When in doubt always bake a chocolate cake. I don’t know who said this, but it is one of the most useful pieces of advice I have heard.
This velvety cocoa cake was baked for my dad’s 61st birthday. A soft and delicate cake it comes alive with each bite of ganache melting in your mouth. Its a simple recipe inspired from Martha Stewart.
Velvety cocoa cake slice
Velvety Cocoa Cake with Ganache
What you will need:
- 2 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 170 gram butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cup buttermilk
What to do:
- In a bowl, mix together flour + cocoa powder + baking soda. Then sift it with a sieve and keep aside.
- In another bigger bowl, whisk the butter with both the sugars until it is smooth and creamy. I generally use an electric mixer, but a whisk will also work.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, while whisking so as to make it a smooth batter.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- Now to this butter mixture, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately. Fold it in with a spatula. Always start and end with the dry ingredients.
- Prepare two 9 inch round baking pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper and generously butter the sides.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 C and bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, till a skewer inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean.
- Once the cakes are baked, run a butter knife through the sides of the cake to release it from the pan.
- Turn it over to a wire mesh and let it cool completely before frosting with ganache.
- For ganache recipe , see here.
- To make a tiered cake, I bake this recipe in three 9 inch pans, so as to do 3 layers of ganache filling. But two layers also work fine.
- After adding flour, always gently fold in with a spatula, refrain from using a whisk. It gives softer feel to the cake.
I have baked fat chunky chocolate chip cookies after a real long time now. And the salted butter and toasted nuts give it a very rich texture. Arjun my little one loves making cookies and chomping on them between meals. By now he can do the entire baking himself and just needs me to give directions and put them in the oven. Which is great, but if he grows up and says I want to be a chef, I will definitely say “Beta, pehle engineering / medical karo”.
Heehee. Kidding. (Not really.)
But never mind, for now I leave with the recipe of these cookies adapted from David Lebovitz
Nutty Chocolaty Salted Butter cookies
- 115 gram salted butter at room temperature (I use Amul)
- 110 gram light brown sugar
- 100 gram granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- a pinch of salt
- 200 gram chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped
- 180 gram all purpose flour (maida)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
What to do :
- In a big bowl, take the butter + brown sugar + granulated sugar and whisk well.
- Add the egg , vanilla and a pinch of salt to it and further whisk.
- In another bowl sift together flour + baking soda
- Fold the flour mixture with the butter mixture in batches till it there are no streaks of flour.
- Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts till combined.
- It will be a sticky dough, put it on a plastic wrap, cover from all sides and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours till it becomes firm.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Make coin sized balls of the batter and put them on the tray. Gently tap them down with a spatula.
- Pre-heat over to 180C.
- Put the baking tray in the oven for 5 mins, then flip it around and bake for another 5 mins. After that, take them out, gently tap them with a spatula and put them back in for 2-5 mins till they are slightly browned.
- Remove and let them cool on lined trays.
- I used a mixture of almonds, cashews and walnuts. Be sure to toast the nuts before chopping.
- If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- The cookie batter can be kept in the fridge for upto a week and can be frozen for a month.
Bon Apetit! Enjoy.
I saw a version of this cake on a blog I follow and I knew it was a perfect base for occasions which demand an eggless cake. I am not a fan of eggless baking, cakes with eggs taste way more creamier and richer than the eggless counterparts, but sometimes I give in for friends who don’t eat eggs. And this cake with a hint of saffron can be moulded into any number of variations.
I layered it with some canned fruits and whipped cream and kept it simple, rustic. Its a very easy to put together recipe and can also be baked into cupcakes instead of layered cake.
Eggless saffron cake with fruits and cream
What you will need :
For the cake
- 180 ml whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
- 200 gram brown sugar
- 100 gram butter, melted
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 gram all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- a pinch of salt
For the frosting
- 1 cup cream
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- Canned or fresh fruits for layering and decoration
What to do :
- Bring the whole milk to a boil and add the crushed saffron to it. Take it off the stove and let it infuse and cool down for 10 mins.
- In a bowl, melt butter and brown sugar to it. Whisk it well till the sugar dissolves and makes it creamy.
- Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix well.
- In another bowl sift together all purpose flour + baking soda + salt.
- Then fold in the flour mixture into the butter and sugar in three batches alternately with the saffron milk. Always start and end with the dry ingredients i.e flour. Fold in with a rubber spatula till it gets fully incorporated.
- Line two bottom of two 8 inch pans with parchment paper and butter the sides. Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Pour the batter into prepared tins and bake for about 20-25 mins till a skewer inserted in the centre comes clean.
- Take it out from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 mins.
