Monday, December 27, 2010

Golden Almond Cake


    My belated Christmas wishes to you!  Just back from an ad hoc trip to the very beautiful and picturesque South Canara. Coffee and tea estates, the winding roads along the foggy Western ghats and the beautiful ancient temples brought back memories of my visit to these places as a kid. As my amused niece pointed out, most of the incidents I recalled had something to do with food. Not surprisingly, I happen to write a food blog. 

I was still debating about what I would bake for Christmas when my older sister called  to announce that we would all go on a trip very early the next morning. Which meant we would need to reach her place by evening so that we could start early. With the school closed for Christmas vacations, baking, taking pictures and blogging about it is a hair-tearing experience for me. Living in a tornado-swept house (well, a house which looks like one), my daughter constantly hovering around me or my kids at loggerheads with each other and me in a rush to pack up for an ad hoc trip is not the best of times to bake a cake for Christmas.

My personal copy of The Cake Bible arrived a few days ago. What a book to own with all those drool worthy cakes, the variety of frostings and cakes you can pair up to come up with your own unique creation, tips and understanding about the way things work in a particular recipe and so much more! I decided on this quick and easy cake which is delicious on its own without any frosting. The cake is super buttery, super moist, with a predominant almond taste and flavor. If you love buttery cakes and something you would want to make ahead for a picnic the next day, this one is for you to bake!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Mud Cake - By Divya Kudua

Here comes a very festive looking, super chocolaty Chistmas treat by Divya!  

 They say excuses are a waste of time,your friends don't need them and your enemies won't believe them. I definitely consider Suma as a dear bloggie pal and I hope she doesn't mind this long over due post.
It was a while back[more than 2-3 months I guess] that Suma e-mailed me and asked me for a guest post on her blog. She even kept the window open asking me to post anything which fancies me,though I couldn't ignore the *hint* on Cake. Now come on,for some one whose blog is named Cakes and More,what else can you bake??

Many things kept me from posting this on time. But I wouldn't get into all that,better late than never. I wanted the Cake to be Chocolatey and believe me,this one's full of it. Fudgy and gooey, this one could almost pose as a Brownie and you wouldn't know the difference!! Perfect with a scoop of Chocolate Ice-cream with some Chocolate sauce on top with some toasted nuts. Ah, I could grab that plate and go into Chocolate Nirvana. Suma, here it is for you and I hope with this one I've made up for being such a Late Lateef!! I almost felt guilty eating this when I actually made it for you!!

For someone who is crazy about Chocolate Cakes,this is the perfect answer. It has an intense Chocolate flavor, elevated by the coffee powder added into it and the resultant cake is definitely a show stopper. It is good on its own but you could drizzle some Ganache on top or even a simple chocolate glaze. I wouldn't recommend icing this cake since it would make it much more sweeter and will take away from the chocolatey taste which is the backbone of this cake. I halved the original recipe and got an 8' round cake. You could double the recipe and bake it in a rectangular tray if you are baking it as a dessert for a party.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fruit Chaat

Doesn't this remind you of the spicy pineapple / cucumber / raw mango slices sold on the streets here? Slices of these slathered with the spicy green masala and given on a piece of plantain leaf accompanied by a piece of newspaper so thoughtfully given to help you wipe your sticky hands.  Few shopping expeditions are complete without having this snack I relish so much. And I ask for a extra spicy version, which which will have me scurrying towards the nearest juice center. 

Oh, I love to gorge on this fruit / veggie masala, chana-chur, chaat specially on Commercial Street. I love to eat jowar rotis served with spicy chutney and brinjal masala when I am in or around Gandhi Bazaar, of course, the masala dosa at Upahaar Darshni . Filter coffee at Pavithra, Jayanagar 4th Block, the yumm stuff at Coffee House now on Church Street, parathas and dal at Bobby's Dhaba, Ulsoor... the list goes on and on. Which is your favorite street food and your favorite small eatery? Tell me about it!

Aren't we often left with a pile of fresh fruit post festivals or functions at home or post the visit of that very generous guest who gifts a fruit basket with just enough fruit to see you through the next two weeks? So, the next time, an assortment of fruit rains on you, give the predictable custard or fruit cream a miss and try this wholesome, quick and spicy  Fruit Chaat. All it takes is just an assortment of fruit and some mint-coriander masala and you have a really healthy and quick chaat.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Divya Kudua's Guest Post

