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Surprise Pound Cake

27 Jul

For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

I always find zebra cakes very fascinating and although its on my to-bake list, I opted to do something simple this time around. I baked a pound cake with a “star” of a surprise inside.


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INGREDIENTS

  • Ingredients for a loaf of chocolate/red velvet pound cake
  • Ingredients for a loaf of vanilla pound cake

The world of internet is abound with pound cake recipes, so I am not going to delve into that. You can choose your own pound cake recipe for this. Also, I was deliberating about baking a red velvet pound cake or chocolate pound cake, so ended up with a mixture of both 😛 .  Added red food coloring and a bit of chocolate to the batter for the main loaf 😀

I started off with baking the vanilla loaf first and baked it in a 9*5 pan at 350 degree Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes. Again, I would think that would vary on your recipe.  After the cake had cooled a bit, I transfered it to wire rack and let it cool further. I find it easier to make clean cuts on a cool cake as opposed to one freshly out of oven. Cut it into 1 inch slices. Now, I used a star cookie cutter, but really you can use any  cookies cutter, to carve out the surprise part of the cake.

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Prepare the batter for the chocolate pound cake and pour it into the loaf pan barely enough to line an inch. Place the carved stars along the length of the pan, leaving no gaps in between. I did however leave a little less than half an inch between the pan wall and the stars on either side. Also, make sure that all the edges of the stars align. Now, pour the remaining batter over the assembly and place into oven for baking.

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The cake looked like a regular pound cake and gave away no details of the surprise inside, until it was cut. Well, I and only I could see the little bumps made by the star tops 😉 . But, the cake looked and tasted amazing. I love how the stars are perfectly shaped and each loaf of cake has stars on both sides.

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Amazing!,  and a great variation from regular cakes! If its already not evident from my blog, I would like to end the post by saying that I absolutely loved this month’s challenge!

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Muffin

3 Apr

I love my weekend brunch ritual at Panera Bread. It was here that we first tried out cinnamon crumb cake and fell in love with it. Now, almost every meal at Panera ends with a slice of cinnamon crumb cake. So, yes, we love it (like one can love food 🙂 ), more so on days when the cake is freshly baked and still warm.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Muffin

I had been thinking about baking these for a long time and when I came across this recipe, I immediately bookmarked it. However, it wasn’t until last weekend that I could actually try it out and oh boy, they were amazing!! This is one the most amazing recipes around and as Jessica from On Sugar Mountain said, beneath that modest muffin appearance lies a whole array of comforting flavors and texture.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Muffin

INGREDIENTS

Crumb topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp softened butter
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Cinnamon filling

  • 1/3  cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Muffin batter

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

I used the exact same recipe from Jess’s blog. For convenience, here are the exact steps.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Preparation: Crumb topping

Combine all ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumb and set aside until needed.

Preparation: Cinnamon filling

Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside until needed.

Preparation: Muffin batter

Combine all flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set it aside. In another bowl whisk all the wet ingredients and then mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in a few swift movements. Do not over mix.

Pour about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp muffin batter into all the muffin cups, make sure you have enough batter remaining for the second layer. Add about 1 tsp of cinnamon filling on top of the batter we just poured, followed another tbsp of muffin batter. Top the muffins with the crumb topping and place the pan into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. I was impatient while pouring the batter into the tins so my muffins came out in different sizes, however the smaller ones had more even more flavor in them 🙂

 

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Muffin

 

Once done, let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack.

 

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Muffin

 

These muffins are simple and delicious and the cinnamon swirl filling and the topping raise the bar to a whole new level.

This recipe is a keeper.  From the looks of it, I will be baking another batch very soon 🙂 




 

 

 

Pineapple Cake

23 Dec

Happy holidays friends!! I have been busy for a few months now, well,  busy and then mostly lazy 😀 But then its holiday season now and even a lazy and uninspired bum like me couldn’t stay away from the blogging and baking sessions.

