Potato Kibbeh

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For the month of February, one of the Blogging Marathon theme was ingredient swap. One of the ingredients I got was bulgur wheat from Pavani . I had prepared lentil kofte (or a version of it since I was short of all the supplies except bulgur :D), but I still had enough to try some other recipe.

A generic search for vegetarian bulgur recipes landed me on this page and I was absolutely taken in by their baked version of potato kibbeh.  With pictures as good as theirs and clear step wise instructions, it was almost a crime not to prepare it :-)). Though I made it long before, it has been staying in the drafts section for way too long. Since this month’s theme is protein rich foods and this recipe has bulgur, chickpea and spinach as sources, it time for this recipe to join the virtual world.

Kibbeh is a Middle Eastern dish prepared with bulgur and mostly meats. There are many variations to the dish right from shaping it to the method of cooking. It can be deep fried, baked or served raw and is shaped as a ball, patty or scored into diamond shapes. You can read more about this dish here.

Read on for the recipe and pictorial.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg (2.5 lbs) potatoes, cooked
  • 1 1/4 cups fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 small grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bulgur in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the potatoes separately. Once its cooked, add to a bowl and mash well so that no lumps remain. Add the grated onion, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, parsley and drained bulgur. Mix well using your hands until everything is uniformly spread. It will come to the consistency of a dough finally.

For the filling, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Saute one big chopped onion and one each red and orange bell pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now add one cup of cooked chickpeas and 2 cups of spinach. I have used a small pack of frozen spinach here.

Add the bulgur to the potato mix and mix everything well. Divide this bulgur potato ‘dough’ into two parts. In a baking pan, spread one tablespoon of oil. Spread a layer of thinly sliced onions from one large onion.

Spread one half of the bulgur potato mix on top of the sliced onions. Spread all of the filling evenly on top of the bulgur mix.

Once you have covered the entire surface with the filling, add the rest of the bulgur dough evenly on top of the filling. Cover it completely.

Using a knife, score whatever patterns you want into the dough. The knife scoring go all the way down to the bottom of the dish. I cut it into wedges and then made not so deep circular patterns on top. Spread 1/4 cup of olive oil on top evenly and bake in a preheated oven for 40 -50 minutes at 400F. If the top is not browned at the end of that time, keep under broiler for a couple of minutes. Take off the oven and cut into slices once its cool enough to touch.

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Potato Cheeselings

1potato_cheeslings Evenings are the time when life calls for something savory to eat with a hot cup of tea. These slightly spiced peppery cheesy potato cheeslings fit the bill perfectly. 

The recipe is from Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu cookbook. The biscuits- or potato cheeslings as the book called these, were crisp when it came right out of the oven. However, a little while later, it went soft. I had to reheat them on the stovetop to get them to be crispy again. So I would suggest baking only on a need basis. The book suggested cutting the dough into small rectangular strips for baking, but I used a round cookie cutter. 

Read on for the recipe. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, boiled
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup vanaspati/ solid ghee/ softened butter/ coconut oil*
  • 1 cup grated cheese 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper 

* I used coconut oil which had turned solid because of the cold weather. 

Method:

  1. Cook and peel the potato and drain off all the water. 
  2. Mash the potatoes, mix with all the other ingredients and knead everything into a dough. Taste test and adjust the seasonings.
  3. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and divide it into two parts. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick. You can either cut out strips of size 2″X 1″ or use a cookie cutter and cut out some other shape. 
  4. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top turns brown. 

Note: I noticed that the biscuits turn soft a little while after it’s taken out of the oven. So bake in small batches as needed. I have a feeling this would be a good candidate for deep frying as well. 


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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Most of the cookie recipes make so many cookies that it can almost feed an army of kids. This recipe from Hershey’s Make it Chocolate book is no exception. I got over 3 dozen cookies out of this batch. The smart thing I did was to bake this on a need basis. The dough needs to be refrigerated and I let it sit there for a few days, taking out small amounts of dough to bake as needed.

You might be wondering why that is such a big deal, given that a lot of you might already be doing that. But the fact is, I have this compulsive need to finish off the dough the day I make it. I don’t want to deal with preheating the oven multiple times or washing the same cookie pans again and again, so its always been a case of baking excess cookies and eating excess cookies.

But this time, I was having guests through out the week and I would take only the amount of dough I needed every single time. So no excess cookie eating this time around :-)

Read on for the recipe and the pictorial.

Recipe source: Hershey’s Make it Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup odorless oil like canola or sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Powdered sugar for rolling the cookies

Method:

In a big bowl, mix sugar and oil. Beat well using a stand or hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add the vanilla extract as well.

Once the eggs are well combined, add sifted cocoa powder. Fold it in slowly.

