Nutella cake with Nutella frosting

BM #105: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : One country, One category

For this week’s theme, I have chosen three dessert recipes from USA. I am beginning the series with a Nutella cake. The recipe is from the book Erin Bakes Cake, which I borrowed from the library. It’s one of the best baking books I have come across. The book gives base recipes for cakes, but with numerous options to try different flavors. The recipe I am sharing is a base recipe for any “butter” cake (Nut based butter). The version here is for Nutella, but say if you want a peanut butter cake, make the substitution. You will also need to increase the sugar by one more cup as Nutella has sugar and peanut butter doesn’t.

I had made this cake last summer for a friend’s birthday. Between the cake and the frosting, there is some serious amount of Nutella here :-). The flavor was amazing and I decided to go for a very simple decoration with a chocolate drip and some cherries on top.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Erin Bakes Cake

Makes two 8″x3″ cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups butter (~340 gms) , at room temp
  • 1.5 cups Nutella
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 eggs
  • 1.5 cups flour

Method:

  1. Pre Heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line two 8″ x 3″ pans.
  2. Beat the butter, Nutella, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Beat until it’s a smooth and fluffy mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between to make sure everything mixes well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat it in.
  4. Stop the mixer and add the flour in. Fold the flour in, using a rubber spatula. This prevents the flour from going all over the place.
  5. Divide the batter between the two greased pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, the cake is done when a skewer inserted to the middle comes free of crumbs.
  6. Take off the oven, let it rest in the pan for ten minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cake is completely cooled down, prepare the frosting and decorate the cake as you wish.

For the Nutella buttercream,

  • Beat 4 sticks (16oz/450gms) softened butter and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes in a stand mixer bowl.
  • Turn off the mixer, Add 7 1/2 cups (2 lbs bag) powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2-4 tablespoons milk. Mix it in with a spatula to prevent sugar flying all over the kitchen.
  • Switch the mixer ON at the lowest setting and beat it until it reaches a creamy consistency. To make Nutella buttercream, add 3/4 cup chilled Nutella. Beat it in until creamy. Makes about 6 cups of frosting.

Sending this entry to Kid’s Delight – Anniversary party.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this Week

2 Ingredients Hot Chocolate

BM# 95: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Winter warmers

When you say winter, the first thing that comes to mind is Christmas. And the second thing is hot chocolate. A cup of hot chocolate goes a long way into uplifting your mood on a cold day. I don’t like the readymade hot cocoa packets that you just have to mix with hot water and drink. I prefer the old fashioned from scratch method using cocoa powder.

It is a simple basic method of mixing one tablespoon of cocoa powder and sugar as needed to a cup of hot milk. I also like using a candy cane as a stirrer to infuse peppermint flavor into the drink. This morning I tried a peanut butter version where you add a tablespoon of peanut butter to the basic hot chocolate recipe. I am big fan of peanut butter, so for me it was delicious.

But for my son, I wasn’t sure whether he would like it. So I made this much simpler version of hot chocolate. It uses only chocolate chips and hot milk. I added a tiny pinch of instant coffee powder to boost that chocolate flavor a bit more. And of course some marshmallows for topping!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate chips
  • 1/4 spoon instant coffee powder, optional
  • Mini Marshmallows for topping

Method:

  1. Heat milk. Turn off heat before it starts boiling.
  2. Add chocolate chips and instant coffee powder, if using, mix with a spoon until it’s melted. Pour into a mug and serve topped with mini marshmallows.

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Baked Pasta with Ricotta cheese

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On most Fridays, my husband works from home. Last Friday was no different. I was busy with a cake for my friend’s son and so I had to make a lunch that’s substantial enough for the man but that’s not time consuming. I didn’t want to spend time in front of the stove when I had a lot to do. So baked pasta it was! I like this recipe as the hands on effort is less. You are almost done if pasta is cooked. The rest is just mixing a couple of sauces and baking.

I had tried this recipe two weeks back for Thanksgiving lunch. So I knew it was a good recipe. I had followed the recipe exactly that day and made a Rigatoni pasta pie. You can checkout this one minute video tutorial to see what I am talking about. But I realized that the effort of packing the pasta into the cake pan is really not worth it. I couldn’t fill each pasta with the ricotta filling and the pie collapsed when I cut into it. It was tasty but it didn’t stand by itself like a pie piece. It tasted amazing, so I decided to take the simpler route of just mixing the pesto sauce with the pasta and the baking it. It all tastes the same at the end anyway and the effort is so much lesser.

