Tag Archives: eggless desserts

Part II – Eggless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

Baby Shower Cake

 

If only I was as regular with posting my recipes as I am at baking. This post has been months and months in the making. The top layer of this 2 tier cake was a moist chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. I’ve always found berries hard to work with. It’s easy for the buttercream to break with the acids in the berries. This time, I tried something slightly different, that might feel a bit like cheating, but was pretty delicious and well received.

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups of sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberry preserve
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

1. Cream the butter with a whisk. Add the sifted powdered sugar at a low speed until incorporated. I prefer my buttercream slightly tart and not too sweet – so I recommend adding 1/2 cup at a time and tasting as you go. 

2. Whisk the strawberry preserve/jam so that its nice and smooth. When the buttercream is smooth, gently fold in the strawberry preserve. Add salt to your taste. 

You may want to add more jam or sugar to your taste. But these are good proportions to start from. If you’re looking for a thinner buttercream, simply add some whipping cream, a tablespoon at a time.

For the chocolate cake, here’s the recipe I used.  

Also see: Part I: Eggless Orange Cake with Almond Buttercream

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

Vanillacupcake

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 (http://chefchloe.com).Chef 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 (http://savorysweetlife.com) 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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

Cupcakes:
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

Frosting:
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 🙂

 

Recipe: Eggless Tiramisu intoxicated with Kahlua

Tiramisu

*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.