Chocolate Is The Key To Happiness…Easy Chocolate Gateaux

Chocolate is the key to happiness…

It’s been a hectic and busy  start to 2017 to say the least. I realise we are into May already.I can’t recall when I last sat  down with my cup of coffee and got down to posting for my blog.

I now teach at a Hospitality Institute here in Mumbai and head  the Bakery & Patisserie program. It’s been one fabulous year and I love what I do…which is teach of course.

Teaching: A Rewarding Profession

Keep Calm and Bake on! The quintessential mantra in my kitchen as I begin my day at The RPH Institute of Hospitality Management. A sense of utmost tranquility prevails when I come in to commence preparation for the class.

Of course this is the calm before the storm. Welcome to my world of elevated excitement interspersed with high decibels of noise and commotion, as I take on my task of instructing a bunch of enthusiastic bakers that are keen on bakery specialization The students arrive and I begin with a talk on how Baking is a Science.

“Measure, Measure and Measure”, accurately I chime in a high-pitched tone to set the rule for the baking session, as getting things done to perfection is what I strive for, when I teach. After all baking is all about measuring to the T. The advice is heeded by most and it’s a pleasure to see some very talented baker’s in my class. Each session of the bakery practical covers various hands on methods of Bread making, Various Cakes & Pastries and Desserts.

Teaching is indeed a rewarding profession. The reward is more emotional, especially when your students excel and create exceptional work.

School’s out and I’m on a month’s summer break now. This morning I managed to take a quick peek into my blog account after ages. I have been meaning to share my favourite to go  recipe for an easy and decadent Chocolate Gateaux smothered with  an equally rich and creamy Chocolate ganache, dusted with chocolate shavings and garnished with fresh raspberries. an absolute  show stopper and perfect for summer entertaining.

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer.

Chocolate Gateaux with Ganache Frosting (Serves 8)
INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups sugar
• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour ( 218 grams)
• 3/4 cup Cocoa (96 grams)
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup boiling water 

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 180 C. Grease and flour one 9 inch round baking pan.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Then stir in the s
ugar. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
4. Divide the cake into two halves using a very sharp knife.
5. Frost with chocolate ganache. Dust with some chocolate shavings and garnish with fresh raspberries.


FOR THE GANACHE:
• 250 grams(9 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
• ½ cup water
• ¾ cup butter
1. Place the chocolate chips and water in a small saucepan .Now place this saucepan over a pan filled with water and place on medium heat .Keep stirring till all the chocolate melts.
2. Once the chocolate has melted. Keep aside from fire.
3. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the melted chocolate till completely incorporated.

Merry Christmas From My Kitchen to Yours…Boozy Christmas Cake

 

 

IMG_9062

 

 

Deck the halls  with boughs of holly

Fa La La La La, La La La La

Tis the season to be Jolly

Fa La La La La, La La La La

Oh yes,it’s that time of the year again! It’s Christmas time.Lets get this festive season started with some baking. Christmas baking over the years meant lots of sugar cookies,gingerbread men,puddings,mince pies and Christmas cake of of course. The key to a good Christmas cake starts perhaps days,months or even a year in advance.It’s all about pre soaking the mixture of Raisins,Sultanas,Cranberries and the mixed Peel in some alcohol which lends a wonderful and delicious moistness to this fruit cake.Now if you are pressed for time like I was whilst baking this cake,ensure that the mixture is soaked at least 24 hours before baking the cake. A good Dark rum works great or perhaps even some Brandy,Sherry or some Orange liqueuer.I landed up using some Cuban spiced rum in my pre soak and gosh the house smells boozy!

Well here it is my recipe for a rich,moist and boozy Christmas Cake.I’ve actually followed the basics of the original recipe from Joy Of Baking and have tweaked it around a bit. This cake is a huge hit every year. Each one in the family wanted their own cake this year,with no one compromising to share at all.The possessive husband wanted it all to himself, the impatient Sister couldn’t wait to get her share,and of course there was the Bro in law who said would like two please…I also had my Mum,Mum in law and endless friends that were on the list too.And least I forget to pack some for my darling son who I plan to meet in Spain over the holidays!

So I’ve had a busy past week in my kitchen baking up these cakes for everyone….

It’s still nine sleeps to Christmas,so go ahead and soak some fruit up and bake this cake.