Divya Kudua of Easycooking needs no introduction in the blogosphere. But I will always remember her as one of the first visitors from the blog world on my blog.  I had then hopped on to Easycooking and was amazed seeing the sheer variety of recipes there. More amazed as she is someone who started to learn cooking only after getting married. And for someone who was not much into the kitchen route, her passion for cooking and baking and the kind of dishes she has on her repertoire leaves me dazed. And for someone who started the culinary journey just a few years ago,  her writing a blog as fabulous as Easycooking is extremely commendable.  Kudos Divya!! You really are an inspiration to many of us, particularly those who take new steps into the culinary world.
I have been a regular reader of her blog and love her writing, her sense of humor and of course her recipes and eye-catching pictures. Was, am, was a believer that a microwave is not really the best gadget for baking (I bake in an OTG), but had to change my mind after reading her review on the subject on Chef In You. Seeing the kind of bakes and cakes she has dished up, am now actually beginning to consider buying a convection microwave myself! Tiramisu Cake, Condensed Milk Pound Cake , Strawberry Cream Gateau, Hot Milk Sponge Cake, Orange And Chocolate Chunk Muffins , Paneer Ghee Roast would be on the top of my personal favorite recipes from her blog. Easycooking has also been my introduction to Konkani cuisine.

I had requested her for a guest post and she has been really sweet in dishing up something drool-worthy  and in accordance with my preference (hint, hint:-). So here comes shortly, Divya's guest post on Cakes and More! Thanks so very much Divya!! Here's wishing wishing my blogger friend and Easycooking all the very best!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I baked my first real bundt cake! It would take another baker to understand how absurdly happy you can be to get a new baking tin, pages from an old, tattered baking book, good yeast,  good quality butter paper or that favorite brand of cocoa, a cake you got right after that miss, a new favorite recipe or that tiny bottle of almond extract. Am sure you would agree with me on this. I was as excited as a kid on two counts. Baking in my new bundt pan for the first time and a  new recipe I tried with an ingredient I have never used before in a cake. Cream cheese! Yep, we do not get an ingredient labeled as such here, but to my delight , discovered that our desi paneer or cottage cheese works very well as a substitute. 

I have baked quite some chocolate cakes and bakes recently, so was hunting for a good vanilla bundt cake recipe and finally found this recipe on Deb's Smitten Kitchen, a wonderful blog if you are into baking. Books can no doubt give lots of great recipes, but blogs allow you to read so much more into a recipe. I specially love blogs which tell you how to do things in detail...and Deb has done just that. Thanks so much Deb! The cake tasted like nothing I have eaten before, the texture totally new to me.. spooky soft, crumbly, powdery sort of, a bit dense... am not really able to describe this right. I sincerely hope I turned out the cake as its supposed to turn out!! But what I can tell you for sure is this is one cake I liked, a lot actually:-). For the very different texture and the amazing flavor . If you want to try baking something different and yumm, try baking this Cream Cheese Bundt Cake. You will be in for a surprise and a very delicious one at that...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cakes And More Turns One Shortly! An Announcement And A Giveaway!!!

Cakes And More turns one on 10th January!!

At the outset, my sincere and heartfelt thanks to all my readers for visiting my blog,  the encouraging comments and keeping me motivated! 

Allow me to tell you how I started this blog. One of my colleagues suggested that I write a baking blog, hubby gave me a big thumbs-up, gave the final push to reluctant me when he wrote the first two sentences of my first post and then handed over CAM to me. Then I started writing in a frenzy, pulling out all my treasured old cake pictures from my Picasa album...amused hubby tried to temper my enthusiasm as I wrote 22 posts in the first month(my highest so far).  Wrote the first 10 posts or so then messaged my friends at midnight with my blog URL. I wanted something there when they read my blog:-)).

And am I so glad I started blogging! Almost a year and a modest hundred plus posts, I am a happy baker- blogger. As I keep saying, learning so many new things, knowing people who share the same passion, people who I can actually ask 'Hey, what's baking today?' has been a rewarding outcome. Am so much in awe of all those wonderful blogs and bloggers out there, looking forward to more and more of this enriching experience... I have resolved to keep up my daily walk routine, keep everyday food more healthier and share the major portion of my bakes...for the joy of sharing with others, the joy of baking for me:-).

The response to the section Baking Supplies And Ingredients In Bangalore (now with Google maps) has been overwhelming.  Am so very happy to see such enthusiasm and get support from baking enthusiasts in my endeavor to help grow the baking community,  in Bangalore particularly. Looking forward to your continued support. Suggestions for improvement in this area most welcome.

Three Cheers to home-baking and may the passionate home-bakers tribe increase!

Now, coming to the event and giveaway announcement, shall we call this as Bakeomania!!?  I will be giving away this wonderful book, which every baker would love to own.

Yes!! The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum! Gorgeous cake recipes, fillings and frostings you can pair them up with, decorating cakes and so much more!!

