Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

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 Cake

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf

 

Ingredients –

Cake –

  • 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

Method –

Cake –

  • 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.
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Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

As I have mentioned in the previous post – I am in the holiday mood and I absolutely love baking during this time. So mixing my current obsession bread and my long lasting obsession of baking Christmas-y goodies, I have made Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread – which is a cross between cinnamon roll and bread. It looks amazing. The major reason I wanted to make this was because I love the way it looks. It looks complicated but it is extremely easy and takes very little time.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

Bread

Ingredients –

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 40 gms butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup slightly warm milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Filling –

  • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 30 gms butter, softened

Method –

  • Warm 1/4 cup water in a cup, make sure it is not hot. Add a tiny pinch of sugar, and the instant yeast (instant yeast and dry active yeast are different, please check the package). Mix until yeast is dissolved and leave it aside for 10 – 15 minutes till it is foamy.
  • Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment combine 40 gms butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute. Add the yeast and then the flour. Mix for 5 – 7 minutes till the dough is elastic and check the gluten development by doing the window pane test.
  • If you are kneading by hand, then mix in the same format but knead with your hand for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Window pane test – take a small piece of dough and stretch it. It should stretch without tearing, forming a thin layer and if you see it against the light it should feel like you are looking through a fogged glass.
  • After the test, rest the dough in a bowl for 1 hour or until double in size covered with plastic wrap.
  • In a small bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar, and keep it aside.
  • After an hour, shape the dough again, weigh and divide it in to four portions.
  • Take the 1st portion, roll the dough until its thin and place it in a greased cookie sheet.
  • Brush soft butter on it and generously sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
  • Roll the 2nd portion of the dough, and place it on top on the 1st. Repeat the butter and cinnamon sugar. Continue layering by rolling the 3rd and repeat butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll the 4th and place it on top.
  • Taking a plate or a big bowl, lightly place the round side on it, to indent a large round, so you can cut the excess dough and make a proper circle with a knife.
  • Taking a 1 – 2 inch cookie cutter, make a slight indent in the center but make sure you do it lightly.
  • With a knife cut equal 16 portions, starting from the outside of the indent line till the outer end, leaving the 2 inch round center as it is. Take two portions and twist them outward individually, joining them at the end.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining butter of the filling and as soon as the bread is baked, brush the top lightly with butter.
  • Serve warm.

 

Cappuccino Snickerdoodle

Its Christmas time! My obsession of baking delicious winter-y goods is on an all time high. This is my time to experiment and try all the new dishes that I have in mind. I made these cookies in October for Halloween, but I had made a huge batch and right now its frozen in my freezer. So I am ready with these delicious treats whenever I want them.

I know the last recipe was also coffee related, but I am not sorry – I love coffee and as I said before coffee in desserts is just perfect.

According to me Cappuccino Snickerdoodle is the best version of Snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle is basically – Cinnamon cookies. As you all know cinnamon and coffee compliment each other very well. So this mingle was bound to create great flavors.

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Cappuccino Snickerdoodle

Ingredients –

  • 200 gms butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Method –

  • Preheat the oven to 175 C.
  • Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl mix 3 tablespoon of castor sugar and 3/4 tablespoon of cinnamon and keep aside.
  • Using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer / hand mixer, cream butter and the remaining castor sugar, and brown sugar till light and fluffy, for about 4 -5 minutes on medium speed.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and instant coffee powder in the butter – sugar mixture. Mix for 1 – 2 minutes until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture. Add the vinegar. Mix until everything is combined.
  • Scoop the batter with a tablespoon on your hands and roll it into a ball. Coat them in the cinnamon sugar prepared before. Place them on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake them for 12 – 15 minutes or until brown.

Tips –

  • Make ahead  – You can wrap the batter in a plastic wrap and store it in the freezer. When needed, remove it from the freezer. Let it thaw till its soft, and continue with scooping, rolling and coating.
  • You can substitute the brown sugar with castor sugar. Though I feel the brown sugar brings in a subtle nutty flavor.

 

Espresso Cupcakes

Coffee and desserts have a long loving relationship. Who doesn’t love coffee in their desserts. Rather who doesn’t love coffee! I love coffee. And I love it more in my desserts. It gives the dish a perfect bitter note, with a hint of its wonderful aroma. We all have added coffee to our chocolate cake and the obvious tiramisu. But making coffee the hero flavor in a cake is something totally different. Also if you are craving for a caffeine kick and sugar rush at the same time, this is the path to follow.

