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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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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Cakes n bakes

Chocolate-Caramel bars

Chocolate caramel bar

My cousin is enamored of baking like me and has tried and tested fair amount of recipes from around the world. He is a good chef and is perfect in what he does. Last year he had brought some home made peach bread and these chocolate-caramel bars. These were the yummiest I have tried so far and hence been wanting to post this in my blog. All thanks to him for sharing the recipe with me!.

P.S. At the end I myself was so tempted to have it that, I never waited it to cool completely and cut them into squares too quickly and hence can see in my pictures that they are not prefect squares 🙂

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-1 cup

Brown sugar- 1/2 cup packed

Butter- 1/2 cup

Pecans- 2 cups coarsely chopped

Flaked coconut- 1 cup

Sweetened condensed milk- 1 14oz can

Vanilla extract-2 tsp

Vanilla caramels- 20 (unwrapped) or 160 gms uncovered morsels

Milk- 2 tbsp

Semisweet chocolate morsels- 1 cup

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

For crust: In a medium bowl, stir together flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Chocolate caramel bar

Press onto the bottom of ungreased pan  13X9X2 inch pan.Chocolate caramel bar

Bake for 15 minutes.

Chocolate caramel bar

Sprinkle pecans and coconut over the hot crust.Chocolate caramel bar

Meanwhile for filling : In a small bowl combine unsweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. carefully pour over the pecan and coconut spreading evenly.

Chocolate caramel bar

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is set. Cool the pan on wire rack for ten minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine caramel and milk. cook and stir over medium-low heat just until the caramel is melted. Drizzle caramel mixture over the filling. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels. Cool completely.

Chocolate caramel bar

Cut into bars.08-IMG_7793

Chocolate caramel bar

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Cakes n bakes, Desserts/Sweets

Baklava

Baklava

Last month, my friend invited me for a potluck party, I agreed and I decided on making Baklava. I had made these before and was comfortable preparing it the second time too.. but here comes the trouble..

Baklava’s were baking and I kept the syrup on stove and forgot to start the timer. BUMMER! Meantime my son started throwing tantrums and had to be with him for a while and completely forgot about the syrup boiling. When I was back to the kitchen, my syrup had crystallized and had to redo the syrup all over again! Thankfully I was ahead of time and prepared the syrup right on time when the baklava’s just finished baking.

All in all, never forget to start on your timer 🙂 Baklava’s turned out nicely and everyone enjoyed eating it!

Ingredients:

1/2 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough

9 ounces chopped nuts ( I used almonds, pistachios, walnuts)

1/2 cup and 1 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup and 1 tbsp water

1/2 cup and 1 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup and 1 tsp honey

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×9 inch pan.
Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside.

nuts

Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work.

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Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.

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Sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 -8 sheets deep.

Baklava

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Baklava

Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Baklava

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Baklava

BaklavaBaklava

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Cakes n bakes

Tres Leches cake

Tres Leches cake

A very light and fluffy cake which is soaked in a mixture of milk, condensed milk and heavy cream.. It’s a favorite cake of my two and a half-year old son and I never get tired of baking it. A super delicious cake!

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour-1 1/2 cups

Baking powder-1 teaspoon

Unsalted butter-1/2 cup

white sugar-1 cup

eggs-4

Vanilla extract-1/2 teaspoon

Whole milk or evaporated milk-1 cup

sweetened condensed milk-1 (14 ounce) can

Heavy whipping cream -1 cup

Frosting:

whipped fluffy white frosting- 1 tin (store bought)

Strawberries-4 optional

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.  Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.  Cream butter  and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, beat well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended.

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Pour batter into prepared pan.

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 Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Meanwhile combine the whole milk, condensed milk and whipping cream and keep aside.

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Once the cake is done baking allow it to cool for 5 minutes.

Tres Leches

Poke the top of the cake every half-inch with the long-tined fork, wiping fork occasionally pierce cake several times with a fork.

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Pour the liquid mixture over the top of the cooled cake.

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Spread the whipped fluffy frosting over the top of cake when the cake is completely cooled. Decorate with slices of strawberries or just leave it plain. Be sure to keep the cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Tres Leches cake

Tres Leches cake

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Appetizers/Snacks, Cakes n bakes

Zucchini parmesan crisps

Zucchini crisps

Winter season always calls for quick and hot starters or snacks in my house and this is one of them. At the beginning I got few batches which got a little soggy. After going through the web, I started preheating the baking sheet too and then started layering the zucchini and they turned perfect and crispy.

Ingredients:

zucchini- 2, medium

olive oil- 1 Tbsp

1/4 cup- bread crumbs

1/4 cup- grated parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp- salt

pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450 degree F. Mix all the ingredients expect zucchini in a bowl.

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Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds.

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Then dip the zucchini rounds on both sides and layer them on the preheated baking sheet which has been greased with cooking spray.

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Bake them until they are brown and crispy for 28-30 minutes and serve immediately!

Zucchini crisps

 

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Cakes n bakes

Simple eggless chocolate cake

Eggless chocolate cake

This is quick and easy recipe for a eggless chocolate cake, all you need are the ingredients, bowl and a spatula to mix it. No need of hand mixer or even eggs to beat!

We had been to Puerto Rico few years back and during our stay we had been to a fancy restaurant where they served the chocolate cake with the richest vanilla ice-cream and chocolate shavings on top plus two mango slices to compliment. It was simply the best combination I have ever had. So tried to mimic the same with this simple chocolate cake and it did not disappoint me at all!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups – all-purpose flour

1 cup – granulated white sugar

1/4 cup – unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp- baking powder

3/4 tsp-  baking soda

1/4 tsp- salt

1/3 cup- unsalted butter melted

1 cup- warm water

1 tbsp- lemon juice

1 tsp- pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup- heavy cream

1 tbsp – unsalted butter, room temperature

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients first ie flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. Once combined, add warm water mixed with lemon juice, vanilla extract, melted butter. Mix until all the ingredients are combined with a spatula.

batter

Add the mixture to a greased 8 inch square pan.

Eggless Chocolate cake

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Eggless Chocolate cake

Frosting: Place the chocolate, butter and cream in a heat proof bowl.

Frosting

Place over a saucepan of simmering water and melt until smooth. Remove from heat and allow it to come to room temperature or pouring consistency.

Frosting

Then pour the frosting over the cooled cake and let stand until thickened.

Eggless Chocolate cake

Have it with a scoop of your favorite ice-cream and mango slices or just simply the cake!

Eggless Chocolate cake

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