Once cocoa is well combined, add the flour, salt and baking powder. Beat in at low speed, I ended up folding it in carefully using a silicon spatula after one point. Chill this mixture overnight or for at least 6 hours.

Heat oven to 350 F/180C. Scoop a small 1″ ball of dough. Roll in powdered sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave a little space between the cookies to allow space for spreading. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cookies are done. Let it cool in the tray for at least 10 minutes to prevent it from crumbling when taking out of the tray. The recipe makes 40 plus cookies.

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Oatmeal Chocolate bars

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I have never had the patience to make bars before since there is more work involved than making a cake or a brownie. For a bar, there are multiple layers and that means more work. To be honest, I have never eaten any of those time consuming bars, so I never knew what I was missing.

At a bake sale at my son’s school, I happened upon the best bake of my life. It was raspberry bar brownies made by the kid’s grandmother. I ended up buying all the brownies from her (about 5 or 6 – that’s all that was there). I don’t regret those calories a bit. It was a work of art – I took a picture of it in the hope that I can look for a similar recipe somewhere. It had a shortbread base, chocolate layer, crumb top and raspberry jam swirled on top. Oh it was delicious!!

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The point of the story was to show why I decided to make these oatmeal chocolate bar. After knowing what the ‘bar world’ had to offer, it’s difficult to stay away from there. So I tried this recipe from my Hershey’s book. These are quite good. You are good as long as you don’t compare it with the raspberry swirls. Nothing comes close to that one, actually :-)

Read on for the recipe. This goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group

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Recipe source: Hershey’s Make it Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate filling, recipe below
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup walnuts

Chocolate filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter (~100 gms)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 14 oz can condensed milk

Method:

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a thick pan over low heat. Add Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and 2/3 cup cocoa powder. Mix well.

Add a 14 oz can of condensed milk and cook stirring continuously. Remove from heat when the mixture is smooth and thick. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and line a 9 X 13″ pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1 cup butter (~220 gms) with 2 cups light brown sugar. When the mix is light and fluffy, add the two eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat it in.

In another bowl, combine 3 cups oats, 2.5 cups flour, 1 cup walnuts, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add this dry ingredients to the butter and egg mix and fold it in using a spatula and finally using hands to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into two portions. Press one part into the prepared pan. Pour the chocolate filling on top of it. Sprinkle the remaining dough on top of the chocolate. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of walnuts too to the top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top is golden in color. Cool completely and cut into about 36 squares and enjoy!

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Whole wheat egg less Orange Cake

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BM # 77: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Vegan Sweets
Recipe:  Whole wheat egg less Orange cake

Ever since I read the recipe for the Spanish Orange cake at Vaishali’s space, I have been planning to bake one. Her recipe calls for cooking a whole orange and then pureeing it before adding it to the cake. I saw another recipe from Mary Berry in the same lines, her Orange Spiced cake also called for cooked and pureed oranges. The cooking and pureeing part was what I wanted to try. But unfortunately both the recipes call for dairy products.

So I decided to try a recipe I had already tried with good results, Priya Srinivasan’s whole wheat cake. The recipe calls for buttermilk which I substituted with cooked orange puree. The substitution makes the recipe vegan.

The cake was full of orange flavor. Its been ages since I served a cake on its own without frosting, so I was feeling a little lost with just a basic cake. I usually soak the cake layers with a simple sugar syrup before serving or frosting the cake. Since the cake is vegan and I don’t have any vegan butter now, I decided to go for a simple mix of icing sugar and water.

Read on for step wise pictures and the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar (1 cup if the orange is not sweet)
  • 1 cup buttermilk pureed orange
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, if needed

* Increase this to 1/2 cup to avoid adding the water the next time.

Method:

The recipe makes an 8″ cake.

Cook one big orange until its completely soft. I used the Instant Pot here and cooked in manual mode for 20 minutes. I used only one orange for the cake though I cooked two oranges.

Let it cool. Cut through the orange, take out the pips and chop it roughly, skin and all.

In a food processor, pulse it couple of times (including the skin) so that its roughly pureed. It measured out to exactly one cup when I measured it.

Sift 1.5 cups of wheat flour a couple of times. Whisk it with 3/4 cup sugar (1 cup if the orange is not sweet), 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a bowl. Once its all combined well, add the orange puree and 1/3 cup oil.

The batter was a little thick, so I ended up adding 1-2 tablespoon of water to loosen it a bit. I would increase the oil to 1/2 cup the next time I am doing it. Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8″ pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C/ 350 F for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. I have mixed 1/4 cup icing sugar with a little water (less than a teaspoon) until it reaches a thick consistency and piped it over the cake.

Here I have baked a 6″ cake and two cupcakes with the leftover batter.

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Ultimate Chocolate Brownies

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I have a tried and tested recipe for brownies. Its the one I always rely on and it was from my Hershey’s baking book. I have never had a failure from that book and so naturally, its been one of my favorite cookbooks. Unfortunately that book is in Chennai and I am here in US. So when I chanced upon another Hershey’s book at the library sale, I picked it up immediately and decided to trust the same way I trusted my first book. I have been trying some recipes from this book too, all with good results.

My main reason for liking Hershey’s books is that the recipe is almost always simple. I didn’t even have to take out my hand mixer for this recipe. All it needed was a whisk and a mixing bowl. I had to use one more bowl for melting the butter, but even with that, the effort was less and clean up was a breeze. So when my son said he wanted to do something special for his teacher for Teacher Appreciation week, this is the recipe I zeroed on.

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The entire bake was done by the kid except for handling melted butter and hot water. He also helped heavily with sampling ;-). These brownies tasted excellent and I am just waiting for a reason to bake these again!

Read on for the recipe and step wise pictures.

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Recipe source: Hershey’s Make it Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted and divided
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Method:

Heat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and line a 9X13″ pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, sift cocoa and  baking soda together. Mix it well. Add 1/3 cup of melted butter and 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir until the mixture thickens.

Add 2 cups of sugar and mix it in. Now, add two eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup of melted butter. Stir until everything is well combined and smooth.

Add the flour, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk everything well. Add the chocolate chips and mix it in carefully.

Pour carefully into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes or so, until a skewer comes free of liquid when inserted in the middle of the brownies. Cool in the pan itself and cut into squares and eat!

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Briam – Greek OveRoasted Veggies

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BM # 76: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Flavors of Greece
Recipe:  Briam, Greek Oven roasted vegetables

I love oven roasted veggies, but the only thing I don’t like about it is the cooking time. It takes an hour at least for the veggies to be done, but then the oven does all the work and not me. So I guess its okay. Even then I don’t roast veggies as much as I would like to do. Same with bread. I would love to make more bread, if some one else can take care of the kneading :D.

Coming to the recipe here, its Greek style oven roasted vegetables, Briam. The recipe is is also from the book Cooking with Loula where the author, Alexandra Stratou, mentions that its a must to serve feta cheese with Briam. I haven’t changed anything at all from the recipe mentioned in the book except for lowering the amount of oil a little less.

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This recipe is more of a vegetable medley and I am guessing you can add other veggies too as long as the taste doesn’t clash too much with what’s already in there.

Spice is coming only from pepper and chili flakes, so that needs to be adjusted according to your taste.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 large eggplant (I had Japanese eggplants)
  • one medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley leaves
  • Salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
  2. Wash and clean the veggies. Peel the potatoes and onions.
  3. Dice potatoes, peppers,tomatoes and eggplant. Slice the onions, peel the garlic and chop the parsley leaves.
  4. Add everything to a baking tray (9 X 13 inch pan here) and season with salt, peper and red chili flakes. Add olive oil. Mix well. Spread them out so that there isn’t too much of layering.
  5. Add half cup water to the vegetables and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The water should have evaporated and the liquid should be only oil.
  6. Serve with a block of feta cheese.

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Briam is a main dish that needs to be served with feta cheese and maybe bread, but I served it as a side to my toast with my Greek style scrambled eggs, Strapatsada. It was a very simple, but a delicious meal for me.

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Cheesy corn Muffins

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Bakes are usually sweet and that’s my favorite kind! But the man loves everything savory and so once in a while I bake things that’s not sweet. Corn muffins is one of those recipes. 

Most corn muffin recipes have a tablespoon or two of sugar in it, but I just skip it to make it completely savory. The fresh or frozen corn in the muffin do lend a sweetness, but the effect is not same as adding sugar. 

Coming to the recipe here, it is very slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour’s book Whole grain baking. The book needs no introduction and I was lucky to stumble upon a brand new copy for $2 at the library sale. The book is a favorite of mine. 

I made this when we went for a long drive with two other families. This was our picnic food 😊 along with brownies and some apple sauce muffins. 

Read on for the recipe. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour 
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2-3 jalapeño, diced small (or 1 can diced green chilies)
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with papers. 
  2. Whisk the cornmeal, wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, chili powder and baking powder in a medium bowl. 
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg with milk and oil. Add the thawed corn and most of the jalapeños. Keep aside a little to sprinkle on top of the muffins. 
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. 
  5. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the batter to the prepared muffin pan and top each muffin with a little cheese and reserved jalapeños. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the muffin. 
  6. Take off the oven when it’s baked and let it cool for ten minutes in the pan itself. 

