Food, Recipes…..garnished with memories

Archive for the category “Baking and all that jazz”

Two Tier Chocolate And Orange Cake with Chocolate Ganache Icing

Birthdays are always special whether you are seven or seventy, really doesn’t matter. There’s fun, smiles and cake! My cousin was here for his birthday and I had huge plans to make this perfect four tier chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and strawberries. I had grand plans, because I wanted to impress him with my ninja-like baking skills and hence I took a bold decision of making the icing as well.  Bold, because my previous attempts to make a smooth and  light icing with jussst the right amount of sweetness have been nothing short of a disaster.

The four tier chocolate cake was the “plan”, but eventually I ended up making a two tier cake with oranges. The cake turned out to be perfectly light, fluffy, sweet and chocolaty! And the icing was totally bonkers! Light and  very orangey.

I used the non-dairy whipping cream powder to make the icing. Its probably the easiest and quickest way to make a perfect whipped cream topping.  For all those people wondering where to find it, I have a simple solution- General Food Additives, Sheshadripuram, Bangalore.  That place is a one stop shop for all kinds of baking materials. I always end up feeling like a kid in a candy store whenever I go there 🙂

I had planned to write a birthday message with the icing but could it beat copious  amount of chocolate ganache? Nah! But learning how to make a perfect birthday/wedding cake is surely on my to-do list.



1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup cocoa powder

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup vegetable/olive oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup orange juice


Sieve all the dry ingredients (flour,cocoa, baking powder and baking soda) twice and keep aside. In a cake bowl add oil, sugar, vinegar, orange juice and vanilla extract and give a good mix. Now add the flour+cocoa mixture and mix well. Once the dry ingredients are mixed well with the oil+juice mixture, start to fold the cake to get the proper consistency and texture.

Transfer the cake mixture in a baking tray (lined with parchment paper or oil and flour). Bake the cake for about 25-30 mins at 180 degrees.

For the icing

2 cups non-dairy whipping powder

1/2 cup orange juice


Pour in the non-dairy whipping cream powder in a bowl, and slowly add chilled orange juice. First add a tsp, check the consistency and then add again. You’ll know the icing is ready once it starts to form peaks. For extra orange flavor, add a tsp of orange juice concentrate.


For the ganache

1 cup dark cooking chocolate

2 tsp fresh cream


Melt the chocolate by microwaving it for 30 seconds. After taking the chocolate out of the microwave, give it a good mix. Once the chocolate comes down to the room temperature add cream and stir vigorously, to get a smooth mixture.

 Assembling the Cake:

Once the cake cools down,  cut it in the middle (horizontally). Use a broad spatula and cut the cake very gently.

Moisten the cake in the middle by adding orange juice. The cake will beautifully soak the juice immediately.

Add the cream on one part of the cut cake and spread evenly. Now place the other half of the cake. You will see a beautiful layer of the icing sandwiched between two gorgeous layers of chocolate cake.

Now pour the chocolate ganache on top of the cake and spread. You can be as creative as you want when it comes to decorating the cake.


The process is definitely time consuming, but its all worth it when you see a smile on the face of your loved one after he/she eats it and asks for more. 🙂






Coffee Cardamom Cake (Vegan)

It’s been five months past the new year, and this is pretty much the time when I start to quietly slide aside my new year resolutions.  I am almost on the verge of cementing my old “oh-so-comfortable” habits. One of the resolution was to reduce my coffee intake. Let me tell you, I was successful for considerably long time. In fact, I am not yet back to my old 3 cups a day routine, and I wish not to either. But indulging in coffee once in a while is alright. Isn’t it? Coffee is something that we South Indians take way too seriously!

Initially I was tempted to bake a cake using chocolate and coffee. Bad idea. I mean its totally great, but when chocolate and coffee come together in a cake,  I go weak. It makes me sit on my couch, with a book, a cup of tea and a large piece of cake, and do nothing. I didn’t do it of course! But just the thought of it makes me smile.

