Cakes n bakes, Desserts/Sweets



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!


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.




Besan Paare (Spicy gram flour crisps)

Besan Paare


Besan, (gram flour)- 1 cup

Whole wheat flour- 1/2 cup

All purpose four- 1/2 cup

Fine semolina- 2 Tbsp

oil- 4 Tbsp

Salt- 1 1/4 tsp

Red chilli flakes- 1 1/4 tsp

Cumin seeds or carom seeds( ajwain)- 1/4 tsp

water- 1/2 cup or as needed

Oil to fry


Mix all the ingredients by adding little water at a time, make it into a soft dough. Rest the dough for 10-15 minutes in a damp cloth or paper towel. Knead the dough for 2 minutes and divide into 4 equal parts.


Mean while heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Roll the dough into 9 inch circles which are a little less than 1/4 inch thick.


Prick the flattened dough with fork all over so it does not puff while frying.

Cut them into 3 inch long pieces or into a shape that you want.



Make sure the oil is hot enough and add the paare’s into the frying pan just enough so you can turn them and fry all of them equally. Fry until they turn golden brown on both sides and allow it to cool. Munch it with your hot favorite drink!

Besan Paare

Cakes n bakes

Tres Leches cake

Tres Leches cake


All-purpose flour-1 1/2 cups

Baking powder-1 teaspoon

Unsalted butter-1/2 cup

white sugar-1 cup


Vanilla extract-1/2 teaspoon

Whole milk or evaporated milk-1 cup

sweetened condensed milk-1 (14 ounce) can

Heavy whipping cream -1 cup


whipped fluffy white frosting- 1 tin (store bought)

Strawberries-4 optional


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.


Pour batter into prepared pan.


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


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.


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



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

Appetizers/Snacks, Cakes n bakes

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Zucchini crisps


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


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


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


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


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

Zucchini crisps

Cakes n bakes

Simple Eggless Chocolate Cake

Eggless chocolate cake


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.


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.


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.


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


Mysore pak


Mysore pak is a sweet very popular in Karnataka,India. It just consist of three simple ingredients gram flour, sugar and ghee. I often make this sweet as its my husbands favorite sweet. It is simple to make but if the ingredients are not fresh and measured properly, there are chances of ruining the sweet.

This sweet is solely dedicated to Rukmini aunty (my friends mom) who actually taught me this recipe. She is an expert in making sweets. She was practically there with me when I tried it for the first time…I can never forget how well she taught me the technique. I always had filter coffee and a piece of Mysore pak when I visited her place. I miss those days!

You get the best mysore pak when the gram flour and ghee are fresh. Many people in my home town grind the chick pea fresh from the mill and use homemade ghee.


Chick pea/Gram flour/ Besan-1 cup

Ghee/Clarified butter- 2 cups ( preferably homemade ghee)

Sugar- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups

Water-3/4 cup


Add gram flour to the non stick pan and dry roast it for few minutes until the raw smell of the flour disappears and it turns light golden-yellow and keep aside.

Heat water in a pan on medium heat and add sugar, bring it to a two string consistency and add ½ cup of ghee. Turn the heat to low and  slowly add gram flour (one or two spoons at a time) and mix well after each addition making sure no lumps are formed. (if you are doing it for the first time, take the help of a second person while doing this step). You can bring back the heat to medium now.

Stir continuously and keep adding ghee slowly into the mixture and mix well. (When 2-3 tbsp of ghee is added at a time, the ghee starts floating on the gram flour mixture, do not panic.. stir continuously until it is well incorporated. Add the ghee and mix in the same fashion until all the ghee has been mixed well.) The mixture becomes thick and starts leaving porous bubbles. Its time to stir it well until it forms one big lump and leaves the pan from the sides. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture on a greased plate. Cut the sweet into desired pieces when mildly hot.



Dark Chocolates

Preparation: 1

Dark Chocolates


Organic cacao powder-1/2 cup

Honey-2 Tbsp

Pure vanilla extract-1/2 tsp

Melted coconut oil – 1/4 cup


Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well mixed and smooth.

Dark chocolate

You can pour the chocolate into candy molds to make chocolate candy or use a pan which is lined with a wax paper or parchment paper and pour into the pan.

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate

Freeze until hardened about half an hour and store in the refrigerator.

Preparation : 2

Dark chocolates


Cacao powder-3.5 Tbsp

Cocoa butter- 3.5 Tbsp

Honey- 1 tbsp

Pure vanilla extract-1/2 tsp

Chopped hazelnuts or any other nuts-2 Tbsp

Method: Melt the cacao butter on a double boiler or boil water in a vessel and keep an empty container on top of it and melt the cacao butter.

