All posts by Mini

I'm a wanderer, an art lover, a California girl. I travel the world with my Mom, family and friends. I'm a vegetarian that bakes exotic eggless cakes when asked. I sing every chance I get. With my blogs, I'm trying to find my voice, share what I've learned and see if I can encourage folks to take more holidays with the people they love and enjoy their desserts despite certain allergies or dietary restrictions.

Chocolate Ganache over Mini Eggless Dark Chocolate Bundt Cakes


Last night, I met up with some of my friends after a very long time. I’ve also been particularly stressed off late, and was looking forward to an opportunity to cook. The menu was a potpourri of mostly vegan dishes from across the world:

Guacamole with chips
Pasta in arabiatta sauce
Spicy cilantro rice
Black pepper sauce with vegetables and tofu

Along with a bottle of Resiling from V. Sattui.

Anyway, a few weeks back, I stopped by Bed Bath & Beyond and found a delightful mini-bundt cake pan from Wilton


I have been looking forward to using this pan ever since and was glad that last night’s party provided an occasion to do so. I loved making these mini chocolate bundt cakes, topped with velvety dark chocolate ganache, served with vanilla ice cream on the side.



For the mini bundt cakes
Makes 15

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar (or more if you like your cakes sweet)
1 cup milk  (you can switch this with soy milk or water for a vegan version)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tsp oil + 1 tbsp cocoa for greasing and dusting 
Finely sliced almonds to garnish 

For the chooclate ganache
Makes enough to cover 28 cakes

 I adapted this recipe from something I saw at
8 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp butter
2.5 tbsp cointreau 


Mini Bundt Cakes

  1. Dust and grease each of the mini pans
    Tip: The cocoa will be hard to dust by swirling the pan. Use a seive to dust the cocoa in each of the cavities.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Sift the cocoa in the flour along with the sugar, salt and baking soda.
  4. Add the vinegar to the milk. Mix in the vanilla, oil.
  5. Gently fold in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour the mix into the moulds and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a knife through the cake comes out clean. 


Velvety Chocolate Ganache

  1. In the microwave or the stove, bring the whipped cream and the butter to a boil.
  2. Pour over the chopped chocolate pieces and let sit for a couple of minutes. Pick a chocolate you like to eat. Since I wanted dark cakes that weren’t too sweet, I chose dark chocolate here too. 
  3. Gently stir the mix – try not to incorporate any air into it.
  4. Add the cointreau to your ganache. You can skip this step altogether, or pick another liquor to go with it.

Once the cakes are done, let them cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Gently knock the pan on all sides and pull the cakes out on a rack. With a brush, coat them with the ganache. Garnish with almond flakes, if desired.

Serve as is or with vanilla ice-cream. 

Recipe: Light Eggless (or Vegan) Vanilla Cupcakes with Decadent Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


A friend once asked me what I would take with me if I were faced with the acopolypse. I answered,

1. My Mom, because to me she is the epitome of all the goodness and strength in the world
2. My iPad with its accessories, because I couldn’t live without books, movies and some pre-loaded games
3. Some sugar

The last one intrigued him the most. “Why sugar?” Simply because if my world were coming to an end, I’d like a little sweetness to end it with.

The first time I fell in love with cupcakes, it was BEFORE I’d actually eaten one. They just looked beautiful with the colorful frosting holding the promise of bliss, tempered only with a light cake. Needless to say, I had to bake them. But of course, as is ALWAYS the struggle for me, it was hard to find vegetarian recipes that would make the cake light.I scourged the internet for recipes and found a lot of interesting facts about baking vegan/eggless cakes. Facts like eggless or vegan chocolate cakes actually became popular during the war when milk goods were expensive, and vinegar, despite its popular use as a sour and strong addition to salads, is used as a leavening agent in cakes instead of eggs (and it works like a charm!)

