snacks, Cakes n bakes

Desi Pizza (Indian style pizza)

 

Desi Pizza

I was first introduced to this so called “desi pizza” when I was 17 years old… One of the chaat center near my place in India made this pizza. We all were going crazy for this and one day I realized that they were not making any tomato sauce for the base nor were they making a pizza base but added tomato ketchup on a Italian style bread!. This is the most simplest of all desi pizzas I have had and just got reminded of it and baked it at home!

Ingredients:

1 loaf Italian bread

1 finely chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

24 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

Tomato ketchup

Mint chutney

To make mint chutney:

Coriander/ cilantro – 10 to 12 strands

Mint leaves – 1 cup

Green chillies– 2 to 3

Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp

Sugar- 1/4 Tsp

Blend everything together with little water and make a thick paste.

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Make half-inch thick slices of the bread. Arrange the slices on cookie sheet and spread 1-2 tbsp of tomato ketchup on the slice following by mint chutney.  Add 2 tbsp of onions and bell pepper on top and sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese generously on top of it.

Desi Pizza

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Desi Pizza

 

 

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Cakes n bakes

Strawberry cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler

Don’t let the strawberry season slip away from you without trying this strawberry cobbler recipe. Its my first time trying and absolutely loved it with a cup of vanilla ice-cream. It almost has a cookie like texture its soft and tender with fresh strawberries intermingling. This classic cobbler makes the most of the season’s best berries.

Ingredients:

3 cups strawberries diced

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick butter melted

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl add diced strawberries and 3/4 cup sugar and mix well and keep aside. In another bowl add sifted flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar, mix well. Add in milk, butter and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Grease a 9 inch casserole dish. Pour the batter evenly.

Strawberry cobbler

Spoon strawberries evenly on top of the batter, do not stir.

Strawberry cobbler

Bake on the top rack of the oven for 38-45 minutes or until the crust and sides turn golden. Serve when warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream!

Strawberry Cobbler

 

 

 

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Cakes n bakes

Best Blueberry Muffins

 

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN

Wow!! My search for perfect blueberry muffin end here…They came out like you would expect from a gourmet bakery. I have tried many blueberry muffin recipes only to be disappointed by the berries sinking to the bottom before it cooked all the way. This batter is like glue and really holds the blueberries in place.

The muffin turned out beautifully, with nice rounded tops and golden brown edges. Texture was perfect, with just right balance between muffin and blueberries. They got rave reviews from everyone who tried them! Definitely a keeper 🙂

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Baking powder

1/3 cup Vegetable oil

1 Egg

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries

For crumb topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cubed butter

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line with muffin liners and keep it aside. combine all the dry ingredients first,  1 1/2 cup flour , 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Add vegetable oil into 1 cup measuring cup, add the egg, vanilla extract and enough milk to fill up the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in the blueberries.

blueberry muffin

Fill the muffin cups right to the top.

blueberry muffin

 

Sprinkle the crumb topping mixture.

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN

To make the crumb topping:

Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup cubed butter. Mix with  fork and sprinkle over the muffins before baking.

CRUMB COATING

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

blueberry muffin

 

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN

 

 

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Cakes n bakes

Cake Pops

Cake pops

Cake balls, cake pops or cakesicles are terribly cute and fun to make. The mixing of the cake crumb with frosting into rounds and then covering them with delightfully crisp outer shell of chocolate coating or any other candy coating makes a very sweet confection… What I love about cake pops is how creative you can be from using different dipping flavors to covering them with sparkling sugar, edible pearls, candy sprinkles or glitters….

Original recipe can be found here

I have baked a 9 inch vanilla cake, used fluffy white frosting for binding and plain milk chocolate for coating the crumbs. This was exclusively baked for my son 🙂

Cake popsCake pops

Used two different colors for cake crumbs

Cake pops 4-IMG_7856

Coated with plain milk chocolate and dipped them in sprinkles and sparkling sugar.

Cake popsCake pops

 

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Cakes n bakes

Chocolate mocha cake

A layered chocolate cake never goes out of style and having the mocha filling brings it a great flavor and taste.. Frosting with chocolate glaze completes the cake because I find that there is nothing better than a double dose of chocolate to make everyone feel better!

Chocolate mocha cake

Ingredients:

6 large eggs+1 additional egg white

2 cups sifted cake flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup flavorless oil (vegetable, canola or safflower)

3/4 cup freshly brewed coffee or water at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For chocolate glaze:

6oz semi sweet chocolate/dark chocolate chopped

4tbsp butter, diced

2 tbsp light corn syrup

Mocha filling:

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp instant coffee powder

1 cup (cold) heavy whipping cream

Method:

Separate the eggs while they are still cold. Place the egg yolks in one bowl and the whites (along with the extra egg white) in another. Cover with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). You will need two 10 inch pan.

In a large bowl sift the flour with the cocoa powder, 3/4 cup granulated white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, oil, coffee (or water), and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar (if using) until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until almost stiff peaks form. With a large rubber spatula or wire whisk, gently fold the egg whites (in three additions) into the batter just until blended (being careful not to deflate the batter).