Read on for the pictorial.

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Recipe adapted from Tastemade.com

  • 1 12 oz pack pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Gemma’s hot sauce
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of shredded cheese of your choice

Bring a big pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Don’t overcook the pasta. Al dente is fine. For 12 oz pack of tricolor pasta, it was 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix 1 cup basil pesto with 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper for seasoning. I added 1 teaspoon of Gemma’s hot sauce for a spice kick. Transfer pasta to an oven safe pan. Mix in the ricotta with the pasta.

Mix the ricotta well to distribute evenly, taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Now add 1 cup of tomato sauce to the pasta.

Spread the tomato sauce evenly on top of the pasta and top with cheese. I used about 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese here. Shredded Mozzarella would work better.

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Take off the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

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This post is a part of the Bake-a-thon 2017

Zucchini burrito bowl

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This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

I was out of zucchini for some time, that’s why this post is coming up later than it should have. I have been out of grater for a longer time, so that is why you don’t see a zucchini fritter. I end up grating my fingers so I have never been a fan of the grater. Back home in Chennai, I used to grate using the food processor. Here in US, I decided against buying it. There is no space for any more appliances in the counter top. So I took the shortcut and tried pulsing it in a blender, but I ended up with a paste and not grated zucchini. I had to change tactics at the very last-minute, so burrito bowl with grilled zucchini instead of zucchini fritters. It’s popular in America, after all.

Chipotle, the Mexican restaurant, was one of the first places that we tried here after coming to US. We were really hooked onto it and pretty soon eating out started meaning eating at Chipotle. Burrito bowl is my son’s favorite food there. He even wanted to have his birthday dinner there that year. Its a lot like the Subway sandwich bar, where we pick what we want from the different choices available. It has rice and believe me, that makes a lot of difference for an Indian :D. The food quantity is huge and  my son can never quite finish his bowl, but he loves every mouthful. Its a healthy meal sans the sour cream and cheese. We don’t eat out a lot now a days, so have started preparing this meal once in a while at home itself. The restaurant version is a bit different from what we have here.  With the child growing everyday and his tastes in everything changing a lot, I didn’t know whether he would like this version of his favorite food. But thankfully it pased with flying colors despite the presence of rice in there.

This post is special in that its the last post of the alphabetical journey through popular American dishes. Fritter would have been a more American food than Burrito bowl, but its popular all the same. Thanks for joining me in this journey and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did :-).

burritto bowl1

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Recipe source : The Pioneer woman

Ingredients:

  • For the rice : 1 cup brown rice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 garlic crushed, 2 teaspoon lemon juice, salt
  • For black beans : 1 cup dry black beans, 1 clove garlic, 1 red pepper, 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon cumin
  • For veggie part : 1 zucchini, 1 corn
  • For Salsa : 1 tomato, 1/2 red onion, 1 jalapeno, salt and pepper
  • Additional : Grated cheese, sour cream, avocado slices

*Rice and the salsa can use some coriander leaves. I was out of it.

Method:

  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add the crushed garlic and let it cook. Add it to the rice along with lemon juice and salt. Cook the rice according to package instructions. I was out of coriander leaves, else you can add it once the rice is done.
  • Soak black beans overnight. Cook it with enough water to cover the beans, along with minced garlic, chopped red pepper, chili powder and cumin. I pressure cooked it for 5 whistles and then transferred to an open pan and cooked until it reached the consistency  (not runny) I was looking for.
  • Prepare the veggies. Slice the zucchini into thick slices. Brush them with oil, add a pinch of salt. Add into a pan, cook both sides until brown. Take off the heat, dice them and set aside. Let the corn cook, turning sides until its grilled. It takes longer time than zucchini. With a knife, cut the kernel off the cob once grilled.
  • For the salsa, chop everything into small pieces and mix well.
  • For assembling, add a layer of rice in a bowl. Top it with black beans. Add grilled veggies on top and then some salsa. Add a spoon of sour cream, cheese and serve with some avocado slices. I placed everything in a bowl and let everyone mix it the way they wanted.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63

burritto bowl3