Eggless Ginger Orange chocolate cake – #CaLbakes

Eggless ginger chocolate cake

For 5 months beginning November 2015, I am hosting a guided baking session on the Facebook foodie group called Chef At Large. The aim is to present baking recipes as simply as possible with the most commonly available ingredients, so it is easier for people to take that step into baking.

While testing recipes and documenting it so that everyone understands, I have learnt so much myself. And when people respond with pictures and feedback of something they made following this recipe, it feels quite good.

I hope I am doing justice to the initiative by offering as much as I know.

This eggless chocolate cake is for the month of November. With loads of pictures showing each step. Let me know what you think.

Eggless Ginger Orange chocolate cake

What you will need:

  1. one slab of 100 grams Amul butter, softened
  2. 20 grams of castor sugar
  3. 1/2 can of condensed milk (200 grams)
  4. 125 ml whole milk
  5. 125 all-purpose flour or maida
  6. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or orange zest)
  9. 2 teaspoon orange juice
  10. 150 grams dark chocolate – melted completely

What to do :

  • In a big mixing bowl, take softened (but not melted) Amul butter. Add sugar to it and whisk.
  • Then to this add the condensed milk and whole milk and whisk well. Let it form a smooth mixture.

Steps 1-3 rec 1

  • In a separate bowl, take flour +baking soda + baking powder and first mix it with a spoon to distribute baking soda and powder throughout the flour. Then sift this once through a regular kitchen sieve.
  • Melt the chopped chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave in 30 second intervals, whisking well at each interval.

chocolate melting

  • Now, to the butter mixture add the melted chocolate and whisk well till fully incorporated.
  • Then add the grated ginger or orange zest and orange or apple juice and mix.
  • Remove the whisk. Now with a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients in two batches. Always move the spatula in one direction and the bowl in the other while folding. Me being right-handed, move the spatula from right to left with the right hand and the bowl from left to right with the left hand.

mixing and folding flour

  • Now pre-heat the oven to 180 C for 10 minutes and meanwhile prepare your pan.
  • Lightly butter and line your 6-8 inch baking pan with parchment paper at the bottom as well as the sides. Alternately you can line the bottom with a parchment paper and grease and flour the sides.
  • Pour the batter in the prepared pan.

Lining a pan and filling

  • Now bake the cake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Insert a skewer or a knife in the cake to check if it’s done.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Take it out and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  • There are several ways of making 2 layers of a cake. But the one I prefer the most is this desi jugaad style. For it, all you need is a steel plate, which has a side and covers about half the height of the cake and you also need a knife with serrated edges.

Layering a cake 1

  • Once the cake is completely cool, place it in the plate and taking that as an aid, cut the cake horizontally into two. Be careful to have your knife touching the edge of the steel plate at all times so that you get an even cut.

Layering a cake 2

  • Once cut from all sides, take a cake board or a simple cardboard will do and slide it between the two layers of the cake and separate them.
  • Now use the frosting or the ganache recipe and frost the cake or decorate it as you like.

Buttercream filling

Decorate the cake with a chocolate ganache and/or buttercream.

I have used the buttercream to sandwich between the cakes and frost the sides and ganache for decoration.

Ganache decoration

This post first appeared here.


Simple Chocolate Ganache

Ganache is a very versatile combination of cream and chocolate that can be used to decorate cakes and give that powerful flavour and slight moisture. it is one of my favourite way to eat a cake – topped with some ganache.




Chocolate Ganache

What you will need :

  • 250 grams semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 170 ml fresh cream (I use 25% fat Amul cream)
  • 25 grams salted butter (I use Amul)

What to do :

  1. Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl.
  2. Heat the fresh cream and butter in a saucepan at medium heat till it starts sizzling on the sides. Take it off the heat just as it starts to boil.
  3. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and immediately put a lid on it.
  4. Let it stand for 5 minutes and then whisk it well till it is smooth and glossy.
  5. Ganache is ready.
  6. Let the ganache cool down while whisking at intervals. In the beginning it is of pourable consistency and then it will thicken as it cools down. Thick ganache is good for piping and filling.

Making a ganache

Example of poured ganache when it is still warm :




Example of piped ganache when it cools down :


Ganache decoration

The eternal dance of life and death.

