Chocolate Cake Recipe

Finally a cake recipe. I know its weird after three months I am posting a cake recipe. Why so late ? First and foremost I am a copy baker. I cant atleast for now create my own individual baking recipes. I am still trying to decipher the science of baking. But till then there are millions of fantastic bakers who I am grateful for sharing their best recipes with the world. So all of us can benefit from it and continue with our passion of baking.  Also I will only post recipes which are tried and tested in my kitchen. So you do not have to worry whether it will work or no. Here goes the first chocolate cake recipe ( which incidentally is the first chocolate cake I ever made successfully) – Baking a chocolate cake first time is like trying something amazing because if it works out well. You my friend will be creating history. You will always remember that recipe and moment when people taste the cake and then comes out a WOW! This recipe will do that to you cause it did the same thing for me. Making this recipe got me very nostalgic. Now as half of you will agree with me  or in some cases all of us is that our baking inspiration (atleast mine ) is greatly inspired by Nigella Lawson. I still remember watching TLC and her amazing inspirational shows. Seeing her prepare the cake batter in 5 minutes with such ease just amazed me. I still feel her recipes are always foolproof. They will turn out perfect. I found one of those in her Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. It so simple to make and tastes delicious. You will hear raving reviews about it trust me ! What I made this time wasn’t a cake but petit fours. My brother had a techie meet at home on Sunday. So wanted something which was easier to serve and looked good at the same time. So these bite size of deliciousness were perfect. Also I didn’t make her frosting. I used Chococlate Ganache instead. But I have given the instructions for both the cake and petit fours. Chocolate Cake Ingredients – 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 cup caster sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ⅓ cup best-quality unsweetened cocoa 1 ½ sticks soft butter 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ⅔ cup sour cream / yogurt ( I used yogurt) Directions – Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF and line and butter two 20cm / 8 inch round pan with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and cocoa in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and beat in the soft butter until the mixture is combined and not lumpy. Whisk the eggs, sour cream / yogurt and vanilla in a bowl. Add to the flour mixture and beat it  until creamy and lump free for at least 4 – 5 minutes. Batter should be thick, lump free, free falling and smooth. With an ice cream scoop or large spoon divide the batter equally. Bake for 30 minutes but keep checking at 20 or 25. To test the whether the cake is done insert a toothpick to check if it comes out clean. One more way is try to remove a crumb or two of the cake with a toothpick and feel the texture. If it is dry and crumbly then the cake is done. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes and invert the pan on a plate and just lightly tap it, the cake should come out easily. Remove the parchment paper and invert it with a plate again. Let it cool completely before icing. Chocolate Ganache Ingredients 400 gms Dark Chocolate ( kept at room temperature ) 200 ml cream ( preferably Rich or Amul ) Method – Chop the chocolate and put the pieces in a large bowl.  In a sauce pan pour the cream. Cook till its almost boiling we don’t want the cream to be very hot. Pour the cream on the chocolate and slowly with a spatula start mixing it till all the chocolate is melted. If the cream reaches room temperature and the chocolate hasn’t melted. Microwave it on a 15 second interval twice or thrice. Mixing it well after every interval. Now you can make this one day ahead cover and keep it overnight. It will be in the ganache form in the morning. If  like me you like to make it last minute. Keep it in an AC room for an hour or so till its pasty and can be applied easily. Avoid refrigerator because when you will take it out from the fridge, it will start sweating ( tiny water droplets on the cream/chocolate when we remove it out from the fridge). Now cut the extra bulge on top of the cake if any with a knife. Apply a decent layer of ganache. Cut the bulge on the other layer and put it upside down so the bottom side is on top of the cake. Cover the cake with ganache. What I did – I made the cake in a rectangle pan and then with an one inch square cutter cut pieces.  Apply some ganache between two pieces and sandwich them together. You can swirl some ganache on top to finish it. 20140310_143547 20140310_143129 Cake Recipe Courtesy of Nigella Lawson. http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/old-fashioned-chocolate-cake-119

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson (Copyright 2004, Feast, Hyperion, All Rights Reserved)
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Sunday Brunch / Super Fun At Punjab Grill

From all my favorite meals I love brunches. For just simple reasons like I almost have brunch everyday. Ya perks of a home baker doesn’t matter when you wake up. But then there is a different feel to a Sunday Brunch especially when its with your family and friends. Its kind of a catching up meal with great food. If there wasn’t great food the Sunday Brunch will be incomplete.

So to enjoy our sunday with great food and loads of catching up with family and friends Punjab Grill has started Sunday Brunch. I got an invite of the brunch through Sameer Malkani of Food Bloggers Association India FBAI. Thank you Sameer cause it was the best sunday I had in a long time.

I reached Punjab Grill, Juhu, Mumbai with my sister. The weather was apt for the day. It was not too hot not too cold. A perfect spring day to sit at their outdoor tables. So me, my sister, Salloni ( Sameer’s beautiful and super cool wife)  and Simmi from http://foodiezone.blogspot.in/ geared up for a fun afternoon.