A few suggestions –

Please use good quality coffee for perfect results.

This batch can also make a two layer 6 inch cake.

Espresso Cupcakes

Makes about 10 cupcakes.

Ingredients –

Cupcake –

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 45 grams butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coffee

Buttercream –

  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 85 grams butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon coffee

Method –

  • Brew the coffee with milk for the batter and icing. Strain and let it come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 170 C.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder.
  • In a stand mixer/hand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Strain 1/2 cup coffee and add to the mixture.  Mix until combined.
  • Add the flour and mix. Do not over mix the batter.
  • Line the cupcake pan with liners. Fill the liners 2/3 with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • For the buttercream – In a stand mixer/hand mixer cream the sugar and butter for about 2 minutes.
  • Strain the 1/3 cup of the brewed coffee in a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the coffee at a time to the sugar mixture. Keep mixing after every addition. Whip until the mixture is soft but can hold stiff peaks. This should take around 5 to 7 minutes.
  • If the mixture is too soft add more sugar. If it is too stiff add more coffee.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before piping the buttercream.

 

Kheer, Chocolate and Cheesecake Cream Cheese Truffles

Truffles are the most easiest dessert to make. You can keep upgrading and changing them according to your likes. And you will never fail. They are little treasures of deliciousness. But I feel cream and chocolate truffles are too done with. So as I was in search of a new ingredient, I realized obviously I cant change the chocolate. Its chocolate! But cream, cream can be changed and something other than the cream can be incorporated. While thinking about the next best fat to use in truffles, I came across the next best fat used in desserts and the answer is obviously Cream Cheese.

So I tried three different types of truffles one the evergreen flavor Chocolate, second I went with Cheesecake, and third I wanted to Indian-ize a dessert since a long time. And one of my favorite Indian dessert is the Kheer. Kheer has been a staple dessert in my house since ever. So to create a fusion of Kheer and Truffles just seemed apt. So here it is –

Kheer Cream cheese Truffles –

Kheer Truffles 1

Kheer Truffles 2

Approximately 20 pieces.

Ingredients –

For Filling –

4 ounces soft cream cheese

260 grams white chocolate

¼ teaspoon of saffron

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

For Coating –

1 cup crushed dry fruits consisting almonds, pistachios and cashews.

Method –

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. While the chocolate is melting slowly add the spices one by one. Add the vanilla extract in the end and keep mixing.

When the chocolate is close to room temperature, add the cream cheese and incorporate fully. You may feel the chocolate has curdled, and notice fat separating, but that is how it is supposed to be.

Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the mixture from the refrigerator and roll into small balls. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, coat the ball with the crushed nuts. You can serve straightaway or place it in the refrigerator and remove 10 minutes before serving.

Cheesecake Truffles –

Cheese Cake truffles 2

Approximately 20 pieces.

Ingredients –

For Filling –

4 ounces soft cream cheese

260 grams white chocolate

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

For Coating –

1 cup crushed Digestive Biscuits

Method –

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Add the vanilla extract in the end and keep mixing.

When the chocolate is close to room temperature add the cream cheese and incorporate fully. You may feel the chocolate has curdled, and notice fat separating, but that is how it is supposed to be.

Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the mixture from the refrigerator and roll into small balls. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, coat the ball with the crushed biscuits. You can serve straightaway or place it in the refrigerator and remove 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Cream cheese Truffles –

Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles 2

Approximately 20 pieces

Filling –

280 grams Milk Chocolate

5 ounces soft cream cheese

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Coating –

3 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 tablespoon icing sugar

Method –

Melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler. Add the vanilla extract in the end and keep mixing.

When the chocolate is close to room temperature add the cream cheese and incorporate fully. You may feel the chocolate has curdled, and notice fat separating, but that is how it is supposed to be.

Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the mixture from the refrigerator and roll into small balls. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a bowl mix the cocoa powder and icing sugar. After 2 hours remove the truffles and coat them with the cocoa powder and icing sugar mixture. You can serve straightaway or place it in the refrigerator and remove 10 minutes before serving.

UK Diaries Part III – Lincoln

Lincoln is a small town in Lincolnshire, England. The Lincoln Cathedral being its central attraction is on a very steep hill called the Steep Hill. Steep hill though a pain to climb, it is a treat to your eyes. The road to Steep Hill is connected and starts with High Street, which is filled with shops which have the regular chains to local brands. As you progress towards the hill, you will notice small local shops and boutiques, which go all the way till the top. Shops range from clothes, accessories, vintage book stores, antiques and obviously food.