As always, I was in an experimental mood. My mother had ordered the monthly grocery requirements and I came across a packet of green cardamom. By the way, I always looks forward to check the groceries. It’s one of my favorite things to do.  I was both excited and apprehensive to use this combination of cardamom and coffee.  Nevertheless I enjoy the feeling of uncertainty. It adds a zing to our rather boring lives.

This cake is special for another reason. It’s vegan. I had not planned to make it one. The availability of ingredients at home, eventually led to it, and the way it has turned out to be, I am super-glad and proud! It’s a perfect breakfast cake. I am having it right now, while working on this post and if you find my ramblings random, trust me, it is the coffee which is talking. 😉

The minute you put this cake in your mouth, the cardamom flavor comes through first and the coffee hits the taste buds later. The texture is smooth and light. If you are in a mood to indulge then have it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

All you need to do now is, head into your kitchen and bake this cake. Like right now!  🙂



1 1/2 cup wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup coffee decoction

2 tsp vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp freshly ground cardamom

Sieve the wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda. You can repeat the process if you wish to.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, water, coffee decoction, vinegar and sugar and stir it till the sugar dissolves. Now add the wheat flour mixture and give it a good mix. Once the ingredients mix, start to fold the cake batter. This will make the cake light and fluffy.

Grease the tray with some oil or use the parchment paper.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees for about 6 minutes, and then bake the cake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.



1. You can use castor sugar instead of  brown sugar.

2. The baking time varies with respect to the size of the baking dish and quantity of the batter. So keep a check and take the tray off the oven once you do the toothpick test and the toothpick comes out clean.


More to come… 🙂



Vanilla Cup Cakes with Chocolate and Candied Orange Peel Frosting

Do I sound like one of those ‘masterchef’ guys, who make stuff with terribly long names? 😐

Please excuse me.

Last weekend was one of the most productive weekends I have ever, EVER had in a long…long time.  I worked-out.OK! A little! That does count! I did a bit of cleaning. I cleaned my room. Ah! It looks so much better now.  I was cribbing to a friend of mine, about not being able to clean my room and the evergreen topic of how I don’t find enough time to juggle. Finally I was motivated enough and now knowing the kind of work that has gone into cleaning, I dare not mess my room again. 😛

To beat the Monday Blues I decided to make cupcakes. You know, like a reward 😉 to myself, of course!  There is something special about cupcakes isn’t it? I remember watching Carrie Bradshaw with mouth-watering envy as she devoured the almost-perfect little cake with pink frosting in ‘Sex in the City’.

Oh! By the way, I made some lovely candied orange peel this Sunday. It is a simple three step process.

 I just discovered that I love making cupcakes exactly 23689 times more than I actually like to eat them. Making these lovely treats is actually purgative.  Have you noticed that all the cupcakes look same with minuscule  differences and  imperfections. I love the part when I line them up, take in their differences and cover them up with lovely frosting.

Nothing too overwhelming about the frosting. Its  simple melted chocolate and milk.


They taste very well without the frosting too. Sweet, spongy and just the right amount of moistness. But that’s not their best use. Smother the cup cakes with copious amount of chocolate and eat them in mass 😀




Peel of 2 oranges, thinly sliced.

1/2 a glass of orange juice

2 tsp of sugar

Peel the oranges and remove the pith with the knife. Reduce the mixture of orange juice and sugar into half. Add the orange peel and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Place the cooked orange peels on a baking tray, sprinkle some sugar and bake it on 150 degrees for 5-7 minutes.


1 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Salt-a pinch

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup fresh cream

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp Vanilla extract


Grated Cooking chocolate

3-4 tsp of milk

In a bowl mix in cream and sugar and whip till the mixture becomes smooth. Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix the dry mixture with the cream and sugar mixture. Add milk and mix till the batter becomes smooth.

Grease/ place the baking paper in the cake molds and pour the cake batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180 degrees.

Melt the chocolate with some milk and once the cake cools down, pour the chocolate on top and sprinkle some candied orange peel.

Now after this, don’t you feel that world is surely a better place to live in? 🙂

More to come…

Toodles! 🙂

Honey Crunch Cookies

OK, so I am early from work, and suddenly I don’t know why  I am having a strong craving for something sweet… extra sweet. Ok! ok! ok! Not suddenly! It’s very regular. Something sweet before meal, after meal, in between meal. I have a sweet tooth,  sorry. jaw!