What you would need to do to get a chance to have this book on your shelf...

1.Bake Anything - A gorgeous cake, a fluffy bread, mouth-watering cookies, tempting desserts or decadent pies and post it on your blog. 

2. Please leave a comment here, blog about this giveaway with a link up to this announcement between today and 8th January 2011.

3. I will be accepting only vegetarian recipes as this is a vegetarian blog, eggs are allowed though.

4. Lets please keep the entries fresh and original. If you have baked from another blog or source, please make a mention and provide a link to the same wherever applicable.

5. Non-bloggers most welcome to participate, please leave a comment here and mail me your entries with the recipe details and a picture by 8th January 2011. Mail to suma dot rowjee at gmail dot com.

6. Multiple entries allowed.

7. This book will be shipped to any address in India. 

8. The winner of the giveaway will be announced on 10th January.

Could you please take a moment to tell me what you like about this blog, suggestions for improvement, in terms of recipes, the posts per se or just about anything. I would really, really  appreciate this.  And do mail me for any queries.

So switch on your ovens, get baking, put your best foot.. oooops.. bake forward!! Good luck!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Eggless Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies - Chewy, Chocolicious....Yummmax!!!

I must tell you about  these chocolaty, chocolate packed, super delicious cookies I baked !! Fudgy, chewy centers, crisp edges, chocolate in very bite, I just fell in love with these little things. The best part is, these are also very easy to make.  Trust me, if you are a new baker and looking for that simple yet awesome cookie recipe which will win you compliments, look no further. Here is one for you.

Wanted to bake some cookies to send to a cousin of mine who was leaving home to begin her career in another town. And what better than a piece of chocolate indulgence to make sure her otherwise boring journey is a made a tad more interesting and yumm. My cousins absolutely loved them and my Aunt who normally dislikes chocolate also ate them!!

This recipe is from Baking Bites and as Nicole says, you may be a little more partial to these cookies when it comes to your favorite cookies. And Nicole, as you said, I just could not stop at eating one, when these little things came out of the oven. Actually, I popped quite a few of these into my mouth, I won't tell you how many, I don't remember how many;-), I am still trying to resist eating the few I have hidden away. Yep, I found them really irresistible, being a huge chocoholic myself.

I know you want to bake these now, so without much more talk lets head straight for the recipe.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Garlic Knots

   When Madhuri first showed me these on Annie's Eats, I was drooling like a baby. And when she made these delicious buns and posted them on her blog, ooh-ed and aah-ed over them, I had to, had to try these out and soon. I find the aroma of butter and garlic irresistible in breads and can gleefully (read greedily) eat a whole baguette all by myself ;-). Just the copious amounts of fat drizzled or smeared on the ones available at stores put me off. But now that I am beginning to learn the A of the ABC of baking bread, there was just no stopping me from baking these Garlic Knots at home. And what awesome buns these made! I had baked these in the morning so that we could eat these with soup for dinner, but was left with very little of the buns by evening. Hubby complained that they got over too soon, I baked this as a loaf yesterday again! Talk about people finding excuses to bake!

Fantastic in taste and texture, slightly salty, these make the perfect, perfect company to your hearty bowl of steaming soup. Serve these warm with veggie loaded soup and a large salad, and you will eat your scrumptious and hearty winter evening meal without any guilt what so ever.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chocolate Filled Brioche Buns By Champa

Here comes the best bread on this blog - by Champa! These amazing brioche buns with chocolate inside them are truly delightful. Buttery, chocolaty and so airy, this elevates the humble bread to the status of a dessert.  I am for sure going to try these out sometime very soon.  Thanks so much for this post Champa, am so very glad to have it  here. Without much further ado, lets read what the Bangalore Baker has to say.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eggless Coffee Walnut Cookies

                    Coee smeCoffee LOVE, LOVE COFFEE!! I love nuts. And these two together is one of those matches made in heaven. Like orange and dark chocolate, chocolate and nuts, coffee and cream, coffee and chocolate.

Baking cookies is something I very rarely do. If you have noticed, this is the second cookie in a year I am posting on this blog.  It's not that I don't love cookies, its just the thought of rolling, cutting out the dough batch by small batch, that puts me off. If you have baked cookies in a small oven you will know what I mean. I baked cookies today after a long time and delicious ones at that! Am so happy! I made some of these Eggless Coffee Walnut Cookies which I had bookmarked from Deeba's blog(That leaves just the rest of those utterly gorgeous cakes and bakes on the uber gorgeous Passionate About Baking, left to be baked:) What an inspiring thought!!.  

