Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Chocolate Banana Cake

 Another gem from Joy of baking....for all those who love chocolate.. :) It is so easy to make, just mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another..and then..just beat them up together. You don't even need an electric beater, a hand whisk would do. What you finally get is a dark chocolate cake with a faint banana taste.....and it is yummy.... :)

Although the cake is very soft, I have used it layered with cream cheese frosting and ganache for birthdays and was received well, I think :) It can also be frosted with whipped cream...endless ways you can turn it into your favorite dessert...:)

I have always noticed that this cake tastes better on the next day (I never show it to my son soon after baking...just tell him his chocolate cake will be ready only tomorrow)

  • 2 cups (400 gm) granulated white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (245 gm) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 gm) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda     (refer note on leavening agents)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn or sunflower or any flavourless oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center. Butter and line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) pan with wax paper.
In a large bowl mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, banana, milk, oil, vanilla and water.
Add the wet mix into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. The batter will be thin.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes our clean.
Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
As I told earlier.. serve it the next day...:)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Birthday Cake

I think birthdays are times, when those culinary scientists decide to smother their loved ones with the results of their experiments.:)....
It was Papa's birthday....(and he has a sweet tooth..) this time, I decided to try out a new cake recipe. I wanted something white..but not plain..and finally got one from, which I thought would be nice. It was a white chocolate cake with nuts and coconut.
The cake, by itself was firm and I have a small feeling I baked it a little longer than necessary. It was supposed to be done in a 9" round pan and I made it in a bundt pan. So I just baked it a little more. Anyway no harm done... :) The frosting was plain whipped cream... not too sweet as the cake was sugary enough. (because of the white chocolate in it, maybe). I didn't know how it would turn out to be.. :) and was finally glad when the thumbs up sign came. The firm nutty cake with the soft whipped cream was a good combo and if you like coconut, you are going to love this dessert.
Here is how I made it..

White chocolate cake with nuts and coconut

(The original recipe made 3, 9" cakes, so I made only one-third of the mix as I didn't need such a big cake. The recipe given below is the original one.)

  • 4 (1 ounce) squares/ 112gm white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or almonds (I used almonds and cashew)
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 4 egg whites
I dry roasted both the nuts and coconut separately for about 5 minutes before adding them to the mix. It will improve the flavour of the nuts.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and line 3 (9 inch) pans with wax paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Put the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl and melt it over a pan of simmering water. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the yolks one at a time, then stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the nuts and coconut.
  3. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Divide batter into prepared pans.

  Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.( I baked for 50-55 mins, as I used a bundt pan. The time varies, depending on your oven.) Allow to cool.

           The cake was frosted with sweetened whipped cream. You can also give a layer of whipped cream or custard sauce in the middle after halving it horizontally.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

A lunch with Bitter gourd

I know that all people have one or the other weird tastes and cravings... and I used to think, those who liked the Bitter-gourd were indefinitely weird... until one fine day, when I finally started loving this bitter vegetable. :)
Towards the end of our college days, we were required to stay at different NGOs and give a report on them. Myself and some of my classmates stayed in one run by a few christian priests, which had a self sustained farm of their own, apart from their usual social work. It was during my stay there that I developed my first liking for this vegetable which was given to us as a stir-fry with coconut...(perhaps it was because of the relaxed nature of our surroundings..or the 'fresh from the farm' vegetables..I couldn't say)... Anyway it was delicious and I don't think we would have needed any other side-dish for our rice... :) .. But though I liked it very much there, my mother's versions of the same had no effect on me, until one of my cousins..(she is a pretty good cook) showed me how she made it and so.... I got hooked again...:)
My weird taste allows me to have this with plain rice...enjoying every mouthful, and that's how it was for lunch yesterday... Papa had brought a bagful of this veggie (straight from his farm) and I decided.... Bitter-gourd and coconut stir-fry, it would be...

  • 1 cup finely chopped Bitter-gourd ( I just removed the seeds and used the chopper)
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut  (using the same quantity of coconut counters the bitter taste)
  • 4 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a sprinkle of chilli flakes 
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper or according to taste
  • salt
  • oil (coconut is preferred)
Put the coconut and bitter-gourd in a bowl, tear in a few curry leaves, add some salt (about 1/4 teaspoon), sprinkle some coconut oil and rub them all together for a minute. Pat the mix down and keep it aside.
Heat 1 or 2 tblsp oil in a pan and add the garlic, chillies, onions and curry leaves and saute for some time adding a pinch of salt. Let it brown slightly and then add the turmeric and chilli flakes and stir again for few seconds.
Now add the bitter-gourd mixture to the pan, give a stir and close the lid. Allow it to steam up on medium flame.Give it a few minutes and then open the lid and stir again.
Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. Cook until done stirring occasionally. (it might take about 10 minutes.) It should be a little fried but not browned.
Serve hot with plain rice... Enjoy!! vegetarian meal