My plain Jane birthday cake: Coffee orangette

I may come come up with fancy cakes at home, but I am a firm believer that a birthday cake must be made at home.  I think I get that belief from my grandmother.  She was the first one I saw baking in my family. She would make the simplest and loveliest cakes at home. For birthdays, she would deck them up with  some gems and tutti-frutti. None of her cakes ever had icing or ganache or any frosting- yet they were the yummiest. Happy memories of summer vacations spent devouring her bakes.

February brought with it erratic weather , the child’s landmark 6 months and the husband’s birthday. Determined to bake his bake at home, I foraged through innumerable ideas and recipes on the internet. My search stopped at this. Simple yet impressive, the combination of coffee and citrus appealed to me. This is the 3rd or 4th recipe I’ve tried from Saee’s blog and I am delighted to inform you that they’ve all given me good results. Thank you!

You must hop over to her blog for the original recipe. I made some minor changes because I didn’t have all the ingredients at hand and at 10 PM its hard to rush out to shop. What I’ve changed, I’ve marked out in italics.

Coffee and Orangette cake

Ingredients:
For the orangettes:

  • Peels of one orange. – I had to use a kinnu, didnt have oranges at home. 
  • 1 cup of sugar – I used 1/2 C sugar.
  • 1 cup of water
  • Water for blanching
  • 50 gms. dark chocolate- I had to use milk chocolate since I had only that. I would recommend dark chocolate- goes better with the orange.

For the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 200 gms. flour
  • 120 gms. sugar
  • Juice of half an orange- I used the juice of one whole kinnu
  • 100 gms. butter
  • 50 mls. coffee decoction- I used Bru instant coffee- about 1.5 tbsp mixed with a little water.
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2-3 orangettes- I used mined chopped finely to mix with the batter. 

For the ganache:

  • 50 gms dark chocolate- Again, I was stuck with milk chocolate😦
  • 2 tbsps. cream- I used Amul cream.

Method:

To make orangette:

  1. Peel the orange/Kinnu and remove the fibrous white bits. That’s the bitter part. 
  2. Cut the peel into strips, about ¼ centimeters in breadth. I blanched them first and then cut them to the size I wanted. I think it works well both ways.
  3. Blanch the strips of peel in water.
  4. Add the sugar to the water and boil to make a syrup. Add the blanched orangette and cook till translucent.
  5. Strain and dry on parchment for 4-5 hours.  I didn’t have time so I drained them well and used them immediately. I highly recommend allowing them to dry and set. Mine were too limp and resultant I had to chop them up. The missing orangette strips impacted the final look of the cake. 
  6.  To dip the orangette strips in chocolate, melt the chocolate  and dip strips halfway. Cool and allow to set.

To make the cake:

  1. Sieve together flour and baking powder.
  2. Mix eggs, butter and sugar with a beater.Add the orange juice and coffee and blend.
  3. Add the flour and the chopped orangettes. Mix lightly.
  4.  Pour batter into a lined tin and bake at 170 – 180 degrees centigrade for about 40 minutes
  5. Remove from pan and when cool.

To decorate the cake:

  1. Make ganache by mixing cholcolate and cream and heating in a microwave or double boiler.
  2. Pipe this cooled chocolate mix in a patter of your choice.
  3. End by placing the chocolate dipped orangette strips.

Here is what my cake looked like.  The original one by Saee is far prettier.


 This is a delicious cake. Its got a lovely texture ( the butter plays a role) and the orange marries well with the coffee. This ones going to be made again soon!

 

 

Turning multigrain: Ragi bread loaf

I have been keen to make multi grain breads at home. So far its been a thought only. I havent had the courage to execute the idea  simpley because I’ve had many  trials where my 100% atta breads have flopped. If 100% attIa doesn’t work, how will multi grain ever work!

So some Sundays ago, I decided I wanted to try,even if it meant I’d fail. I decided its a good idea to go step by step- keep the base of the bread the same and gradually substitute the APF with other flours. I have had good success with 50% atta breads now it was time to experiment some more.