This recipe is a very simple and quick as it involves using butter straight out of the fridge, no creaming the butter, no rolling and cutting out cookies. And it was quite easy to make, the results... yuu..mmm...If you are someone (like me) who shies away from baking cookies for the effort involved or need a quick to put-together batch of nutty, coffee rich, aroma filled cookies, this is just the recipe for you. Thanks so much Deeba for this lovely keeper of a recipe.

This recipe is from PAB, original recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert. This book supposedly has simple but sensational desserts so it gets added to my growing wish list of baking books.

Ingredients:  Weigh all ingredients for best results. This is important for the best texture.

All-Purpose Flour/maida – 260 grams
Walnuts, chopped – 100 grams (roughly chopped)
Sugar – 3/4 cup / 150 grams
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Unsalted butter – 170 grams, chilled and  cut into cubes
Instant coffee- 2-3 teaspoons to taste. (Bake your first batch with 2 teaspoons, add more next time)
Vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
Coffee beans – 40-50 to put on top. 

Hand method to mix dough
  • Grind the walnuts, sugar, salt, and flour together in small batches in the smallest jar of your mixer. If you have a food processor, you can fit it with a metal blade and pulse till the walnuts are finely ground.  We need to grind the nuts such that is really fine but not oily or pasty, this is very important. Watch my video on grinding nuts for tips, link at the end of the post. 
  • Take all of the flour mixture in a very large bowl or on your counter. Add the chilled butter and cut into the flour mixture (as in pie crust), I use a chilled metal dough scraper to do this and this method works well for me. You can also use a pastry blender.
  • It will look kind of dryish, but do not be tempted to add any liquid. The mixture will come together just fine if you have weighed your ingredients correctly. If absolutely needed, add 1 teaspoon milk. 
  • Once all the butter is cut in, knead the mixture very briefly and gently to make it smooth. 
  • Do not work the mixture too much or knead too much, the cookies will not be as light.
Food processor method to mix dough
  • Put the walnuts, flour, sugar, coffee, and salt in a food processor & pulse until walnuts are finely ground.
  • Add chilled butter & pulse again till breadcrumb like mixture forms.
  • Add the vanilla extract & pulse just until the dough begins to form clumps around the blade.
  • Take out and pull together to form a dough; knead briefly to make smooth.
  • Do not work the mixture too much or knead too much, the cookies will not be as light.
To proceed :  
  • You can either roll and cut the cookies or slice them. 
  • If planning to roll, divide the dough into 4 portions. Flatten each portion into a square, wrap in cling film and chill overnight or at least 2 hours. 
  • The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen well wrapped at this point. 
  • To make slice and bake cookies (this is easier), divide the dough into 4 portions and roll into logs. Wrap in cling film and chill overnight or at least for 2-3 hours. It is much easier to work with a well-chilled dough.
Bake the cookies
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 375 degrees F.
  • Line your cookies sheets with baking parchment
  • You can also use ungreased cookie trays. The dough has quite a lot of butter and oil from the walnuts so the release will not be a problem.
  • Take one log out at a time, using a sharp knife, slice 1/4″ apart. Push a coffee bean firmly in the center of each cookie. If your cookies do not get a good round shape when sliced, just shape it holding it gently but firmly and shape it against your palm)
  • Place the cookies 1 inch apart 
  • If rolling, take one portion of the dough. If it is too firm to roll easily, leave it on the counter for 10 minutes. Keep the dough between two sheets of parchment and roll evenly using gentle pressure. I have rolled my dough fairly thin, about 5mm. 
  • Cut the cookies into shapes, transfer to the baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and use, chilling in between as needed. 
  • If you have to use flour on the counter to roll the cookies, use just a light dusting or the cookies will be dry. 
  • Bake for about 10-12 minutes till the cookies are light brown in color. Bake a test batch of 2 cookies, that will tell you the approximate baking time. 
  • Your house will now be smelling gorgeous, filled with the aroma of coffee and butter. So, the cookies may get you sudden visiting neighbors ;-)
  • The baking time may vary slightly depending on the thickness of the cookies and your oven. Try to keep the cookies size uniform and keep watching closely for the first batch. 
  • The cookies will feel slightly soft (but not too soft) when they are done. They will continue to cook and harden slightly on the cookie tray when removed from the oven, so take care not to overbake or they will become too hard.
  • Once the cookies are done, remove the tray from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the tray for a minute. Once cool, gently remove from the tray.
  • Cool completely on cookie racks. Store in airtight tins.

    These cookies are supposed to stay good for a month. Well, we may not be able to test this at all as its highly unlikely that these cookies will remain uneaten for so long!

Watch my video on grinding nuts. 

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