NO Egg NO Butter : Dates and Almond loaf

Dates and almond loaf

I am not a big believer in egg-less baking not just because I eat eggs and really don’t see a reason not to use them in my cakes.  But I know from my personal experience that the fluffiness and the taste that eggs add to cakes cannot be recreated using other ingredients.

Baking without eggs makes the list of ingredients longer with curds, milk, milk powder, oil, honey, soda bi carbonate and so on…

On the positive, one need not follow any mixing rules. Mix wet things together, mix dry things together and add the dry stuff to the wet stuff. Simple!

However, I make an exception for ‘Dates and Almond loaf’. So much so that I feel the addition of eggs or butter would actually spoil it.

Dates and Almond loaf

Ingredients;

1 cup flour (Maida)

¾ cup caster sugar

15 dates without seeds

1 cup milk

½ tsp soda bi carbonate

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp vanilla essence

¼ cup refined oil

¼ cup sliced almonds

Process:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180o C for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove seeds from the dates. Take a cup-full of warm milk and soak the dates in the milk for about 30 minutes. Alternately, you can add the dates to milk and warm it in the microwave for 1 min max. Whichever method you adopt, make sure that the milk is not too hot else it will curdle after adding dates.
  3. Grind milk and dates into a fine paste.
  4. In a bowl add the date and milk paste, oil and sugar and vanilla essence. Mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl sieve flour. Add soda bi carbonate and baking powder to the flour and mix.
  6. Add 5 to 4 and mix well. Fold in sliced almonds.
  7. Line up a baking mould. If you want to make cupcakes out of this, then line up cup cake moulds.
  8. Add the mixture to the mould and bake it for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on the loaf while it’s baking. Baking time usually differs for different ovens.

The colour of the dates you use will determine the colour of your loaf.

Date and Almond loaf is an ideal tea time snack. You can top it with a layer of icing of your choice but would advice against it. The cake tastes yum just the way it is!

Dates and Almond loaf

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Everyday Chocolate Cake

A friend of mine asked me for chocolate cake recipe. Since she is new to baking, to confirm the simplest way of making chocolate cake, I immediately searched the net. To my disappointment, most sites prescribed butter milk, vegetable oil and even unprocessed dutch cocoa – something not very comfortable for a beginner.

So, I decided to go ahead with my basic vanilla cake recipe by adding cocoa to it. To my surprise, it turned out to be quite delicious. I don’t get a chance to repeat my recipes much (drawback of being a blogger), but I would love to repeat this one.

This chocolate cake is simple to make and the ingredients are absolutely easy to find. So here is how you make my humble chocolate cake.

Mind the following before you start;

  1. Use all the ingredients at room temperature.
  2. Sieve dry ingredients before you measure them.
  3. Follow the measurements to the T. don’t go by approximation.

Ingredients;

125 grams of unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, avoid adding salt separately)

125 grams of plain flour

125 grams of granulated white sugar (you can replace 75grams of sugar with brown sugar if available)

25 grams of dark unsweetened cocoa powder

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup milk only if needed

Procedure;

Pre-heat the oven at 1800C

Bowl A

  1. In bowl A add softened butter
  2. Add sugar and beat for a minute
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat for a minute more.

Bowl B

  1. In bowl B, sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  1. Slowly add the dry ingredients from bowl B to bowl A. Mix slowly with a spatula. At this point if you feel that the mix is too dense add a little milk (a tbsp to begin with) and mix.
  2. Line the baking tin with butter paper. If butter paper is not available, grease the tin with butter and sprinkle just a little flour. Remove excess flour.
  3. Add the cake mix to the tin. Tap gently on the edge of the tin to remove trapped air. Bake for approximately 40 mins. Keep checking.
  4. Once the cake is done. Switch off the oven and let it rest in the oven for 5 mins.
  5. Take the cake out of the oven and cut once it cools down.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are new to baking, chocolate cake is where you make a start. It’s a low risk option. Since it is loaded with cocoa powder, the taste will always be good 🙂

Celebrate Love | Red velvet cupcake

The story of Saint Valentine belongs to the western world but Valentine’s Day celebration is a global rage  and it is getting bigger every passing year. Yes, there is also a huge commercial angle to it.

