Angry Birds Cake – Moulded with Marzipan

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I am deeply passionate about food. I believe food is an experience that is both, individual and communal. It’s communal because the best conversations take place over food and wine. It’s individual, because it engages four of your five major senses: taste, smell, touch and sight.

The way a dish looks, should create an anticipation of what is to follow. In the mind of the eater, it should create an expectation of texture, flavor, and satisfaction. And that is what makes the baker, the ultimate artist.

Up until today, most of my posts have been focused on taste, smell and touch. But this is a cake, I baked sometime last year for my cousin’s birthday. It was a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. But my cousin loves marzipan. So, I made a themed birthday cake with marzipan. And what better theme than Angry Birds!

I don’t have an instructional video on this, but I do have a few tips on working with marzipan:

1. Keep your hands greased and ensure the marzipan doesn’t touch water – that will make it sticky
2. When rolling marzipan onto a cake, it’s a good idea to dust your rolling pin with powdered sugar and to roll it out on parchment or wax paper
3. Keep a knife dipped in hot water, and wipe it dry before trimming any rolled marzipan
4. I used liquid colors when working with marzipan for this cake, and it gave a deeper, richer color

Remember that you can use other candy to help with the decoration too. Depending on what you’re using, you can stick it to the marzipan by simply first moistening it with water.

I prefer modelling with marzipan than with fondant, mainly because my personal philosophy is that everything on a cake should be delicious. And fondant, is not delicious. Marzipan does get a little expensive to work with though, and not everybody likes it. I believe modelling chocolate is a good alternative too and it’s not too expensive – so, I’m looking forward to working with it in the future!

Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

It’s a curious fact that I, who love chocolates, can’t stand to have plain milk chocolate. Give me milk chocolate on a waffer, biscuit, with fruits in it and I’ll have it. But my favorite accompaniment to milk chocolate, is caramel. I love how caramel is sweet and creamy and nutty at the same time. Naturally, then I had to make a chocolate cupcake with caramel buttercream.

I didn’t grow up eating buttercream. It really is icing I’ve discovered only after moving to the US. That might explain why I’m not it’s biggest fan. Next time I’ll try this icing with whipped cream and see if my palate likes that better. But as far as buttercream goes, this recipe from 52 Kitchen Adventures is pretty awesome. 

I switched the chocolate cupcake recipe around a bit and loved the new flavor brown sugar gave it. I also had some chocolate shavings left over that I added to the recipe that added some richness to the cake.

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Ingredients

Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 9

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp sweetened cocoa
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp chocolate shavings (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup oil
1/8 cup + 2tbsp water

Caramel Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp salted butter, cubed
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt

Caramel Buttercream

1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick (8 tbsp) salted butter
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

Directions
Make the chocolate cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 9 cupcake liners.
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar to the milk and let it curdle for a few minutes.
  3. Add the oil, water, light brown sugar to the liquid mix and beat.
  4. Sift the baking soda, flour, cocoas together. Mix in the chocolate shavings.
  5. Lightly whisk the dry ingredients and the liquid mix together.
  6. Pour into the liners 2/3rds of the way and bake for 25 minutes or until a knife through the cake comes out clean
  7. Take the cupcakes out of the oven and cool.

Make the Caramel Filling

  1. Evenly spread the sugar at the base of a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan. Keep it at medium heat.
  2. Stir until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color.
  3. Take the pan off the stove and add in the butter and whipping cream. It whill bubble and splutter. Be careful!
  4. Whisk until the caramel mix is nice and smooth. If you’re seeing sticky clumps for the most part, just return the pan to the stove and keep stirring until the caramel mix is smooth. Be careful not to burn it!

Whisk some Caramel Buttercream

  1. When caramel is made by first dissolving sugar in water, the most important thing to be mindful of is to not stir the mix.
  2. In a stainless steel pan, first evenly spread the sugar and pour the water over it. Mix and ensure that the sugar is evenly laid in the pan.
  3. Heat the mix on medium. DO NOT STIR. Let the mix to turn to a deep amber color.
  4. Take it off the stove and mix in the whipping cream, vanilla and salt. Let the mix cool.
  5. Beat the softened butter. Gradually add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat on high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy. 
  6. Fold in the caramel and mix in the buttercream. If it’s too liquidy, just pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.

Assemble the cupcakes

  1. Cut a circle in the middle of the cupcakes and fill in with a spoonful of the caramel filling. Close the cupcake back up with the piece you’d scooped out.
  2. You’ll have some caramel left over when you’re done. In a piping bag, add a couple of spoons to one side of the bag. Add the buttercream on the other side and then, pipe the buttercream on the cupcake. 
  3. Sprinkle some salt on the cream for some flair.

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me: Eggless Chocolate Raspberry Cake

The best birthday present I could give myself is a day of baking. My cousin and I were celebrating our birthdays together and I wanted to make passionfruit chocolate cake, except I actually couldn’t find any passionfruit pulp. There I was, standing in Safeway, wondering what I was going to do, when I spotted them – delicious and delectable raspberries! Earlier in the day, I’d picked up some melt-in-your-mouth truffles from Whole Foods. I knew then, I had to try a chocolate raspberry cake!

But since this was my birthday cake, I had to try something fancy – like chocolate shavings and a three layer cake – my first  and something that was definitely not easy to do! 

This is what I cut today:

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And this is what it looked like when I cut it:

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All in all, it was delicious and it looked pretty. It was a messy first attempt though and took a lot of time cleaning up – but, the end result was worth it. A sweet way to start 28! 

Following the many requests I’ve received, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups milk
1+1/8 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water

Raspberry Filling 

10.5 oz raspberries
2 oz water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornflour + 1/4 cup water
1 tsp agar agar
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 – 5 tbsp raspberry preserve 

Chocolate ganache

9 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 tbsp sugar

Garnish

1 cup chocolate shavings for garnish
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
Raspberries
Chocolate truffles

Directions

Make the Cake 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and dust a 9″ baking pan
  3. Mix the vinegar with the milk and leave aside for a few minutes. Then add the vanilla, oil, water and sugar. Beat the liquid mix.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Mix in the liquid ingredients. Be careful not to overbeat.
  5. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until a knife through the cake comes out clean. Cool in the oven for 5 minutes and then set aside.

Make the Raspberry Filling
This can be made the day before 

  1. On medium heat, cook the raspberries, sugar and water. Stir occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  2. Once the raspberries melt into the mix,  add the agar agar. As soon as the mix boils, cook it at low heat.
  3. Mix the cornflour in water to make a smooth mix. Gradually add it to the raspberry sauce. The mixture should begin to thicken. Keep stirring at low temperature for about 5 -7 minutes. Add the lemon juice and salt. Take off the gas and cool. Your sauce should have the consistency of beaten fruit preserve.
  4. Whip the cream till soft peaks form. Then add the strawberry syrup and beat again. 
  5. Cool for at least an hour in the fridge. Best cooled overnight.

Whip up some chocolate ganache
This too can be made ahead of time 

  1. Mix the sugar in the whipping cream and bring to a simmer on the gas.
  2. Pour over the chocolate and set aside for a few minutes
  3. Mix the chocolate into the whipping cream and cool. Then refrigerate.

Put it all together

  1. Before assembling the cake, leave the ganache out till it reaches the right spreadable consistency.
  2. Cut your cake into three layers. 
  3. Beat the strawberry preserve and spread on the layers you’ll be filling with a pastry brush.
  4. Pipe the layers with some chocolate ganache along the edges. Fill in with raspberry filling.
  5. Set the layers atop of one another
  6. Spread the chocolate ganache on top and along the sides.
  7. Press the chocolate shavings along the sides and use a seive to spread cocoa over the top.
  8. Decorate with raspberries and chocolate truffles
  9. Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours before serving.

Note: You’ll have filling and ganache left over – these can be frozen for future use. The hardest part of putting this cake together, was sticking the chocolate shavings and then lifting the cake onto the cake plate. When assembling the cake, best to do so on a flat plate with parchment paper. Use a heavy duty and big cake lifter to transfer the cake. Another option is to cool the cake for a bit before transfering it. A simple variation of this cake would be to make a 2 layer cake instead of a 3 layer one. 