It was my husband’s birthday a month ago and when asked which cake he wanted me to bake, his answer was simple, Pineapple Cake, not the pineapple-upside-down cake but the cake version of the Indian pineapple pastry.  I used to love these as a kid, well, to be truthful, they came second after black forest pastry 🙂 , but then my brother and I together, always ordered both the pastries and shared them. So, this baking session, came with a trip down the memory lane.

Pineapple Pastry

INGREDIENTS

Pineapple Sponge Cake

  • Crushed planko (fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Layering & Assembling

  • Fresh, cold whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened, crushed pineapple

Preparation: Sponge Cake

I used the same recipe for baking the cake, that I had used for the DB challenge: Swedish Prinsesstarta.  If you want it to be more authentic you can replace the vanilla essence with pineapple essence and add some yellow food color.

Pineapple Pastry

Preparation: Cake assembly

With a long knife cut the sponge cake into 2 even layers.  Use a gentle sawing motion to move the knife through the cake instead of trying to pull it through the cake. Use a spatula to help you lift off each layer after you cut it.  Place the bottom most cake layer on the cake platter and sprinkle some pineapple juice from the pineapple can on it. Next, layer on some cold whip followed by the crushed pineapple. Since, both I and my husband love pineapple I made sure that I covered the entire cake with pineapple :). Place the other cake layer on top of it and sprinkle some more pineapple juice on the new layer. Decorate the cake with more whipped, pineapple and cherries if you want. Traditionally every pineapple pastry is topped with a pineapple piece and  a cherry.

Pineapple Pastry

and another one with candles 🙂

Pineapple Pastry
The cake was a huge hit and gone within half an hour 🙂 I still have a long way as far as cake decoration is concerned, but I am learning.  Its a boon that I am blessed with an encouraging family and friends, they are my best critics.

My best wishes to all for the holiday season. Bake on!!

 

Pastel de Tre Leches

28 Sep

Its Daring Baker challenge time again!!

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

Pastel de Tre Leches

I have been quiet busy with life, but I am bless the day I decided to join the Daring Bakers Challenge!! This forum has been a constant source of motivation to me and with the members sharing these awesome challenges and bakes, it pushes me to do my bit too 🙂

Pastel de Tre Leches or The Three Milk Cake is very popular in many parts of Central and Southern America, although the origins of the tres leches are disputed.  When made without butter, it is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. So, in simple words, it is a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream. 

 INGREDIENTS

Vanilla Sponge Cake

  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Three milk syrup

  • 1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons rum (I used 4 teaspoons of coffee)

Topping and/or filling

  • Fresh and cold whipping cream
  • Fresh fruit (I used strawberries)

Preparation: Sponge Cake

Preheat oven to moderate 350 degree fahrenheit. Prepare a 9 inch round cake pan.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks, and beat the egg whites on medium speed, about 3 to 5 minutes. When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches and whip until stiff peaks form (~5 minutes).

In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy. Stir in vanilla. Gently fold the egg yolks with egg whites until just combined while trying not to lose any volume by over mixing.  Fold in the flour by sprinkling it in parts over the egg mixture. Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool on a wire rack. Once it cools down, poke holes all over the cake to better absorb the three milk syrup.

Preparation: Milk syrup

In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool. Once it cools down add instant coffee or a flavor of your choice. Gradually brush the milk syrup into sides of the cake (including the surface) until it is absorbed. Refrigerate overnight to give the cake enough time to soak up the syrup.

Pastel de Tre Leches

Layer on some whipped cream onto the cake and around its edges and decorate the cake top with fresh strawberries or any fruit of choice.  Decorate the cake’s edges with some crushed pecans to add a little crunch to it and  Voila!! The cake is now ready to be devoured :D, of course one slice at a time 😛

Pastel de Tre Leches

The recipe shared by Inma is just perfect, the cake isn’t soggy at all, it is just perfectly soaked and simply delicious!! It still surprises me that the yummiest things on this earth are so easy to bake.