The food scene in Lincoln is pretty chilled and nice. As it is a University town, there are loads of food options with decent budget. Having all the regular food chains like Nandos, Wagamama, McDonalds, Dominos and more. I tried some new places and completed my “to-eat” list.

First on my to-eat list was the very famous British Pub food. So I went to William Foster. William Foster had wooden decor, small but many lights and loads of posters planted aesthetically around the place. It also had a jukebox, weird waiter asking my ID proof even when I told him my exact age, which he chose not to believe (I should be flattered, but I was annoyed at that time).

Fish n Chips

Fish n Chips

Chicken Curry Pie

Chicken Curry Pie

Finally we ordered the food and I ordered a Chicken Curry Pie with peas and chips which was served with their famous Curry Sauce. I can say that now while typing about it, I am craving for the pie again. Perfectly balanced spiced curry. Tender Chicken and obviously great crust. It made my day. I was so happy with the pie. Slice was huge, and chips and peas made it more filling.

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

We also ordered some Onion rings which were good enough. Fish n Chips were delicious. Again Cod Fish nicely fried and soft. But I would say nothing can beat the Golden Hind in London.

Waffle with Ice Cream and Cake and Custard Crumble

Waffle with Ice Cream and Cake and Custard Crumble

For desserts we ordered Waffle with Ice cream and Custard Crumble. Desserts weren’t that great as they were the supermarket bought cakes and waffle, which you realize from the first bite. But the pie just made up for everything.

Baked Potato with Cheese

Baked Potato with Cheese

For lunch one day we went to this tiny sandwich and salad shop called Top Nosh. As we waited with the long line and were trying to decide from a nice huge menu, what to eat. I realized the food was unbelievably cheap and also had a sticker posted  “prices haven’t changed since 2011.” I was impressed. Mostly take away for the regulars who more than half were the office going people who needed something quick and healthy. Loads of yummy options to choose from. We went there twice but I was too busy eating than to realize I have to click a snap of the sandwich, but I did click of the huge baked potato with cheese. The sheer size of the potato was amazing and something you don’t get to see in Mumbai. Filled with melting cheese, it was a perfect side order with our delicious sandwich.

On our visit to the Cathedral (where by the way Da Vinci’s Code Climax was shot, great fan of the book and movie I had to mention it). I spotted some cute confectionery shops.

Roly's Fudge Pantry

Roly’s Fudge Pantry

Fresh Fudge Making

Fresh Fudge Making

Roly’s Fudge Pantry is on the way to the hill. It is a super cute shop. With a very enthusiastic owner who also helps describe the fudge making process with such enthusiasm that you can see how much he loves it. He is just not good at explaining but making also. The fudge I bought were chocolate, apple pie, cherry and peanut butter. They were so delicious and I couldn’t just stop at one. You could taste the hard work and art of cooking a perfect fudge in it. Best part no sugar oozing out of it, when you would take the bite. Wonderful flavors and must try.

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Didn’t enter this shop as I already had my dose of confections from the Fudge Pantry. But I couldn’t help take a picture. It is so cute. If I ever opened Chic Confections shop it will be something like this, somewhere like here (color of the shop will obviously be different)

Chips Sauce and Cheese

Chips Sauce and Cheese

We usually used to bring dinner as a take away in the hotel room, because we just could not miss the FIFA World cup Matches. One day we decided on Turkish dinner. If I say the portion size was huge, it would be an understatement. I could not even finish half my Donner kebab roll. Humongous, bang for the buck and delicious is how I will describe this. As you see the size Chips, Cheese and Sauce which was a side order, so you can imagine what was the main course like.

Afternoon High Tea – Check !

Afternoon Tea at Stokes

Afternoon Tea at Stokes

Afternoon Tea at Stokes with Scones

Afternoon Tea at Stokes with Scones

Stokes is known for their famous tea and coffee in Lincoln. Serving since 1902, this place serves the best tea I had in UK. I was so glad that my Afternoon tea was checked here. They serve all kind of teas, but what your looking for is their gold medal winning signature blend. What a tea! I usually prefer my tea once in the morning, but if Stokes tea is available to me, I will be having it five times. Scones are a British delicacy which is served with tea. They are a hybrid of cake and bread, which taste perfect with the tea. I had mine with jam and butter which is the classic way, clotted cream is also served with it.

Cornish Chicken Pasty

Cornish Chicken Pasty

Cornish Pasty – Check !

