Sunday, 17 April 2011

Fresh Fruit Genoese (Day 7 – BM#4)

It seems like only a few days back that I had held little Shreya in my hands and she had looked back with her large beautiful eyes, as if to ask – where am I and what is happening? It must have been a few days back when she started her nursery and I was so apprehensive about how she would take it. My fears were put to rest when she happily hopped inside the nursery, leaving me a with tears rather than her crying for her mummy!  Time certainly has flown by and my little princess is going to be 4 yrs next month.

If I can feel that for 4 long years, 7 days have definitely disappeared without any sign, except of course the posts on this blog! Today is the final day of the blogging marathon and I have mixed feelings. I am happy I completed the marathon, without missing any post, an achievement in itself, if you ask me. I am also a little sad thinking that I would really miss this excitement. I hope I will be able to participate in similar marathons again.

As they say, save the best for the last, so it is here. Today’s cake is another favourite for Birthdays. If it isn't Black Forest, it has to be the Fresh Fruit, fresh cream cake which looks so elegant, you sometimes dont want to cut it at all! The whipped cream filling and topping has been my favourite of this cake but the fruits also form an integral part and most often have to be reserved while the cake is being cut. ‘ Give me apiece with strawberry’ or ‘I want the one with cherries’ are some things you would definitely hear when this cake is being cut. Picking out a particular fruit is also not unheard of and all this add on to the excitement of the Birthday.


Fresh Fruit Genoese


Picture 042

Makes one 7” Round Cake


For the Cake

  • 1 1/2 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Caster Sugar
  • 6-8 tblsp Orange Juice

For the filling and Topping

  • 2 1/2 Cups Double Cream (Whipping)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 Tblsp Sugar
  • 1 cup Mixed Fruits such as strawberry, Kiwi, grapes, Pineapple, cherries, roughly sliced (Or Mixed Fruit Jam). Reserve some whole fruits for decoration
  • 1/2 Cup Pistachio, roughly chopped

Method: Pre Heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line a 7” Round Cake tin and keep it ready.

In a bowl beat together the eggs and the sugar until thick and pale, the whisk should leave a trail as it is lifted.

Sift in the flour and the salt into this and gently fold to mix, making sure there are no lumps remaining. Pour this batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the tin for 5-7 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Once the cake is completely cold, cut it horizontally into 3 layers and whisk together the double cream, vanilla extract and sugar till it holds soft peaks.

Place the bottom most layer on a cake board or serving plate. Sprinkle some of the orange juice on this to make it moist. If you are using the mixed fruit jam instead of fresh fruits, spread it over the layer now and follow it up with the cream. If you are using fresh fruits, spread the cream on the layer first and then place some of the sliced fruits on to it. Place the middle layer of cake over this and sprinkle some orange juice on this too. Follow the above procedure once more and finish with the top layer.

Spread the remaining cream on the top and sides of the cake to cover it completely. Decorate with the reserved fruits and press on the roughly chopped pistachio on the sides of the cake. Chill in the fridge and serve.

Picture 047


My Notes: Absolutely delicious! I could not believe how simple it was to make and the end result was so luxurious. Even if you are not very good with cake decoration, you can just arrange the fruits on the top and it would still look fabulous, thats what I have done essentially here, anyway.  The Pistachio also help to cover any imperfections on the side of the cake and look so stunning against the pure white of the cream.

As I have mentioned, you can either use fresh fruits as a filling between the layers or Mixed fruit or any other fruit jam. I would recommend the jam if you are making the cake a day ahead or if you think the cake will not be finished within a day (This cake has to be stored in the fridge and finished within 2 days). The reason being that if you use fresh fruit, they get squashed with time, and thats not very pretty. The jam would serve almost the same purpose and look neater and would be easier to handle. Most shop bought cakes have jam in the filling and fresh fruits are only used for decoration!

Check out what my Blogging Marathoners are doing (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Orange Victoria Sponge Cake (Day 6 – BM#4)

Another classic today but with a slight twist. The Victoria Sponge cake was named after Queen Victoria and traditionally consists of layers of cake sandwiched together with raspberry Jam and whipped cream. The whipped cream is a must, otherwise it is just a jam sponge cake and Not A Victoria Sponge Cake! Read more about it here.