I am a fan of ragi, or naachni as its called in some part of the country.  At my parent’s place, we are big on ragi, at my in-laws, not so much. They’ve never eaten it and so don’t have a taste for it. Gradual introduction was my safest bet.  I took my tried and tested 50% atta recipe and increased the total volume by adding some ragi. Fermentation took approximately the same time as did the baking. The end result was a bread that had the distinct colour and flavour of ragi. After the initial bite, you begin the accept the change in taste. Its only the initial bite,where the difference is flavour strikes you after that it tastes quite like regular bread- the flavour isnt objectionable at all.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C atta
  • 1 C maida
  • 1/2 C ragi flour
  • 1 C water (you may been a little more)
  • 2 1/2 tsp fresh yeast
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  • Warm water and dissolve sugar. Add yeast and allow it to become frothy.
  • Knead the flour with this water.
  • Keep in a warm place and allow it to double.
  • Punch down the dough and knead some more.
  • Place in a grease tin to bake.
  • Bake at 200 deg C for 20-25 mins or till a toothpick comes out clean.

I had the bread for breakfast on two consecutive days with omelettes right off the stove!

Next on the multigrain agenda: a 50% multigrain bread!

Laadi pav

I miss Mumbai for several things. The family..the monsoons…..the local trains.. the energy. I wouldn’t categorise myself as a foodie but there are some food items that the city offers that I do miss. There are  versions of the Bombay bhel puri and the pav bhaji that we get here in Delhi, but they are no where close to the original.

I absolutely love the regular laadi pav that we get in Bombay. Its ubiquitous- easily purchased from regular around the corner bakeries and lathered with butter and served with misal /usal/bhaaji. Made with maida, its soft and breaks easily so that you can treat it like chapati- tear away a piece with one hand and dip it in the gravy before popping it in your mouth.

I am yet to find laadi pav in Delhi. What we get here is actually bun. Each bun is thicker than the pav and the texture is denser too.

Each time we make pav bhaaji at home, my heart yearns for the original Bombay paav. I chanced upon the laadi pav recipe on vegrecipesofindia and said to myself”Enough of whining, Make your own pav!” You can refer to the recipe shared by Dassana- she’s got step by step pictures that are very helpful.

My recipe is a twist on the original pav. I cannot get myself to make pure maida breads nowadays. If I am taking to effort to making bread, I may as well eat at least half atta! Originally pav is made with maida and you can surely substitute the atta with maida keeping all other proportions the same in the recipe.

  Ingredients:

  • 1 C atta
  • 1 C maida
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 to 1 C water
  • 2 tsp fresh yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Butter to brush
  • Paper to line baking tray

Method:

  • Heat water till warm enough to dip your fingers comfortably. Dissolve sugar. Add the yeast and allow it to stand for 5-7 mins till the yeast froths.
  • Mix the flours and salt in a bowl. Add the frothy yeast water to it and knead till the dough it soft and smooth. Cover and keep in a warm place till the dough doubles. Its winter in Delhi so it took 2 hours for me.
  • Line a baking tray with paper and grease the paper.
  • Punch down the down and divide it into equal sections. Roll the sections into even looking rounds and place them  on the tray. They shouldnt be place too far away because we want the pavs to fuse together. I got 15-16 pieces.
  • Allow the pavs to rise again.
  • Bake for 15-20 mins at 200 deg.C.
  • Remove from over and brush with butter.
  • When serving with bhaaji, split the pav into half and toast with a dollop of butter on the tawa.

  
 

 

Nutella swirl muffins

A simple idea picked up from the internet somewhere was executed some days back. Its the basic pound cake recipe and a swirl of the magical Nutella.

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Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 100 gms maida/APF
  • 100 gms butter/cream
  • 100 gms powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Nutella- as required

20150602_201546Method:

  • Sift together baking powder and maida. Keep aside.
  • Beat the eggs till light and frothy. Add sugar, then the butter/cream and vanilla essence.
  • Gradually add the maida- baking powder to mix. I have realised that adding flour  in batches works best.
  • Preheat oven at 180 deg C.
  • Pour the batter into muffin tray. With this set of ingredients I got 6 medium size muffins.
  • Take a spoonful of Nutella and swirl it into a muffin. Repeat till all muffins are covered.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 180 deg. C.

Spanish flat bread turned vegetarian!

I have been in  the bread phase for a while now. Bathing is de-stressing for me and I am happy to bake just about anything. My choices of what I bake have chaqnged over time. When this blog began we made lot of cakes. With time  (and the piling weight) I’ve taken to baking a variety of bread instead. Lower calories and a ready to eat breakfast item that most family members like.

Myjhola’s Spanish flat bread with chorizo, tomatoes and oregano has been on my to-bake list for the longest time. Pre-baby days to be precise. The one thing motherhood has taught me (still learning) is patience- I have actually waited months to try out this recipe.

