We Indians are generally fantastic cooks and unlike the west we do not rely on ready to eat foods for our day to day meals but baking is something which we steer clear out and prefer buying ready made cakes or other baked products rather then baking it our selves . I have fond childhood memories of my Moms wonderful cooking, but have absolutely no memory of her baking me a birthday cake usually it used to always be something that was store brought , but the during 70’s and the 80’s having a Oven in a middle class Indian home was literally unheard of I remember just seeing those in the houses of foreign returnees to be specific Gulf returnees and even then the Oven was just a equipment that was placed proudly in the kitchen as a show piece and rarely ever used , in fact commercially also I have rarely seen any baked delicacies in the markets those days the closest to a cake that I remember seeing was the ghastly pink and yellow colored butter cream cakes or pastry found in the local bakeries .
Baking in India relatively started catching up mid 90’s where OTG’s that is the oven toaster grilles started being freely available in the market but still baking is quiet an virgin concept to most Indians and they are still quiet vary about it . Even though I have been in this food industry for quiet some time now and I really I love my food, I have tried out many different cuisines quiet successfully but baking was something that was alien to me and I never really had the guts to try baking now when I look back I find my entire attitude so silly. I guess then I had this fear called the fear of the unknown since I never really tried baking I always thought baking for me would be a recipe for disaster until the year 2006 I finally decide to try my hand in baking and patisserie so took up a course In Le Cordon Bleu London and there I realized the Joys of baking and I guess that is the also the same problem with most Indian home cooks in our Indian Cuisine we rarely have anything to bake so we haven’t really tried our hands at it and this makes us so vary of baking .
Delia Smith a very popular British cookery book author once quoted. “A cake is a symbol of love and friendship-if someone actually goes to the trouble of baking a cake especially for family, they can’t fail to feel spoiled & cared for”. I completely agree with this quote baking a cake for someone is simplest way of showing someone you care. So seriously if you care for some you can use this recipes get over your fear of baking and come up with the perfect cake.
There are two things to remember when you want to bake any thing though they are the simplest of things most of us ignore this and end up having disastrous results and they are
WEIGH YOUR INGREDIENTS:
I really cant stress enough the importance of this point, correct scaling of ingredients , usually disaster happens while baking people have the attitude of throw-it-all-in-and-lets-see-what happens affair, though this attitude may work quiet well with cooking but with baking this will never work even the most seasoned of the pastry and bakery chefs rely on the humble weighing scales for each of their products.
Always follow the Rules
I know I sound like a elementary school teacher here but this is how it is, now this means first and fore most find a reliable recipe and stick to it for example a recipe says Mix the batter in slow speed then you need to mix the batter in slow speed do not attempt to mix on high speed other wise you will just end up with a over mixed batter
Now both this rules are the simplest of all the rules but believe me following it is the most difficult thing to do now after keeping this thing in mind lets start baking our Perfect cake.
For Starters let’s start making some thing which is a very simple preparation but a huge favorite with lot of people. It has an added advantage also for being quite a healthy form of cake. The carrots in this recipe are also a rich source of fiber plus it can be made healthier by adding whole wheat flour to it rather then the refined flour. I like making carrot cake in muffin pans rather then a cake tin. Also in this recipe I have added a bit of Rose Mary I think this gives the carrot cake a wonderful flavour but this can be optional.
140 ml vegetable oil
200 gms of brown sugar
300 gms grated carrots
100 gms raisins
75 gms walnut
180 gms whole wheat flour/refined flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon pwdr
½ tsp grated nutmeg
5 gms of dried rose mary. (Optional)
Now mix together all the dry ingredients that is the flour, spices , rose mary , salt, baking powder, baking soda, walnuts and raisins.
Rich Coconut Cake
Recently when spring cleaning at home I came across this very old Bundt cake tin. It brought back very pleasant memories of the eighties back then the concept of having an oven in middle class Indian homes was still a very alien concept. My mum used this cake tin for baking cakes during Christmas and this cakes were baked on the gas range. Now you might wonder" how do you bake a cake without an oven" but believe it or not this is very much possible. Please check out the below image .