The twist in my cake came from a book which has recipes specifically for an English afternoon tea. Afternoon Tea also known as Low Tea is typically had between 3pm and 5pm and consists of a light meal along with the tea of course. Sandwiches, Scones, cakes, pastries etc constitute the light meal and an elaborate Tea will have a whole lot of choice of these food items. Apart from being delicious, presenting them well so that they look pleasing to the eye, is also a main criteria when choosing dishes for the afternoon tea.

Here the traditional Victoria Sponge Cake is given a makeover to taste different as well as to look great. Instead of Raspberry Jam, Orange Marmalade is used. I have made some changes to the original recipe and putting that here.

Orange Victoria Sponge Cake

Picture 106


Makes one 7” Round Cake (Adapted from Afternoon Tea)


For the Cake

  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

For the filling

  • 1 cup Orange Marmalade
  • 1 cup Double cream
  • 1 tblsp sugar

2 Tblsp Icing Sugar (For Dusting)

Method: Pre Heat the Oven to 160 deg C. Grease and line a 7” Round tin.

Whisk together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.Stir in some of the milk and then follow it up with half the flour. Mix well. Repeat again ending with the flour. Mix well so that there are no lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the pre heated oven for about 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs.

Take the cake out of the oven, turn it on to a wire rack and allow it to cool down completely.

Meanwhile gently warm the marmalade so that it is a little easier to spread on to the cake. Beat the Cream and the sugar in a bowl till it holds soft peaks.

Once the cake has cooled completely, cut it horizontally into two (or three). Place the bottom layer on the serving plate. Spread the marmalade onto this generously and follow it up with the whipped cream. Continue with the next layer if you have more than 2 layers. Place the top layer on the cream and press lightly to hold it in place. Dust with Icing Sugar and serve.

My Notes: This was a good change from the original Raspberry Jam. The Orange Marmalade tastes great along with the slightly sweet cream. Make sure that you dont heat the Marmalade too much, otherwise it can start getting a little bitter.

Also You can save some of the whipped cream and coat the whole cake with it instead of dusting with the icing sugar.

Check out what my fellow Blogging Marathoners are doing (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Friday, 15 April 2011

Espresso Coffee Cake (Day 5 – BM#4)

When I started taking baking seriously, there was one blog that I regularly visited for ideas and inspiration.Deeba’s Passionate About Baking still remains one of my favourite sites whenever I want to refer something for baking. The lovely pictures and well written recipes have helped me a lot and some of the recipes have stuck with me as regulars.

This Coffee cake was one of the earliest ‘decorated’ cakes that I started to make. A simple yet beautiful cake, it was a treat for some one like me who liked coffee so much. Although initially I was concerned about the bitter coffee taste in the sweet cake, it turned out to be a very good combination, the best part being that the cake just has the flavour of coffee without being overpowered by it. It could easily be converted into chocolate cake by substituting the coffee granules with either cocoa or even melted chocolate, but really there is no need. Even though I am a chocolate lover, I would prefer this cake with the coffee flavour in it.


Espresso Coffee Cake

Picture 062


Makes one 7” round cake (Adapted from Passionate About Baking)


For the cake

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tblsp Instant Coffee (I used Nescafe, any other would also do)

For the Filling and Topping

  • 500 ml Double Cream (Whipping cream)
  • 2-3 Tblsp Sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Instant Coffee (Less if you want the coffee to be very subtle)
  • Chocolate (1-2 tblsp grated and some melted), to decorate (optional)


Method: Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line a 7” Round Cake tin.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and the salt and keep aside.

In a bowl combine the eggs and the sugar and whisk until the mixture turns pale and fluffy, leaving trails when lift the whisk.

Add the vanilla extract and mix. Dissolve the instant coffee in 1 Tblsp of warm water and then add it to the mixture and mix well.

Now add the flour mixture and fold gently until there are no lumps.

Pour this batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven, leave in the pan to cool for about 5 minutes and then remove it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake is completely cooled, prepare the filling and the topping. To do that, combine the cream, sugar and the instant coffee (dissolved in 1 tsp of water) together and whisk until soft peaks are formed. The coffee will give it a nice beige colour.

Now cut the cooled cake horizontally into two. Place the bottom portion on to a cake board or serving plate. spread 1/3 of the cream onto this. Place the other half of the cake and cover the top and the sides with the remaining cream. decorate with the grated chocolate. The melted chocolate can be used to make patterns on the cake for decoration.

