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Chilli Chicken Soft Buns: My First Guest Post

6 Feb

My new year started by meeting a beautiful friend in this blogging world, Kim.  I just love the spirit and the energy she has for being so creative and incredibly talented.  Her’s is one of the blogs I follow regularly.  I enjoy reading the stories on her blog as much as the recipes.  It has been indeed a pleasure to find a friend like her who shares the same passion for cooking.

She recently invited me to do a Guest Post for her blog A Little Lunch. I am delighted to do so. She asked me to do something that I absolutely love doing. I hope you guys would know by now that I actually love BAKING!

So I made these Chili Chicken Soft Buns for my first guest post. So there’s a little story I shared on her blog related to the Soft Buns. I would invite you to come and read the post further along with the recipe. Click Here!

Fresh from the oven!!

Guest Post ‘Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)’

16 Jan

Today I am bringing you a Guest Post from my friend Kim.  Kim’s cooking is inspired by her grandma and mine by my mum. Our fondness is to cook for our families some exquisite meals. She is extremely talented. Not only she writes & cooks for A Little Lunch, but also she’s a musician and has a passion for photography.

I am glad she’s become a part of the Exquisite Niche family!

Hope you enjoy her post!! 🙂

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I was so excited when Gursahiba invited me to join her on Exquisite Niche, this being my first guest post and all.  Thank you for having me here!  We both share a passion for cooking and baking, as well as the desire to create joyful ambience in our homes.  We also have a mutual fondness for cardamom.

In consulting with my friend about what type of recipe to post, she suggested “something from my roots.”  My grandmother’s fragrant Cardamom Bread immediately came to mind with it’s subtly infused spices and intricately woven exterior.  Nothing says “home” like a family recipe.

Besides being treasures, family recipes connect us with the past while becoming part of who we are today.  One whiff of a favorite dish and you’re transported to another place and time, while memories from those special occasions mingle at our present-day tables.  Simply amazing!

I grew up in Minnesota where the winters are long and cold, but the warmth of Grandma’s kitchen made me forget about snow — especially when she was baking.  After moving to Oklahoma, I haven’t had to contend with snow (much!), but I still love baking during the winter and Grandma’s recipes contain built-in coziness.

In fact, I named my blog after something she said often, beckoning us to the table for “a little lunch.

The flavors in this recipe came from “the old country” (Czechoslovakia), to southern Minnesota where she eventually settled.  Now they’ve followed me to another place and time.  Isn’t it nice to know “home” is as close as your kitchen?

Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)

1/2 c. warm water

2 packets of dry yeast

2 eggs

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened (plus a little extra to butter the bowl)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind

1/4 t. ground cardamom

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*

1/2 c. milk, scalded and cooled

4 1/2 to 5 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. raisins (reserve to add during the final kneading)

Glaze:

1 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk or cream

Garnish: 

Blanched almonds

Maraschino (or candied) cherries

Begin by combining the yeast and warm water; set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.  Lightly grease a large glass bowl with butter; set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the sugar, butter, salt, lemon rind, and spices; beat again.  Stir in milk and yeast mixture.  Stir in 1 cup of flour.  Add another cup of flour; stir until combined.

Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly sticky dough.  (I used 4 1/2 cups total — or, as Grandma used to tell me, “Never be afraid of a sticky dough!”)

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 to 20 minutes, or until smooth.  Form into a ball and place top-side-down in the buttered bowl; then turn it buttered side up.

Cover the bowl with a clean cotton towel (I still use one of the embroidered dish towels Grandma gave me years ago); set in a warm place to rise until doubled.

After dough has doubled in volume, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle reserved raisins over dough; knead in until evenly distributed.

Divide dough into four equal parts.  Using your hands, roll three portions into 14″ long ropes.  Gently transfer ropes to a lightly greased baking tin; form them into a large braid and pinch ends together well.

Divide remaining dough into 3 equal parts.  Using your hands, roll each part into 12″ long ropes.  Form a second, smaller braid; lay it over the top (center) of the large braid, pinching ends into the larger braid to anchor them.  Cover and let rise until double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients.  Drizzle over warm loaf.  Garnish with almonds and cherries.  Enjoy!

(*Note:  The original recipe called for mace.  Since mace is made from the dried outer shell of nutmeg, I’ve found that freshly grated nutmeg works nicely.)

Thanks once again, Gursahiba, for hostessing this guest post — I’ve enjoyed my time in your kitchen!

