Smorgastarta – Sandwich cake

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This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays

Hi all,

I am back. And you have no idea how glad I am to be back!

I am happy, because if it weren’t for the Guild and Blogger Tuesdays, my blog vacation would have become a blog break! It was already bordering somewhere there, but let’s not go there now. There will be a post, every Tuesday recipe the whole of this month. Let’s begin with that and slowly take it from there.

Like I wrote last week, we shifted to U.S. one and a half months back. Right from finding a steering wheel in the passenger seat in your car (they switched it, would you believe!!) to finding just empty space inside the closet (in India, you will have built-in shelves inside wardrobes), everything is different. None of the changes are big, but it’s been a deluge of small ones.

The inevitable question from everyone has been,”How do you find the place? Do you like it?”. It’s a simple query, but I find it the most difficult one to answer. Because I miss home the minute I hear it. Coming to think of it, I don’t even know which home I am missing – our house, my in-laws house or my parents’ house… food for thought!

But then, that’s life and you go where it takes you. And be happy about it. It’s different from what we have known all our life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It means that you need to open up a bit more.

And once you open up your mind, you might enjoy a different, but delightful experience. Not unlike the cake here.

Whoever thought sandwich can get dressed up like this!?

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Smogastarta is a popular sandwich cake from Sweden. It’s savory and is served chilled. It’s apparently served for birthdays, weddings, funerals and all sort of gatherings (says Wiki).

It’s really versatile…it can be an appetizer (small individual portions), lunch or even a wedding cake! It’s a non vegetarian dish by default, but again it can be easily adapted into vegetarian or a vegan avatar.

The sandwich filling options are endless. I tried my usual Nita Mehta cottage cheese filling. Egg salad would be good with this. A combination of potatoes and peas mashed along with some pudina chutney would be wonderful and filling as well. The ‘frosting’ recipes also vary a lot. It usually includes cream cheese, but I was happy with thick yogurt itself.

Do try out this cake. A truly ‘hatke’ (different) cake..

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Recipe source: the internet, Saveur

Ingredients:

  • Bread, home made or ready made. If baking at home, a 6″ round pan would be the best
  • Sandwich filling of your choice
  • Decorations : vegetables of your choice
  • Yogurt and mayonnaise for the ‘frosting’

What I used: 

  • Three slices of whole wheat bread, cut using a sharp lid
  • Filling 1:  (Recipe source: Nita Mehta’s Sandwiches book)
    • 2 tbsp cottage cheese or grated paneer
    • 1 tbsp tomato ketch up
    • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
    • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
    • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Filling 2:
    • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped salad vegetable (lettuce, carrot, cabbage)
    • 2 tsp mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp thick yogurt
    • salt and pepper
  • Outer frosting:
    • 3/4 cup thick yogurt (this qty varies depending on the size of the bread)
    • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise (this varies in proportion to the yogurt)
    • salt

Method: 

If you are baking the bread, follow the recipe and bake it in a 6″ round pan. Once it’s baked and cooled completely, level the dome and cut into one or two layers.

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Here, I have used a sharp dabba for cutting the bread into a circle. Three slices for two layers.

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Make the fillings. This is cottage cheese + ketch up + ginger garlic paste + coriander leaves. Mix and fill one layer.

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Fill the other slice also with filling of your choice.

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Make the ‘frosting’ recipe by mixing yogurt and mayonnaise. Add salt to taste. Check the seasonings and adjust per taste. Add this to the assembled sandwich.

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Coat the sandwich all over and decorate as per your wish. Since I was covering the bread all over with coriander leaves and cherry tomatoes, I was not striving for a smooth finish.

You can decorate with chopped cucumber, boiled eggs, lettuce, carrots…whatever you like and goes well with your sandwich.

Chill and server your smogastarta. Enjoy!

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Savory corn and pepper muffins

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This post goes to the facebook group Home Bakers Guild, as part of their Blogger Tuesdays.

This is Rajani here, I blog at My Kitchen Trials. Thank you for having me at the guild again as part of Blogger Tuesdays this month.

I blog because I love food. And food photography. But the main reason is I also like to think out loud. My loud mouth has gotten me into a lot of tight spots in real life, but thankfully that’s not happened much in the blog space till now.

I like to record the little things in my life, the everyday things that we love at that moment but soon gets forgotten in the rush of life. And at times, I like to talk about the big things too.

I was here in this forum for June Blogger Tuesdays with two posts. I posted them from my home in Chennai.I have traveled a long way from that time. Literally! I have crossed the oceans and traveled 10 hours back in time. I have come to another country, another continent, another world.

See….big things!!

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I boarded that flight to US in July mid (remind me to tell you that story some other time. Excerpts include a delayed flight from Chennai, raised BP, fight over checking in the cabin baggage, Olympic style midnight marathon at the airport to catch the connecting international flight and a literal last minute boarding).