My Notes: Again a very simple to make but delicious looking cake. You can cut the cake into 3  or 4 parts to have more layers sandwiched with the cream filling. You might need to use a smaller deeper pan to make the cake so as to make these layers.

I have used the grated chocolate to decorate the cake. Chocolate curls or caraque can also be used. I have also melted some milk chocolate to create a random pattern on the cake.

Blogging Marathoners (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Carrot Cake (Day 4 – BM#4)

This is the fourth day of the Blogging Marathon, so we are halfway through. I am already feeling great about having done this as I have come back to regular blogging and also writing about baking, which I am very fond of. Also my cakes are getting a chance to see the light of the day and that is very good.

Today’s cake is a classic recipe and one that I  had not tried for a long time because I thought that it would be a weird combination having carrots in a cake. Yes, although this cake is an internationally accepted classic, I wasnt convinced about the combination. I only recently started making this and the first  time was because I had run out of options for a simple cake and had lots of carrots in the fridge!

It turned out to be very good and made me realise why its counted amongst the classic ones. You can make it as a simple cake, top with cream cheese frosting or like in this case, cover it with glaze icing.

Carrot Cake

Picture 276


Makes one 8” square cake


For the cake

  • 1.25 cups Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup Soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 ml Sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup Carrot, finely grated
  • 2 tblsp Chopped walnuts
  • a pinch of salt
  • Butter for greasing

For the glace icing

  • 1/2 – 1 cup Icing Sugar
  • 1-2 tblsp Water (or lemon juice)

Method: Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease an 8” swuare cake pan. Sprinkle some plain flour and then tap the pan to get rid of the excess flour so that there is a coating on the pan too. This will help to prevent the cake sticking to the pan once it is baked. Alternatively grease and line the tin with baking paper.

Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the brown sugar and stir to mix.

Add the eggs and oil and mix. Stir in the carrots and chopped walnuts. Pour this mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the pre heated oven for about 20-25 minutes. Check if the cake is completely cooked and once done, leave it in the pan to cool for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.

To make the glace icing, sift the icing sugar and add the water drop by drop, stirring in between. Stop adding water once the desired consistency is reached. You can make it quite thick so as to spread the cake or a runny one to lightly coat the cake.

Pour the icing over the cake and let the excess icing fall down over the sides. Cut into bars and serve.

Picture 258

My Notes: The cake tastes great just on its own and the glace icing adds that extra sweetness to it. I would recommend using the lemon juice for the icing instread of plain water. Also this cake can serve as a base for an elaborate cake with buttercream icing.

The addition of water (or lemon juice) to the icing sugar has to be done very carefully as a just one or two drops go a long way in this case. Once you add a few drops, stop adding water and mix it well and give it sometime to reach its actual consistency and then decide if you need any more water. As you can see from the picture above, my icing was quite runny and I would have preferred a slightly thicker one.

Also, dont leave out the chopped walnuts, they are very good to bite in every now & then.


Check out what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

White Chocolate Truffle Cake (Day 3 – BM#4)

The Easter Holidays have started and the biggest task on hand is to keep Shreya occupied constructively. By that I mean not allowing her to sit in front of the TV for the whole day but at the same keep her entertained. Catching up with her other friends is taking us out of home for most of the days but on days when we are not meeting any one, it is quite difficult. Story – reading, play dough, colouring, crafts, blocks etc notwithstanding, there comes a time when both of us dont know what to do. What do you do to keep your children occupied during the holidays?

By evening 6 pm I myself need some change and so I put on the TV to watch a quiz program called Eggheads on BBC. S is also quite interested in it although she doesnt really understand the questions or the answers for that matter. she keeps asking what the host is saying and I have to explain everything to her. She is so much ‘into’ this now that when we guess something (mainly her clues about animals, birds, fruits or vegetables) wrong, she quickly says in that typical tone ‘ I am afraid thats the wrong answer, you cant play in the final round!’

Another thing that we do during holidays is bake either cakes or cookies. Her favourite, needless to say, is the Chocolate cake. In fact there was a phase when I used to bake only chocolate cakes because we all like it so much. But then we wanted a change but somehow could not let go of the chocolate part and luckily I found this recipe which is now a regular. I have made it as Shreya’s Birthday cake last year and bake it everytime we are in the mood for something special.