After the hellos and whats up. It was time to take a tour of the brunch. There was a Chaat Counter with serving everything from three different types of Pani Puri to Sev Puri, Dahi Puri, different flavors of Thandai and Lassi. Then there was the Kebab, Salad, Main course and dessert counter.

Chaat Counter

Chaat Counter

Kebab Counter

Kebab Counter

Salad Counter

Salad Counter

We started with ordering some drinks and chaat for us.

Sherley Temple

Sherley Temple

Pineapple Thandai

Pineapple Thandai

Chaat

Chaat

Pani Puri

Pani Puri

These were absolutely delicious. They tasted different than our regular street chaat. But had some wonderful new flavors. I could just go and eat only this in the buffet. The drinks were also yummy. Just when I was thinking to hog on the chaats, came the mouthwatering kebabs.

Non veg Kebab

Non veg Kebab

Veg Kebabs

Veg Kebabs

Both the veg and the non veg are packed with deliciousness. The Mutton Sheekh Kebab is to die for. The Chicken Kebabs marination was well done. The Paneer Kebabs and Hara Sheekh Kebabs tasted damn good.

If you are not full after this you can continue with the main course. But if you are almost full like us, you can sit back and relax, gossip, enjoy the weather and then go for it.

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You have to try the Murgh Lababdar. It tastes amazing. The Paneer Makhani and Dal are also really good.

And now a meal is never complete without the dessert –

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Ya we ate a lot. Now the winner among these is the Moong Dal ka Halwa. But there wasn’t one non tasty dessert there, which kind of made my day cause you know me sweets.

So I definitely recommend Sunday Brunch at the Punjab Grill. It is worth it. Chef Bharath meals are literally finger licking good. It is a perfect place to start your Sunday.

Maharashtrian Food Festival Aala

There are very few times when you see a Maharashtrian food festival. It seems surprising cause we technically live in Maharashtra. So I was happily surprised when I got a invite from Renaissance Convention Centre Hotel, Powai, Mumbai through the very cool Shanti Padukone from the http://riot-of-flavours.blogspot.in/ .Thank you Shanti. I just couldn’t resist it. I was curious and excited. So I wont go on talking about it too much and just get started.

As you enter the Lake View Cafe you can see the elaborate themed decor and layout to bring out the authenticity and mood for the festival. It instantly sets you in a good mood. The rickshaw at the entrance. Continuing stalls of all our favorite street items like Vada Pav, Pani Puri, Chicken Roll, Ragda, Sev Puri and many many more at one side and the other side had a drink stall.

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Achar Section

Achar Section

This Achar section has a array of yummy Achars for you to take home some of the deliciousness from the festival.

Phulka Section

Phulka Section

To give you a comfortable home made feel garam garam Phulkas and Bhakris were served.

For starters its obvious what we hogged on. First and foremost there were this cute little dabbas on our table filled with Chakli and spicy Chutney.

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Bandstand

Bandstand

Chowpatty Shake

Chowpatty Shake

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Sous Chef and the creator of the festival Chef Danish Merchant gave us a perfect tour of the festival.

After our tour and checking out the wide Farsan stall and getting some Chaknas to nibble on from there. We shifted to the big ones. Any Mumbaikar or rather any one from the whole wide world will for sure never ever be able to resistant the temptation to eat –

1 – Sev Puri

Sev Puri

Sev Puri

2 – Ragda Pattice

Ragda Pattice

Ragda Pattice

3 – Vada pav

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4 – Chicken Bhajya

Chicken Bhajya

Chicken Bhajya

Absolutely delicious is what I will say. Perfectly spiced and authenticated in a paper plate with a plastic spoon. What more can you ask for !!! Only I know how I controlled myself and did not go on eating  because there was so much more left to eat.

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So after eating all these amazing tasting dishes we shifted to the main course. For main course I went with the Prawn Pulao which though tasted great but lacked prawns. Zunka a besan dish having a soft baby food texture but tasted really good. I seriously loved the mixture of Mutton Kolhapuri and the prawn pulao. The gravy combine with the rice was just pure YUM !

Now time for some desserts which I was waiting the whole time because I absolutely loved the setup here. I cant even remember all their names but there were like easy more than 10 items for desserts.

Dessert Section

Dessert Section

Modak

Modak

Barfi

Barfi

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Yes I tasted almost everything. The Modak and Barfi I wanted to smuggle out in my bag. The Sheera and Halwa was nice. Puranpoli was okay but cold. The Coconut Ladoo was good. But the Peda, Barfi and Modak made my meal perfectly complete. I was on a happy sugar rush.

I would really like to applaud the effort and hard work put in this festival by Executive Chef Sandeep Pande and Senior Sous Chef Danish Merchant. The food is excellent. The buffet is totally worth at it Rs. 1875. The festival is on till the 8th March. I would totally recommend it. It has everything from great quality, a wide spread of delicious dishes at a very enjoyable price.