But the most fruitful discovery after days and hours of searching was, Chef Chloe ( Chloe’s all of 23 and her vegan cupcake was the first vegan winner of Cupcake Wars! I used her recipe (with very minor tweaks) as the base for all my cupcakes. Upon stumbling (really, check of StumbleUpon’s food inventory!) through some recipes for buttercream frosting, I found a great decadent buttercream frosting recipe from Savory Sweet Life ( that I tweaked for my own cupcakes.

As much as I love sugar, I do believe that sugar tastes best when used in moderation. I like how, for example, using lesser sugar than the recipe called for, really brought out the taste of the cocoa powder and made the buttercream frosting extremely rich in flavor without being too sweet. For the cupcakes, too, I used a little less sugar than the original recipe called for, ensuring that the vanilla wasn’t overridden by sweetness.


For the cupcake (makes 6)
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (Chef Chloe recommended soy or rice milk or water, if you want to make this cake vegan)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (If you do not have any, you can use regular vinegar. I’d all a little more sugar and if required, essence, to compensate though)

For the buttercream frosting (makes 3 cups)
1 cup or 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened, but not melted
3 cups sifted confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla or 1tsp vanilla + 1tsp almond essence
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (Farenheit) and line a cup-cake tin
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar in a bowl
3. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, vinegar, oil and essence
4. Gently fold in the wet mixture into the dry mixture
5. Whisk the mixture and pour into the cupcake liners, 2/3rd of the way
6. Place it in oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean

1. Gently cream the butter with a beater
2. Add the sifted sugar and cocoa and beat on a low speed till mixed
3. On a medium speed, add the salt, essences and whipping cream
4. Beat on a high speed till stiff peaks form

Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream and store in the fridge.

The result of this baking was far better than anything I had imagined. The cupcakes are extremely moist, light and fluffy (and they stay that way 2 days later too!) and the buttercream frosting has been a great hit at both parties I’ve served these cupcakes at. Rest assured, I will keep experimenting with this recipe with hopefully equally good results for strawberry cupcakes, peach and vanilla cupcakes, and since the Santa Rosa plums from the farmer’s market are simply to die for, maybe some chocolate-plum cupcakes 🙂

Hope you enjoy baking these as much as I enjoyed eating them 🙂


Paris Review – When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue, Édouard Levé

When I was young, I thought Life: A User’s Manual would teach me how to live and Suicide: A User’s Manual how to die. I don’t really listen to what people tell me. I forget things I don’t like. I look down dead-end streets. The end of a trip leaves me with a sad aftertaste the same as the end of a novel. I am not afraid of what comes at the end of life. I am slow to realize when someone mistreats me, it is always so surprising: evil is somehow unreal. When I sit with bare legs on vinyl, my skin doesn’t slide, it squeaks. I archive. I joke about death. I do not love myself. I do not hate myself. My rap sheet is clean. To take pictures at random goes against my nature, but since I like doing things that go against my nature, I have had to make up alibis to take pictures at random, for example, to spend three months in the United States traveling only to cities that share a name with a city in another country: Berlin, Florence, Oxford, Canton, Jericho, Stockholm, Rio, Delhi, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Mexico, Syracuse, Lima, Versailles, Calcutta, Bagdad. 