This cake tin looks very much like a typical Bunt tin with a hole in the middle but it has an additional attachment a small saucer with a hole in the middle which is filled with sand. I am not much of scientist but I guess the logic is that the gas range heats up the sand which in turn bakes the cake. Taste wise I dint really find much of difference in an oven baked cake and cake baked on a gas range but I found this method of baking very fascinating.
This cake is a rich coconut tea cake. Typically a pound cake is made with equal amounts of butter, flour, sugar and eggs but I have additionally added virgin coconut oil and yogurt to this recipe. I was very happy with the result this cake almost tasted like a coconut halwa. I have used this old bundt tin but you can use a more traditional loaf tin and bake it in a preheated oven at 150 degrees for 45 mins to an hour.
180 gms Flour
200 gms castor sugar
11/2 tsp baking powder
60 gms desiccated coconut.
150 gms butter/margarine
25 ml virgin coconut oil
01 tsp coconut essence
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
o2 no eggs
In a mixing bowl mix together butter, sugar and coconut oil.
Whisk together butter, oil and sugar till its nice and creamy.
Now add the hung curd and whisk it further till its nicely blended.
Separately sieve together flour and baking powder.
Now mix together the desiccated coconut with the sieved flour.
Now coiming back to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, add eggs one at a time and whisk well.
Now pour the mixture in a greased and floured cake tin or alternatively you can also use parchment paper if using loaf tin.
Bake in preheated oven at 150 degrees for 45 mins to an hour.
Enjoy the cake when its completely cooled
Back in London days, I remember having this ginger and honey flavored tea during those long and chilly winters. I just loved this combination, that cup of tea was my absolute comfort drink. Last two weeks in Mumbai brought back the memories of those days with the weather being so rainy and gloomy was raining heavily and weather was so gloomy sitting by the window watching the falling rain and sipping this wonderful tea I thought of using this flavours for my cakes. This recipe is also slightly different as compared to my regular cakes. I made a mayonnaise of olive oil and egg yolks and used honey as a sweetener and then folded flour and stiffly beaten egg white used candid orange peel and candied ginger for flavoring the result was an awesome soft cake with a medley of different flavours.
160 gms flour (I Have used Whole wheat flour/Atta)
3 eggs separated
3/4th Tsp baking powder
100gms candied ginger
50gms candied orange peel (Alternatively You can remove zest of one orange)
100gms caster sugar
1tbl sp Vinegar (I like using wine vinegar)
125ml olive oil (just the regular one not the extra virgin)
180ml honey1/2tsp vanilla essence
In a deep bowl add egg yolks, vinegar, sugar and candied orange peel.
Slowly start adding the olive oil to it keep on stirring it till the mixture emulsifies and you make mayonnaise.
Now start adding the honey and brandy mixture keep on whisking it.
In a Separate bowl whisk the egg whites till nice and stiff
In a Bowl mix together flour, baking powder and chopped candied ginger.
Fold Together Mayonnaise mixture alternatively with whipped egg white and flour.
Prepare a 7 inch cake tin line it with oil and butter paper at the bottom.
Pour this mixture in the cake tin.
I have used some flaked almonds for garnishing bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 20-25min.
Bake till it gets a wonderful brown colour.
This is a wonderful tea cake
This weekend all my Girl friends were coming over at home and was wondering what should I serve them then I came up with this wonderful lemon cup cake which is filled with lovely lemon curd filling to give that perfect lemony zing to it , thought of sharing this recipe with you guys basically this is an ideal treat for those lazy Sunday afternoon, tea and gossip session with the ladies.
125 gms unsalted butter/margarine (you easily get table margarines in the supper market although unsalted butter is difficult to get in Indian super markets. Please do not use the salted butter it makes whole lot of difference to the taste)
125 gm Castor sugar /powder sugar (Don’t worry if you don’t have either just grind the ordinary table sugar in a coffee grinder)
100gms Refined Flour
25 gms milk powder
2gms Lemon Zest (Grate the outer skin of lemons with a grater Taking care tat only the outer thin layer of the yellow part is used ,do not use the white part )
5ml vanilla essence
3 no eggs.
