Eggless Whole wheat Buttermilk cake

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I cannot believe that its already December and the year is almost over! With December comes a lot of birthdays in my family and a lot of baking for me. Its the most busy time of the year for me. Still when Valli pinged about Bakeathon 2017, an yearly baking event that goes live every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of December, I didn’t want to miss.

I am the unofficial cake maker of my family and my extended family here. They are my willing guinea pigs, but for most part I have started sticking to only tried and tested recipes. This cake was baked for my friend’s sister, who also taught us the art of Reiki. She bakes a lot and uses whole grains over plain ones. So I appealed to my Blogging Marathon friends for a tried and tested recipe. I ended up using Priya’s oft repeated whole wheat cake recipe. The only change I made to her recipe was to incorporate an additional step from my regular cake. I added the baking powder and soda to the sugar-buttermilk mix until it bubbles up.

To say that this cake was stunning, would be an understatement. It was served for a group of fifteen and every single one raved about it. I really didn’t expect such a reaction for a cake as simple as this, and that too made of whole wheat flour. Since it was a big group, I needed three layers. I don’t know whether the recipe scales well (not all recipes do) and didn’t want to take a risk.  So instead of tripling the recipe, I ended up baking it three times. The recipe below is however for a single layer cake.

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The simple syrup is very important for the cake. In fact I add it to all the cakes that I bake and frost. Simple syrup is water and sugar mixed in 1:1 proportion. But you can reduce the sugar to even half that quantity and still get away with it. But for this cake, I used 1:1 proportion.

Read on for the recipe and tutorial.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 1/3 cup oil (odorless like sunflower or canola)

* Use 1 cup if you want it sweeter or if are planning to serve it plain. With frosting and the simple syrup 3/4 cup turned out okay for us.

Simple syrup:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Frosting and filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170 C/330 F. Grease a nine inch pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a big bowl, add the buttermilk and sugar and oil. Using a wire whisk, mix until the sugar dissolves. Add the baking powder and baking soda. Let it sit aside for 5 minutes to bubble.
  3. Sift the flour 2-3 times. Add this in 3 batches to the wet ingredients, folding carefully after each addition.
  4. Pour batter into a greased and lined 9″ pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. Take out of the oven and let the cake cool in the pan itself for 10-15 minutes.
  5. After that, carefully take the cake out of the pan and cover it in 2 rounds of cling wrap. Return it to the pan and leave until ready to assemble.
  6. Check the pictorial on how to frost and assemble the cake.

Heat the oven to 170 C/330 F. Grease and line an 9″ pan with parchment paper. In a big bowl, add the buttermilk and sugar and oil. Using a wire whisk, mix until the sugar dissolves.

Add the baking powder and baking soda. Let it sit aside for 5 minutes to bubble. Sift the flour 2-3 times. Add this in 3 batches to the wet ingredients, folding carefully after each addition.

Once the flour is incorporated fully, pour batter into a greased and lined pan. I have used a 9″ pan here. An 8″ pan would give you a little more height.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. Take out of the oven and let the cake cool in the pan itself for about 15 minutes.

Once the cake is cool, carefully take the cake out of the pan, peel off the parchment paper and cover it in 2 rounds of cling wrap. Return it to the pan and leave until ready to assemble. I usually do this 2-3 days before the event and leave the cake this way until I fill and frost it. Prepare the sugar syrup and once its cool, refrigerate till the time of assembling.

For frosting and filling the cake, beat fresh cream with sugar until it holds peaks. I have used 3 cups of fresh cream here since I am frosting three cakes.

To anchor the cake to the cardboard base, use a little jam or fresh cream. I have used Nutella here, since I was sure that there are no nut allergies. Cut each cake into two layers. Keep the first layer and sprinkle it with sugar syrup liberally. I use about 3-4 tablespoons of syrup per layer and I just use my hands to sprinkle it.

Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, fill the cake with whipped cream. Build the layers, sprinkling each layer with the simple syrup and then filling with fresh cream.

Cover the entire cake roughly with fresh cream for a crumb coat. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. Cover with another round of fresh cream for the final finish. You will need an offset spatula and a turn table for a smooth finish.

For the glaze, add 3/4 cup chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl with 1 tablespoon honey and 2 tablespoons each of milk and butter. Microwave in short bursts (15 seconds each) mixing well with a silicon spatula after each burst until the chocolate completely melts.