I too wanted to celebrate Valentine ’s day my way i.e. by cooking something different. Something that is totally out of my comfort area and something that can truly capture the spirit of valentine’s day –LOVE.

I vaguely remember reading about red velvet cupcakes sometime back. B.B.C. GoodFood covered this delicacy for their Feb issue dedicated to valentine’s day.

The decision was made. ‘Red velvet cup cakes’ it is.

These cup cakes have a red velvety soft texture with a hint of coco in the taste. They say traditionally unprocessed coco powder was used in these cakes. This coco powder used to react with the buttermilk giving the cake its unique red colour.

Some say you can use beetroot juice instead of  food colour. Though this is a healthier option, I am yet to try it.

Here is my version of the cupcakes I tried at home 🙂

You can make around 12 cup cakes with the measures mentioned in this recipe.

Ingredients

For Cup Cake –

125 grams Sifted Plain Flour

57 grams unsalted butter at room temperature

150 grams sifted white granulated sugar

1 tbsp unsweetened coco powder – take any dark coco powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

125 ml plain butter milk

1 tbsp red liquid food colouring

1 ½ tbsp plain vinegar

1 ½ tsp baking soda- soda bi carbonate

 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg – at room temperature

For cream cheese frosting

180 grams of cream cheese

100ml double cream –should be cold

40 grams sifted icing sugar

A drop of Vanilla extract

 Preparations before you start cooking

  1. If you store egg , butter, cheese cream in the refrigerator, keep them out a few hours before cooking to bring them to the room temperature naturally.
  2. Measure the core ingredients of the cake- flour, sugar , butter and keep them ready. Sieve flour and sugar before measuring.
  3. Have measuring spoons handy.
  4. Pre heat oven at 180 degree Celsius.
  5. Line the cup cake moulds with butter paper.

 Recipe

Step 1 – prepare frosting first

Prepare the frosting before the cake and chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will help us get a thick and dense icing.

1) Beat cheese cream in a bowl for half a minute to make it smooth. Careful not to beat it excessively. Keep the speed of the beater to low.

2) In a separate bowl, take cream and add icing sugar to it. Beat the mixture, for about 3-4 minutes, till it thickens. The speed of the electric beater can be set to Medium or high.

3) Add beaten cheese cream to it and beat briefly only to ensure cream cheese mixes well with cream and icing sugar. Avoid overbeating as the frosting might become runny.

Step 2 – Cup cakes

The preparation of cup cakes is divided in 3 parts

 Part A- Colour buttermilk

1) Add red food colouring to butter milk and mix it well. Handle food colour very carefully, we don’t want everything around to turn red to match the cup cakes 😉

If you don’t have ready buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of thick curd, whisk it well. Add water to it and whisk well again to remove all the lumps. Use 125 ml of this for the cup cakes. Store / discard the excess.

Part B- Dry ingredients

2) Take sifted flour in a bowl, add unsweetened coco powder , baking powder and salt (all sifted) to it (if not sifted already, use a sieve while adding it)

 Part C- Wet ingredients

Use large bowl for this. The other ingredients will eventually be added to the wet ingredients.

3) Beat unsalted butter with a whisker till its smooth. Roughly for about 1 min.

4)  Add granulated sugar to the butter; beat it at a high speed for about 2-3 minutes till the mixture gets light and smooth.

5)  Add one large egg and vanilla extract and beat for about a min.

 

We will now add dry ingredients and coloured buttermilk to the wet ingredients little at a time.

Add 1/3rd of dry ingredients and ½ of coloured buttermilk to the wet ingredients. Mix well with beater.

Now add another 1/3rd of the ingredients and all the remaining buttermilk and beat well.

Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.

In a small bowl take vinegar and add baking soda to it. Whisk it quickly with a spoon and fold in gently to the cake mix before the fizz is gone.

Fill the cup cake moulds with a scoopful of the cake mix. You can use a regular spoon or an ice cream scoop. Bake it for 20 mins at 180 degree Celsius.

Once the cup cakes cool down, add a topping of the cream cheese frosting. Create a design of your choice or write the name of each of your friend on each cup cake to give it a personal touch or to just layer the top with loads of frosting… go wild with it !!

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