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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Gingerbread Doughnuts

Recently I was one of the few chefs who was talked about it in the article by Mid-day regarding baking Christmas goodies. They wanted something revolving around Gingerbread and hence I told them about Gingerbread Doughnuts. While we were talking about Gingerbread, a very good question was asked and that was – What makes the dish – Gingerbread. I realized the concept was very simple – to anything if you add ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. Replace the castor sugar with brown sugar to add in a little bit of nutty flavor. And oh! you have a gingerbread dessert. It is pretty simple. Honey or molasses is also added to enhance the flavor.

I absolutely love anything Gingerbread, cause I love spiced up dishes. Gingerbread somehow brings out a different taste altogether. This year, I thought lets change things a bit and not bake the regular cookies that I make and go for Gingerbread Doughnuts. They are very easy and takes a little bit of time, as I am doing yeast – leavened doughnuts. But other than that they are a perfect treat for this festive season.

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Gingerbread Doughnuts

Makes at least 2 dozen of regular size doughnuts

Ingredients –

  • 2.5 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon all spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 55 grams butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Oil, for frying

Coating –

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Method –

  • In a stand mixer bowl – take the warm water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Keep it aside for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a bowl mix – flour, both the sugars, baking powder, salt, ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.
  • When the yeast is active, it will become foamy, add the yolks, butter, and vanilla. Mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute.
  • Keeping the speed on low, keep adding the flour with a big spoon. After adding half of the flour, shift to hook/dough attachment and add the remaining flour. Mix for 3 – 5 minutes on medium high.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  • After 1 hour, knead the dough and roll it to an 1/2 inch thick height.
  • If you want small bite size pieces, cut them with 1 inch round cookie cutter. If you want the original doughnut shape – cut it with one 3 inch cookie cutter and then 1 inch cookie cutter to cut the centers. If you have a doughnut cutter, then you know what to do.
  • You can re – roll the remaining dough and cut them.
  • Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil till its 180 C. Fry the doughnuts for 30 – 45 seconds on each side or until brown.
  • After removing, let them sit for 2 minutes on tissue papers and then coat them in cinnamon sugar.
  • Serve warm.

Notes –

  • You can add / delete the amount of spices in the dough according to your taste.
  • If you don’t like too much cinnamon in your dessert avoid the coating of cinnamon sugar and just coat them in plain sugar.

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.

 

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.

Cookie Week !!!

So this week and actually the past week also has been the cookie week !!! Customized cookie was always a scary thing. I used to be like how on earth do they do this. I always thought I wouldn’t be able to do customized cookies. But then one day I got an order from a nearby cafe for superhero cookies. I was like lets do it! After that I got an order of 150 cookies for a princess and knight birthday theme. So after decorating 150 cookies, all your fear for customized cookies just goes away. And then you are like ‘bring it on’. Moral of the story keep practicing.

I actually enjoy the cookie orders more and love decorating them. Though it is a tedious process, at the end it is worth it. So these past two weeks I have got some really nice cookie orders. Starting from –

Scooby Doo Theme Cookies –

Scooby Doo Theme Cookies

Scooby Doo Theme Cookies

These were super duper fun to make. It totally got me back reminiscing my childhood cartoon network memories.

Superhero Theme Cookies –

Superhero Theme Cookies

Superhero Theme Cookies

I have made superhero theme cookies numerous times. But this time there were some new additions like Fantastic Four, Flash, Punisher, Wonderwoman and Ironman. I just adore making the Batman cause I am also a somewhat comic buff and Batman being my favorite superhero I always want to make one extra for me.

Simple Wedding Favor Cookies –

Simple Wedding Favor Cookies

Simple Wedding Favor Cookies

These were simple yet cute wedding favor cookies.

50th Birthday cookies –

50th Birthday Cookies

50th Birthday Cookies

These were a daughter and her husband’s gift to her mother’s 50th birthday.

Every new theme is a new challenge and more fun for me like my next one.

Nail Spa Anniversary –

Nail Spa Anniversary Cookies

Nail Spa Anniversary Cookies

Tips N Toes Nail Spa One Year Anniversary Cookies. The nail spa is located in Khar, Mumbai. Its anniversary is on 14th February so we decided on a mixture of both nail spa theme and Valentine’s Day.

Plain Non Iced Chocolate Cookies –

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Finally Mini Valentine’s Day Cookies –

Mini Valentine's Day Cookies

Mini Valentine’s Day Cookies

These are the mini Valentine’s Day Cookies set which I am taking pre orders for this Valentines. They are super cute and a perfect gift for a loved one that too with special budget friendly prices this month. For more info on this contact toxicbaker1@gmail.com

So this was how my past two weeks have gone. I have also made these adorable baby girl theme cupcakes but those are for a later post. I have thoroughly enjoyed decorating each and every cookie. Decorating cookies is a long and patient process but once when you are into it. It becomes an addiction and a sweet one !!

I feel themed cookies bring out a child in all of us. I am pretty sure if tomorrow you see a cookie in a shape of your favorite book, accessory or gadget, you will instantly grab and eat it.

Chocolate Pound Cake

December has arrived !!! So has the festive season. I don’t know if its just me or somebody else is also out there who loses it when December starts. I just want to keep baking and baking and baking every single day ! So I have planned a few things to make this month. Starting with a yummy and simple yet delicious first dish of the month The Chocolate Pound Cake, recipe courtesy by Le Cordon Bleu’s The Chocolate Bible.

As I said in my earlier post that I am going to try and bake all the possible recipes in that amazing book as my substitute for not being able to go to Le Cordon Bleu. This is my start. Well not technically I had already made the truffles, Chocolate tart and chocolate mousse in it. But lets start afresh.

So back to the recipe.

I obviously wont be writing all the recipes in this book. But I will be telling you the fun I had in baking and tasting it. All the goof ups and the success stories.

If we talk about the history of pound cake. It is a Northern European dish which is dated back to the 1700s. The traditional recipe makes a huge cake to feed a large crowd. The concept was simple and intelligent 1 pound of all the ingredients in it. Like one pound butter one pound flour one pound sugar and probably one pound eggs.  But the recipe kept changing or lets just say updating over the years. Pound Cake now has various versions of it like American, British, French, Mexican, Venezuelan & Colombian and German.

The recipe preparation is pretty simple and easy. As easy it was to prepare it, it was as much difficult to bake it. The time allotted to bake the recipe was very less at least for me or probably it is my oven. It took me double the time than by what was said the in the book. I think I have removed the cake four times from the oven checked it and put it back with no idea what I was doing. Finally the fourth time the knife came out clean. So I thought lets just try it now. I was skeptical whether it was fully baked or no. Nevertheless I removed it from the pan and put it on a tray and cut the first two slices. I then took a bite of the slice, it was delicious. And the best part it was a SUCCESS !!! I am so glad that my first bake in this baking month has been great so I am hoping for more positive bakes in the future.

The pound cake had the perfect chocolate flavor. Perfect texture. Perfect everything !

Chocolate Pound Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake