Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are my favorite after chocolate chip muffins! I love blueberries and when I had some to spare after gorging on them for days I decided to make muffins. I was looking for a vegan recipe and found one I liked on kurryleaves.blogspot .

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

It’s a great recipe and delivers crumbly, moist, tangy blueberry muffins. I have adapted the recipe with a couple of changes.

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Ingredients:
135 g All purpose flour
1 1/4  tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Orange zest- from 1 orange
110 g caster sugar
104 ml soy milk
53 g Vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp White vinegar
1/2 tsp Orange Blossom water
150 g Fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions :
Preheat oven to 180 Deg C. Lightly grease the muffin tins or line it with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl,combine together all purpose flour,baking powder,salt and orange zest and whisk.
In another bowl , whisk together sugar, milk, oil, vinegar and orange blossom water.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients over and mix well until combined.Do not over mix.
Gently fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin cups about 2/3rd full.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave in pans for 5 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.

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It’s been raining last few days and I just love curling up with a book listening to music and enjoying a cup of coffee with these muffins. Well, if you want sugar in your coffee, eat Cake. 😉

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Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Chocolate Framboise (Raspberry) Cake

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to challenge myself. Learning for me is a continuous process and something I look forward to all the time. To start a blog seemed to be the right platform to add different skills and techniques in my repertoire. Little did I know I would also have the opportunity to meet fabulous people online.

This post is more of a thank you post. An acknowledgment for reigniting in me a feeling lost somewhere. Cake decorating is something I truly find challenging and it may not even be my style. I just like to explore! I made my first theme cake few months ago for my hubby’s birthday. I wanted to make a cricket themed cake as he is utterly passionate about it. It turned out to be a complete mess, disaster to say the least.

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I gave up the thought of trying to create something like this again! However, over the last few days, I came across two very beautiful posts. One from Bonnie and the other from Violets & Vanilla. I was mesmerized to say the least. These girls have talent and are extremely creative and versatile. So when we decided to throw a surprise pre-birthday drinks for one of our friends i jumped in to try my luck. This time I decided to take baby steps. To bite as much as I could chew and I kept it simple. Voila! I was happy with the end result. Simple and chic!

Thank you so much girls!

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It’s nothing elaborate and like I said important baby steps. 🙂

Ingredients :

Chocolate-Framboise

Raspberry Syrup :

100 g raspberries, pureed
50 ml water
1 tbsp lemon juice
50 g sugar

Chocolate Sponge Cake:
150 g all purpose flour
20 g cocoa powder
240 egg whites (I needed 6.5)
180 g egg yolks (I needed 8)
120 g sugar

Chocolate Mousse:
500 ml heavy cream
90 g sugar
50 ml water
4 egg yolks
1 egg
220 g chocolate (70% cocoa)

Chocolate Glaze:
200 g chocolate (50% cocoa)
25 g vegetable shortening (replaced with butter)
25 g grapeseed oil

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Instructions :

Raspberry Syrup :
Combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Chocolate Sponge Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder.

Whip the egg whites at medium speed until they hold a soft peak. Add the sugar and whip the egg whites until stiff and glossy.
Add the egg yolks and whip until smooth, about 5-10 seconds.

Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and gently fold in with a flexible spatula.

Spread the cake batter on the trays and bake for 10-12 minutes or until done.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool.

Chocolate Mousse :
Pour the cream into a bowl and chill.

Place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Meanwhile beat the egg yolks with the whole egg at low speed.
Pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the egg yolks mixture and increase the speed to medium and continue to whisk for 8-10 minutes until the mixture cools to room temperature.

Finely chop the chocolate and melt over a double boiler.

Whip the chilled cream unitl it holds a stiff peak.
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Scrape the chocolate into the egg mixture and stir until smooth.
Beat one-third of the whipped cream into the mousse to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until smooth.

Chocolate Glaze:
Finely chop the chocolate and place with butter in a bowl. Place over a double boiler and let melt, stiring until the chocolate reaches between 95 and 104° F or 35 to 40° C. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.