New Year Breakfast Treat: Eggless Pancakes with Caramelized Oranges

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The thing I begrudge hangovers the most, is how they leave this horrible taste at the back of your mouth that pretty much ensures you don’t want to eat anything delicious. Then again, when you decide to hit Park Chow in Richmond and see their lovely brunch menu, you begrudge your hangover the mimosa you’re too dehydrated to drink and you begrudge the menu lovely lemon ricotta pancakes you can’t eat ’cause they’re made with eggs!

Needless to say, when I woke up this morning, I had a big craving for lemon ricotta pancakes.  A peek in my fridge revealed that I was out of both, ricotta cheese and pancake mix. A little digging on the web and a little experimentation yielded beautiful and fluffy pancakes made from scratch. And since I ran out of maple syrup, I figured I could do this with caramelized oranges and boozy caramel sauce instead!

Ingredients

For the pancakes
Makes 8 – 10 

1 cup flour
 3 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 level tbsp plain yogurt
1 cup warm water
3 tsp oil
1/4 tsp butter
1/2 tsp powdered sugar  

For the caramelized oranges
Makes enough for one plate of pancakes

1/2 cup white cane sugar
1/8 cup water
1 tbsp light corn syrup (it’s okay if you don’t have this)
1 tsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cointreau/orange liquor or orange juice
dash of cinnamon (optional)
1 orange, peeled and sliced
A few thin strips of orange peel, twisted

Directions

Start by making the caramelized oranges

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1. On a low flame (3 on your electric stove), in a thick bottomed stainless steel pan, thoroughly mix the sugar, water and corn syrup until dissolved
2. Then, without stirring, let the syrup caramelize till it is a deep amber color. DO NOT STIR. If your pan is heating unevenly and you see one side of your syrup turning darker than the other, gently swirl the syrup and turn your pan until the syrup is evenly colored. Keep the gas mark low.
3. As soon as the syrup turns a deep amber, remove it from the flame. Be careful not to burn it by overheating
4. Add the butter, cointreau (or orange juice), lemon juice, salt and cinnamon. It will sputter, so be careful
5. If your caramel starts hardening, place it back on the stove and stir until it liquifies
6. Put your sliced oranges and twisted orange peel in this mix and drench with the syrup. Leave it on the stove for about two minutes and then take the pan off the stove and set aside

Now, make the pancakes

Plainpancakes

1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder thoroughly
2. Add the water, oil, yogurt and whisk the mixture thoroughly until you see air bubbles
3. Heat a flat pan and grease it with butter/oil
4. Lower your gas flame (stove mark 3) and pour the pancake mixture a quarter cup (or less) at a time
5. Bubbles will form on the top of the poured mixture. Once dry, flip over. When golden on both sides, you can take it off.

Wipe your pan with a paper towel before making the next pancake.

Assembling the pancakes

1. Place three pancakes on top of each other
2. Place 1/4 tsp of butter on the warm pancake on top
3. Pick the oranges out of the caramel sauce and place on your pancakes
4. Spoon some of the caramel sauce (heat it if it has solidified) onto the pancakes
5. Garnish with the orange peels and sprinkle powdered sugar through a seive

You could just as easily caramelize strawberries for your pancake or serve these caramelized fruits with cream as a dessert. 

Eaten_pancakes

This was DELICIOUS. A nice rich brunch to kickstart your cooking new year with. Although, you might want to switch out the mimosa for a pomegranate bellini 🙂 

 

Recipe: Rich Chocolate Cake covered in Chantilly Cream, filled with White Chocolate Whipped Cream and Strawberries

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I love birthdays and holidays. Mainly because they present me with opportunities to bake. Last year, one of my birthday presents to myself, was this rich chocolate cake. It seemed like such an ambitious project then! 

Yesterday, a friend of mine came over and we made this cake again for a Thanksgiving party she was attending. I think she too was surprised at how easy it was to make, and yet, how satisfying it was to bite into.