- Run a skewer or a spatula on the side of the cake to release it from the pan.
- Let it cool down completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- Take the cream in a bowl and whisk it till it forms soft peaks. Slowly add the icing sugar while continuing to whisk it till it forms stiff peaks.
- Layer the cake on a cake board and frost it with the cream. Add canned cut fruits in the centre. Place the second cake layer on top and finish the frosting. Your cake is ready!
- You can add regular castor sugar in place of the brown sugar to get a better color of the saffron if you want a white-ish cake. But I felt brown sugar gives it a more caramel flavour which goes well with the fruits.
- You can also add some cinnamon or cardamom to the cake batter and skip the fruits in the frosting. Saffron and spices go quite well in the cake.
- The recipe has been adapted from here https://www.pinkovendaily.com/bake.
Another note :
All pictures have been taken straight from he iPhone X and uploaded. Fuss free life.
Carrot chocolate chip cake with lemon cream cheese frosting
This delectable wintery cake is packed with a lot of cinnamon and ginger giving the carrots a festive feel. The brown sugar and chocolate chips give it a beautiful crumb.
What you will need:
- 350 gm carrots, grated
- 150 gm chocolate chips
- 200 gm flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- 3 eggs
- 150 ml vegetable oil
- 150 gm brown sugar
- 60 gm curd hung to drain excess water
For frosting :
- 125 gm cream cheese, cold
- 50 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 300 gm icing sugar, sifted
What to do:
- In a bowl sift together flour + baking powder + cinnamon.
- In another large bowl, whisk brown sugar and oil together.
- Add the eggs one at a time incorporating fully before adding the next one.
- To this mixture add the hung curd, vanilla essence and grated ginger. Mix well.
- Add flour mixture to it and mix it till you see no streaks of flour.
- Gently fold in grated carrots and chocolate chips.
- Line the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch pan with parchment paper and butter the sides.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for 40-45 minutes.
- For frosting, mix all the ingredients together til it forms a smooth paste. Refrigerate it for 2 hours before using.
- Once the cake cools down completely, frost it with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with chopped pistachios or rose petals.
- Instead of chocolate chips you can use chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans or even cashews.
- Carrot cakes are usually moist and denser because of the carrots. But to check if it is baked, insert a skewer and check if any batter sticks to it. If yes, bake a little more.
- Especially for this cake I felt that you should not skip the frosting. It gives a very delicate balanced flavour to the carrot cake.
There are countless number of times when people who I have known for a long time come and ask me if I have quit being a CA and turned into a baker. And as much as I like baking, being a CA and running our company is what pays the bills. Baking is a hobby, something that I love to spend my weekends doing. Trying to find out different flavour combinations, baking varied types of cakes, breads, mastering the art of making the elusive macarons and their feet – this is all very relaxing.
So here is one such no-bake eggless peanut butter tart. Very easy to make, looks festive and is rather nutritious. It just needs to set in the refrigerator for an hour, so it can even be made last minute as there is no baking involved. Perfect for making when little hands want to help you in the kitchen.
This recipe has been adapted from Epicurious.
No-bake Eggless Peanut Butter Tart
What you will need:
- 450 gram dry roasted unsalted peanuts, skin removed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 and 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 500 gram chopped chocolate
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
What to do :
- Firstly, dry roast the peanuts either in a big kadhai or in a microwave. Remove the skin and let the peanuts cool down.
- Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate with the oil over double boiler or in a microwave till it is fully melted without any clumps. let it cool slightly , about 10 minutes.
- Take one 10 inch or two 5 inch fluted pans with removable bottom and spray the inside lightly with a non-stick spray or butter it. Cover the bottom ring fully with a plastic saran wrap. Put it inside the fluted pan.
- Pour about half of the slightly cooled melted chocolate into the pan and let it coat evenly. Let it set at room temperature.
- In a mixer, pulse the roasted peanuts to a grainy powder.
- To this add powdered sugar + peanut butter and salt. Pulse till it all comes together to form a dough.
- Take it out on a surface and blend it with your hands to make a smooth dough.
- Transfer it onto a wax paper and roll it in a disk, slightly smaller than the pan.
- Transfer the peanut butter disk onto the fluted pan over the chocolate disk. Peel off the parchment paper.
- Pour remaining chocolate over the peanut butter disk and let it set in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
- Before service, remove sides of the tart pan and lift off the bottom ring. Slide it onto a serving plate from the plastic wrapped ring.
- Decorate with fruits before serving and keep it in the fridge while storing or the chocolate will start melting.
- This is a perfect make ahead dessert and can also be made into smaller cup sized tart pans.
- I use cocoa craft pure chocolate, but it also works very well with compound like Morde.