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Brownie cake

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Thanks to my overstocked drafts folder, there is a post ready for almost any occasion. All I have to do is to pick and publish the post. The cake here has a good story to tell. Even without a story, its a cool cake – it has two layers of brownies filled with peanut butter pudding between them and frosted all around with a wonderful chocolate buttercream. On second thoughts, I would skip the pudding and the frosting the next time. Because the brownie underneath really doesn’t need anything to enhance it. Its the Hershey’s Best Brownies and it really is the best brownies I have ever had till now.

Coming back to the cake, it was made to celebrate one dozen years of our marriage in November. I never got around publishing the recipe on time. I also never got around making a cake for my blog’s sixth birthday/anniversary which was on March 31st. So my wedding anniversary cake is going to celebrate my blog anniversary as well. I  started the blog as a one year project and I can’t believe I am still actively doing it :-).

My family loves Peanut butter & Nutella sandwiches :D, so my thought for the cake was to fuse those flavors. But I could see that peanut butter in a cake is not everyone’s cup of tea. So I wouldn’t suggest this combination if you are not a fan of it.

The pudding is excellent in taste, but it is extremely rich. So if you are serving it directly as a dessert, I would suggest serving in small quantities. Maybe about 1/4 cup per person. You can always serve a second helping later. The quantity here will have some leftovers after filling the cake.

The recipe for the filling, frosting and the cake is all from cookbooks. The brownie is from one of the Hershey’s cookbooks I have. The frosting is from Joy the Baker’s cookbook (I got it from the library). And the peanut butter pudding is from Clio Goodman’s book, Puddin’. It is the perfect candidate for Cooking from Cookbook Challenge :-). Read on for the recipe.

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Cake : Best Brownies

Decoration on top – The roses are made with ready made fondant using a silicon mold. I used melted chocolate as a glue for the roses. 

Best Buttercream recipe : Joy the Baker I got the recipe from her cookbook, not the site. But it seems to be the same, so I thought of linking it anyway.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup or 1.5 sticks (about 150 gms) butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 2.5 to 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chocolate ovaltine

Method:

  1. Cream butter, sifted cocoa powder and salt in a big bowl for a few minutes using a stand or hand mixer.
  2. Add the sugar (2.5 cups first and then if needed, the rest half cup can be added) and mix it in using a rubber spatula. Beat it on low speed using the mixer. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Beat it in high speed until smooth. Stop the mixer in between to scrape the sides of the bowl for even distribution.
  3. Milk cream and ovaltine in a small cup. Pour this into the frosting and beat it again until it reaches creamy consistency.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until the time of use. Bring it to room temperature before using. You might have to beat again using the mixer to get a spreadable consistency. Once the cake is filled with the pudding, frost it using the buttercream. 

Peanut Butter Pudding

  • Whisk together in a thick saucepan – 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 2 tablespoons corn starch and 6 tablespoons of sugar until everything is combined well.
  • Cook this over medium heat whisking all the time until the mixture starts to thicken – about 8-10 minutes or so. When you raise the whisk from the pudding and it leaves a shadow on the pudding, it is done. Let the pudding cool for 10 minutes. Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the pudding and refrigerate for at least two hours. To stabilize this as a filling for a cake, you can use gelatin if you wish. But I found this to be stable enough to be used as such.

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Cardamom cake

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BM # 74: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Swedish recipes
Recipe: Cardamom cake 

I didn’t rely only on the internet for this week’s theme (which is Swedish recipes, BTW), but I headed out to the library too to look for Scandinavian recipes. The first trip to the library had me coming home with two books for everyday recipes. Since Swedish vegetarian choices are pretty limited, I picked up two more books the next time I went back to the library. Baking books this time!

So for Fika last week during the snow storm(Fika is coffee time, but mostly with some baked goodies), we had this soft, spongy cardamom cake with a refreshing cup of coffee. I distributed most of this cake to my neighbors and friends and the feedback has been excellent. Baking during snow storms is fun and the house smelled amazing!!

This is one of those simple recipes that gives you amazing results. Its a keeper for sure! I didn’t make any change to the original recipe other than replacing almonds with cashew nuts. There are so many other recipes I want to try from that small book aptly named Swedish cakes and cookies, but I am resisting the call of butter and sugar for the sake of fat content inside my body :D.

I am struggling with my photography now (its a phase that comes and goes), so I have not been able to do justice to this soft and light sponge. So don’t judge the cake by the picture and give it a try for sure!

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Recipe source: Swedish cakes and cookies book

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 200gms/2 sticks/1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Pearl sugar/chopped almonds/nuts for decoration

Method:

  1. Grease and line a 9X13″ pan with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until it turns light yellow and thick. Add the baking powder and cardamom powder, beat again.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (butter, milk and flour) and mix everything carefully. There shouldn’t be any dry lumps in the batter.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 55-65 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. Once its out of the pan, let the cake rest in the pan for about ten minutes. Slice and serve once its cool.

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