Edouard Leve, Pecheur de Bagdad et sa fille, 2002, color photograph. From


I would rather be bored alone than with someone else. I roam empty places and eat in deserted restaurants. I do not say “A is better than B” but “I prefer A to B.” I never stop comparing. When I am returning from a trip, the best part is not going through the airport or getting home, but the taxi ride in between: you’re still traveling, but not really. I sing badly, so I don’t sing. I had an idea for a Dream Museum. I do not believe the wisdom of the sages will be lost. I once tried to make a book-museum of vernacular writing, it reproduced handwritten messages from unknown people, classed by type: flyers about lost animals, justifications left on windshields for parking cops to avoid paying the meter, desperate pleas for witnesses, announcements of a change in management, office messages, home messages, messages to oneself. I cannot sleep beside someone who moves around, snores, breathes heavily, or steals the covers. I can sleep with my arms around someone who doesn’t move. I have attempted suicide once, I’ve been tempted four times to attempt it. The distant sound of a lawn mower in summer brings back happy childhood memories. I am bad at throwing. I have read less of the Bible than of Marcel Proust. Roberto Juarroz makes me laugh more than Andy Warhol. Jack Kerouac makes me want to live more than Charles Baudelaire. La Rochefoucauld depresses me less than Bret Easton Ellis. Joe Brainard is less affirmative than Walt Whitman. I know Jacques Roubaud less well than Georges Perec. Gherasim Luca is the most full of despair. I don’t see the connection between Alain Robbe-Grillet and Antonio Tabucchi. When I make lists of names, I dread the ones I forget. From certain angles, tanned and wearing a black shirt, I can find myself handsome. I find myself ugly more often than handsome. I like my voice after a night out or when I have a cold. I am unacquainted with hunger. I was never in the army. I have never pulled a knife on anyone. I have never used a machine gun. I have fired a revolver. I have fired a rifle. I have shot an arrow. I have netted butterflies. I have observed rabbits. I have eaten pheasants. I recognize the scent of a tiger. I have touched the dry head of a tortoise and an elephant’s hard skin. I have caught sight of a herd of wild boar in a forest in Normandy. I ride. I do not explain. I do not excuse. I do not classify. I go fast. I am drawn to the brevity of English, shorter than French. I do not name the people I talk about to someone who doesn’t know them, I use, despite the trouble of it, abstract descriptions like “that friend whose parachute got tangled up with another parachute the time he jumped.” I prefer going to bed to getting up, but I prefer living to dying. I look more closely at old photographs than contemporary ones, they are smaller, and their details are more precise. I have noticed that, on the keypads of Parisian front doors, the 1 wears out the fastest. I’m not ashamed of my family, but I do not invite them to my openings. I have often been in love. I love myself less than I have been loved. I am surprised when someone loves me. I do not consider myself handsome just because a woman thinks so. My intelligence is uneven. My amorous states resemble one another, and those of other people, more than my works resemble one another, or those of other people. I have never shared a bank account. A friend once remarked that I seem glad when guests show up at my house but also when they leave. I do not know how to interrupt an interlocutor who bores me. I have good digestion. I love summer rain. I have trouble understanding why people give stupid presents. Presents make me feel awkward, whether I am the giver or the receiver, unless they are the right ones, which is rare. Although I am self-employed, I observe the weekend. I have never kissed a lover in front of my parents. I do not have a weekend place because I do not like to open and then shut a whole lot of shutters over the course of two days. I have not hugged a male friend tight. I have not seen the dead body of a friend. I have seen the dead bodies of my grandmother and my uncle. I have not kissed a boy. I used to have sex with women my own age, but as I got older they got younger. I do not buy used shoes. I have made love on the roof of the thirtieth floor of a building in Hong Kong. I have made love in the daytime in a public garden in Hong Kong. I have made love in the toilet of the Paris–Lyon TGV. I have made love in front of some friends at the end of a very drunken dinner. I have made love in a staircase on the avenue Georges-Mandel. I have made love to a girl at a party at six in the morning, five minutes after asking, without any preamble, if she wanted to. I have made love standing up, sitting down, lying down, on my knees, stretched out on one side or the other. I have made love to one person at a time, to two, to three, to more. I have smoked hashish and opium, I have done poppers, I have snorted cocaine. I find fresh air more intoxicating than drugs. I smoked my first joint at age fourteen in Segovia, a friend and I had bought some “chocolate” from a guard in the military police, I couldn’t stop laughing and I ate the leaves of an olive tree. I smoked several joints in the bosom of my grammar school, the Collège Stanislas, at the age of fifteen. The girl whom I loved the most left me. At ten I cut my finger in a flour mill. At six I broke my nose getting hit by a car. At fifteen I skinned my hip and -elbow falling off a moped, I had decided to defy the street, riding with no hands, looking backward. I broke my thumb skiing, after flying ten meters and landing on my head, I got up and saw, as in a cartoon, circles of birthday candles turning in the air and then I fainted. I have not made love to the wife of a friend. I do not love the sound of a family on the train. I am uneasy in rooms with small windows. Sometimes I realize that what I’m in the middle of saying is boring, so I just stop talking. Art that unfolds over time gives me less pleasure than art that stops it. Even if it is an odd sort of present, I thank my father and mother for having given me life.