Add the glaze to the sides of the cake and let it drip slowly down. Fill in the center and carefully smooth it out.

Run the offset spatula under hot water, wipe the water off with a kitchen towel. Carefully smooth the top of the chocolate layer for a clean finish. Repeat a couple of times until the top is smooth. Using piping bag fitted with piping nozzles, decorate the cake as you wish with whipped cream and strawberries. Refrigerate until the time of serving.

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

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Apple crepes

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BMG # 82: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Crepes
Recipe: Apple crepes

Crepes are a popular dessert option and its not surprising at all. The soft and melt in the mouth texture of the crepes combined with delicious fillings are a treat indeed. For all my crepe filling ideas I followed the book Crepes, Waffles and Pancakes which I borrowed from the library. The book had a lot suggestion for making different kinds of crepes by substituting some ingredients. For example, replacing about 1/4 cup of milk with black coffee would give coffee crepes. These would be excellent to serve with ice cream as a dessert. Some recipes had coconut milk in place of milk for a tropical flavor. A little flour replaced with cocoa powder would lend a chocolate flavor. Combine that chocolate flavor with a little coffee instead of milk and boy! that’s another wonderful combination. The batter can take in additions too to make different varieties of crepes. Cooked and chopped spinach, cooked and pureed beets , walnut pesto were just some of the different ideas mentioned in there.

Off the three recipes I tried for this theme, I loved the apple ones the best. I prepared the filling by cooking apples with some sugar and butter. You need to add a little water at the end to make a little thick sauce. Spoon this filling into a crepe and serve it warm – its so so delicious! I made these again for a dinner visit and this time I decided not to overload the crepes with the filling. I filled each crepe with only about 2 tablespoons of apple filling and that itself was enough and yum! The best part is that this is not a high fat  dessert. You can indulge in a crepe and still come out without affecting your diet too much. Read on for the recipe.

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Ingredients:

For the crepe

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • butter to grease the pan

For making apple filling for one person

  • one medium sweet apple, cored and cut into thick pieces
  • handful of berries, optional
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (more if apples are not sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/3 cup of apple juice or water

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the crepe using a wire whisk or blend in a mixer to get a lump free batter. This quantity makes about 8 crepes 6″ diameter in size. I used four of those for the apple crepes.
  2. To make crepes, heat a 6″ non stick skillet or pan. Spread a little butter to the base of the pan to grease it. Spoon 1/4 cup crepe batter and swirl/rotate the pan so that the batter coats the base. Try to avoid the batter going to the sides/walls of the pan. Cook until the batter is not wet anymore and the sides turn slightly brown. With a silicone spatula, carefully flip it over and cook the other side. Take off the pan and keep it on a plate. Make more crepes until the batter is used up.
  3. For the filling, add the butter, sugar and the apples on a pan and cook for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the apples start to soften a little bit. Add the berries, if using, and the apple juice or water and bring to a slow boil. Cook until the apples are soft, but still retains the shape and the sauce thickens a bit. Divide this filling into two crepes and serve. I filled each crepe with only 1/4th of the filling, it was still delicious.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#82 

Guava empanada

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There are many times when I spend a good amount of thought and time looking up recipes and cooking elaborate meals. But there are other times, when cooking is all about putting together a couple of things and coming up with an enjoyable treat. This one belongs to the latter category. The recipe was inspired from the book The Cuban Table by Ana Pelaez and Ellen Silverman. I had the guava paste and the frozen empanada discs. I skipped the cream cheese and overcame my fear of deep frying to make this treat.

I wasn’t sure whether its actually a recipe, given how simple it is. I am glad I took pictures despite my hesitation because sometimesI feel that life is complex as it is. We really need to remind ourselves of the simple enjoyments in life in as many ways as possible. So enjoy a good evening with a sweet jam in a salty pastry served with a hot cup of tea!

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Ingredients:

  • ready made Empanada discos
  • ready made guava paste
  • oil to deep fry

Method:

  • Defrost the empanada discs by taking them out about 20 minutes from the freezer. Once they are defrosted, stretch it a little by rolling them out using a rolling pin.
  • Cut a piece of guava paste to fit comfortably inside the disc. Fold the empanada in half and seal the edges with a fork. Repeat with the rest of the discs.
  • Deep fry in hot oil without crowding the pan or bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.