Ajoba and us

When my grandfather passed away a couple days back, strangely, it felt like the most natural thing to happen. He was very old and had lived his life well. He was the oldest among ten siblings and he practically raised all of them. He took care of his parents and everyone around him and is survived by three children and their spouses, six grandkids and two great-grandkids. He was hale and hearty upto two months back and his memory never left him till he passed away. That kind of a death, I say, is a privilege.

It is not to say that his life was easy. He did three jobs, starting as a milk delivery man at 5 in the morning, then working in the Bombay Port trust and ending the day at 10 pm after teaching English at a class. He saw the death of his son who was barely eight years old. Being the eldest son in a big family he had several responsibilities and many a times people thought he was too strict. With his brothers and sisters, his kids and with his nephews and nieces who came to stay with him. But I guess, that was the only way to do it as all of them turned out to be fine.

But for us- his grandkids, ajoba was adorable. He was a robust tall man with intense grey-green eyes and ramrod straight back. He could easily intimidate anyone, but his face lit up when he smiled. I of course don’t remember, but I have heard stories of when I was a 2 year old girl, I would go and scribble the cheques which he had kept for grandma to sign. It must have ruined his work, but he would laugh about it. What I do remember is that he would always take me to the park and buy me candy floss. Let me take one extra round on the ghoda-gadi and pet that horse before we went home. I still love the giant-wheel outside the park and I plan to take my baby to the same one where he took me, all those years back.

From among six of his grand-kids, I think I was his favourite. May be each one of us thinks so, that’s the essence of being a good grandparent. But I can say for sure that he was mighty proud of me. When I did my CA, he would tell everyone that I was a first attempt CA. Even to strangers. Sometimes when I was a kid, he would call me his baayo- that’s what he called his mom

When my grandmother passed away four years back at the age of 77, grandpa thought she was too young to die. I wonder what he would have said about his age of 87, but I think he knew his time was up. When we went to meet him a week before he passed away, he held my husband’s hand for a long time. I wish he could have said something important, like a life lesson or so, but he was making jokes about the kind of liquid diet he was kept on. He sorely missed eating jalebis and cakes. He lived with diabetes for 47 years, but never a day passed when he did not have something sweet to eat. He worked hard, exercised till 2 months before his death and ate heartily. He lived well.

Someone told my dad to chant a particular mantra 1000 times for the next 10 days so that his father’s soul will get moksha soon. I hope my dad doesn’t do it, because I would like to believe that grandpa wants to come back to us, in one form or the other.

They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time. Grandpa will continue to live in our memories as long as we are alive and through stories we tell our children about him. About where we came from and where we are headed.

Take care.





Fried Coconut Modaks

For the Daring Kitchen challenge in September, I made a trio of modak. One of them is this fried modak with a desiccated coconut filling. It is delicious and can be stored for upto a week in an air tight container.

Step-by-step recipe :

Fried modaks


Fried Coconut Modaks

What you will need:

  • 100 grams desiccated coconut (khopra)
  • 2 tablespoon dry fruit powder (comprising of 4 almonds, 4 unsalted pistachios and 4 cashews)
  • 5 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoon milk powder
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

For the covering / shell :

  • 1 heaped cup all purpose flour (145 grams)
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoon heated oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For frying :

  • 2 cups vegetable oil

What to do:

  1. To make the filling, pulse dessicated coconut in a mixer till it breaks into crumbs.
  2. Dry roast it in a pan till slightly browned.
  3. Take it off heat and add the dry fruit powder, cardamom powder, milk powder and put it back in the vessel over heat.
  4. Add 5 tablespoons of condensed milk to it.
  5. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes till it becomes slightly dry. Take care to see that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  6. If it feels sticky, add another tablespoon of milk powder.
  7. Let the mixture cool down completely before using.

Making fried modak stuffing


  1. In another bowl, take one heaped cup all purpose flour, and add ¼ cup water with ½ teaspoon salt.
  2. In a small wok, heat 2 and half tablespoon oil. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of rice flour and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add this oil to the bowl with flour and mix it well. Knead it for 2 minutes. And then keep it aside for 30 minutes to soften.
  4. After that, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls.

Fried modak shell


  1. Roll each ball into a disk and then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
  2. Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till all are done.

Shaping a fried modak


  1. In a big wok, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil. Fry two modaks at a time. Insert it into the oil pointed side down so that once that side cooks a little bit, it won’t open up while the rest of the modak are fried.
  2. Drain it on kitchen paper and serve.

Frying a modak