The man, my dear husband, was already there a couple of months before in the US. The house hunting was over, the car was bought. The tough part was over, all I had to do was to step into the semi-set house, fix it up fully and start running it. A piece of cake, right?

What I didn’t know was when a man says the kitchen is already set, he might mean,”That’s where the salt is. That’s all one needs for cooking, right?”

You miss your comfortable home the most when you are standing in the kitchen with a big cabbage in your hand, wondering how to cut it because there is no knife or a cutting board.

You miss the simple things in life that you took for granted.

It snowballs and then you miss your family, friends and the fun you had back home.

It is a task to remind oneself that there are fun times ahead too, but that’s not the first thought that comes when you look at that cabbage in hand.

Relocating and starting from scratch is no cake walk, at least not for me. It’s been one day at a time, one meal at a time. But gets better everyday and it helps that we now have a knife and cutting board as well in the kitchen :-).

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For the recipe today, I have chosen a savory treat. It’s slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours. You can view the recipe in the book preview as well.

I am trying a corn muffin for the first time. LOVED it would be an understatement. These were quite a different treat from the usual sweet bakes and the whole batch disappeared before I could even get a decent click! These freeze well, so you can make ahead if you want to.

See you all next week!

Makes : 12 

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup flour + 1 cup cornmeal)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (yes, tbsp – not tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (or more, per your taste)
  • 3/4 spoon ground pepper powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk ( 1 blended 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 cup water and measured out one cup buttermilk)
  • 100 gm (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg yolk ( I used an egg instead)
  • Water, as needed

Oher stuff:

  • 1/2 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 red pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, cleaned and chopped fine

Method:

Heat oven to 200C/400F. Grease a muffin tray and keep aside.

Cut the butter into cubes and melt, set aside to cool.

In a large pan, mix the dry ingredients together. Ie, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, pepper and chilli powder until well combined.

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Once the butter is cooled, add the prepared buttermilk and egg/egg yolk and mix well until combined.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Whisk until combined. Don’t over mix.  I had to add some water also to get this consistency. If it happens to you as well, add water in tablespoons, until you get a lumpy batter. Don’t add too much water all at once.

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Add the corn kernels,  chopped red pepper, jalapenos and coriander leaves. Stir it in.  
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Divide the batter evenly into the muffin molds and bake for about 20 minutes or so, this time may vary from oven to oven. You can check whether the muffins are done by inserting a skewer or thin knife inserted into the middle of muffins. It is done if the skewer/knife comes out without any crumbs attached to it.

 

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Remove from the oven and let it cool down for 5 minutes in the pan itself. Carefully take them out and serve once they are warm. These can be cling wrapped and frozen as well.

 

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Grab one and have it as soon as it’s cool enough to pop into your mouth, else they will all be finished before you realize it!

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Whole wheat banana bread recipe

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This post goes to Home Bakers Guild as part of Blogger Tuesday.

Hi all,

I was here last week with an egg less chocolate cake and a story about my baking journey. I am back again this week with a banana bread recipe and some more stories. Thanks for having me here again for the Blogger Tuesday.

It’s been almost five years since I started baking and to this day, my interest (and my weakness) remains the same. Cakes. Coming to think of it, the only reason I started baking was to eat more cake. And some brownies too.

I am getting friendly with the yeast guy only now as bread has never been a temptation. Main reason was failures from the past, but with the instant yeast that my husband got from abroad, the story is different now. Soft and spongy breads come out of my oven now, but still I remain faithful to my cakes.

I love baking cakes, I love decorating it. But the problem is not that. It’s eating it.

My man hates everything sweet and my kid hates food in general. So when a cake is left around, my sweet tooth is becomes more assertive than my common sense and I end up paying for my indulgence ‘inch by inch’. Literally!

That’s where the guild helped me. It gave me this idea of baking the cake and NOT eating it. It gave me the idea that I could take orders! That way, I can meet my love of baking and decorating, but won’t have any other choice than to part with the cake when the customer comes calling for it.

I haven’t gotten around working on the idea yet, but yet it’s firmly planted, thanks to this group. I love the immense talent here and I can spend a whole day looking at each and every creation.

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Coming to the recipe here, I wanted an easy to do recipe and this banana bread fits the bill perfectly. I bake it frequently.

The first picture is an egg less version. The second one(blue background) has eggs and is almost fully whole wheat flour. I prefer the one with eggs (I always prefer egg in bakes). There was some left over melted chocolate which I swirled onto the top of the first bread.

You can refer the notes to check out the variations.