So till I get around to posting about my next bake, stay blessed and keep baking 🙂

Mawa Cake

27 Aug

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious! 🙂 Mawa Cake was the mandatory item in this month’s challenge and Aparna even shared the recipe to make mawa from scratch. I thoroughly enjoyed this month’s challenge, especially because we got to bake not one but two delicious treats.

Mawa Cake

In Aparna’s words, “Mawa Cakes are a specialty cake that is the hallmark of Irani cafés in India. The Iranis are Zoroastrians who left Persia/ Iran in the 19th and early 20th centuries to escape persecution of non-Muslims, and settled down and thrived here mostly in the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. They’re most famous in India for their friendly informal cafés/ restaurants that serve the most awesome food. The brun pav or maska pav(kinds of bread) with Irani chai (thick, strong, sweet and milky cardamom flavoured tea), their Shrewsbury biscuits and Mawa cakes are just a few of them.

Mawa (also known as Khoya/ Khoa) is made by slowly reducing milk (usually full-fat) until all that remain is a mass of slightly caramelized granular dough-like milk solids. Mawa is used in a wide variety of Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Peda, to mention just two.”

Mawa Cake

INGREDIENTS

Mawa

  • 4 cups (1 litre) of full fat milk

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup mawa
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • almonds to decorate


Mawa Cake

Preparation: Mawa

Boil the milk in a thick bottomed pan,preferably in a non-stick pan, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume.  Once that happens, lower the heat and cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.

Remove the pan from heat and let it cool completely. Cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake. It will harden in the fridge so let it come to room temperature before using it.

Preparation: Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Beat butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a large bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom powder and salt to the batter and beat at medium speed till well blended.  Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch pan. Pour the batter into the pan. Place the almonds onto the batter randomly (I decorated or, rather, tried to decorate my bake by placing the almonds in a pattern :P. This is what happens when one reads only 1 instruction at a time 😀 ). Do not press the nuts down into the batter. A Mawa Cake always has a rustic finished look rather than a decorated look.

The instructions directed us to bake the cake in the oven for about 1 hour or until the cake is a golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake the cake or it will dry out. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminium foil hallway through the baking time.  This is how my cake turned out to be. I had a bigger pan, so my cake didn’t rise as much, nor did it have a cracked top, however, it did taste awesome.

Mawa Cake

The cake was moist and yummy and the cardamom flavor made it all the more irresistible. Now, all I can think about is to find ways to have my next slice 😀  It somehow reminded me of christmas and the festivities.  So, I recommend it to one and all.

Ciao friends! Happy baking 🙂 Will post my Bolinhas De Coco experience (2nd part of this month’s challenge) soon.

Eggless Fruit Cake

30 Jun

Its a hot weekend here in California, marked with heat wave warnings. Rather than crib about not being able to venture out, I decided to spend my time having a quality baking session. After all, my work’s been keeping me busy and my blog has been crying out to me for a new post.  So, here we are 🙂

Growing up I used to love the loaves of fruit cake my father used to bring in from the local bakery.  And after a recent trip to an Indian grocery store, I had been craving for the Britannia Fruit Cake. I decided not to buy it at the store and try bake one myself, after all being a baker has its advantages 🙂 .  Well, the variety I used to eat as a kid was always a loaf cake and had pineapple essence for flavor. But I couldn’t find pineapple essence at the store, so I decided to go with nutmeg like my recipe source suggested. The result was yummy!!

Fruit Cake

I decided to use the recipe over at The Inner Gourmet, and followed everything to the T, except the flavoring part, where I just went nutmeg and decided to skip cinnamon and the orange and the lemon zest. I am sure those ingredients would have added more flavor to the cake, but the only reason for not using them was because I wanted it to be as closer as possible to the cake I used to have as a kid.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

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Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree fahrenheit. Butter and dust a 9-inch cake pan with flour and set it aside.

Melt 2/3 cup butter and once it is at room temperature, add sugar into it and stir until incorporated. Stir in a can of sweetened condensed milk into it, followed by vanilla essence. Now, add 3/4 cup of water and blend them together.