I believe the people who make the world are the ones who do not believe in reality, for example, for centuries, the Christians. There are times in my life when I overuse the phrase “it all sounds pretty complicated.” I wonder how the obese make love. Not wanting to change things does not mean I am conservative, I like for things to change, just not having to do it. I connect easily with women, it takes longer with men. My best male friends have something feminine about them. I ride a motorcycle but I don’t have the “biker spirit.” I am an egoist despite myself, I cannot even conceive of being altruistic. Until the age of twelve I thought I was gifted with the power to shape the future, but this power was a crushing burden, it manifested itself in the form of threats, I had to take just so many steps before I got to the end of the sidewalk or else my parents would die in a car accident, I had to close the door thinking of some favorable outcome, for example passing a test, or else I’d fail, I had to turn off the light not thinking about my mother getting raped, or that would happen, one day I couldn’t stand having to close the door a hundred times before I could think of something good, or to spend fifteen minutes turning off the light the right way, I decided enough was enough, the world could fall apart, I didn’t want to spend my life saving other people, that night I went to bed sure the next day would bring the apocalypse, nothing happened, I was relieved but a little bit disappointed to discover I had no power. 


Edouard Leve, Entree de Rio, 2002, color photograph. From


In a sandwich, I don’t see what I am eating, I imagine it. Even very tired, I can watch TV for several hours. As a child I dreamed of being not a fireman, but a veterinarian, the idea was not my own, I was imitating my cousin. I played house with a cousin, but there were variants, it could be doctor (formal inspection of genitals), or thug and bourgeoise (mini–rape scene), when we played thug and bourgeoise my cousin would walk past the swing set where I’d be sitting, outside our family’s house, I would call out to her in a menacing tone of voice, she wouldn’t answer but would act afraid, she would start to run away, I would catch her and drag her into the little pool house, I would bolt the door, I’d pull the curtains, she would try vaguely to get away, I would undress her and similute the sexual act while she cried out in either horror or pleasure, I could never tell which it was supposed to be, I forget how it used to end. I would be very moved if a friend told me he loved me, even if he told me more out of love than friendship. I find certain ethnicities more beautiful than others. When I ask for directions, I am afraid I won’t be able to remember what people tell me. I am always shocked when people give me directions and they actually get me where I’m going: words become road. I like slow motion because it brings cinema close to photography. I get along well with old people. A woman’s breasts may hold my attention to the point that I can’t hear what she’s saying. I enjoy the simple decor of Protestant temples. I do not write memoirs. I do not write novels. I do not write short stories. I do not write plays. I do not write poems. I do not write mysteries. I do not write science fiction. I write fragments. I do not tell stories from things I’ve read or movies I’ve seen, I describe impressions, I make judgments. The modern man I sing. In one of my recurring nightmares, gravity is so heavy that the chubby pseudo-humans who wander the empty surface of the earth move in slow motion through an endless moonlit night. I have utterly lost touch with friends who were dear to me, without knowing why, I believe they don’t know why themselves. I learned to draw by copying pornographic photographs. I have a foggy sense of history, and of stories in general, chronology bores me. I do not suffer from the absence of those I love. I prefer desire to pleasure. My death will change nothing. I would like to write in a language not my own. I penetrate a woman faster than I pull out. If I kiss for a long time, it hurts the muscle under my tongue. I am afraid of ending up a bum. I am afraid of having my computer and negatives stolen. I cannot tell what, in me, is innate. I do not have a head for business. I have stepped on a rake