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Recipe adapted from: Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 large bananas)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  •  2 eggs (you can skip this and add milk later to the batter if it’s not wet enough)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup flour (can replace this with whole wheat itself)
  • 1 cup sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf pan.
  2. Mix/blend the bananas, oil, eggs,vanilla and yogurt together.
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients – whole wheat flour(atta), plain flour(maida), baking soda in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients gently until no lumps remain. Don’t over mix the batter.
  5. Stir in the chopped nuts, if using.
  6. Transfer to the pan and bake for about 60-70 minutes. Take it out from the oven once a skewer comes out free of crumbs when inserted in the middle.

Notes:

  • Flour can be plain flour alone or whole wheat flour fully or a combination of two.
  • You can increase the sugar to 1.5 cups for a sweeter version or reduce it to 3/4 cup.
  • You can replace the fat with applesauce (yet to try that though, but I read somewhere you can do this) or melted butter.
  • The liquid can be milk, buttermilk or yogurt.
  • You can add the eggs or skip them totally. In the latter case, if the batter is dry, add a bit of liquid. 
  • You can add melted chocolate, peanut butter, berries, tutti frutti, chocolate chips, nuts to this and bake. 

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Eggless Chocolate Cake

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This post is for Bloggers Tuesday at the Home Baker’s Guild.  

Intros have always been tough for me and today also I am struggling for words to get this started.

Hello! I am Rajani – a blogger, baker and a home maker. Thank you for having me as a Tuesday blogger here. I am from Kerala, now settled in Chennai. I worked in the IT field for seven years before quitting to take care of my son, Shreyas.

When our son turned one, we relocated to London. That year marked a lot of changes in my life. For the first time, there was an oven in the house. I was excited and soon started trying out recipes from the net. Not surprisingly, a series of flops followed. Dry cakes, soggy cakes, extremely chewy biscuits,  teeth breaking breads and what not!

The worst was the cake which I fondly baked, beautifully decorated and proudly presented as a birthday gift to my friend…only I didn’t know that it wasn’t cooked properly! Batter oozed out when my friend cut it – can you imagine that!? I was lucky that there was no one else there and that she was a very close friend.

Soon after the cake incident, my friend (yes, we are still friends!) sent across some blog links to me. Slowly I got hooked to the blogging world. More cakes, bakes and flops followed – but I kept trying and my husband kept suffering.

I started clicking pictures of whatever I cooked – more as an evidence that I am not starving my family than anything else. But slowly, a genuine interest in food photography developed.

We came back to Chennai an year later and this time, we bought an OTG. It’s a long time since and my OTG has stood by me through many successes and many flops.

Three years before, I started scribbling my cooking and baking trials in my own space : My Kitchen Trials.

Now, coming to the recipe here, I was looking for an eggless chocolate cake and a good friend suggested this recipe. This has become my ‘go-to’ chocolate cake recipe now. The icing too is wonderful and pairs well with the cake.

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Recipe Source: Maria’s Menu

Makes: One 6″ cake

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup flour (maida)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup hot coffee (1 tsp instant coffee pwd+1/4 cup hot water)
  • Vanilla essence
  • Sprinkles and candies for decoration (Cadburys shots are perfect for this)

Method:

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Sieve flour and the cocoa powder. This gets rid of all the lumps easily.

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Add sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk until mixed.

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Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients one by one. Whisk until everything is incorporated and no dry lumps remain.

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Pour the batter into a greased and lined 6″ or 7″ cake pan.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake.

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Once the cake is baked, take off the oven and let it sit in the pan over a wire rack for 10 minutes.

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Flip it cover and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely for at least 1-2 hours before decorating it.

Scroll down for the icing recipe.

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Chocolate icing recipe: (Source: Maria’s menu). You can check out this recipe with step by step pictures here.

  • 1/4 cup hot water (more or less)
  • 100 gm butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder (1/3 cup for deeper chocolate flavour)
  • 2 cups icing sugar  (you can add a bit more, if required)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Syrup:

  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Mix everything well and spoon over the cake before starting to frost it.

Method:

  1. Using a spoon, mix the softened butter and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of hot water to help with the mixing.
  2. Add 1 cup sieved icing sugar and incorporate it into the butter mix. Again, add one or two tbsp of hot water for mixing, if needed.
  3. Add one more cup of icing sugar (after sieving) and the vanilla extract. Mix again until you get a smooth icing. You can add hot water to get the desired consistency.
  4. You can add a bit more sugar if required, for me this was sweet enough. This amount is enough to cover and fill a 6″ cake.
  5. For the glaze, I took about 2 tbsp of the icing in a bowl, added 1 tbsp cocoa powder and some hot water. I went to add icing sugar to get the consistency required (which turned out to be a bit runny than I wanted :-(! ). For a better glaze recipe, check out this post (Hershey’s recipe).

I have used alpenliebe candies for decoration. I was not able to buy Cadbury’s shots.

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