Assembling the Cake :
Line the cake board with parchment paper.
Place one sponge cake and brush with raspberry syrup.
Spread half of the chocolate mousse over the cake with an offbeat spatula.
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Place the second sponge onto it and brush with raspberry syrup.
Spread half of the chocolate mousse over the cake with an offbeat spatula. I mixed the mousse with some raspberries at this stage.
Chill until set, at least an hour.
Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.

Decorate as you please.

A little bit about my friend who is going to turn 35 in a couple of days. He is a gem of a person… a true gentleman, this is what I wanted to reflect in the cake! The saying “Age is just a number” suits hims best. Anyone who meets him would describe him as 18 by heart. He not only takes care of the more younger people in our group, but he is also a fun loving, humorous guy. Hence I personalized the cake with some of the words he frequently uses to indulge in the amusing side of his personality. He knows how to brighten up a dull day anytime! 🙂

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

I am taking this cake over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday for the celebrations! 🙂

Happy Fiesta Friday!

Happy Fiesta Friday!

Celebrate International Chocolate Day with Chocolate Raspberry Garland

I cannot imagine what life would have been without chocolates! The decadent, rich chocolate as we know it today has a humble past, being used as fermented alcoholic beverage cultivated during the Mesoamerican civilization about 3000 years ago. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were a Gift of God and used them as a form of currency. It was only in the 16th century after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, it was served as a court beverage for the first time in Europe and spread across the continent, available only to the elite. It took another two centuries for cocoa powder to be invented and the humble cacao been has since been transformed and used in a lot of different ways!

An Aztec woman generates foam by pouring chocolate from one vessel to another. Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia

An Aztec woman generates foam by pouring chocolate from one vessel to another. Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia

Everyday is chocolate day and we need no special day to celebrate this gift of god. However, we can always use an excuse to gorge on chocolate, it being International Chocolate Day today, i’ve tried to use chocolate in its pure form without messing around too much!

Chocolate Raspberry Garland

Chocolate Raspberry Garland

Chocolate and raspberries are a match made in heaven and a great way to start the week.. 😉

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Makes 6 serves
Ingredients :
Chocolate Cupcake :
1/2 banana, chopped
50 g chocolate (60% cocoa)
55 g butter
2 eggs
75 g sugar
30 g all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Chantilly Cream :
100 ml whipping cream, chilled
10 g icing sugar, sifted
vanilla extract, 1/2 tspn

Raspberry Coulis :
100 g frozen raspberries/ strawberries
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Sauce :
200 g chocolate (60 % cocoa)

For Plating :
Raspberries

Instructions :

Chocolate Cupcakes :

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a muffin pan and dust with cocoa powder.

Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the batter and beat until combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling them one-third. Insert chopped banana pieces. Spoon in more batter until two-thirds full.

Bake for about 12 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Raspberry coulis :

Bring all ingredients to the boil and simmer until soft. Blend until smooth and strain through a fine sieve and chill until required.

Chantilly Cream :
Keep the bowl and beaters in the freezer for 5 minutes. Beat the cream, sugar and vanilla essence until soft peaks form.

Chocolate Sauce :
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
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Plating :
Smear coulis across the plate.
Dip the base of the cooled cupcake into melted chocolate. Place chocolate side up over the coulis.
Pipe three rounds of Chantilly cream on one side.
Line raspberries in a circle on the edge of the plate and drizzle the melted chocolate over the raspberries.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

The quintessential “Opéra” Cake

Opéra

Glazed Chocolate and Coffee Layer Cake

Who doesn’t love the Opera cake? When I would walk into a patisserie to buy a croissant or macarons, my eyes would always fall on the rich, dark, mysterious cake.  It is almost as if I was falling in love with it over and over again.  They look so attractive and always make you test your will power….. 😉 Just a bite of these dreamy little cakes can take all worries off your mind. Literally!

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I haven’t eaten the Opéra cake in a long time and when I found myself thinking about it for days together, I decided it was time to get baking! 🙂 They sure do have a lot of elements, but time flies when you make these and the effort is totally worth it. It would make for an outstanding dessert to finish off a dinner party.

