Saturday, 24 September 2011

Vanilla cupcakes with choco surprise and smarties

Every so often my little niece gets bitten by the baker bug and then she puts on her cute little Miley Cyrus apron, dusts a little bit of flour on her hair (apparently this makes her look professional or so she seems to think) and then pesters me to help around in the kitchen ( the actual baking) while she walks around shouting instructions (I have a feeling she has been watching Hell's Kitchen on the sly) and looking harried and busy! So, today she started pulling me to the kitchen, I decided to take the easy route and make cupcakes. The extremely simple vanilla cupcakes with choco surprise and a smattering of smarties on top. The smattering of smarties, courtesy the niece. This is absolutely simple for all that is required to make them is to drop all the ingredients into the food processor and blitz until smooth and then bake em. Very simple yet very very satisfying to eat. Here are the things you need,

  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 grams butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • small slabs of chocolate (Diary Milk, Lindt..whatever you have in your purse or in the fridge)
  • Handful of smarties

  1. Pre heat the oven 200 degree Celsius
  2. In a food processor, blitz together all the ingredients except milk until smooth.
  3. Then pour in the milk at the end and pulse until it combines well
  4. Scoop the batter into your cupcake mould and press in a slab of chocolate in the middle.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes turn slightly golden on top
  6. Remove and let it cool.
  7. Sprinkle a few smarties on top
  8. and then watch as your niece walks around telling everyone how difficult it was to bake the cupcakes but nonetheless how she did it on her OWN.
  9. Sit back and smile!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Banana Toffee Pie (Banoffe pie)

When you come across the same dish in 4 different blog, all in a single day, then think no more. Its the great baker in the sky telling you that its time you made that dish. And hey, who am I to question the great baker's plans? and so I made the Banoffe pie, which is simple banana and toffee mashed up together, much like in this dessert. Its decadent, its rich and its most definitely yummy. Its true that you cant eat too many helpings cause it is frankly a sickly sweet recipe and you can get satiated with one slice but thats only a problem, if you are just making this pie for yourself. One the other hand if it is for a dinner party, then you wouldnt know where the dessert disappeared! Here are the things you need,

  • 4-5 medium ripe bananas
  • 400 mils of double cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar and 3tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 250 grams of digestive biscuits
  • 125 gram butter

  1. In a blender/food processor, mix together the digestive biscuits and butter until they form coarse crumbs.
  2. Press the biscuit crumbs onto a springform tin to form the base. Remember to press the crumbs on to the sides of the tin. 
  3. Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour
  4. In the meanwhile, on low heat melt together the sugar and water. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Then raise the heat to medium and leave the sugar undisturbed for 5 minutes or until it begins to caremelize.
  6. Now quickly add the condensed milk and butter and whisk until the toffee sauce thickens.
  7. Then remove the rested pie shell from the fridge and pour half of the sauce all over it, including the sides. 
  8. Refrigerate it for a further half an hour.
  9. Now chop the bananas into medium sized slices and whip the cream to form still peaks
  10. Fold the bananas into the cream
  11. Spread the cream evenly over the biscuit and toffee base
  12. Pour the remaining toffee sauce over the cream and refrigerate for another 1/2 an hour.
  13. Then dig in!

You could omit steps 4,5,6 and make toffee sauce another way. All you need to do is remove the label from the tin of condensed milk and then immerse the tin in a pot water and place that pot on low heat (simmer) for about 2 and half hours and then when you crack open the tin of condensed milk, voila! its toffee sauce! :) While, this is a far easier process it is a lot more time consuming. So, choose your method according to your convenience. The result is just the same though!

Also, one way to reduce the sweetness of the dessert if its a tad too much for you would be to use, just ripe bananas instead of medium or overtly ripe ones. This way, the lack of sweetness in the bananas will help even out the overall sweetness of the dessert.

For the base, try using salted butter instead of unsalted butter, as the saltiness of the biscuit plus the butter forms and interesting clash with the sweetness of the toffee sauce.

 Remember to wear stretch pants ore PJs when you eat the dessert. Why you ask, you will know! This dessert might even make you wish for spandex! :P

Monday, 19 September 2011

Strawberry and Cream Cake

You know how sometime you need a break from things you love just to renew that love and not feel satiated? Well, that feeling hit me recently and I needed to take a break. A break from chocolate that is. I absolutely love chocolate and it would so be among the list of things that I would take with me to a deserted island but lately, I've just been having so much of it that I feel my enthusiasm for it dip a little bit. I no longed seem to be calling dibs on the last slice of chocolate cake or that last bite of absolutely sinful dark chocolate and even worse, I seem to be the one passing on the last bite to someone else. **Gasp** and so, I took a break and decided to do something completely non-chocolatey and what can be more non chocolatey than Strawberries and Cream. Plus, I had agreed to bake something for a friend and so thought this could be my chance for the break from chocolate. I have to admit, I din't really expect this cake to be amazing or anything. Seriously, what chance did poor strawberries have against chockies but they surprised me. They seems very moist, melt in your mouth and very very light. The only downside that I saw to the cake was that it was a tad too sweet for my liking and thats really my fault cause when I bought the cream for the cake, I din't really check to see if the cream was sweetened or not. Well mine was and that I think brought the cake down a couple of notches. So careful with your cream selection. Anyways, here are the things you need.

