Saturday, 28 March 2015

Apple Upside Down Cake

This is one of my mother's favorite cakes... and so made it for her homecoming ...:)
I have made this cake several times... and each time it has a different ending. Sometimes the apple pieces would 'come up' into the cake batter as it cooks,,as it happened this time, or it would stay at the bottom and get caramelized with the toffee layer. Either way you get a nice, sticky, toffee topped vanilla cake.. :D

For the vanilla cake the recipe is here

 Ingredients for apple layer

2 green apples sliced thin (can also use red..but the tartness of the green ones are perfect)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
3/4 cup  brown sugar
a tablespoon of fresh cream (optional)
a pinch or two cinnamon powder.. to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and line with baking paper, a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan with three inch (7.5 cm) sides.

Mix all the ingredients except apples and pour into the prepared pan (9 inch)

                                                          Layer the apple slices.

Pour the vanilla cake batter over the slices and bake.

It will take longer than the plain cake..About 30 mins. more. It is ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

  Allow to cool and then flip it onto a plate to bring the apple layer up.

Slice and serve.... :)

Saturday, 7 March 2015

A Mousse Cake

It was Papa's birthday... :)  Thinking about something new to try, I came across this site  ...It looked awesome... A mousse cake.. :P
I have eaten this dessert several times and have always wanted to give it a go. The addition of gelatine did not appeal to me... and searching for an agar version was not fruitful either. The only information I got was to add 1 Tsp of agar powder or a tablespoon of flakes for every cup of liquid/cream.. I had no agar powder nor the flakes. . Just the strands. Having no alternative I decided to experiment. Somehow I managed to get a cake which was firm enough to slice when chilled but soft when brought to room temperature.... Thus a long post on my first experience with agar. Next time I would try with more quantity of agar.. to try if it would remain firm at room temperature.

       The layers ... brownie, chocolate mousse, cream cheese, ganache...

It all starts with a fudgy layer of brownie ...recipe here
I made it in a 7 inch pan this time.

 Give a wrap of baking paper around the brownie..securing it with tape. Put the cake ring on.                                                                              

The Mousse layers...

Chocolate layer:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 teaspoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120g dark chocolate (mine is Galaxy)
80g milk chocolate
agar 2 teaspoons powder/ the strands as shown in the picture

It has to be soaked in a cup of water for 15-20mins

Beat the cream till soft peaks form..add the vanilla and sugar and whip until dissolved.

Melt the chocolate . Bring the agar to a slow boil ...for about 10-15 mins till dissolved, stirring frequently. Take off the flame and bring down the temperature a little by stirring to avoid setting. Add the hot agar mix to the melted chocolate spoonful at a time..  if the chocolate seizes(mine did) continue adding the hot agar mix little by little and stir till the chocolate is free of lumps. (I read that to prevent the chocolate from seizing you can add a teaspoon of water to it before melting) 
Stir your mix constantly as you bring down the temperature because you don't want to set your agar before adding the cream. Add the cream in 3 additions folding in carefully to avoid loosing the fluffiness.

Your mix should look like this. Pour it over the brownie. Smoothen the top. Refrigerate till it sets. 
Note:You need to work very quickly with agar or it will set before you pour over the brownie. 

The cream cheese layer:                                                                                                                     200g philadelphia cream cheese                                                                                                    
4 table spoons honey+ a tablespoon of sugar                                                                                 
1 cup of heavy whipping cream.                                                                                                    
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar                                                                                                  
A teaspoon of vanilla extract or Bailey's Irish cream                                                                    
     2 teaspoons of agar powder/agar strands as shown in the earlier picture(soak it in a cup of water for 15-20mins)

Beat the cream till soft peaks form..add the vanilla/ Irish Cream and sugar and whip until dissolved. 
Bring the cheese to room temperature and add the honey. Mix well. 
Bring the agar to a slow boil ...for about 10-15 mins till dissolved, stirring frequently. Take off the flame and bring down the temperature by stirring to avoid setting. Add the warm agar to the cheese mix a spoonful at a time stirring to avoid setting the agar. Fold in the cream in 3 additions.

Pour over the chocolate mix and smoothen the top.Refrigerate till it sets.. ( I left for 2 hours)

The moment of truth!! Unmold from the ring. It has set !!!... :) :) 
(the chocolate layer has set well.. the cream cheese layer need more agar I think)

Pour over the ganache ...recipe here

Refrigerate till you use it. ....:)

Monday, 2 March 2015

Pinwheel Cookies

There is something cute in an alternating spiral of chocolate and vanilla that draws us to these festive, self decorated biscuits... Pinwheel cookies... the goodness of chocolate and vanilla in one bite...:)


For cocoa paste
3 tblsp cocoa
a tablespoon of sugar
3 tblsp hot milk
a dab of butter

For dough
160g butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2.5 cups of APF(maida)
1/4 tsp salt.

Make a COCOA paste* of 3 tblsp cocoa, a tablespoon of sugar, 3 tblsp hot milk and a dab of butter .Keep aside covered.

For the cookie dough ......Beat 160g butter with 3/4cup granulated sugar till light and add an egg and a tsp of vanilla extract and beat again.

Mix 2.5 cups of APF(maida) and 1/4tsp salt... (I used 2 cups of atta and rest APF) then add to the butter mix to combine and form a dough. Halve the dough equally and add one half to the COCOA paste* and mix well.

Roll them out in between 2 sheets of baking paper

 Refrigerate or freeze till firm.. and place the cocoa dough on the vanilla one.

Trim the sides and allow it to soften a bit. .lift one end of the sheet and bend over a little

Press firmly.Continue rolling by lifting the paper gently. . You might need to run your palm over as you roll to warm the dough and smoothen.

Freeze the log till firm.

Preheat oven to 175°C . Take the log out and cut into 1/4inch thick rounds..Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper. . Allow to come to room temp. And bake for about 10-12 mins

The base will be a bit brown.. leave them on the tray to cool completely. .

                                                                           Enjoy!!! :)