Cornish Pasty is also one of the British delicacy. It is pastry stuffed with meat and potatoes. Cornish Pasty origins are from Cornwall, which is a county in UK. Cornwall even has Cornish Pasty as their national dish. Though it is one of the things everyone should taste when visiting the UK. I did not find it that amazing. I still prefer the Pie. I found it a bit bland. The ratio of potatoes and chicken was like 10:1. It was eating Potato Pasty. But I don’t know whether it was the place or in general pasty taste like this. If you want to eat pasty from Proper Pasty, you might just avoid it.

Last dinner at Lincoln was at Handmade Burger Co. Handmade Burger Co is a burger chain throughout UK which serves (obvious) handmade burgers, the meat by which the burgers are made is 100% prime Scotch beef. Everything is freshly cut in the restaurant. They have a wide variety of menu. This is what I ordered.

 

Strawberry Milkshake

Strawberry Milkshake

I absolutely love the size of this glass. It is the like the huge Lassi glasses we get in North. The strawberry Milkshake was so good. I feel this should be the apt size for milkshake all over the world. A perfect inclusion to the meal.

Peri Peri Fries

Peri Peri Fries

Again look at that size!  They nailed the seasoning. The chips were fresh and delicious.

Classic Beef Burger with Cheese

Classic Beef Burger with Cheese

Now comes the burger – Classic Beef Burger with cheese, topped with sweet and spicy relish and salad. Wow! Is all I can say. I thought nothing topped the Five Guys burger, but this comes at the same level. They both taste differently. Five guys is more diner tasting. This is one has its own taste. Melt in your mouth beef. Relish was a tad bid sweet but on the whole this one is an absolute delight. If you ever visit UK and see Handmade Burger Co, just enter and eat. Don’t even think twice.

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Nutella & Peanut Butter Milkshake

Nutella & Peanut Butter Milkshake

Eskimo is the cutest shop ever. I absolutely loved the decor. Blue and white all the way, with all the chocolates they put in the shake are stored in the small domes on the wall. The menu is huge and I mean 100 flavors huge and it will take you 15 minutes to decide on which one to drink. I ordered Nutella and Peanut Butter. It was so so good. It was purely amazing. Though sad, that I kept Eskimo for the last day, but it was a perfect ending to my fabulous trip in UK.

So after checking everything from “to-eat” list and eating more food than I can imagine. I can only thank God for the food filled trip I had. One of the best trips on terms of satisfaction of food and covering my to – do lists. All I can say is I can’t wait to go back.

UK Diaries Part I – https://toxicbaker.com/2014/07/16/uk-diairies-part-1/

UK Diairies Part II – https://toxicbaker.com/2014/08/08/uk-diaries-part-ii-london/

 

King’s Cake

So its been almost three months and the main reason I started my blog was to make all the recipes in the book The Chocolate Bible by Le Cordon Bleu. Because obviously it is my dream to go there and study but I cant go for some reasons till then why not practice at home. So the last recipe I made was the Chocolate Pound Cake. This week was my parent’s anniversary. So I was thinking to bake a special cake for them. Maybe not the usual chocolate cake I make but something with a different recipe a different style. Hence I opened the Chocolate Bible and started going through it. I was torn between the King’s Cake and Sachertorte. But after counseling with everyone with what would they prefer, they somehow really liked the sound of “King’s Cake”. So the decision was made.

Problem was I had chosen a different cake design for the cake. Which was round and I had already made fondant roses for the cake to make a heart on it. King’s Cake was a rectangular cake with a smaller height and larger width. Clearly heart couldn’t be made on it but still I went ahead with it. Because obviously the cake was more important than the flowers.

Every time I try a new recipe, there is always a moment in it when I am like ahem ! I hope I am doing this right and I don’t mess it up. After that I think I messed it up. But I don’t give up and go through it and at the end it is always done.

King’s Cake was fairly simple to make but there was still that “doubting” moment. Also the problem that occurred was I had no time on hand to repair the over cooked sugar syrup and the little extra thick ganache.

But somehow after assembling the cake. I just popped the flowers on top in a row making it look like a log with roses ( I like the look okay). After that came the finale of cutting the cake and eating it. Yes you know the answer it was delicious. Though it tasted much better the next day after being refrigerated for at least 12 hours. But cakes always taste better the next day at least some do. The flavor somehow enhances overnight. Specially this one. So had super fun making it and eating it for sure !!! Thank you Le Cordon Bleu.

King's Cake

King’s Cake

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