In a separate bowl sift together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg). Now, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in parts and blend the mixture till there are no lumps left. Fold in candied fruit into the batter and pour the batter into the baking dish. Garnish with sliced almonds and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Fruit Cake

I had this recipe added to my favorites for a really long time, and I was surprised by how soft an eggless cake can be. If only I could find pineapple essence, it would have been perfect! But I am glad I found this recipe, its what I had been looking for, my new go-to eggless cake recipe 🙂 Had to share this recipe with you all since the cake turned out to be light, moist and yummy!! I definitely for one had a satisfying baking session after a long time… It made my day. Not me mention I cannot enter the kitchen without getting my hands onto a slice 😛

So, till I get around to my next post have a good time baking!! Take care!!

Chocolate Brownies

22 Jun

Everyone loves chocolate!! And there are a very few people who can resist a chocolate brownie. Well, I definitely can not, especially the moist, rich and chocolate oozing fudge kind 🙂  Brownies without nuts are good too, but I adore it when the small pieces of nuts pop-up unexpectedly. So, a slice of chocolate brownie and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream is heaven for me. Just the idea of it makes me want to dig into one 😀

Chocolate Brownie

I have made brownies at home before, but never from scratch. When I first started baking I used to be mystified that actual brownies, that taste so good can actually be made out of a box bought at a grocery store and with so little effort too. So, last weekend for the first time, I decided to bake a batch of brownies form scratch and oh boy…am I glad I did 🙂 These turned out to be perfect. The recipe I used is called Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies, probably because it is her recipe. These turned out just like the article promises they will be.

So, without much ado, here is the recipe. I added pecans to the batch that I baked, however, I am pretty sure that they can be baked without any nuts as well!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz unsweetened baker’s chocolate or 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans/walnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree fahrenheit. Butter a 8*8 inch cake pan.

Melt butter and chocolate chunks/or cocoa in a small pan stirring continuously until well blended. Remove from heat and stir-in sugar. Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, followed by salt and then the flour. In the end, fold in the pecan pieces.

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Pour the mixture into the well buttered square pan. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Just like its important to make sure that the brownies do not have more flour than required, we also need to make sure that they are not over-baked. So, even though the recipe source I used recommended baking for 40 minutes, I removed them from the oven when they passed the toothpick test (~ 30-35 minutes)

I should mention here that the brownies were a bit crumbly and difficult to cut, so I suggest using a very sharp knife for slicing, however they came off pretty neatly from the baking dish.

Chocolate Brownie

Just writing this blog makes me want to have one, that’s how good they were!! If you have never tried baking brownies from scratch, this recipe has my thumbs-up, so try them out, and in case you already have a go-to brownie recipe I would say, try them out anyways 🙂 , since one can never be content with just one slice of brownie!!

Swedish Prinsesstårta

30 May

Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta! When I first saw this month’s DB challenge, I couldn’t control my excitement.  It looked simple but irresistible and the idea of baking a cake with jam and  custard between layers of sponge cake was delicious.

I had never tried it before, not even the Ikea version, so, I started searching the internet for pictures and ideas and history and what not… but I couldn’t really find out the reason behind the cake being green, I mean, one could expect a cake known as  Prinsesstårta to be pink, but green!! However, Korena had given us the freedom to decide on the shade of the marzipan we wanted to use.

So, here is what my Prinsesstårta looked like. I finished assembling the cake in the evening, so couldn’t take any “natural light” shots for the blog.

Prinsesstårta

I prepared the custard at home and opted to buy the marzipan from store 🙂  Most of the recipe is in Korena’s words(from DB challenge).

INGREDIENTS

Vanilla Custard

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 yolks of large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Sponge Cake

  • Crushed planko (fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Marzipan cover and the decoration

  • 10 oz marzipan
  • red food color
  • green food color
  • icing/powdered sugar

Note:  The custard should be dense and cold while assembling, so it would be good to make it a day in advance it let it cool overnight.

