Valentine’s Day is upon us. This year I will be showcasing the desserts I love. I will either be posting tried and tested recipes, which I have baked time again and have never disappointed me or I will be giving a special twist to my favorite desserts. People declare their love for their special someone. This year I will declare or showcase my love for my favorite recipes and my special someone is going to enjoy eating them.
I am starting this series with the light and refreshing Lemon and Rosemary Loaf Cake. I love tea cakes. Their flavor profile is so simple, yet they are so delicious. Simplicity takes the cake sometimes (literally taking the cake in this scenario). The cake is pretty much very simple to make. My family loves this cake so much its over in one sitting. So don’t expect any leftovers if your family also loves desserts like mine.
Lemon & Rosemary Loaf
- 135 gms butter, melted
- 215 gms castor sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Few Rosemary Sprigs, chopped
- 1/3 teaspoon vanilla
- 170 ml milk, room temperature
- 235 gms all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Candied Lemon Slices –
- 1 lemon
- 100 gms sugar
- 150 gms water
Lemon Syrup –
- 100gms sugar
- 150 gms water
- Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 7in x 3.5in loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
- In a bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
- Using a stand mixer – mix sugar, eggs, lemon zest, rosemary and vanilla until well combined.
- Alternate adding the flour and milk, one third at a time to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well.
- Add the melted butter in the end. Mix until well incorporated.
- Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes on 180 C.
- Keep checking the cake after 40 minutes whether it is done by poking a toothpick inside and it should come out clean.
- As the cake is baking get ready with the Candied Lemon Slices and Lemon syrup.
Candied Lemon Slices –
- Cut thin slices of a lemon.
- In a saucepan add sugar and water. Let it come to a boil.
- Add the lemon slices and let is simmer for about 20 minutes or till the water is almost evaporated.
- Remove the slices and let them dry on a plate for 5 – 10 minutes.
Lemon Syrup –
- In a saucepan – add sugar, water, lemon juice and rosemary. Cook on medium heat till the mixture is thick for about 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook it as it will reach the soft ball stage and wont be a syrup consistency anymore.
- Strain the syrup and keep it ready.
- When the cake is baked. Remove from the pan and while its hot pour the warm syrup on it. Let it cool. Arrange the candied slices on top.
- Cut into slices and serve warm with a cup of tea.
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. 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)