If you want something looking luxurious and tasting likewise but without the complications associated with making it, this one is for you. It is so simple to make that when I had made it for the first time, I was sure that I must have left out something from the recipe!

The recipe calls for a Springform pan to be used for the cake and it is a must in this cake. I generally used to substitute the springform with whatever pan I had at home but I have now got a Springform pan which I bought specifically for this cake and it is totally worth it.

White Chocolate Truffle Cake

Picture 152


Makes one 8” round cake


For the cake

  • 50 gm White Chocolate
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Caster Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Plain flour
  • Butter for greasing

For the Truffle topping

  • 300 ml Double Cream
  • 350 gm White Chocolate
  • 250 gm Mascarpone Cheese
  • Cocoa powder for dusting

Method: Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line the base of an 8” Springform pan.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. To do this, fill a saucepan with water so that it comes up to about one fourth of the saucepan. Bring this to boil. Once boiling reduce the flame and let it simmer. Place a heat proof bowl over this sauce pan so that it fits on the rim but doesnt touch the boiling water. Place the chocolate broken into pieces in the heat proof bowl and stir as the heat from the boiling water in the saucepan will melt the chocolate. Keep aside.

In a bowl whisk together the eggs and the caster sugar until pale and slightly thick. When you lift the whisk, it should form ribbons and leave a trail. Sift the flour onto this and gently fold it in until there are no lumps left. Add the melted chocolate and combine. Pour this batter into the prepared tin and bake in the pre heated oven for about 25 minutes or until done.

Once the cake is taken out of the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes and then turn it over onto a wire rack to cool down completely.

To make the topping, bring the double cream to boil in a saucepan, stirring in between. Switch off the heat and then add the white chocolate and mix until the chocolate is completely melted. Leave this aside to cool completely. Now add the mascarpone cheese and mix.

Now return the cold cake to the springform tin and pour the topping over it. This will form a layer of almost the thickness of the cake. Keep this in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours to set.

To serve, use a sharp knife to get the cake free from the edges of the pan and then remove the base and loosen the pan to get the cake out.

To decorate, lightly dust cocoa powder all over the cake just before serving. You can also use stencils to make shapes. Alternatively decorate by placing chocolate curls in the middle of the cake.

My Notes: This is a melt in the mouth kind of cake and it will take a very strong resolve to stop at the first slice/helping!  As I have mentioned at the beginning of the post, the springform pan is an absolute necessity for this cake. This is because the topping is quite liquid when it is poured on to the cake and the springform pan can hold it there while it sets. It is also easier to remove the cake from a springform pan after the topping is set.

Picture 1416

This is the Birthday cake that I made for Shreya last year using this recipe. The flower on the cake is made with fresh cream (whipped), with added colours.

You can try this cake with Milk chocolate instead of white chocolate and it should turn out great and you will like it especially if you are a chocolate fan like me!


Here is what my fellow Blogging Marathoners are doing (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

 Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Eggless Marble Cake (Day 2 – BM#4)

Continuing on with the Cake fest, I have an eggless one in this post. Although I have made eggless cakes earlier (Date & Walnut), this was different because unlike the earlier ones, this is not a dense cake. You can hardly make out that there are no eggs here.

The original basic recipe is from Divine taste, which was for a Golden Yellow cake. I have adapted it to make a marble cake. The picture in the original post was tempting enough for me to try this but I was in the mood for a chocolate cake, so I ended up making this to have both!

Now, as I have mentioned earlier in a number of posts about my impatience to try a recipe, in this case too I rushed into things and did not pay attention to the fact that the Corn flour was to be added to the milk and then mixed with the flour mixture. I sieved it along with the plain flour and then realised my mistake. I went ahead anyway and was not disappointed with the result. So I am maintaining that in the recipe below but I will try it the right way next time and update this space if I find any difference to the end result.


Eggless Marble Cake

Picture 1391


Makes 2 Nos of 7” Square cakes


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract + 1 tsp
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 3 cups Plain flour
  • 1 cup Corn flour
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2-3 drops of yellow colour (optional)



Pre Heat the oven to 160 deg C. Grease and line two 7” Square cake Pans and keep aside.

Warm the milk gently. Dissolve the sugar in this and let it cool down a bit. Now add the butter and the vanilla extract and whisk to mix properly.