Cacao butter

Once melted, add honey, vanilla extract and cacao powder and mix well until smooth.

dark chocolates

You can pour the chocolate into candy molds to make chocolate candy or use a pan which is lined with a wax paper or parchment paper and pour into the pan. Add chopped hazelnut on top. Freeze until hardened about half an hour and store in the refrigerator.

dark chocolates

Preparation : 3

Dark chocolates


Cacao powder- 4 Tbsp

Coconut oil-6 Tbsp

Unrefined sugar-6 Tbsp

Chopped almonds-2 Tbsp

Cranberries-2 Tbsp


Powder the sugar finely.  Melt the coconut oil on a double boiler or boil water in a vessel and keep an empty container on top of it and melt the coconut oil.

coconut oil

Once melted, add sugar and cacao powder and mix well until smooth.You can pour the chocolate into candy molds to make chocolate candy or use a pan which is lined with a wax paper or parchment paper and pour into the pan. Add chopped almonds and cranberries on top. Freeze until hardened about half an hour and store in the refrigerator.

Dark chocolates

Dark chocolates

Main Course

Singapore Noodles

Singapore noodles


6 oz rice sticks also called rice noodles. ( I brought mine from Asian stores)

For the sauce:

1 1/2 tsp curry powder- (I tried S&B oriental curry powder)

3 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp Crushed dry red pepper

1 tsp brown sugar, optional

For the noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 heaping teaspoon ginger garlic paste

1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks

1 red pepper, cut into thin strips

1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup cubed fried tofu, available in Asian markets

1 heaping cup bean sprouts

3 scallions, chopped

4 lemon or lime wedges

Chopped cilantro for garnish


Soak the rice noodles according to package instructions. (This usually involves soaking them in warm or cold water for 2-5 minutes). Drain well and set aside in the colander.

Whisk together all ingredients for sauce, along with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside. Heat oil in a large wok, Add ginger garlic paste and let them sizzle on medium heat, till fragrant and lightly browned.

Pour in half of the sauce. Work quickly, and mix everything together, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Cook till the sauce starts to bubble, about 20 seconds.


Throw in red peppers, carrot, cabbage, and tofu. Crank up the heat to medium-high and sauté till the vegetables just start to wilt, about 2 minutes. Don’t over cook the vegetables.

Singapore noodles

Add the soaked, drained rice stick noodles to the vegetables. Also add the remaining sauce. Working quickly, and using two spoons or tongs, toss and combine everything till the noodles are well coated in the sauce. Turn off heat and add sesame oil, bean sprouts and scallions. Toss well. Serve immediately garnished with chopped cilantro and lemon or lime wedges on the side to squeeze over the noodles.



Tomato Soup

Tomato soup


3-4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup grated carrot

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger

4 cilantro stems with leaves chopped


Place all ingredients in a saucepan, along with salt and enough water to cover the vegetables, about 3 cups. Bring to a boil, and make sure the tomatoes are cooked.


Tomato soup

Let it cool a little, and blend the mixture into smooth liquid. Pass the soup through a strainer, pushing out all the liquid. Return the soup to the saucepan. If it’s too thick, add some water. Allow it to boil, turn off the heat and adjust the amount of salt, add little pepper and garnish with cilantro and serve hot!

Tomato soup

Cakes n bakes

Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut cupcakeCoconut cupcake


1 1/2 cup  – all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp -baking powder

1/4 tsp- salt

1 tsp- lemon zest

1/2 cup –unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 cup- granulated white sugar

2- large eggs

1 1/2 tsp – pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

Cream cheese frosting:

2 1/2 cup – confectionary sugar

4 tbsp- unsalted butter (room temperature)

4 ounce- cream cheese (room temperature)

1/2 tsp- pure vanilla extract


2 cups- roasted unsweetened shredded coconut flakes


Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line up 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Beat the butter in your electric mixer or stand mixer for two minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Mix in vanilla extract until soft and fluffy. Add flour and milk alternatively (starting and ending with flour) and mix everything until well incorporated.

Coconut cupcake

Evenly fill all the liners.

Coconut cupcake

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not over the cupcakes.

Coconut cupcake

Allow it to cool on a wire rack. Smear the frosting on the cupcake using a spatula and garnish with roasted shredded coconut flakes on top. (Dip the frosted side of the cake in a bowl containing coconut flakes).


Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth (2-3 minutes). Add vanilla extract and beat for a minute. Mix sugar in small portions at a time and  beat well until it forms stiff peaks. Add a tablespoon of milk if too thick or add little sugar if the mixture is thin.

Coconut cupcake

Coconut cupcake

Coconut cupcake