Tag Archives: Cakes

bg4Its not that I have been absent because I don’t have recipes to share (in fact, I have quite a few piling up), it’s just that I have ten thousand things going on in my mind right now, and since each thought is more absurd than the next, I just wasn’t able to blog. Probably not blogging for so long has got me in a blogging rut as well and hence the writers’ block or whatever this is. But I guess I just need to jump back into it.

Kind of like cooking. For the first three days back from Canada I cooked absolutely nothing, relying solely on the frozen buffalo chicken wings and spicy black bean burgers that V had stocked up on while I was away for our meals. Three days later I took baby steps to cooking and now I am back in full swing (on most days). Except that on Monday I cut my finger real bad and had to go to urgent care to get my skin glued back and a tetanus shot as well, which left me more or less incapacitated to do anything and gave me an excuse to just louse around.

Now since I am better and I do have a lot of things to share, especially about my trip to Canada I thought I will just fill you in with all the stuff I learnt and made during my two month course at Bonnie Gordon College, and since I am not in the mood of writing too much (yup, this is when I am not in the mood), this one will be a picture heavy post. The picture on the left at the top (the very first pic of the post) is the cake I did as part of my Haute Couture assignment. We had to be inspired by haute couture and translate it to a cake. I chose to do a cake inspired by an Indian designer duo’s collection (Meera and Muzaffar Ali’s Jamazeb Collection). I really wanted to do a lehenga cake and thought it would be fun to practice the fabric like draping on the cake.

Read More →

For the past few days, ever since India beat Australia in the Quarter Finals World Cup Match cricket has been the talk of the town. From Facebook updates to my college chain mails to newspaper articles- wherever you go – the India Pakistan match is the topic of conversation. I can only imagine the excitement in my hometown Mohali, where the match is being played today. The advertisers, airlines, hotels, all are cashing in on the much anticipated match. Jokes on Afridi and his men are doing the rounds among Indians on social networking sites while the Pakistinis are doing the same on their pages for the team in blue. The mind games have begun on both sides. After long I have been excited about a match- I think there is something about playing Pakistan that triggers every Indian’s blood and the do or die spirit takes over. Defeating Pakistan is for most Indians like winning the world cup. Every Indian today is praying that India wins- I have no more nails left to bite!

Putting the excitement aside for a while, I completed my first Daring Bakers challenge, although a little late! *Victory clasp!*

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

This entry was supposed to be posted on the 27th but since I was busy packing, travelling, shopping, packing again and more travelling, only now I got the time to bake for the challenge. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in this challenge. The recipe yields two cakes and thought I would do one savory version and one sweet.

While the sweet dough kneaded to form a sexy (as Ria and Jamie put it)!, elastic and smooth dough, I had a tough time with the savory dough- I just could not get the elasticity called for in the dough. I used the bread maker’s dough cycle, then used my own muscle strength and boy how I used them! I’m sure tomorrow I’ll have sore muscles- yes I had to knead THAT much!

I also had trouble with the dough rising. It took longer than usual and did not rise as much as I hoped it would. One mistake I did with the sweet dough, which could be a reason for the not rising problem is that when heating the milk with water and butter- the milk almost boiled and it was still quite hot when I poured it in the flour mixture. But, that still does not explain why the savory dough did not rise. Maybe the yeast?! Hmmm…..Anyways the dough eventually did rise.

In the savory version I thought of putting cheddar cheese and have mentioned so in the recipe but when I got to rolling of the dough I realised that I had no grated cheese on hand. Pressed for time as the match had started (the long rising time changed my whole schedule- I was supposed to have been done with baking by the time the match was to start), I put parmesan cheese- but would still recommend the cheddar cheese.

I decorated the savory yeasted cakes by painting on it using a coffee-yolk mixture. (To see how to paint on your bread check this out!) For  painting I did not have a brush. I used an unused lipstick brush from my kit. Of course I washed it thoroughly. The things I do for baking!

The oven still gave me problems while baking- it does not heat evenly. So I had to make sure that I keep shifting the trays. It also took me longer than the stated time to bake the yeasted cakes as they were not getting brown from the top-nor was the hollow sound coming. As a result the sweet yeasted cake got burned from the bottom. I miss my own oven!!:(

Read More →

Merry Christmas!

When I was young, every Christmas, one of my mom’s friends, would gift us a loaf of fruitcake. It was the most delicious cake I have ever had. Growing up, I experimented tasting other fruitcakes, but nothing ever came close to that cake and well, the other fruitcakes just put me off fruitcakes altogether. This Christmas I wanted to recreate the same recipe. I tried asking my mom to get the recipe from her friend, but, unfortunately she did not have her number. One thing my mom did know about the recipe, though, was that she would make it at least a month before Christmas, soaking the cake with booze every few days.

So, the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, I started prep for my version of fruitcake. One thing I was sure that I did not want to use in the cake, was candied fruit. I was so sure about that, that even before searching for an apt recipe, I had already bought dried fruits. So I looked into my cookbooks, but none carried the recipe that made the cut. Then , I turned to my next best friend, google, for the recipe. And I found Alton Brown’s. Now, I loooooove his series Good Eats and the recipe is from one of the episodes of the series that aired this recipe. Besides not including any candied fruits, the recipe also got rave reviews. I did tweak it a bit by including the dried fruits I bought. My list included black figs, calmyrna figs, dried currants, medjool dates, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, monukka raisins, pitted prunes, sultanas. I used brandy instead of rum as thats what I had on hand. Since, I planned to gift the cakes to a few of my friends, I tripled the recipe.

The dried fruits chopped up and covered in sugar

I have never baked so many cakes together at one time before. And, there was this nagging feeling telling me- this is not a good idea. I did not have a bowl big enough to mix the whole batter. Then the oven wasn’t so big to accommodate all the cakes and having enough space for air circulation. Anyways, I thought to myself, if they are an utter failure- well, I’ll keep them for myself and make a pudding!

Three weeks later, they are all wrapped and ready to be gifted to friends, save for one- the one for us. Now, of course, I don’t remember the taste of the fruitcake I had eons back, but this version has been the best I have eaten since then!

All wrapped up!

Alton Brown likes to have his slice toasted with some mascarpone cheese! Like Alton Brown says, this is Good Eats!

Read More →