In a separate bowl, sieve together the plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and the baking soda.

Make a well in the dry mixture and add the milk-sugar mixture. Stir to mix gently until properly mixed and there are no lumps.

Remove half of this batter in another bowl. Mix the cocoa with 2-3 tblsp (as reqd) of hot water. Add this paste to one half of the batter and fold in to mix.

To the other half add another tsp of Vanilla extract and the yellow colour, if using. Mix well.

Now, alternate spoonfuls of both the batters in the lined pans i.e. add a spoonful of the plain batter and then follow it up with the cocoa batter and then the plain batter again. Carry on doing this till you use up all the batter. Now swirl the batter randomly using a toothpick to create a pattern.

Picture 116 Picture 120


Bake the cakes in the pre heated oven for about 45-50 min. The time will depend upon the oven. Check for the cake to be cooked after 45 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the centre. If it comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging on it, the cake is done.

Take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Then take them out on a wire rack and let them cool completely. This cake can be stored in a air tight container for about 2-3 days.

My Notes: As I have mentioned, this was a very good ‘eggless’ experience. This cake can be had just like that, served with custard to make a complete dessert or it could serve as a base cake for more elaborate iced cakes. I think a buttercream frosting would go great with this one.

Check out what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

 Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Monday, 11 April 2011

Black Forest Cake (Day 1 – BM#4)

Today I am embarking on my first blogging Marathon. I will be posting every day for the whole week, which is a huge feat in itself for me, considering how my posts appear in bursts on this blog, more so because of my new job nowadays. As if life was not hectic enough, I now work half days and somehow try to manage all other things in the other half. I am now in complete awe of all you ladies who manage a full time career with kids!

Coming back to the blogging marathon, my chosen theme is ‘Seven Days of Cakes’. Now thats another ‘new’ for this blog. Although I bake every other day and make cakes almost every week, this blog is yet to see most of my creations. That is one of the major reasons that I chose this theme. This will ensure that I post all those lovely cakes that I have tried and have been making regularly.

I start off the week with Black forest Cake, which for us, is synonymous with a Birthday cake. This is our favourite cake when asked to choose, just like so many other people I am sure. Back in India, planning for a Birthday either meant ordering a big Black Forest cake (if we were expecting a lot of people for the party) or picking up a 1/2 Kg cake on the way back home in the evening (when the celebration was restricted to the immediate family). And more often than not, Monginis would be the chosen bakery, for the major reason that it was conveniently located.

Once I started baking, I tried to re create this at home and it took around 2-3 attempts to get it exactly the way it should be. Moist, chocolaty and with lots of fresh whipped cream. The recipe for the basic cake has been adapted from Meeta’s Chocolate cake, which has never let me down till date, whenever I have used it as a base for Iced cakes or even when I have been in the mood for Chocolate indulgence. The rest I have settled on after trying out a couple of things. But really once you have the chocolate cake, most of the job is done and all you need to do is put together the cream and other things.


Black Forest Cake

Picture 078



For the chocolate cake

  • 1.5 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2-3/4 Sugar (Increase if you want the cake sweeter)
  • 2.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 80 gm Cherry/Blackberry preserve (I sometimes skip this)
  • Milk (About 250 ml)

For the Filling and topping

  • 300 ml Double cream (or whipping cream)
  • 3-4 tblsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Can of Black Cherries in juice
  • 1 cup grated chocolate (or chocolate shavings)



Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line 6” Square Pan (or 6”-7” round )

Cream together the butter & sugar till completely mixed and looks light & fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, keep whisking/mixing after each addition till it is mixed well. Mix vanilla extract & the preserve.

Sieve in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the cocoa powder into this butter-sugar mixture. Pour in the milk & mix gently. Pour the batter in the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. The baking time depends upon your oven.

Once it is cooked through (check by inserting a tooth pick, if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked), take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. then turn it onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Once the cake is completely cooled, cut it horizontally into two & keep the bottom portion on a serving plate or a cake board and reserve the other half. 

Now to make the filling, add the sugar & vanilla essence to the double cream and whisk till it starts to thicken and you get soft peaks when you lift the whisk. Chop the pitted cherries from the can roughly and keep aside. Reserve some (about7-8) whole cherries for decoration.