For the cake,

  • 200 grams of flour
  • 25 grams of cornflour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 225 gram butter (about 2 sticks and little more)
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of sugar
For the filling,

  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries sliced or a cup of strawberry preserve.
  • 400 mils of cream whipped until stiff.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree celcius.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Then add the vanilla extract and whisk.
  4. Now whisk in the eggs one by one. Add a spoonful of flour in between each addition of egg.
  5. Then, fold in the remaining flour, cornflour and baking powder.
  6. Once its all folded in together, add the milk and slightly loosen up the batter.
  7. Pour it into a baking tin and bake for 35 minutes or until the top of the cake browns and the tester comes out clean.
  8. Remove and let it cool completely.
  9. Then using a sharp knife, slice the cake into two equal halves. (You could actually save the trouble slicing the cake if you have two identical cake tins, in which case, all you need to do is spoon in the batter equally in to both the tins. Also, remember to lower to baking time to about 25 minutes)
  10. Spread the strawberries (fresh or preserved) equally on bottom half of the cake.
  11. In a bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks and then spread it generously over the strawberries.
  12. Now sandwich together the cakes and voila! its done.
  13. Dig in. 

I wish I could have shared the pic of a slice of the cake with you. But like I said, I din't make it for myself and so when I took the cake over to her place and sliced it up, I forgot to take the pic. But take my word for it, it was so pretty. Golden cake with white and pink inside. Pretty as a picture!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Apple Tart

I had never tasted an apple tart. Until yesterday! Yup. Always shied away from it and picked another dessert. It was instinctive. Nothing about an apple tart yells out to me and still all my friends and my family swear by it. They claim, you cannot go wrong with it. Its a safe dessert. And so, yesterday when I found my fruit basket dangerously over stuffed with apples, I thought it was perhaps time to tackle the apple tart monster! Grab it by its horns and devour it to submission. Well, atleast that was the plan but alas, its just not my monster. Know what I mean? I made the tart shell from scratch, lovingly made the fillings, waited to get it baked and the was blah in my mouth. Don't get me wrong, apparently the dessert was delicious. It had to be cause my Mum who always says no to dessert went in for seconds and there is no more tart left but still to me it was blah.

I always feel that a good dessert has to overwhelm you. There should something about it that explodes in your mouth. It could be the flavours, its subtlety, a surprise element, anything but it has to impress you and that's where I felt my apple tart failed. Atleast to me. Well, no more apple tarts for me and like I said, I'll never get around this monster but thats just cause, this is just not my monster. Nonetheless, if you like apple tarts then here are the things you need,

For the shell,

  • 250 grams of flour
  • 125 grams of cold and cubed butter
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • a pinch of salt
For the filling,

  • 3-4 large apples sliced along the length
  • 25 grams of butter + 25 grams of sugar
  • 250 mils of cream
  • 100 grams of sugar (or more if you like it really sweet)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Mix together the all the ingredients for the tart shell and press them together. Do not knead as it can make the shell a little tough. Press them well, between cling films and refrigerate for atleast 2 hours.
  2. Then roll it out to desired thickness and line your tart tray with it. Trim of the excess from the edges.
  3. Now, cut the apples lengthwise and line the prepared shell with it.
  4. Mix together the butter and sugar and brush all over the apples well. Alternately, you could dip the apples in this mixture first and then line the tart tray with it.
  5. Now in an oven preheated to 220 degree Celsius, bake the tart for 10 minutes.
  6. Then reduce the temperature to 200 degree Celsius and bake for further 20 minutes.
  7. In the meanwhile, whisk together the cream, sugar, egg and vanilla extract.
  8. Once the tart has been baked for the required 20 minutes, remove from oven and pour the cream mix all over it until the apples are submerged in it.
  9. Now return the tart to oven for another 10 more minutes.
  10. Remove and serve while slightly warm.

Sorry about the really really bad photos. Lack of inspiration plus the lack of a good camera can do this to us! :(

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Nuttty, Overdose on Chocolate Cake

Really! The title of the post is the best way to describe the cake. Its nutty..almondy to be exact and its packs in tons of chocolate. Its death by chocolate and boy! what a way to die. I honestly feel that there are two kinds of people in this world, those who can eat a chocolate cake and then those who devour a chocolate cake. This cake is for those devour-ers. Oh yes, its squidgy yet light and has that dampness to it that is almost fudgy. Yet like I said, it feels light. Miracles I tell you. I've based the recipe on Nigella Lawson's Nutella cake, but I've tinkered around a lot, like I'm always prone to do.

Here are the things you need,

For the cake,
  • 1 large bottle of chocolate spread
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 100 grams  of ground almond (about half a cup)
  • 1 tbsp strong coffee
  • 6 eggs separated
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 grams melted best quality dark chocolate
For the icing,

  • 125 ml of cream
  • 125 grams of dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp strong coffee
  • Handful of toasted almond flakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the egg whites with a pinch of salt to form soft peaks
  3. In a another bowl cream together the butter and chocolate spread.
  4. Add to it the coffee, eggs and the ground almond one by one. Mix well.
  5. Then fold in the melted dark chocolate.
  6. Now, spoon a large dollop of the flully egg white in to the chocolate mix and combine thoroughly.
  7. Fold in the remaining egg whites, one third at a time, until everything has been folded well. Don't be too heavy handed as we need the batter to be light airy.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased springform tin and bake for about 35-40 minutes. 
  9. Once done, remove from oven and leave the cake to cool.
  10. Meanwhile, on low heat, add the chocolate to the cream.
  11. As it begins to melt, add the coffee.
  12. Once the chocolate has melted completely, take it off the heat and whisk well until the mixture thickens.
  13. Now, pour the icing over the cake and spread well, over the sides too. Let it be messy. Messy is yummy! :)
  14. Scatter the toasted almond flakes on top.
  15. Dig in!
Note: I found the refrigerating the cake for about 15 minutes, helps in binding all the elements of the cake well and reinforcing the squidginess of the cake, which I particularly adored.

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