I have a giant book borrowed from an aunt – The Taste of Home : Ultimate Cookie Collection, which has several hundred recipes and very useful directions to almost everything in the land of cookie making. How to store cookies, how to ship them, what if cookies spread too much while baking, what if they don’t, what to do if they are too tough/ too brown / too pale, etc etc. its a delight to read the book and experiment from there.
And my baby Arjun has a book where the cartoon Elmo is making cookies. So he wants to make cookies every weekend. It’s fun to bake with him (only if you ignore all the mess that he does). 😛
Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies
What you will need :
1 and half cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
150 gram butter at room temperature (approx 10 tablespoons)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cup chocolate chips
What to do :
In a bowl, stir in baking powder and baking soda in the flour and then sift it once. This ensures that the baking powder and soda get mixed evenly in the flour and it gets aerated once sieved.
In another bowl, take butter at room temperature and whisk it with an electric beater. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat till it becomes light, about 2-3 minutes.
Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla extract and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Let it all get incorporated well.
Now add the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture and whisk till it all comes together. Do not over-mix.
Remove the whisk and then fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
Now with a tablespoon, drop 12 heaps on the parchment paper, spaced well about 1 inch between two heaps.
Put it int he fridge to chill for at-least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 170 C.
After 15 minutes chill time, put the tray in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, till the top gets slightly browned and the cookies get crisp on the outside. You can also rotate the pan once in between.
Keep next batch ready for baking or if you have a bigger oven, you can bake two sheets at a time.
The cookies spread out once they go in the oven. So make small heaps and space them apart.
If you want very crisp cookies bake for a minute longer, if you want a chewy centre, bake for a minute or two less. Also individual ovens behave differently, keep a close watch while baking cookies.
You can also cut the cookies with a cookie cutter when they are fresh out of the oven. Like I did with a Christmas tree cutter in the picture above.
I have been eyeing these drip cakes in gorgeous colors for a while on pinterest and Instagram now. Katherine Sabbath sort of invented them in 2015 and they have been a rage. They look deliciously pretty and leave people wondering how the drips were made.
Very easy. Just some runny ganache and a cold cake.
I have made it here with a classic chocolate cake, a strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache dripping. Once you know the basics, you can play around with cake flavors and white chocolate + gel color drip. And ofcourse any variation of buttercream or meringue frosting.
Chocolate Drip Cake
What you will need :
For the sponge cake:
180 gram all purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
60 gram cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
275 gram castor sugar
100 gram yoghurt
40 ml warm water
130 ml strong brewed hot coffee
75 ml vegetable oil, I use groundnut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the strawberry buttercream :
100 gram butter, at room temperature (I use Amul)
230 gram icing sugar
7-8 strawberries – pureed in a mixer with a tablepoon of granulated sugar
For the chocolate drip :
100 gram chopped dark chcolate
200 gram Amul cream
What to do :
Sift all the dry ingredients : flour + baking powder + baking soda + cocoa powder + salt and keep it aside.
In another bowl whisk the eggs. Add sugar, yoghurt, warm water and mix.
Add the sifted dry ingredients and brewed coffee to this mixture and fold in with a spatula till it gets completely incorporated.
Pre-heat oven to 170C.
Grease the sides and line the bottom of two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper.
Pour the cake batter in the cake pans and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing.
Let it cool completely on wire racks.
For making strawberry buttercream, mix all ingredients with a whisk or a stand mixer.
For the chocolate drip, keep the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream till it starts to bubble around the edges. Do not let it come to a boil.
Pour the cream on the chocolate and cover it for 2 minutes.
Whisk it till all the chocolate melts and it becomes smooth. Let it cool down.
Take a cake board or a wooden board and place one layer of the cake on it. Cover it with strawberry buttercream on the sides and top.
Place another cake on top and cover all the sides and top with buttercream. Smoothen it with a spatula dipped in hot water.
Put it in the refrigerator for one hour and let it become cold.
Make the chcoolate drip 20 minutes before using it on the cake. If you make it in advance and it becomes thicker when you use it, heat it in microwave for 10-2o seconds till it becomes runny again. But ensure that it is not hot when you pour it on the cake.
Now remove the cooled cake from the fridge. With a spoon start pouring the ganache on the edges of the cake. It will start dripping down. Within one or two drips you will realise how much to pour at one go. Cover the entire edge of the cake with such drips.
Now pour more ganche in the centre and spread it lightly with a spatula.
Put it in the fridge for 5 minutes to set.
You can decorate it with some sprinkles and fresh flowers.
Store it in the fridge if you live in a hot and humid place like Mumbai.
You can add a teapoon of corn syrup to the ganache to get a smoother finish. But you can absolutely skip it like I did.
The cake recipe is from a book called Chocolate by Cordon Bleu. The drip technique is taken from Stylesweetca.com.
Yan use an eggless cake recipe from here and turn this into an eggless dessert.
Everything about this cake sounds dreamy. It is an indulgent affair and not for the whole-wheat-carrot-cake type of a day.