Ingredients

For the cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 tbsp kahlua or chocolate liquor (optional)
1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp flour for greasing and dusting
4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chantilly cream

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the white chocolate whipped cream

6 oz. white chocolate chips
1.5 cups heavy cream, refrigerated
1 tbsp cointreau or brandy (optional) 

1 box strawberries 

Directions

Start with making the white chocolate whipped cream:

1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips
2. In a separate pan, bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil (be careful not to boil it too much – just let it bubble and take it off the stove)
3. When the chocolate chips are just about melting, pour the hot cream and let sit for a few minutes
4. Add in the liquor and create a smooth liquidy mix
5. Cool to room temperature
6. Whip the remaining the cream at medium speed. Just as peaks start forming, fold in the white chocolate mix. Increase to high speed and whip till stiff peaks form. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before using.

Make the Chantilly cream:

1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form
2. Refrigerate 

Then you make the cake:

1. Dust and grease two 8″ pans or one 12″ pan
2. Set the overn temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. In a bowl, mix the vinegar in the milk and leave aside to thicken
4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, sugar, baking soda and lightly mix
5. Add oil, vanilla extract to the milk and mix
6. Fold the liquid contents into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Add the kahlua. Be careful not to over mix – this may cause the cake to crack
7. Pour the mixure into your pans or pan
8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes or until a knife poked through the center comes out clean
9. Remove from the oven and cool for at least twenty minutes on a cooling rack 

While the cake is baking, finely slice the strawberries. In a separate bowl, take a few of the strawberry slices aside to garnish the cake with and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Assembling the cake

1. If you baked two cakes, level the tops with a serrated knife. If you baked one 12″ cake, slice it in half. Note: Make sure your cake has completely cooled before slicing it.
2. On one layer (or one cake), spread the white chocolate whipped cream
3. Layer the strawberries on top of the white chocolate cream 
4. Place the second layer of cake (or whole cake) on top
5. Frost with the chantilly cream
6. Garnish with the remaining sliced strawberries. The powdered sugar should have formed a shiny glaze on them.
7. Chill for a couple of hours before serving the cake 

 

Pineapple-Berry: Eggless Upside Down Pineapple & Strawberry Cake

Pineapples

When I moved to the US three years back, I was most excited about two things:
a) Fruit flavored yogurt
b) Strawberries available all around the year

I first had a pineapple upside down cake almost a decade ago, while visiting a friend. I still remember liking it, but wishing it had a little kick to it. So, when I found a box of frozen strawberry sauce while cleaning my freezer the other day, I was immediately inspired to combine the sweetness of tinned pineapples with the slightly sour kick of strawberries in this Pineapple Berry Upside Down Cake.

This cake was a big hit over dinner today. My cousin couldn’t believe it was made without eggs, and while she had initially planned to go for a small bite, she ended up saving a lot of the cake for the next day as well. 

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This is a moist and flavorful cake that works equally well as a tea-time cake as it does as a fruity dessert, served by itself or with a dollop of icecream. 

Ingredients

1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola/vegetable oil
1 strawberry sauce (recipe below) 
1 tin pineapple rings
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon essence
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the Strawberry Sauce

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Disclaimer: I made this sauce a couple of months back and did not save the exact measurement of ingredients. Hence I will use approximations in this recipe. I recommend that you trust your tastebuds on this one – the sauce should be sweet, but sour.

2 – 3 cups chopped strawberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

Strawberry Sauce

In a heavy bottom pan, mix all ingredients and heat on low – medium settings until the mix thickens. If required, blend using a hand mixer. Cool. Adjust sweetness or sourness based on your taste preferences. For the pineapple berry cake, keep it slightly lemony.

Pineapple Berry Upside Down Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 6″ pan with parchment paper.
  3. Arrange pineapple rings on the bottom of the pan. Cut some of the rings in half and arrange along the sides of the pan.
  4. Spoon in strawberry sauce in the center of each of the pineapple rings on the bottom of the pan.
  5. In a big bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking soda
  6. In another bowl, mix the sugar with 1/2 cup oil, 3/4 cup of the strawberry sauce, 1/2 cup of pineapple juice from the tin, apple cider vinegar and the vanilla and lemon extracts. 
  7. Fold in the liquid mix into the flour mix gently in thirds. Do not overmix as this will cause the cake to crack.
  8. Pour your mix into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. If a knife then inserted doesn’t come out clean, lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. Cool in the oven for about 5 – 7 minutes afterwards. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the baking pan. Then invert pan onto a cake rack and peel off the parchment paper. If the strawberry sauce has stuck to the parchment paper, spoon it out and replace in the center of the pineapple rings.