Last Sunday, the family took turns to baby sit and I got a golden opportunity to make some bread. I made Anita’s burger buns and Myjhola’s spanish flat bread.

The Spanish flat bread is topped with chorizo. I substituted that with olives since I had no takers for meats at home.  I made some other minor changes in the recipe. They  are marked in italics. I highly recommend you visit the original site for the recipe. You will drool over the pictures🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or instant yeast (I used fresh yeast)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2  tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt (for sprinkling on top)  ( I skipped this)
  • 3 tbsp.
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh oregano ( I used crushed dry oregano)
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced ( I used halved cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 chorizo sausages (pepperoni if you can’t find it), thinly sliced (I used sliced olives instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. chili flakes( I skipped this)

Method:

    1. Mix the flour and salt. Keep aside.
    2. Heat water &dissolve the sugar. When the temperature is just right, add the yeast and set aside for 5-10 mins till it becomes frothy.
    3. Add the yeast water to the flour and knead into a soft dough. The original recipe says you can add more water if needed- I didnt find that necessary. the yeast mixture to the flour and knead to a soft dough, adding more water if required. Add the olive oil and bring it all together.
    4. Keep in a warm place and allow it to rise.
    5. Preheat the over.
    6. Line a baking sheet with greased  butterpaper/ aluminium foil.
    7. Flatten out the dough on the tray using your hands.
    8. Place the tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle salt. I missed this and regretted it. Drizzle some olive oil.
    9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

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Burger Bun

When living independently with the spouse, we’d often make aloo tikki at home, buy bread/ buns from the market and throw in some tomato, capsicum and onion rings and turn them sandwiches/ burgers. They made a great Sunday dinner, giving us a break from the standard dal-rot-sabzi routine. A perfect evening would be the burgers with a big bowl of  hot soup  eaten leisurely watching a movie on TV.  With a 5 month old baby, those days are long forgotten.🙂

I have been keen on making buns at home. I  had Anita’s recipe earmarked for a long time.  But finding time with a six day working week and a baby is now truly a challenge! My Sundays are not more packed (as if that was possible!) than my weekdays. There is just so much to do around the baby and house.

I took the recipe from A Mad Tea Party.  I love Anita’s her blog and adore her photography- you should really check it out. I modified  the recipe to reduce quantity. I also used fresh yeast and skipped the gluten. Please refer to the original recipe. My version is mentioned below.

Burger Buns

Ingredients:

  • 1C atta
  • 1C maida
  • 1t salt
  • 3/4 C warm water
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 t fresh yeast
  • 2 t oil
  • sesame seeds
  • butter for brushing

 

Method:

  • Heat the water. When its warm dissolve the sugar and add the yeast. Let it stand for a few minutes till the yeast becomes frothy.
  • Sift the atta, maida and salt. Add the yeast-water mixture to this. Knead.
  • Add milk and continue kneading till the dough comes together. the dough will be sticky.
  • liberally dust your kitchen counter with atta/maida and knead the dough for a few more minutes till it turns into a soft , smooth log. by the time you are done- it wont be sticky either.
  • Cover and keep in a warm place to allow the dough to rise. Its winter in Delhi so I had to place it in my oven. It took 2 hours to get a good rise.
  • Knock  down the dough and shape the dough into rounds. On a well grease baking tray, place the dough rounds. Dont forget to keep adequate space in between- I have made that mistake more than one. It ruins the final outcome.  Allow them to rise again. It shouldnt take more than an hour- mine took longer due to the cold weather.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds. If you like you can brush them with milk  or butter.
  • Bake at 200 deg C for 15  mins.
  • Take buns fresh out of the over and lather the tops with butter- entirely optional!

 

The buns were a hit at home. We didn’t bother turning them into burgers. They were eaten  accompanied with dollops of butter and tomato soup.
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Excuse the bad photography. I can squeeze out time to bake, but time to take photos is still a far away dream.

 

Quick dessert: Chocolatey cake and ice -cream

Hot Delhi summers make you crave ice-creams. And when you’ve eaten too many ice-creams you need easy-to-do combinations that go with ice-creams. Here is mine- a chocolatey cake with nutella and chocolate chip topping served with vanilla ice cream.

I’ve used my basic cake recipe and increased the cocoa content substantially. I then tried my hand at a bit of cake decoration. Nutella and white chocolate chips were brought into use.  For a first time attempt at cake decoration(if you can call it that at all). I was quite pleased. I was more pleased with the taste of the cake and the accompanying ice cream. 20150614_214916[1]

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