and had the handle hit me in the face. I have gone to four psychiatrists, one psychologist, one psychotherapist, and five psychoanalysts. I look for the simple things I no longer see. I do not go to confession. Legs slightly open excite me more than legs wide open. I have trouble forbidding. I am not mature. When I look at a strawberry, I think of a tongue, when I lick one, of a kiss. I can see how drops of water could be torture. A burn on my tongue has a taste. My memories, good or bad, are sad the way dead things are sad. A friend can let me down but not an enemy. I ask the price before I buy. I go nowhere with my eyes closed. When I was a child I had bad taste in music. Playing sports bores me after an hour. Laughing unarouses me. Often, I wish it were tomorrow. My memory is structured like a disco ball. I wonder if there are still parents around to threaten their children with a whipping. The voice, the lyrics, and the face of Daniel Darc made French rock listenable to me. The best conversations I ever had date from adolescence, with a friend at whose place we drank cocktails that we made by mixing up his mother’s liquor at random, we would talk until sunrise in the salon of that big house where Mallarmé had once been a guest, in the course of those nights, I delivered speeches on love, politics, God, and death of which I retain not one word, even though I came up with some of them doubled over in laughter, years later, this friend told his wife that he had left something in the house just as they were leaving to play tennis, he went down to the basement and put a bullet in his head with the gun he had left there beforehand. I have memories of comets with powdery tails. I read the dictionary. I went into a glass labyrinth called the Palace of Mirrors. I wonder where the dreams go that I don’t remember. I do not know what to do with my hands when they have nothing to do. Even though it’s not for me, I turn around when someone whistles in the street. Dangerous animals do not scare me. I have seen lightning. I wish they had sleds for grown-ups. I have read more volumes one than volumes two. The date on my birth certificate is wrong. I am not sure I have any influence. I talk to my things when they’re sad. I do not know why I write. I prefer a ruin to a monument. I am calm during reunions. I have nothing against the alarm clock. Fifteen years old is the middle of my life, regardless of when I die. I believe there is an afterlife, but not an afterdeath. I do not ask “do you love me.” Only once can I say “I’m dying” without telling a lie. The best day of my life may already be behind me.

Translated from French by Lorin Stein


Best known as a photographer, Édouard Levé was also the author of four works of prose: Oeuvres, Journal, Autoportrait, and Suicide, the last of which he finished days before he took his own life, in 2007, at the age of forty-two. Levé wrote Autoportrait—the source of these pages—in 2002, while he was traveling across America, taking the photographs that became “Série Amérique.”

There was a part of me that understood him. A part of me, that felt he was telling my story. A part of me, that was afraid of how it would end. But most of all, a part of me, that fell in love.

Thank you, D, for sharing.

Recipe: Eggless Tiramisu intoxicated with Kahlua


*Sigh* If only I was a better food photographer…

I was never necessarily crazy about Tiramisu when I was in India. I was also always confused about what it was supposed to be – a pastry, a mousse, something in between? Was it supposed to be dark or was it supposed to be sweet? Wasn’t it supposed to be made with chocolate with a hint of coffee?

And then I moved to New York, where the sweet little Italian delis were more than happy to serve Tiramisu along with their strong cups of cappuccino. And, I went to Cafe Dante in the Village where the only word I could use to describe the Tiramisu, is divine.

Ever since, I’ve been meaning to try making Tiramisu. The thing that initially held me back was that maybe it needed to be made using gelatin. And then, I held back because I didn’t know what ladyfingers were. And then I held back because I didn’t know what mascarpone was. What I realized, in the end, is that there will be a million things holding me back until I make up my mind to follow through on something I want to do.