Sprinkle the bottom part of the cake, placed on the serving plate,  with some of the juice from the cherry can & spread about 1/3 of the cream on it, taking care not to spill out too much on the sides.

Then place the chopped cherries on this and top it with the other half of the cake. Before placing it, sprinkle some juice on this half too.

Now spread the remaining cream on the top and sides of the cake, completely covering it. To get a neat and crumb free look, cover the cake roughly and chill in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. This will ‘set’ the first coat of the cream and will prevent the crumbs from sticking out. Once it is chilled top it again with the remaining cream and give a generous coating to completely cover it.

Cover the sides with grated chocolate and decorate some more with whipped cream & the reserved cherries.

My Notes: As I have mentioned, the chocolate cake gives it a very good base and the cream filling & topping makes it really delicious and hard to resist. And of course you have the satisfaction of having made it at home!

Check out what my other Blogging Marathoners are doing (BM#4 hosted by Srivalli)

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ  

Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya

Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P 

Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,

30 Minutes Meals: Archana  

Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

Friday, 1 April 2011

Beans and Potato stir fry

I know, it has been a long gap again. I know I promised myself and my readers that I will post more regularly. I know I keep going back on this promise. But what can I say – life does that to you. Things have been really hectic (as if they weren't before)! I am now juggling a job in addition to the ‘normal’ things – raising a 3 (almost 4) year old, managing everything else that comes as a package with a house (read cooking, cleaning, washing etc) and not to forget the Birthday parties.

Birthday parties – now thats something I have to talk about in this post. The main reason being that we attend so many of them. I dont know what is more exciting for Shreya, the idea of going to a party, meeting all her friends, seeing the Birthday cake, giving the Birthday present or getting a return gift. I am sure its not eating party food, not even the Birthday cake. While she gets excited when it is being cut & exclaims on the ‘prettiness’ of it, she hardly eats it. The same goes for almost every kid. They are excited but there is no specific reason or thing that they are excited about. Ask them and you will get a different answer each time, ranging from ‘playing with friends’ to ‘getting the return gift’.

I would really like to know how and why the idea of return gift came to be associated with kids’ Birthday parties. Was it devised so that the other kids dont feel left out as the Birthday kid was getting lots of gifts? Was it to make sure that the Birthday kid appreciates that his/her friends made the effort to come to the party? Whatever the reason might be, the kids look forward to this almost more than the party itself. It doesnt matter what you give them. It can be as little as a goodie bag filled with insignificant (by adults standard!) things such as a chocolate, a key chain, plastic bangles/bracelet, stickers, a tiny toy etc or it could be a large box neatly gift wrapped just like the birthday present they had got for the Birthday boy/girl. The kids are just happy to get ‘something’. It has become so much of a norm that S expects a return gift everytime she goes out to someone’s house even for get together and it becomes difficult to explain to her that grown ups dont exchange gifts or return gifts with the same fervour!

So there we are, seems like I have come up with a brand new excuse for not posting regularly here. Yeah, blame it on the kids! But today I am posting a recipe and a fairly simple one at that. This is a regular part of our meal and gets ready in no time.


Beans and Potato Stir fry

Picture 158


Serves 2


  • 2 cups String Beans (French Beans), chopped
  • 1 medium sized Potato, small cubes
  • 1/2 tblsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 6-8 Curry Leaves
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 medium Tomato, chopped (Optional)
  • 1-2 tsp Goda Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • Salt


Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot add the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.

Add the Curry leaves, asafoetida and the Turmeric Powder followed by the potato cubes. Fry for about 2-3 minutes.

Now add the chopped beans and mix well. Sauté for about 2 minutes.

Next, add in the tomatoes along with the salt, Goda Masala and the chilli powder. Mix well to coat the beans and potato with the spices.

Reduce the flame, cover the pan and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid burning. Switch off the heat once the potato & beans are completely cooked. Serve hot with Chapati.

My Notes: This is a dry preparation and cooks in its own steam, also the tomatoes let out water and that helps. However if you dont add tomatoes, you might have to sprinkle some water to prevent the ‘sabji’ sticking to the pan.

If you dont have Goda Masala, you can use any other spices such as Garam Masala, a mixture of Dhaniya-Jeera Powder (Coriander-Cumin powder), sambhar powder etc. It will work well with any of these with a change in the taste of course.

This is a favourite for lunch box, since it is a dry sabji and tastes good even when its not piping hot!