Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Eggless Chocolate Cake

I have received a lot of requests for Eggless cake recipes over the last few days. I have made the Eggless chocolate cake numerous times based on a different recipe. But I have not posted a single one on the blog yet. I made this one based on a different recipe with oil, instead of butter. This is a simple two bowl recipe. You just require your whisk. You do not have to take your hand-mixer out for this one :). What a relief.
You could also bake this cake in the microwave mode. I chose to bake it in the convection mode.
Here is the recipe:
Maida - 1 1/2 cups
Cocoa Powder - 3 tbsps
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Water - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/2 cup

Mix water, sugar, oil, vanilla essence, vinegar till the sugar completely dissolves.
Sift together maida,cocoa powder,salt and baking soda.
Add the maida mix to the liquid mix 1 tbsp at a time.
Mix well to avoid forming lumps.
The batter was a little loose. But it turns out fine after baking.
If you wish to microwave, pour the batter into a microwave proof dish.
Microwave for 7-8 minutes on 80% power. Let it stand for another 10 minutes.
Invert into a plate and let it cool.
If you wish to bake in convection mode, preheat oven to 150 degrees C and bake for 1 hour in a greased and lined, loaf pan or 8" square or round pan. Midway through baking after about 25 minutes, cover with an aluminum foil to prevent over browning of the crust.

 Verdict: This is a quick and easy recipe to satisfy a craving for nice chocolaty cake. Eggless cakes taste delicious and do not make you feel stuffy at all. Excellent when served with evening tea, or pop in a piece any time ;).

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Multi-grain Rotti

There are some easy and quick options for healthy wholesome breakfast or even dinner. I remember receiving one packet of Ashirvad multi-grain atta along with a larger Ashirvad atta packet. It was lying in the pantry for a long time, until mom gave me this idea of making this "rotti", that is what we call "roti" in Kannada and Tamil :)

Here is what we did:
Multigrain Atta - 250 g
Onions - 3 medium sized - chopped
Coriander leaves - 1/4 bunch - chopped
Curry leaves - 10 - 20 - chopped
Salt - to taste
Green chillies - 2 - chopped finely
Water to knead

We used the chopper to chop the onions, chillies, coriander and curry leaves. The water from the onions makes the atta resemble coarse crumbs. Add very little extra water to knead and make the dough.

 Make balls roughly the size of a golf ball. On a greased plastic sheet, with the fingers slowly flatten the ball, until it is about 4-5 inches in diameter. Grease your hands with a oil too.

Heat the tawa and slowly lift the roti from the plastic bag into the palm of your hand and drop it onto the hot tawa. Allow it to brown on one side before turning to the other side. Let it turn golden brown on both sides. There is no need to add more oil to the roti.

You can serve it hot with chutney or even eat it by itself.

Verdict: This is a quick and healthy dinner/breakfast recipe. Great to pack and take along for journeys too.

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Eggless Zebra Cakes Or is it Tiger cake?

I have always wondered what eggless cakes taste like. I have never ventured to eat one, leave alone bake one. But I tried a wonderful eggless chocolate cake recipe from the Cadbury's cocoa powder tin and I was pleasantly surprised. The cakes turn out wonderfully spongy, springy and light. It does not feel heavy and dense. I was also skeptical about baking the cake in the microwave mode. I tried it out and it wasn't bad at all.

So I was interested in trying out the eggless version of the zebra cake in the microwave. I have baked the zebra cake (with eggs) in the convection oven on a couple of occasions with great results.
APF (maida) - 2 cups
Sugar- 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup
Oil - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence-1tsp
Baking powder -1tsp
Baking soda-1 tsp
Milk - as reqired to make smooth paste - I used 1 1/2 cups
Cocoa powder (I used Cadbury's ) - 2 tbsp
Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour baking powder and soda and milk to make smooth paste. Mix well and add vanilla essence.

Divide the batter into two equal portions. Add cocoa powder in one part and mix it well. My little girl mixed the cocoa powder in the bowl and splashing it all over, including her face and dress. Missed taking a picture then :).

Grease a microwaveable baking dish with butter or ghee. 
With different spoons, pour one scoop of the vanilla batter in the centre; the batter will start spreading on its own. 

Pour a scoop of the chocolate batter in the middle of the dish over the vanilla layer; This will start spreading too.

Alternately pour scoops of the batters until you use up all the batter. 

Microwave for 6-7 minutes on 80 % power. If not done, microwave for another 2-3 minutes.

