Friday, May 25, 2012

Sticky toffee date cake

Best cake ever ! Ina Garten is the way to go when it comes to baking. This is my most favorite cake that I ever made with her recipes. I had made this for a friend's birthday and it was a big hit. I have been baking this cake ever since. My baking is egg-less and use of flax seeds goes well with the taste of dates.
       The original recipe can be found here.I quartered the recipe and made one 6 inch round cake. I have baked the original recipe as it is . It is too sweet for me. So here is the updated version.

For the cake :
1/4 pound dates, pitted and chopped
3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4cup softened butter
1 tb spoon granulated sugar
1 tb spoon ground flax seeds + 3 tb spoon water (1 egg)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 tb spoon baking powder

For the sauce:
1/8 pound butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Mix together flour and salt and set aside. In a sauce pan add together water and dates and let the mixture come to boil. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg re-placer(flax seed and water mixture) and vanilla extract and beat again.Add the dry ingredients and mix to make a lumpy dough. Once the date mixture come to boil, remove from the heat and add baking soda to the date mixture. This will cause mixture to bubble.Pour the hot date mixture carefully to the dry mixture slowly and mix well.Add baking powder in the end. This will also cause mixture to bubble. Pour into a greased round cake pan and bake on 350 F for about 30-35 minutes.
     To make the sauce, mix the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar melts, add heavy cream and vanilla extract and salt and stir everything together . Sauce is ready.
     Once the cake is baked , let it cool for a while. Remove the cake from the cake pan and poke a few holes throughout the cake. Pour warm sauce on the cake. Cut and EAT.

1)Ina's original recipe does not call for salt in the toffee sauce. I like the combination of sweet and salty, so I added it.
2)I don't like desserts that are over the top sweet. So I did adjust the sugar. I have made this without adding any sugar and it works perfect. Toffee sauce is sweet so the cake can be little less sweet. And the dates are sweet enough for the cake.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brownie pudding

Ina Garten'sbrownie pudding is a pure bliss.When I watched the video, I couldn't resist making it. However, her recipe has fair amount of eggs. For someone like me, who does not eat eggs, this brownie pudding is far from reachable. I did play with the recipe numerous times to get the perfect texture. Finally had a success! This is a recipe inspired by Ina's pudding.
Very easy to make and very rich and chocolate-ey. I had some homemade caramel sauce to go with it, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be good too. This is in between a fudgy brownie and a molten lava cake. Whatever you call this, it is surely a treat.

Ingredients :
1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 tea spoon baking powder
1/8 tea spoon baking soda
1/4 tea sp salt
1/2 tb sp cocoa
1 oz dark chocolate (anything above 70% cocoa)
1/2 tb sp butter
1/2 cup water/milk
1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract
1/2 tea spoon instant coffee powder
1 tb spoon yogurt
2 tb. honey/agave
Method :
In a mixing bowl, mix together flour,baking powder,baking soda,salt and cocoa powder and set aside. In a double boiler, melt chocolate,butter and water/milk together.When the mixture melts, remove from the heat. Add vanilla extract,coffee powder,yogurt and honey and mix everything together. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix well.  Do not over mix. preheat the oven at 350F. Transfer the mixture to the greased ramekins. Arrange the ramekins in a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water so that water reaches half the height of the ramekins. Bake for 10-12 minutes.Check after 10 mins. When the cake is done the outer border will be cooked but center will be just set.  Remove from oven and serve warm. This recipe makes 2 descent size servings.

1) This is very dark chocolaty brownie pudding. Adjust the sugar/agave/honey as per your taste.
2) I bake these in a water bath so that they cook slowly.I have tried this without a water bath, it turns out like a normal brownie.It does not have gooey middle texture when not baked in water bath.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I adore this classic Italian dessert. I tasted this once and am in love with this. Deep fried tube shaped pastry shell stuffed with the mixture of ricotta cheese and sugar and dipped in nuts. Who won't like these!! I am not a big fan of deep frying. So I was trying to bake cannoli pastry shell for a while. Finally after several tries here is the perfected recipe !
          I have made various types of stuffings.This recipe (stuffing only) is just a guideline.You can add  any flavor combination that you like. These 3 happen to be my favorites. Here I am sharing the recipe for mocha flavored stuffing. Generally the filling is made with ricotta cheese, however I have stuffed cannoli with custard, ice cream, whipped cream and they all taste equally good.

Kesar Ilayahci kulfi with almonds
Mocha fillling with hazelnuts

Orange with pistachios

Ingredients :
For the pastry :
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 and 1/4 tea spoon baking powder
2 tb spoons sugar
1 and 1/2 tb spoon cold butter
2 tb spoons sour cream
1/4 cup cold water

For the filling ( Mocha)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tb spoons sugar
1 tea spoon instant coffee powder
1 tb spoon warm water
2-3 tb spoons grated dark chocolate

mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts to decorate.

Method :

For the pastry, add the flours,salt ,sugar,baking powder in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add cold butter and sour cream and pulse again for a minute. After a minute, keeping the food processor running, add water slowly to incorporate everything into a ball. Once mixture starts to come together, stop pulsing. Remove from food processor, knead the mixture a few times to form a ball, wrap in a plastic wrap and chill for atleast half an hour.
               You get Cannoli forms in the market that you can use or else you can do what I did.Tightly roll the heavy duty foil into a cylinder shape and use that as a cannoli form. Divide the chilled dough into 20 small balls. Roll each ball to make a thin circle.Wrap this rolled dough around the oiled/buttered  'cannoli form' and set aside. Make the rest of cannoli. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place cannoli onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes and remove the half baked pastry shell carefully from the form.It comes off very easily. Bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature before stuffing them. These empty shells can last up to 2 days at room temperature.
             To make the stuffing, dissolve a teaspoon instant coffee powder in a tablespoon warm water and set aside to cool it down. Whip the cream with sugar and the dissolved coffee until firm peaks. Add ricotta cheese and whip again. Add grated chocolate and mix. Fill the piping bag with the mixture and stuff the cannoli shells from both ends. Dip the stuffed shells into mini chocolate chips and hazelnuts and chill for half an hour so that the filling hardens a little. They are ready to serve!

Stuffed cannoli will stay crunchy for 3-4 hours. After that it turns soggy.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kariche Panhe

Nothing screams summer more than a chilled drink. Kariche panhe / raw mango drink is a perfect solution for a hot afternoon. This is a quick recipe and does not require lot of ingredients.

2 raw mangoes (Kairi)
3/4 cup grated jaggery
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
pinch of saffron
pinch of salt

Method :
Pressure cook the raw mangoes for 3 whistles.Remove the skin and the seed when they are warm and puree it in blender. Transfer in a bowl. Add grated jaggery when the mango puree is still warm.This allows jaggery to melt. Add cardamom,saffron and salt. Stir to mix everything together. Allow it to come to room temperature.Save this in a clean dry container in a fridge, It stays for a week.

While making the drink, Take 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the glass.Fill the rest with water and stir. Add ice and touch of salt just before serving. You may add 1/4 tea spoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

You may require slightly more or less jaggery depending upon the tartness of raw mango.