Enjoying the warmth of “home” cooking,

~ Kim

Blueberry Crumb Bars

10 Jan

So invite you to enjoy yet another blueberry recipe. Baking is something that I really love. It gives me pleasure and satisfaction. So I thought why not use blueberries for baking. I decided to make Blueberry Crumb Bars.

This is one of my favourite recipes. I love the crumb whether it is on a cake or a pie. This is one crumb bar to die for. It is utterly delicious. The crust and the crumb have a sweet taste but the blueberries in it give it a tangy taste to it. Blueberries are an exotic fruit. It’s flavorsomely sour and delicious.  I love the sweet and tanginess in a dessert. The freshness of the butter is definitely very oozing and yum. It is nice tea-time or a dessert to serve.

Blueberries can be easily substituted with raspberries or cranberries (whatever you may like). Since I am a blueberry fan and this being a blueberry week, I use Blueberry.

For this I used:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice from one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. (I use my hands.) Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Scrumptioussss Crumb Barrr!!!

I actually ate right away when it came out of the oven.

 (adapted Allrecipes.com)

Verdict:

Loved by everyone who tasted!!!

Cranberry and Vanilla Bean Cake

13 Dec

Last week, when I went for my grocery shopping I saw a packet of Cranberries, and quickly grabbed one. There are no fresh cranberries in India so I compromised with the sun-dried one. They taste delicious in itself. Lately, I also got fresh vanilla bean. I love the flavor of vanilla and wanted to use it for my cake. It actually tastes delicious in the cake.

This weekend there was a double reason to prepare this cake. One it was my In-laws anniversary and second, my brother was coming back from UK after about 3 months. He’s been studying for his masters degree there. We all had missed him so much that it was actually a celebration time when he got back.

This is one of the fruity cakes which can be great accompaniment with your tea. It is soft and moist utterly delicious. The flavours of the cranberry and vanilla bean just melt into the mouth. The taste of cranberries is tangy and inside the cake it gives a fruity sweet and sour taste.

Instead of the vanilla essence I intended to use fresh vanilla bean. To my surprise fresh vanilla bean has a very refreshing and gives warmth to the cake.

Sift the flour with baking soda. Keep aside.

After beating the eggs with the sugar and adding vanilla essence. Add the butter and mix in the flour. Finally add the cranberries and walnuts.

Pour into the baking tin.

Bake at 180 degree celsius and for 40 minutes. And this is how it comes out from the oven.

This is Scrumptious Cake !!! Amazing to go along at your Tea-Time.

 

Ingredients used were:

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 vanilla bean pod
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 10″ round baking tin.

Sift the flour with the baking powder.

Beat eggs and sugar together for at least 5 minutes — probably as long as 7 or 8 minutes — the egg and sugar mixture should double in volume and turn pale yellow, leaving ribbons on top of the batter when you lift the beaters.

Add the butter and flavorings and beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in flour and fold in cranberries. Pour into greased pan.

Bake 40 minutes. You made need to tent the cake with foil in the last 15 minutes or so to keep the top from browning.

Cool completely before serving.

Orange and Chocolate Chip Cookies

29 Sep

 

When I started reading novels during school, I remember I used to keep a bag full of cookies besides me. It has been important to keep a munching bag while reading. Its like eating pop corns while watching a movie.

Cookies! is something I have everyday with my cup of tea in the evening. There is nothing better than the homemade cookies. Now being the season for oranges. I had to try an orange one. Oranges bring out great flavour in any recipe I use. If you love orange you will certainly love these with a combination of chocolate.

This recipe is from Diethood. Kate has been dear friend also quiet helpful with her recipes. Her blog is very interesting to as it has alot of baking, which atleast I am addicted to.

Since I am not a huge fan of white chocolate, I used milk chocolate instead. The results were too good!! A must try!

So here we start making the cookies!…

It takes about 12 minutes to bake and 30 minutes to prepare. So its quite quick.

(makes about 2 dozen)

You will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chip
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 190 0C.
  • Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • In the bowl, mix the cream butter and sugars until light and creamy.
  • Now beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

  • Stir in orange zest!! (for a refreshing taste)

  • Add in the flour mixture,  into batches, until well combined.
  • Now some milk chocolate chips!!