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted int he centre of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs stuck to it. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Later, invert on a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Verdict: The cake does not form a crust when baked in the microwave mode. I used natural vanilla essence (dark brown in colour). So I ended up with yellow and brown stripes instead of white and brown :). Hence I was wondering if I should call this a tiger cake instead?
Anyways the cake tastes great, is quite easy to put together and wonderful to serve when you have guests coming home at a very short notice.

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Friday, 23 December 2011

Walnut Cranberry Shortbread cookies

A dear friend of mine sent me "popina - book of baking", for my birthday. I loved the book and I am very grateful to her for her thoughtfulness. A good friend always knows what you would love to receive as a gift. I will review this book in detail in a later post. Stay tuned!.

 I wanted to bake some cookies one weekend and I decided to try one of the recipes from this book.
 I had some walnuts handy and I had a pack of cranberries (dried and sweetened) that I had got from Canada last month. I decided to add cranberries to this walnut shortbread recipe from this book.
Recipe adapted from "popina - book of baking"
Flour - 125 g - 1 cup
Golden Caster Sugar - 60 g - 1/4 cup(I used granulated white sugar, pulsed in the blender for 30 seconds)
Unsalted butter at room temperature - 90 g - 6 tbsp + 1 tsp
Shelled walnuts - 100 g (I used 1/4 cup of walnuts and 1/4 cup of cranberries)
Vanilla extract - a few drops
Icing sugar or vanilla sugar to dust. (optional)

Preheat oven to 130 degress C.
Roast the walnuts for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. You could also roast the walnuts in the microwave at 2 minute pulses for a total of 5-6 minutes. Allow the walnuts to cool and chop them fine. Chop the cranberries too.

I used granulated white sugar and pulsed it in the blender for 30 seconds.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the walnuts and cranberries and gently fold in the flour until well mixed. 
The original recipe asks you to roll out the dough into a cylindrical log and cut out 2cm thick discs and roll them into balls and then bake the balls. I skipped this step. I just made walnut sized balls of the dough and baked on a baking tray placing them an inch apart.  
Bake for 30 minutes; remove the cookies while they are still soft in the middle. Remove from oven and dust with icing/vanilla sugar. 
I found it a little strange that we bake the shortbread at lower temperature for 30 minutes, but I did as the recipe indicated and it did turn out well. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Strong flavor of walnuts and the sweet tanginess of cranberry is delectable. These were a hit at home. I find myself baking this with variations in the future.

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Aloo-mattar Paratha

Parathas are usually time consuming in the morning. So I make the stuffing and the atta the night before and only do the rolling and assembling in the morning. Before my little girl, when it was only the two of us and I did not have the luxury of mom cooking breakfast for me, this is what I used to do. But now mom insists on making everything fresh in the morning. If we happen to make this on weekends, she waits for me to assemble and make the parathas, else she does that part as well. Lucky me :).
We usually add a twist to the usual Aloo paratha recipe by adding boiled peas with the stuffing.
This is pretty much a regular breakfast item. We make the stuffing with grated cauliflower, mooli etc. 

For the stuffing:
Potatoes - Large - 2
Green peas - 1 cup
Garam Masala - 1 pinch
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Jeera (Cumin) powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
For the outer cover:
Normal Atta dough, enough to make 8 medium sized rotis.
Dry flour to roll out the rotis and seal the edges.
Ghee - 1 tbsp.
Peel and cut the potatoes into 4 large pieces and boil along with green peas. Allow the mixture to cool down. Mash the potatoes and green peas, and add the masala powders and salt. Mix well and keep aside.
Roll out two medium sized rotis (4 inches in diameter). Take a handful of the stuffing and place it on one roti. Spread the stuffing into an even layer to cover most of the roti leaving a small margin. Place the other roti on top of the stuff and seal the edges using some dry flour. Once completely sealed, roll out the paratha thin. Heat the tawa and place the paratha on the tawa. Let it brown on one side, while you apply a few drops of ghee on the other side. Turn the paratha over and let it brown the other side too. Serve hot with green chutney/pickle and curd. We usually eat it plain. This makes 4 parathas. These are usually heavy and one person can eat only 1 - 1.5 parathas.
Verdict: This is a great breakfast item. Make the stuffing and atta in advance and roll and assemble in the morning. It saves a lot of time.
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Oatmeal Pancake

 How to make pancakes more appealing yet healthy. This was my biggest concern. I always substitute wheat flour for APF. So what else can be done to make it healthier. Ofcourse there is butter and maple syrup etc, but only for the little one. We adults eat pancakes without these additional fattening sides :).