Pineapple_upside_down_cake

This cake is a pleasant mix of pineapple and strawberries. If you’d like a stronger pineapple flavor, chop in a few pineapple pieces and add to your mix. If you don’t have lemon extract, replace with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract + 1/2 tsp raspberry or strawberry extract, or 1 tsp vanilla extract.

 

Vegan Orange Cupcakes with Orange Creamcheese frosting

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Growing up, I used to love running home from the playground to freshly squeezed orange juice, lovingly served by my Mom. Even today, take me to Jamba Juice and my first instinct will be to reach out for that medium sized fresh orange juice glass!

I love the flavor of oranges. It’s instantly refreshing and yet exotic when paired with ingredients like coffee or chocolate. I’ve spent a fair amount of time making orange flavored coffee for friends and even orange chocolate cakes.

This past week though, I decided to make a batch of cupcakes that are through and through, orange flavored. No whiff of chocolate, no after effects from caffeine. What I pleasantly discovered, was that this was a batch of absolutely no-fuss cupcakes! Super easy to make, and citrus on the tongue.

Ingredients:

Makes 12 cupcakes

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vailla extract
1 tsp orange extract
2.5 tbsp grated orange rind
1/2 cup canola/vegetable oil

For the frosting:

8 oz cream cheese
1 stick (8 tbsp butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sifted powdered sugar (more if you like your creamcheese sweet)
1 tbsp grated orange rind

Directions:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Line 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt.
3. Add in the extracts, oil, orange juice and mix until no lumps remain, no more than 1 minute. Do not whisk.
4. Pour into cup cake liners, 2/3rds of the way and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a knife through the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Turn off the oven and let the cupcakes cool in there for 5 – 10 minutes.
6. Take the tray out and let the cupcakes cool in the tray for 10 minutes. Then transfer on to a cake rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting.

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The Frosting

1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add sugar on low speed, beat until incorporated.
3. Add in the grated orange rind, increase the beater speed to high and mix until light and fluffy.
4. Pipe onto your cupcakes. Garnish with twisted orange rind or orange slices. 

Eggless Mini Chocolate Eclairs – Memories from my Childhood

Chocolate-eclair

Do you remember the first time you ever ate a chocolate éclair? I do. I was about seven years old and there was a single bakery that made them in the little city I lived in. I remember the cream oozing out of the choux pastry, on which the chocolate ganache had begun to crack… I remember looking forward to visits to the bakery, reserved only for special occasions.

Needless to say, chocolate éclairs have a very special place in my heart and life. So, among the things that I knew I’d miss, when I gave up eggs, was that delectable little éclair from my childhood. 

Last night, I was watching the movie bridesmaids and the officer with a sweet tooth, mentioned cream puffs. That’s when it began – my search across the web for vegan/vegetarian cream puffs and chocolate éclairs. 

The choux pastry is really the toughest part of the recipe. The original recipe I referenced was by Veganbits. I’m not 300% satisfied with the pastry, because although it inflated, tasted very well, I feel the texture could use a little improvement aka it could be softer. However, the overall effect of this pastry is so delectable, I’m not hesitating to post it.