This recipe has been adapted from Cristophe Felder’s “Patisserie”. If I have to make this again, I would eliminate the egg yolk buttercream from the buttercream recipe and use just butter, coffee and italian meringue. I have used half of the recipe and made a small cake.
The cake turned out moist and light, with perfectly tempered chocolate. What more can one ask for? 😉

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Makes 16 by 12 inch cake
Ingredients:

Coffee Syrup : ( I have made 1/4 of the recipe)
400 ml warm coffee
150 g caster sugar

Jaconde Cake: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
8 eggs, 4 whole, 4 separated
220 g ground almonds
275 g sugar
100 g all purpose flour

Chocolate Ganache : ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
170 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)
120 ml milk
40 ml heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, softened

Coffee Buttercream:
20 ml espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
Italian Meringue:
62 g sugar
1.5 tbsp water
1 egg white
Egg Yolk Buttercream:
2.5 egg yolks
120 g sugar
50 ml water
180 g butter, softened

Chocolate Glaze: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
400 g chocolate (%2% cocoa)
50 g vegetable shortening (replaced with butter)
50 g grapeseed oil (replaced with butter)
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Instructions :

Coffee Syrup :

Combine the coffee and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Keep aside.

Jaconde Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper. ( I have used 2 baking sheets)

Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, ground almonds and half of the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes.

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until firm and glossy.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg-almond mixture.

Gradually sift in the flour and gently fold until smooth.

Spread one-third of the cake batter on each prepared sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove and let cool.
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Chocolate Ganache :

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Add the butter and whisk until smooth.

Coffee Buttercream :
Step 1: Italian Meringue
Whisk the egg whites in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
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Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk until the mixture returns at room temperature. Touch the bottom of the bowl, it should not be hot.
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Step 2: Egg yolk buttercream :
Whisk the egg yolks at low speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the egg yolks and beat until they are pale. This should be the ribbon stage.
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Step 3 :
Whip the butter until it is creamy and smooth.
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Step 4:
Add the egg yolk mixture to the butter and beat at low speed until the texture is light.
Beat in the italian meringue at low speed.
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COntinue beating at medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Step 5:
Add the espresso to the buttercream and whip at low speed until smooth.
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Assembling the Cake:

  • Line the cake board with parchment paper. (Optional) I just used some buttercream on the board. 🙂
  • Place one sponge cake and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread half of the coffee buttercream over the cake with an offbeat spatula.
  • Place the second sponge onto it and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over it.
  • Place the third sponge cake on top. Brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream and smooth with the spatula.
  • Chill until set, at least an hour.

Chocolate Glaze:
Finely chop the chocolate and place with butter in a bowl. Place over a double boiler and let melt, stiring until the chocolate reaches between 95 and 104° F or 35 to 40° C. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.
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Decorate as you please… 🙂
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Serve:

Dip the knife into hot water and wipe it dry after each cut. Serve with a big smile…:)

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

White cupcakes with white chocolate ganache

I am a huge fan of Chocolate cake unlike my better half, and he of the white cake unlike me.Much like Lily and Marshall’s olive theory….;)
Nevertheless, I thought it would be better to make cupcakes than an entire cake for my dear hubby as he wanted to take them to his work place.These cupcakes have a rich buttery flavor and a smooth and velvety texture.Very classy topped with a white frosting or a fruity buttercream of your choice.
It makes about 14 cupcakes however I was left with only 8 to frost with white chocolate ganache as they all disappeared from the wire rack……into my hubby’s tummy. 🙂

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Makes 14-15 cupcakes

Ingredients :

Cupcakes

Egg whites from 3 eggs
Full cream milk 150 ml
vanilla extract 1 tsp
all purpose flour 200 g
caster sugar 200 g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt a pinch
Unsalted butter 125 g

White chocolate ganache

Heavy cream(30% fat) 125 g
White chocolate 300 g, chopped

Instructions:

Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.
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Whisk egg whites, 3 tbsp extract and vanilla extract in a bowl.
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In a separate mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the butter and remaining milk to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well incorporated.
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Increase the speed of the mixture and gradually add the egg white mixture.The resultant batter should be smooth.
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With the help of an ice cream scoop, scoop out the batter and fill the cupcake liners until three-quarters full.
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Bake for 20 minutes.Remove from the oven and let cupcakes sit in the tray for 5 minutes.
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Remove cupcakes from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Ganache:
Heat heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil.
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Reduce heat and using a whisk, stir in the white chocolate until it melts into the cream.Remove from heat and leave to cool in the pan.

You can chill until needed in a bowl covered with cling wrap.

Assemble the cupcakes :
Spoon the chocolate ganache into a piping bag and and pipe the cupcakes or spread over the top using a spoon.

White Cupcake with White Chocolate Ganache

White Cupcake with White Chocolate Ganache

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I made my first chocolate cake eight years back….out of Betty Crockers cake mix in a pressure cooker…..It was delicious covered with chocolate buttercream I made myself.I would generally bake for my family being coached by my mother :), this was the first time I made a cake for one of my friends on his birthday.He ate almost half of it. 🙂
I still remember how happy it made him and I forayed into the world of baking and have loved every part of it.

This recipe for chocolate cupcakes has been apdated from the book “Cupcakes with attitude” by Benjamin Wong.The cupcakes turned out super moist, well balanced flavor of cocoa powder.The tangy cream cheese chocolate frosting takes the cupcake to another level and these would make for a perfect treat served at any occasion or party.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes


Makes 12

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

All purpose flour 125 g
Baking Powder 2 tsp
Butter 125 g, softened
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Caster sugar 125 g
Eggs 2, lightly beaten
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Full cream milk 2 tbsp (optional)

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
Cream Cheese 125 g, softened
Butter 50 g, softened
Semi sweet chocolate 60 g, chopped
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Milk 1-2 tbsp
Icing Sugar 50 g

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Instructions:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.

Sift dry ingredients except sugar together. Set aside.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl with the help of an electric beater for a few minutes.
Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until well combined.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add flour mixture and continue to beat until well combined.Do not overbeat.
Add milk if using and mix well.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners until three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes.
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When cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and let cupcakes sit in the muffin tray for 5 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting :

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Let stand until just warm.
Beat cream cheese, butter and milk until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla essence and mix well with the beater.

Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until mixture is smooth.

Mix in melted chocolate until combined.

Using a piping bag pipe the cooled cupcakes or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
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Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Ginger Cake

To satisfy my cravings for something sweet and spicy, I was hunting for a good cake recipe. Incidentally, I stumbled upon a book “A little course in Baking” which had a great recipe for Ginger cake.
Although,I am not a huge fan of ginger I gave it a try and to my surprise this cake turned out to be everything I was looking for.It was super moist,with a kick of ginger and subtle flavours of cinnamon and cardamom coming through.The golden syrup and brown sugar make the cake quite rich.

Nothing can beat the feeling of enjoying this cake on a chilly evening sipping a cup of chai over endless talks with your better half. 🙂

Ginger Cake

Ginger Cake

Ingredients :

115 g butter,softened, plus extra for greasing
225 g golden syrup
115 g soft dark brown sugar
200 ml milk
4 tbsp syrup from jar of preserved ginger
finely grated zest of one orange
225 g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp cardamom
0.5 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, slightly beaten

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3.
Grease the cake tin and dust with some flour.

Prepare the Batter:

Wet ingredients

Wet ingredients

Put the butter,sugar,syrup,milk and preserved ginger syrup into a saucepan.
Heat gently over a low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and well mixed.
Stir in the orange zest.

Smooth Mixture

Smooth Mixture

Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly for 5 minutes.

Dry Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Sift together the flour,bicarbonate of soda and spices in a mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre.Pour the melted mixture into the well and using a balloon whisk, whisk together until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Then stir in the beaten egg.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Cool completely before serving.