Pour the batter into the two greased pan and run a metal spatula or knife through the batter to get rid of any air pockets.

Chocolate mocha cake

Smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 55 to 58 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. To remove the cake from the pan, run a long metal spatula or knife around the inside of the pan. Invert onto a greased wire rack or cake circle and allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate mocha cake

Place the bottom layer on your serving plate and spread with about 3/4 cup of the mocha filling.

Chocolate mocha cake

Gently place the top layer on the filling. Next, pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake letting it flow down the sides. Then with a knife or spatula spread the glaze over the sides of the cake. Place the rest of the mocha filling in a piping bag and pipe a decorative border around the top of the cake.

(I was in a hurry to take this cake for a family party, so had no time to  spread the glaze neatly, also did a crappy job on decorating the border! wanted to have a bigger swirls, nevertheless cake texture and flavor covered up my mess) 🙂

Chocolate mocha cake

I like to refrigerate the cake overnight before serving (this allows time for the flavors to mingle). The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.

Mocha Filling: Place your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes. Then place all the ingredients, minus the cream, in the bowl. Stir about 2 tablespoons of the cream into the mixture. Add the rest of the cold cream and beat just until stiff peaks form.

Chocolate mocha cake

Chocolate mocha cake

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Cakes n bakes

Fruit cake

Light fruit cake

Light fruit cake

Writing a new post after having a break feels good. Thanks for all the messages that I received from my fellow bloggers while I was away from blogging. I was just enjoying my time with my family and friends. I have an exciting news to share with you all… My brother-in-law is getting married this august and I am very much looking forward to it.

Presenting a light fruit cake which is filled with flavors of different candied fruits and the almond flour gives it a perfect crumbly texture.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup candied mixed peel

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup candied red cherries

1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal/ flour or ground almonds

1 tsp- baking powder

1/4 tsp- salt

1/4 cup milk

zest of 1/2 orange or lemon

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F,  with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, and lemon/orange zest.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar 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 extracts. Add the candied and dried fruits, along with any juices, and beat until incorporated. Beat in half the flour mixture just until incorporated. Then beat in the milk and then the remaining flour mixture.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and, if desired, decorate the top of the cake with sliced or flaked almonds. Bake for about 60 -70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If you find the cake is browning too much, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.) Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. The cake tastes best when it’s stored for a day and then served as the curst would have softened and flavors of the fruit would have infused in the cake!

Light fruit cake

Light fruit cake Adapted from joy of baking

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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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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.

IMG_2496

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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Cakes n bakes

Eggless garlic rolls

Garlic rolls

Being in the bay area, my husband and I have never missed the garlic festival that  happens in Gilroy every year. We are just amazed by the array of dishes that’s been prepared and processed using garlic and sold there… from garlic pop corns to garlic ice cream.. yeah you heard me right 🙂 garlic ice-cream ! It actually tastes great, with just right amount of garlic in it.

I always buy a string of garlic bunch when I am there and it remains fresh for weeks or even months! Having few heads remaining, I thought of preparing this rolls yesterday and it turned out great… Little crispy on the top and bottom middle part being super soft and fluffy.

Makes 8 individual roll

I reduced the original recipe to half.

Ingredients:

Plain Flour- 1 1/2 cup

Warm water-1/2 cup+2 tbsp

Yeast-1/2 tbsp

Salt- 1/2 tsp

Sugar-1 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil- 1 1/2 tbsp

Sesame seeds and milk- 1 tbsp each

Garlic spread:

Garlic clove-2 tbsp minced

Salted butter- 25 grams (room temp)

Cilantro- 2 tbsp

Method: For making dough

Mix plain flour, yeast, sugar and salt with warm water, knead well. (Add water slowly and mix. Depending on the flour, we might need little less water or few tablespoons more)

Garlic rolls- dough

The dough should be a little sticky. Add olive oil to your finger tips and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until all the olive oil has been used up. Cover and keep the dough aside for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the spread by mixing  salted butter, garlic and cilantro and keep aside.

Garlic rolls-spread

Dough would have puffed up to double its original size, when ready. Knock the air out. Divide the dough into two parts and roll each dough to 1/2 inch thick round. (sprinkle flour if it’s too sticky).

Garlic rolls- dough

Spread the garlic mix to two parts equally leaving behind a tablespoon for the end.

Garlic rolls

Roll them and cut  each roll into 4 equal parts.

Garlic rolls

Grease a loaf pan. I used 3/8 lb bread loaf pan. Arrange the cut side on top and spread the remaining mix on top. Spread little milk on top and add sesame seeds. Allow it to further puff for 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 360 degree Fahrenheit.

Bake for 25 minutes. (Time may vary depending on the oven and temperature). Rolls are ready when they turn light golden-yellow on top and your kitchen filled with wonderful aroma! Serve it hot….

Garlic rolls

Garlic rolls

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