Traditionally, Tiramisu is made with ladyfingers, a light and spongy Italian biscuit, strong espresso coffee, marsala wine, mascarpone cheese and raw eggs. 

Since I am a strict vegetarian, I couldn’t use ladyfingers or raw eggs (Oh the gelatin thing, just a myth made in my head). So, I substituted ladyfingers with vanilla sponge cake.

For the cake:

2 cups flour + 4 tbsp flour
4 level tsp double action baking powder
1 can (400g) sweetened condensed milk
120 ml melted butter (or 8 tbsp solid butter)
4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Kahlua

For the cream filling:

250g Mascarpone cheese
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
4 – 6 tbsp Kahlua

1 cup chilled espresso + 5 – 6 tbps Kahlua

Cocoa powder for dusting

I first made the espresso. I used a South-Indian decoction maker and some mild Costa Rican fair trade coffee. I would recommend using stronger coffee in the future. I’ve heard Starbucks VIA is a good coffee to use for the espresso. Once made, I put it in the freezer to chill it while I started working on the cake to susbstitute the ladyfingers with. Frankly, you could get away with making half a recipe of this cake. But it was absolutely delish so I just kept a lot of the cake aside for fun!

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Grease and dust a 8 x 8 baking dish.

2) Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add the sweetened condensed milk, melted butter, vanilla and Kahlua and start whisking the mix. Add warm water and keep whisking until the batter is well aired and of pouring consistency. I used an electric beater for this. Pour the batter into the pan and put it in the oven. After 15 minutes, I lowered the temperature to 325 degrees. It took about 40 minutes to bake the cake. The sure shot test to tell if the cake is done is to poke it with a knife to see if it comes out clean. Once the cake was baked, I left it to cool for almost 30 minutes on a rack.

3) I started beating the whipped cream using the whisk attachment of the beater, slowly adding icing sugar to the mix. I did this till the cream had soft peaks. Overbeating can be disastrous and so I try and be careful not to do that. (Imagine a nervous me, biting a lip and starting intently at the working bowl making sure I’m not beating it a bit too much!). Once done, I put the mix aside in the fridge.

4) I used the same whisk attachment for the beater and beat the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla and Kahlua. The consistency of the cheese should resemble that of the whipped cream. Initially, the cheese will look like it is lumping up, but don’t worry about it. Once done, gently fold the whipped cream with the cheese mix and set aside in the fridge.

5) By now the cake has cooled and is ready to be sliced into pieces to line the serving dish with. First slice away the raised portion of the cake and cut off the sides of the cake (basically, take out any crisp parts of the cake that might hamper with coffee absorption). At this point, you need to decide whether you want to set your Tiramisu in glasses (which look pretty) or in a deep rectangular serving dish. This will dictate the size of the fingers you will cut from the cake. I used the rectangular deep dish as I was carrying the Tiramisu to a friend’s and glasses would have been difficult to manage. In my mind, slicing the cake was also the trickiest part of making the Tiramisu because the thickness of the cake pieces is critical – it should be thick enough to absorb the coffee and Kahlua mix but not so thick that it becomes chunky to eat. I made the mistake of slicing it too thick and for the future, I will ensure I slice the cake into 1.5 cm thick fingers. Given the size of my dish, I sliced it into 1″ wide thick fingers. Just ensure you have enough “fingers” to make two layers.

6) In a shallow plate, put in a few tablespoons of the espresso with an equivalent amount of Kahlua. Dip the fingers in the coffee mix and lay down in the serving dish. Do this quickly so that the cake doesn’t crumble. Spread the cheese mix over this layer. Using a seive, dust this layer with the cocoa powder. Put another layer of coffee soaked cake atop of the cream mix. Spread another layer of the cream mix and dust with cocoa. And now, you’re done! Just chill it overnight in the fridge.