It was then that I came across a recipe for Oatmeal pancakes. The recipe mentioned rolled oats, I was again confused and looked up the different type of oats available. Flaky oats are close to rolled oats, so I chose to use Quaker oats in this recipe. It is a very quick breakfast item to put together.


  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup flour - I used wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten


Combine oats and buttermilk. Beat in remaining ingredients. Heat a griddle and coat with a little oil or shortening. Cook pancakes on hot griddle, turning to brown both sides. This recipe makes about 6 4-inch pancakes.

Verdict: This is quick to prepare and very healthy. It used very little leavening agents and no butter. Take care to have the pan on a mild flame, since the buttermilk and oats combination, tends to brown too quickly.
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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ellu Urundai (Till Laddoo)

Ellu Urundai is a must have for Ganesh Chathurthi. This is so quick and easy to make, and turns out delicious. I am a huge fan of these laddoos. So without much ado. Here is the promised recipe.

White till - 1 cup
Jaggery - shaved/shredded - 1 cup
Cardamom - powdered - a pinch
Turmeric - 1 pinch
We always add a pinch of turmeric to any dish that is made for a festival as as an offering to God.

In a heavy bottomed dry kadai, fry the till until it turns golden brown and the raw smell goes.
Allow it to cool down completely. As the till is cooling down, get the jaggery and cardamom ready. Shred the jaggery and gather 1 cup of it. Peel the cardamom and grind it with the mortar and pestle.

When the till is completely cool to the touch, add all the ingredients to a mixer jar and blend for 1-2 minutes. The till will be ground and oil will start oozing out, thereby making the mix pliable to forming laddoos.
Take the mixture out and quickly make laddoos. Delicious Laddoos are ready for the pooja or for you own Pete Pooja :)
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Monday, 5 December 2011

Celebrating 50th post with Peanut blossom cookies

I am one of the very few people who dislikes peanuts. Yes, you heard it right. I pick them out from mixture, pori and all items that contain it. I don't like the idea of grinding them to thicken gravy-based dishes either. Roasted, steamed, in whatever form I do not like them. I can't stand them in chocolates either. Reese is my least favorite chocolate. Just to clariy, I am not allergic to peanuts. It is just a dislike for this particular nut.

So why am I saying all this in a post titled "Peanut blossom cookies". I was always curious about peanut butter. How will this taste as a spread with bread or bun. Why is this peanut butter spread such a craze in the west... So I bought a tin of peanut butter "smooth" spread. But I could not bring myself to use it as a spread and finally decided to make cookies out of it.

I looked up the perfect recipe for this on my favourite recipe store. I decided to make this for my daughter's b'day party. But I was running late that day with the party preparations that I was only able to make the dough. I baked the cookies a couple of days later.

Celebrating the 50th post with a new found favourite ingredient in baking - Peanut Butter :)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy) (I used the smooth paste)
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
(recipe states 1/3 light brown sugar and 1/3 granulated white sugar, but I used all white sugar)

1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Coating (optional):
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar (I coated the last three batches of cookies with sugar; the earlier batches were baked plain without the sugar coating)

48 Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped


Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Add the peanut butter and sugars
and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Beat in the milk.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated.
Cover and chill the batter for about an hour, or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
Roll the batter into 1 inch (2.5) round balls. I used the 1 tbsp measure to make the dough balls.

Place the granulated white sugar in a shallow bowl and roll each ball in the sugar.
Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Bake the cookies for about 8 - 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned. Immediately upon removing the cookies from the
oven, place a unwrapped Chocolate Kiss into the center of each cookie, pressing down gently until the cookie just starts to crack.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

I made this in 6 batches of 7-8 cookies each. Makes about 44 cookies.                                                  

Verdict:  The cookies turned out delicious. But they were a little soft on the inside. I am not sure if it has to do with the dough being in the refrigerator for a couple of days before I got around to baking it. The sugar coated cookies tasted better than the plain ones. The cookies are not too sweet either, so they were perfect for our taste.
Storage Tip: The kisses melt and stick to the hot cookie straight out of the oven, but they are soft for quite a long time after the cookies have cooled down. Allow the cookies to rest on the kitchen platform and aerate so as to cool down the kisses for a couple of hours or so, and let them solidify before storing. Else when you place the second layer of cookies on top of the first layer, you will end up with flat, squashed kisses in the bottom layer.

This is one of my entries to Vardhini and Sangee's "Bake Fest" Event. Here is the link to the event:

This is also one of my entries to Suma's Cookie Fest.
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