80 ml Lemon Juice
200gms of sugar
4gms Lemon Zest
50 gms of margarine or unsalted butter
3 no eggs
Take all ingredients for making the Lemon curd in a steel bowl mixes together all the ingredients for the lemon curd and keeps it on a double boiler
A double boiler is a indirect source of heat were a sauce pan of water is kept on the flame and then the steel bowl is kept for cooking the eggs this done so as not to over cook the sauce
Remove it from the flame and cool it down it will further thicken during cooling process. As the lemon curd is cooling down we can start making the lemon cake.Cream together margarine, lemon zest and sugar with a electric beater
Once the above ingredients are thoroughly mixed add eggs now add one egg at a time this very important or the whole mixture will curdle. After the egg has been completely incorporated add the next egg
Sieve baking powder, flour and milk powder together. Lightly fold the flour with the egg mixture use a spatula to mix and add the flour in three parts so that you do not over mix the flour.
Put the mixture in a disposable piping bag. Disposable piping bag you get easily in the market but incase you don’t have them you can use spoons to put the mixture in cup cake moulds. The only problem with using spoons is it makes the entire process very messy but this works equally well.
Take care to fill only 3/4th as the once the batter is baked it will rise. I have Used small as well as a little bigger cup cake mould. Note the small cup cake will take less time to bake.
Bake the cup cakes at 160 degrees C for about 15 min. Check after 15 mins that is insert a tooth pick in the cake and keep it for 5 secs and remove it out it comes out clean that means the cup cake is baked.
Take the left over top and cut it into half and keep over the top of the cup cake as a garnish.
Now carefully pipe the lemon curd in the cavity of the cup cake and cover it with base
Chocolate Fantasy was the only name I could think of for this yummy ,gooey concoction, for this cake is a chocoholic’s ultimate dream come true, each bite it reminds you as to why chocolate is considered such an aphrodisiac and sinful dessert I have tried million different recipes of making a chocolate cake, this recipe in my opinion rates the best for the ultimate chocolate experience and the extreme ease of making it generates an extra brownie points.
Cocoa Powder 45 gms
Oil 60 ml
Flour 110 gms
Butter milk 115 ml
Water 115 ml
Baking powder 3.5gms
Baking Soda3.5 gms
Powder Sugar 200gms
Salt 3 gms
200 gms Dark Chocolate
150 ml Fresh Cream
50 gms butter
Chocolate eggs (Cadburys have come out with this recently and which I find an extremely easy garnish in today’s busy world but you can get creative and use fruits , white chocolate etc)
For the base mix together all the dry ingredients that is flour, cocoa powder, baking powder ,baking soda and sugar in a bowl.
Now mix together the dry ingredients with
the wet ingredients that is the flour mixture with the butter milk mixture except for water.
the wet ingredients that is the flour mixture with the butter milk mixture except for water.
Separately boil the water.
Now keep one cake base on a plate or a cake board. With the help of a palette knife spread the chocolate icing on the cake. Sandwich the second base on top and cover that with the chocolate icing completely.
With the left over icing have piped some design on the cake. The Cake tastes best when served warm
Caribbean Rum Cake
I was just speaking to my friend who had been to a recent trip to the Caribbean Island and he was telling me about this Tortuga Rum Cake which he had and was raving about it. Apparently recipe for making Tortuga rum cake is a secret but then speaking to him I just thought of coming up with a Caribbean flavoured cake that is to combine ingredients like pineapple, coconut and rum. This recipe is quiet moist with a sweet and tangy flavour of pineapple with a hint of coconut and almost intoxicating flavour of rum I have made this in to a muffin but then you have a choice of making it into a pine apple upside down cake as well.
40 ml Old Monk Rum
45gms desiccated coconut
1tsp Baking powder
1/4th tsp salt
Keep aside to cool it down.
Add the egg and whisk it well slowly add milk to the mixture and go on whisking it. Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the desiccated coconut as well.Now slowly fold the mixture. The batter will belittle lumpy don’t worry about it.
I have used this paper cups to make this muffins u can also use muffins moulds or you can use a cake mould and make it in to a cake form.Pour the batter in the moulds . Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Prepare a Glaze for the muffins
50 gms Grain Sugar
50 ml Old monk Rum