Preparation: Custard

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Gradually whisk in ½ cup  cream until smooth. In another saucepan heat the remaining 1/2 cup cream, till it just starts to boil. Add the hot cream to the egg mixture, a little at a time and keep whisking continuously, to temper the eggs. Do not add all the hot cream at the same time, we would just get scrambled eggs in that case!! 😛  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick like pudding and just comes to a boil. I would say, decide on whether the custard is ready by its texture, if you let it cook for too long, it will curdle. Been there, done that! So, remove it from heat when you see that it is dense enough and add the vanilla extract. Let the custard cool down and then to get a finer texture, sieve it through a mesh. Store in an air tight container and refrigerate.

Preparation: Sponge Cake

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 degree Fahrenheit. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set it aside.

Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed,  until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light colored and fluffy and  the mixture falls from the beaters in thick ribbons.  Don’t over beat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.

Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs.  Fold in the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake  for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edges and invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.

Prinsesstårta

Preparation: Marzipan cover and rose

Take 10 oz of marzipan and set aside a small chunk to make the leaves and the rose for decoration. Add green food color to the marzipan and knead it well to make sure that the marzipan changes color uniformly. Use icing sugar if it gets sticky to handle. For the rose, I added 2 drops of red food color to the reserved marzipan to give it the pink shade. Prepare and set aside the marzipan rose and leaves for decoration.

Dust your work surface with icing sugar and press the marzipan into a 6-inch disc. Coat both sides with icing sugar and roll it out into a 14-inch diameter circle less than 1/8-inch thick. Use plenty of icing sugar to prevent it from sticking. Set it aside.

Assembling the cake layers

With a long knife, slice the sponge cake into three even layers. The sponge  cake is very delicate, so this part must be done as carefully as possible. Use a gentle sawing motion to move the knife through the cake instead of trying to pull it through the cake. Use a spatula to help you lift off each layer after you cut it. Set aside the middle layer as it is the most flexible and therefore easiest to bend into a dome over the whipped cream. Place one of remaining layers on a cake platter and spread it evenly with the raspberry/strawberry jam. Spread half the chilled custard over the jam in an even layer, leaving enough room around the edges so that it does not spill over the sides of the cake. Top the custard with another layer of cake followed by another evenly spread layer of custard.

Reserve ½ cup of the stiffly whipped cream. I did not use any stabilizers for the cream. Pile the rest into a mound on top of the custard. Spread it into a thick layer with a thin, flexible spatula or off-set spatula, then hold the spatula at an angle to shape the whipped cream into a dome, piling it up in the middle of the cake as much as possible. This is essential to get a good rounded dome. Now, place the third and the final layer of the sponge cake (the middle layer) on top of the whipped cream dome and tuck its edges into the whipped cream. Now, spread the reserved 1/2 cup of whipped cream over the entire cake to fill out any cracks and crevices, and to smooth-en the cake.

Now, using a rolling pin drape the marzipan layer on top of the cake and gently smooth-en it around the top and the sides of the cake, patting it in place. If you see any folds, lift the marzipan and smooth-en it out gently using both hands. Once, you are satisfied with it, cut out any excess marzipan using a sharp knife.

Decorating the Prinsesstårta

Dust the cake with some icing/powdered sugar using a sieve and place first the marzipan leaves and the the rose in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake till its time to server it.

I had an incredible time working on this challenge. It wasn’t easy, but ever since I read the challenge guidelines, it always felt worth all the effort 😀 .  As an amateur baker, I tried to follow the guidelines to the T and did not deviate much from the instructions Korena provided, and I felt so much at peace when all my friends said they loved it 🙂 The cake was soft and, the raspberry jam , custard and whipped cream combination not only added moistness to it but also a very yummy raspberry-vanilla custard flavor!

Give it a try!! You will love it 🙂 😀

Nutella Pecan Cookies

16 May

I realized yesterday that its been real long since I shared another of my new experiments with you all, so I started thinking about what would be a good recipe to write about. It wasn’t that difficult a task, since I realized my blog still doesn’t have any chocolate based recipe, which seems such a contradiction as I am an ardent chocolate lover, not to mention, that the first cookies I ever baked were chocolate cookies.