I loved this. I wish I had made the Tiramisu sooner. It was heavy but I think the heaviness could be attributed to the thickness of the cake. 

Next time, I’m going to try dousing the cake in marsala wine or brandy instead. 

As to my original question – What is Tiramisu? It’s what coffee and alcohol is meant to be, if it were to be eaten and not drunk. 

Recipe: Brilliant, brilliant apple upside down cake


Disclaimer: This isn’t the cake I baked. The one I did, was quickly devoured.

There was an old saying back at the advertising agency I used to work at: 
“When the going gets tough, it starts raining cakes”

What they really meant, is that when I’d get tired of working, or extremely stressed out, I’d bake. A lot. And since I possibly couldn’t eat it all, I’d take it to work. Let’s just say, I can really relate to Izzy Stevens in Grey’s Anatomy. Nothing makes me happier than the smell of vanilla, the sheen of melting chocolate chips and licking a cake batter covered spatula. And it’s a challenge every time. You see, I bake without eggs. Which basically means, I have to tweak every recipe I read and find. Which means, there’s a little bit of me in every one of those cakes. And it makes me happy to know something I made, if done well, could give someone great joy, in the flavor of crisp, toasty apples, the texture of sweet whipped cream frosting and the purity of simple, delectable chocolate sponge cake.

Anyway, let’s just say I’ve had many reasons to be stressed off late. So I gave myself a midnight challenge. Something I’d seen but never made before: Apple Upside Down Cake.

I’m not going to say it was perfect. I’ll also admit I had to pick the apples from the bottom of the pan and stick them back up on the cake once made. But I can say, that on day 2, it tasted like the best damn apple cake I could’ve made. I’ll suggest a few iterations as I go along:


1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 level tsp double-action baking powder
1/2 can (or 200 g) sweetened condensed milk
60 ml melted butter (usually amounts to 4 tbsp of solidified butter)
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon (use more or less depending on how much you love cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground ginger ( this is mainly for the flavor: use depending on your preference. Skip it if you’re not a fan)
Some nutmeg (some recipes call for using just a dash but I love nutmeg and use just a little less than I use cinnamon)
1 tsp sugar in the raw or brown sugar
1 apple, finely sliced 

Here’s what I did:

1) Preheated the oven to 400 degrees F
2) Liberally greased and dusted a 6″ round pan
3) Sieved the flour and baking powder. Folded into the mixture the melted margarine, vanilla essence/extract and condensed milk. Then I used a whisk to smoothen the entire mixture. You know, to that point that you can see beautiful little patterns forming in the mixture. I also added some warm water to the mix because the batter needs to be of pouring consistency. Since the cake is eggless, not adding enough water could make the cake too dense and hard. 
4) I then added the spices to taste and mixed it up again.
5) In the pan, I spread the sugar and lined the tin with the apples. Then I poured the mixture over it and put it in the oven. This cake took twice as long to cook as a regular chocolate cake using a similar recipe. It also rose a lot from the center and cracked. I’m still trying to achieve that perfection but the cake tasted so good, I feel confident recommending it any way. After 30 minutes, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 and baked till a knife put through the center came clean.
6) Once that happened, I took it out and cut the raised center with a big serrated bread cutting knife and then I inverted the tin. I think I perhaps should’ve waited cause all the apples didnt come through on top of the cake and I had to pull them out and them in place on the cake.
The original recipe (Which I tweaked) said the cake should have been served warm. Personally, I preferred the cake cold and can only imagine it tasting even better with cream.

I’m looking forward to making this cake again with better results. The challenge continues: next time, I’ll work hard on making it bake evenly, with almost no cracks and making the apples stick. Perhaps, I’ll add a little caramel to the mix, and even mix some apple sauce with the condensed milk in the batter. I could also use some fresh ginger in the mix, or caramelize the ginger with the apples at the base of the tin.

So many ideas! I’m happy just at the thought of it 🙂