  • Take some cookie dough in your hands and roll it into a small ball. Now, press it into a round shape.
  • Place the cookies on the parchment sheet.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown around edges.
  • Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to rack to cool completely.
  • Store in airtight container. (Important: As cookies may become a little soggy if not kept in an air tight container.

I loved the taste of orange with millk chocolate!! Yummy!!

Clementine Bakery’s Banana Cake

19 Sep

Baking is one of the most satisfying art. This is something I enjoy the most in the kitchen. Banana’s make great fruits but once you add to your desserts or cakes they make it tastier. This is a tea-time cake. Somehow my mum and I enjoy cakes with our tea more than savory bits. Last week, I promised my mother that I’ll bake a tea cake for her. So here it is!

This cake is really good. It is fragrant with bananas, very tender, not-too-sweet, velvety and moist texture is a perfect indulgence anytime of hour in the day. The frosting of this cake is too good.

This banana cake recipe is taken from TWC. I have altered the frosting by adding sour cream instead of creme fraiche and increase the sugar content.

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour minus 2.5 tablespoons
2 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large or 4 small very ripe bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting:

170 gm cream cheese, at room temperature
60 gm butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180 degree C /350 degree F.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking sugar and salt. This recipe is little different from the usual baking that I do. Usually I add the sugar to the eggs but in this case, sugar is incorporated with dry ingredients.

Seive twice so that the ingredients are equally distributed in the mixture.

Mash the bananas with the hand beater until smooth.

Mix the eggs, one at a time .

The idea is to blend it well into the mixture.

Add the oil….

Some Vanilla Essence!!

Add Buttermilk!!

Now mix the dry ingredients into the batter till thoroughly combined.

Key is mix with love and affection…mix well dry ingredients in 2-3 batches…

Pour into a 9-by-13-inch greased pan or a 10-inch round cake pan (you might have enough batter leftover for a few spare cupcakes).

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden-brown on top, a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool on a rack.

Mix well together all the ingredients for the topping.

Spread it on the cake.

Tips:

When I inserted the skewer in the cake after 40 minutes it was still a bit undone. I left it for another 2 minutes and it was perfect. Every oven is different so you need to check when your cake is done.

Verdict-

My mother absolutely loved every bit of this cake. She said it was actually fabulous. I actually value her comments on what I make in the kitchen. This cake can be kept for 1-2 days but who wants to keep waiting so long. Atleast this one got finished in a day.

Looks yummilicious!! Isn’t it??

Blackberry Crumb Cake

15 Sep

Dessert time: This recipe I actually picked up from Donal Skehan. This is a really nice dessert, can be served with some ice cream. It can also be had as a tea time cake crumb. In the original recipe, self-raising flour is used. So to make flour rise while baking, soda and baking powder is added. I have made a few modifications to this recipe. First, I actually had a blackberry jam in my refrigerator. So I used that instead of the fruit blackberry. Secondly, since the jam itself is sweet, sweet content in the topping was reduced . Thirdly, used vanilla essence. Also, made a few alterations while baking this. Firstly, baked the cake batter for half the baking time. Then put the blackberry jam and the sweet crumb topping on the half-baked cake.  Finally, again put the cake back to oven for the left over baking time.

Preparing time: 25 mins   Baking time: 45 mins

115 gm butter softened

175 gm castor sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

280 gm (2 cups) flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon powder

125 ml milk

300 gm blackberry jam

For the sweet crumb topping

85 gm castor sugar

85 gm plain flour

zest of 1 lemon

75 gm butter


 Whenever I bake, there are a few things that I do. My first step is to collect all the ingredients required. Grease a baking tin with a parchment paper. Ideally, use of a rectangular tin is required but I used a round one.

Preheat the oven at 190 degree/ Gas mark 5.

Then sift all the dry ingredients such as flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Add cinnamon powder in the flour mix. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk in the butter and sugar with the help of a hand beater until pale.

Add the egg and vanilla essence. Whisk to combine it well.


Fold in the flour into the mixture with a wooden spoon. Add milk.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking tin. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

Now prepare the crumb. Combine all the topping ingredients and mix it with the fingertips until it resembles the breadcrumb mixture.

After 35 minutes bring back the cake. Quickly pour in the jam.

Add the crumb topping.

Bake it again for about 10 mins. Or until the crust is golden. Let it cool and then bring it out of the tin and cut slices.

Verdict:

Use a parchment paper more than the tin so that it is easy to take out the cake.

It is a nice tea time cake crumb.

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