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This recipe goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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Slutty Brownie cake

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BM # 82: Week 2, Day 3
Theme : USA
Recipe: Brownie cake

Brownies and cakes are part of USA food and sometimes they come together as a single treat. Brownie cakes are actually brownies that are then decorated as cakes, that’s not the case here. While browsing I came across something called ‘Slutty brownies‘ which is a decadent treat. It has three layers – a cookie layer, oreo layer and then a final brownie layer. When made with ready made cookie dough, crushed oreos and a box mix for brownies, its an easy to make treat and every bit decadent as you can imagine.

The recipe here is a cake version of the same. It is a layer cake with three 9″ layers – each corresponding to the slutty brownie layer. So a base cake batter is prepared and divided into three portions – one each for the cookie layer, brownie layer and oreo layer. This is a delicious treat by itself, it is definitely a cake recipe and no means resembles brownies or cookies in any way. I followed the recipe from What’s Gabby Cooking without any change.

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The best part of this recipe for me was it gave a single recipe for a three 9″ layer cake. Else I was using a double batch of a two layer cake which would always leave me with an addition fourth (and unnecessary) cake. I have tried the same base recipe and made a Neapolitan cake instead of brownie layers.

I have to start making videos to explain the cake assembling better, but until I figure that out, you guys can scroll down and read the recipe.

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Recipe source: Whats Gabby Cooking

Ingredients:

Base cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 cup corn flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk

*Use 4 cups cake flour instead of a mix of flour and corn flour

Oreo Cookie layer:

  • 10 oreos crumbled

Cookie dough layer:

  • 1 tablespoon molasses (didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Brownie layer:

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Filling, frosting and toppings:

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line three 9″ pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and continue beating at medium speed. Once the four eggs are combined well, add the vanilla essence and beat it in.
  4. We have to add the flour in three batches, alternating it with the buttermilk. That means, we have to first add 1/3rd of the flour mix into the butter mix. Beat at a lower speed to avoid spilling of the flour all over. Once the flour is mixed in without streaks, add one cup of buttermilk and continue beating. Now add half of the leftover flour mix. Once that’s mixed well, add in the rest of buttermilk. Once that’s combined well, add the remaining flour. At any point, you can stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to help combine the batter better.
  5. Divide the batter into three bowls. Add 1/3 cup cocoa powder into one batch, crushed oreo cookies into another and 1 tablespoons of molasses and chocolate chips to the last batch.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 35-45 minutes until a skewer comes free of cake crumbs when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  7. Take off the oven, let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Then take off the pan, cling wrap it two times and return to the same pan until its time to decorate.
  8. For decorating, prepare the butter cream. Fill and frost the cake only after its completely cool. Prepare a glaze and top with assorted chocolates.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#82

Chocolate peanut butter energy bites

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Oh please don’t be surprised! I did mention in yesterday’s post that I made the energy bites a couple of times. This was a variation of the recipe I tried. But don’t worry, this is the only variation for now. 

For this recipe, I kept the quantity of the base items – oats, peanut butter and honey -the same as yesterday. The rest is just whatever I had in my pantry that day!

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I had some dates that needed to be used up, so those were chopped and soaked in hot water for sometime. After draining and squeezing out the water, it came to about 1/4 cup. To avoid the water content, I would just chop them up or pulse them in a blender and add the next time. These didn’t last for a long time, so I needn’t have worried about the moisture from the dates. 

To make it a chocolate version, I added a little unsweetened cocoa to the mix. The raw taste of cocoa felt a little strange initially. I did get used to it, but maybe I will add Nutella or hot chocolate for the chocolate flavor the next time. 

Read on for the recipe. 
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter*
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dates, soaked in hot water (about 8 dates)
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, optional 

*You can start with 1/2 cup and then add a couple more tablespoons extra if needed.

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Mix with a silicon spatula until everything is combined well.
  2. Using your hands take a small portion of the mix and roll into a ball. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate for a few minutes. Once you are done with all the dough, roll them over a thin layer of desiccated coconut to coat it. Refrigerate the balls to set firm. 
  3. I got about 20 balls with this set of ingredients.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80