Pound Cakes are heavy. With so many eggs in them they can be filling. But so delicious and creamy. And add some cream cheese in the mix, you have a delectable buttery, cheesy cake. The mild tartness of the cherries goes very well with the cake and makes it very flavourful.
Cherries are in season right now, and I must have used about 40-50 un-pitted cherries on top of the cake I love how that looks. My little baby boy Arjun helped me make the decoration and gave me one cherry at a time while I placed it on the cake. Loved doing that.
This cake serves 8, has to be sliced thinly while serving. Perhaps with a cup of coffee, like the French.
Cherry Cream Cheese Pound Cake
What you will need:
3 cups maida – all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
220 gram cream cheese, I use D’lecta
2 and 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 large eggs
Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting
125 gram cream cheese, cold
50 gram Amul butter
300 grams icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Fresh cherries for decoration
What to do :
For the cake, sift the all purpose flour + baking powder + baking soda and keep it aside.
In another bowl, whisk room temperature butter and cream cheese together, add vanilla extract.
Now add granulated sugar and whisk.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking till it gets fully incorporated.
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Line two 8 inch pans with a parchment paper at the bottom and butter and flour the sides.
Pour the prepared batter in the pans and bake in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the pan and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, take all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk till it comes together to form a smooth frosting.
Place one cake on a plate or a wooden board, frost it lightly and then place the second cake on top. Again frost the sides lightly, scraping of any excess frosting.
Put about 1/4 cup of frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly.
Put the cake int he fridge for 10 minutes so that the frosting sets a bit before placing the cherries on top.
If you live in a hot humid place, it is better to keep the cake in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature for half hour before serving.
The mild cocoa flavour in the frosting helps balance the cheesy frosting.
Yesterday was my first baking class. I taught the tart making technique and apple and orange tart to a group of friends. I was very nervous in the beginning. There were six girls and having six pairs of eyes focussed on you is daunting. I fumbled, couldn’t crack an egg neatly, spilt sugar on the counter and certainly couldn’t look at anyone. But all of them were really supportive and within a few minutes I was relaxed.
Making the tart dough and kneading it without letting the butter melt is a tricky business. But I still wanted to give all of then a feel of sablage – the French technique of pressing down the dough to make it look like sand. So we did it quickly, the Mumbai heat was unsparring, but we worked our way around. I have had no prior experience in teaching. Really, the last time I tried to teach anyone anything was my brother and he fled to the US. But I wanted to show tart making to a very hardworking and talented baker friend Rucha, and it was about time I broadened my horizons, so this class happened.
As I have a little toddler who is sometimes wary of strangers, I was worried that he might start hollering and I will have to leave everything and sit with him. But he was very well behaved. And looked forward to eating some cake. And this baking class wouldn’t have happened without the awesome support of my in-laws. They are pretty much the best. 🙂
Ok that was my little thank you speech, but thank you all so much. For showing belief that I could do it and for forgiving the little things that went awry.
This was not a paid class and it was strictly for friends who I knew outside of social media. In my own home.
But who knows if this might become a regular feature, a proper class in a proper venue. I am yet to figure that out.
P.S : Links similar to what was taught in the class –
At home all of us are such a big fan of masala chai that my 14 month old baby asks for tea after every meal. He gets his little toy cup and toy kettle and I have to pour 2-3 drops of tea into his milk. He sits and sips it slowly like his grandfather.
And then I saw this cake in The Big Book of Treats by Pooja Dhingra. What a wonderful idea to incorporate masala chai flavours into cake. We have pots of lemongrass and basil in the window and use it regularly while brewing tea. So I added it to this cake and the frosting has basil seeds and flowers. Straight from the plant. It gives the cake a very refreshing taste. Something familiar and yet decadent.
Presenting The Masala Chai cake :
150 gram maida
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 gram Amul butter – at room temperature
200 gram castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
80 ml chai – freshly brewed without sugar and milk
Basil leaves and lemon grass while brewing tea
For the frosting :
100 gram butter
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
225 gram icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Few basil (tulsi) flowers for decoration
What to do :
Whisk the maida and baking powder together and sift it.
In another bowl whisk butter and add sugar and vanilla essence.
Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating it well into the mixture.
Add the brewed chai to the batter, mix well.
Then fold in the flour mixture with a spatula.
Preheat oven to 170 for 5 minutes.
Line a muffin pan with paper cups. Fill it with the batter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes till a skewer inserted in the centre comes clean.
To make the frosting, cream butter and then add all the ingredients together and whisk well till it forms a smooth icing. Fill it in a piping bag with nozzle of your choice.
Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. Decorate with basil flower stems.
The same batter can also be used to make cupcakes. It yields 12 cupcakes. And two small loaves.
Basil flowers are totally edible and definitely use them if you can. The regular tulsi flowers can also be used.
The crumb of this cake is very soft and melts in the mouth. the trick is to use room temperature butter and eggs.
It can be stored for 5 days without frosting and upto a week further in the fridge.
Edited to add on 17 May 16′ : In a hurry to bake the cake, I added hot tea to the eggs, and part of it caramelised to sticky toffee like structure. Not very pleasant. Note – Always add cooled tea.