Ingredients

Makes 12 mini-eclairs

For the choux pastry 
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp EnerG egg replacer whipped stiff with 1/3 cup of warm water
1 cup milk

For the vanilla cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache
2 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
A little less than 1/4 cup of whipping cream
1/2 tbsp butter

 Directions

I The Choux Pastry

Choux_pastry

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.
3. Bring milk and butter to a boil – use a heavy bottom pan and keep stirring to ensure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom.
4. Prepare the egg replacer on the side.
5. Add the flour mixture to the boiling milk mix, set the heat to low.
6. Keep stirring the flour until it folds into a ball and separates from the sides. It’s best to use a thick steel spoon for this – the dough gets a little tough. Make sure you don’t cook the flour for more than 3 – 5 minutes.
7. Remove the vessel from heat, and stir in the egg replacer 1/3rd of the quantity at a time. The dough will nicely form a ball.
8. Shape the dough into mini eclair sized pastry and place on the parchment paper.
9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Thereafter, lower the temperature to 350 degrees, turn the baking tray around and leave in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes. Check to make sure the choux is golden brown and isn’t burning. Turn off the oven, stick a wooden spoon in the oven door and let the pastry cool in there for about 30 minutes. After that, you can turn it out on to a cooling rack. Wait another 30 minutes before filling and glazing.

Note: You need to work really fast through this recipe, which is a little challenging but do-able.  

II The Chocolate glaze

1. Bring the whipping cream and the butter to a boil
2. Pour over the chopped chocolate and set aside for about 5 minutes
3. Gently stir the chocolate with the cream to form a glossy sauce

Tip: The flavor of the chocolate will dominate the ganache. If you’re stuck with semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate that’s too bitter for your taste, simply put in some powdered sugar over the chopped chocolate before pouring the warm cream. 

III The Cream Filling

Whip the cream with the vanilla extract and sugar until stiff.

IV Assembling the Eclair

Mini-eclairs

1. Once the choux pastry has cooled down, slice the pastry with a serrated knife, but do not let the two parts separate.
2. Using a piping bag, squeeze the cream filling between the two halves of the pastry.
3. Pour the glaze (or spoon it if it’s too thick), on to the pastry top.

This was delicious. And although, it won’t compare with what I ate as a little kid in that bakery in small town India, it’ll do just fine for now.

Yummy Chocolate Cake in a Hurry… Baked in a Cup!

Cakeinacup

It’s been a busy week for me… cooking for myself, trying new recipes out. Among the many that I did try, were fresh tortillas, rosemary and thyme bread and a traditional gujarati (indian) dish called “chauli-dhokli” which is basically long beans sauteed with coin-sized flour bread. I’d post the recipe, but this is, after all, a desert blog.

The thing with vegetarian baking, is that it’s always SO time consuming! Especially for someone like me who’s trying a new recipe out with more than just a little trepidation!

So, imagine my delight at finding this recipe for a 5 minute cake, baked in the microwave, that I quickly adapted into a delightful vegetarian version! (As a side note, if you love cooking, scouring the net for food blogs, you absolutely need to sign up for gojee.com – it’s a delightful website for searching through recipes!)

Note: This cake is delicious and addictive. But it’s best served warm, perhaps with some ice-cream if you wish. If you let it get too cold, it might become too crumbly.

Ingredients

Make it in one tea cup or a couple of bowls

3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2.5 tbsp sugar (or maybe 3 if you prefer your chocolate sweet)
1/2 tsp cinammon (optional – but it does give it a lovely kick!)
1/2 tbsp plain yogurt (or vanilla) + 1/2 tbsp yogurt liquid
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp canola/vegetable oil/butter melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 tbsp water (or milk)

Icing sugar/cocoa/strawberries for the garnish

Directions 
Mix the dry ingredients in your cup first. Then whisk in the liquids and yogurt.
Ensure that it’s full only 2/3rds of the way in your cup/bowl.
Microwave the mix for 2 minutes (at the most 3, depending on the power of your microwave)

This cake is very moist – don’t let it dry out in the microwave. Think of it like a cake with some fudge sauce in it.

Enjoy! 

Vegan Petit-Fours

For almost a decade now, it has been my dream to visit France. To visit the moulin rouge in Paris, to enjoy a glass of wine in Champagne, to feel the wandering gaze of Mona Lisa…

But most of all, to experience a gastronomical tour of delightful desserts. Now, I think that dream may go unfulfilled, as I’ve recently given up eggs altogether.

So, imagine my delight when I found this recipe for Petit Fours at http://veganyumyum.com !

Definitely a very ambitious project, but one I think I will try out soon, nonetheless.

http://veganyumyum.com/2008/01/petits-fours/