I always have chocolate in my kitchen closet, but yesterday I couldn’t find any 😦 . So, instead of baking chocolate chip cookies I decided to go bold and bake with whatever I could lay my hands on, which was, a small box of Nutella, the delicious hazelnut spread and pecan halves. If you haven’t tried Nutella, you should, it is heaven in a box!  This, is a glimpse of the cookies I whipped up 🙂 Yummmyyy!! They reminded me of chocolate brownies, but were definitely more lighter than brownies. Also, these were just the right amount of sweet for me. They spread a bit while baking but, that might be because I was very impatient and took them out of the refrigerator in 20 minutes 😛 . I  have a strong suspicion that refrigerating the batter for longer duration would have solved that problem.

Nutella Pecan Cookies

INGREDIENTS (12 mid size cookies)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Nutella (I used about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup roasted and chopped pecans (I used about 3/4 cup, I love pecans)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

In a bowl whisk together flour, egg, sugar and nutella. You can use a hand mixer as well.

Nutella Pecan Cookies

 

Gently fold-in the pecan pieces till they are evenly distributed in the batter. Refrigerate the cookie dough for about 2 hours, or, if you are impatient like me, roll the dough into small balls and place them on an un-greased cookie tray for baking. Bake for about 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Nutella Pecan Cookies

Trust me on this, when I tell you that these cookies are irresistible!! I am so glad, I baked only a dozen 😛 because the minute they were cool enough to touch, 4 of them vanished into thin air!! And sometime after dinner another couple of them were gone. Its a miracle I had any left for the photo shoot 🙂 😀

So, till I decide on what I will be baking next, Happy Baking friends!!

(adapted from: wesley & zoe)

Daring Baker’s April Challenge: Savarin

27 Apr

This post is my first official entry for the Daring Baker’s challenge! Well there was a lot of confusion about deadlines and joining dates and I finally managed to get into the rhythm of things this month 🙂

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenged us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes! Well, this was also my first rendezvous with baking a yeast based cake and the I am pretty pleased with the experience.

Savarin

Savarins are usually made in ring moulds but they can also be baked in bundt pans. I was very particular about following Natalia’s recipe to the hilt, so I am going to post it in her words.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 10-12 people)

Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp water, lukewarm
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (1/2 satchel)
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp orange and lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • butter/oil for greasing

Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2-2 cups sugar
  • Juice from 4-5 lemons

Cake: Sponge
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons flour and the yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes

Cake: Dough
After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the bowl and whip for a couple of minutes using a wire whisk, add flour in parts until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups) and work until it comes together , cover with cling film and let rest 30 min. Add the sponge to the bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing. Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour. Keep whisking and add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour. Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later, mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads.

Add the butter and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour. Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test. Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test. Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours. Meanwhile, grease up the cake mould, dough scraper and the work surface and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around. Cover the dough with a cling foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

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Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough in a rounded bun. Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the baking pan. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 340 degree fahrenheit and bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. The dough will rise while baking as well, so make sure that you use a  mould of diameter 11 inches for this recipe. When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan.

Syrup

Combine water, sugar and lemon juice and boil it for 5 minutes. Remove from stove and let it cool.

To make sure that the cake was well soaked, I soaked it in the baking mould itself, adding ladles of syrup on the cake, till the syrup reaches the rim of the mould. Refrigerate overnight. When, I took the cake out of the mould the next day, it had soaked up all the syrup 🙂

The center of the cake is usually filled with pastry cream and fruits, but lazy as I am, I decided to go for whipped cream and added raspberries as well. However, since the cake tasted good even with whipped cream, I have decided that I will prepare pastry cream next time I bake savarins 🙂

Savarin

Last, but not the least, cut off a slice with some cream and raspberries and sit back and enjoy your slice of pure joy and bliss!!

Hope you like my version of the famous savarin!!

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