Let’s talk about comfort food.

Chocolates. Potatoes. Chips. Ice-cream. Pizza. A big bowl of corn flakes, with  milk, jam and a generous serving of Hershey’s chocolate sauce! Absolutely sinful.

As a child I remember I was way too much into mixing the odd things, which sometimes used to be as delightful as the one mentioned above or… a total disaster! And no! I am not going to talk about the disaster part here.

Can we talk about the cookies now?

All set!

I am a huge fan of the Baskin Robin’s Honey-Crunch Ice-cream. So these cookies are inspired by the Honey Crunch Ice cream.

These are gorgeous, chewy, little treats, with brown sugar. These are like the chocolate chip cookies, without the chocolate, of course!

Cookie Dough

And they sound so simple- Honey Crunch cookies

Honey Cinnamon and Sesame. A combination that feels so utterly refined and pleasingly natural. And yes! They just take about 5 minutes to bake.

If you want to throw in some chocolate chips, then we are so totally friends for life! 🙂


Makes 6 cookies

2 cups -Cornflakes (Crushed)

2 tsp- Honey

1 tsp- Milk Powder

1 tsp- Wheat Flour

1 tsp- Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder

1 tsp Butter

Mix the butter with sugar, milk powder, cinnamon, honey, sesame seeds and wheat flour. Once they ingredients are properly mixed, tip in the cornflakes and mix well.

Make round shaped cookies. Just in case the mixture doesn’t come together, 1-2 tsp of milk would bind it well.

Bake the cookies for 5 mins at 150 degrees. Allow it to cool and have it with a steaming cup of coffee.

Now if you excuse me, I have a cookie bowl to lick…

Thank you very much.

More to come…..

Strawberry Upside-down Chocolate Cake

I have been dreaming about food these days. Not that it’s something new, but back then it was more about eating, now its only about cooking. I could have posted this recipe on the Valentine’s day but that would be such a cliché! Chocolate. Strawberries. How predictable for a Valentine’s day?

Ain't they prettyyyyy!?

Sunday mornings are the best! I feel I am at my “creative-best” on Sunday mornings. I had to bake today. Umm something with strawberries, may be?! I started thinking of all the combinations possible with strawberry. Strawberry and Cinnamon. Strawberry and Coffee. Strawberry and Cardamom. Finally after some thinking and a small chat with a friend… it was Strawberry and Chocolate! Duh-huh! My failed attempt to kill the cliché!


I started writing the post while the cake was still baking. Now that it is baked and unmolded (one of the dreaded moments!), I am not really happy with the way it looks :(.   Initially I was apprehensive about posting it, but when I tasted it, it was just the way I thought it would taste. Absolutely delicious. I pictured it to look differently though! I thought it would be a layer of beautiful strawberry pink on top of a rich dark brown chocolate cake.

Strawberries and Brown Sugar

Are you able to imagine?!

I am a little upset, but the taste made it up for me! May be I should have added a dash of lemon juice on the strawberries to stop them from de-colorizing. Lesson learnt.

Do not judge the book by its cover. How true.

Best eaten when warm

Did you know that the word upside-down is hyphenated when used as an adjective? Upside-down describes the cake here. I am working big time in the adjective land.

And that’s why I teach English!

Class dismissed.


1 cup strawberries (cut into rounds)

1 1/3 cup flour

1 cup castor sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup fresh cream

A pinch of salt

2-3 large spoons of brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the cream, butter and castor sugar in a bowl till you get a creamy homogeneous mixture. Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and salt, 3-4 times.  Mix the batter properly in one direction. To get the right consistency add milk and start folding the batter.

Grease the baking dish with butter. Cut the strawberries into rounds and align them in the baking dish. Sprinkle some brown sugar.

Spread the cake batter on the strawberries  and put the baking dish in the pre-heated oven, at 180 degrees for 35 minutes.

Serve warm, with whipped cream/ice cream.

More to come…. 🙂

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