Merry Christmas dear readers and hope you have a wonderful time with your families and loved ones!

Ingredients:

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter (softened)

1 cup (210 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

50-70 ml Dark Rum

Juice and zest of one orange

50 grams grams almonds roughly chopped

800 grams assortment of dried fruit ie raisins, sultanas, dried cranberries, Marschino cherries  and mixed Peel

50 grams chopped whole Almonds

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (75 grams) finely ground almonds

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

Pre soak all the dried fruit in the Rum or Brandy at least 24-48 hours before making the cake. If you have time even a week or month ahead.

Method:

1.Preheat oven to 160 C.

2.Grease an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan with butter or oil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Also line the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment paper.

3.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, salt, and baking powder.

4.In another bowl beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.Try not hoover beat else the mixture will curdle. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed. Now add in the orange juice.

5.Now  fold in the chopped nuts and all the dried and candied fruits.Mix well.

7.Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Place the spring form pan on a larger baking sheet.

8.Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees and continue to bake the cake for about 80-90 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness.

8.Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes.Now loosen the cake from the spring form pan and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.

9.Prick some holes all over the cake with a toothpick and spoon some rum or orange liquor over the cake.

10.Cling wrap the cake and store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

When Life Gives You Oranges….Make an Orange Cake

 

Orange Marmalade watermark

 

Well as the popular saying goes “When Life gives you lemons make Lemonade”.And  if it gives you Oranges then go ahead and bake up this delicious Orange cake and add in some marmalade for that extra citrusy Zing. Now I’ve been contemplating baking an Orange for a while now.There have been days when all the ingredients were all out,yet the cake just didn’t get baked.Just one of those phases you go through when you’ve been baking a lot.

This afternoon I had three lone Oranges giving me a nod of approval.Almost to say C’mon and bake that cake will you! The dear son vouched that he will not even have a bit…too much sugar he said and went about doing his thing.I was quite excited to bake this afternoon and so out came all the ingredients again. Now I had been browsing some recipes that called for the oranges being stewed and then placed top of the cake when done. Where as I came across a Jamie Oliver Orange Cake recipe that I quite liked. It called for finely slicing the oranges and layering them at the bottom of the baking pan.I have minimally adapted this recipe from Jamie’s. With Eid around the corner,I’ve added a slight middle eastern twist of adding in some saffron strands and cardamon powder.

I must say this Orange cake turned out really quite delicious. The Orange zest and the fresh orange juice lend it a wonderful burst of flavour. I choose to glaze the finished cake with some warm marmalade in the end.

Excitedly I called my Mom over to come and have a slice of this cake and a  cuppa tea. She quite loved it.Best of all,the dear son who was out all afternoon,comes home and devourer a couple of slices! So much for his not wanting to eat it.

Well who could resist a slice of Deliciousness?

Ingredients:

• 200g butter softened
• 3 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 small oranges, thinly sliced
• 200g granulated white sugar (powdered)
• 6 heaped tbsp fine-cut marmalade
• 4 large eggs, beaten
• 200g self-raising flour
• 50g almond powder

• Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges (medium Oranges)

Some saffron strands which can be soaked in the orange juice and about half a teaspoon cardamom powder. Another interesting twist is to reduce the juice of 1 orange and instead add equivalent amount of rose water.

Note: I’ve used All Purpose flour and have added 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to make it into a self-raising flour

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2.Grease the base and sides of a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Sprinkle the base with brown sugar. Arrange the orange slices on the base of the tin in a slightly overlapping layer.
2. Cream the butter and caster sugar until creamy.

3.Beat the egg whites separately and then beat in the yolks

4.Add  3 heaped tablespoons of marmalade, followed by the beaten eggs. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, a pinch of salt, and the orange zest and juice.Add in the cardamon powder
3. Carefully pour the cake batter into the tin. Place in the oven and bake for about 45-50  minutes, till golden and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. Very carefully, while it’s still slightly warm, turn out the cake onto a serving plate.
4. Prick holes in the cake with a skewer. Make a glaze by warming the rest of the marmalade in a pan with a little water. Spoon this over the cake.

 

 

 

Chocolate Cake: This one’s for you JD

Today I got down to baking this moist and gooey Chocolate cake.I’d rather call it “THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE DECEDENCE”.The best ever chocolate-y cake ever.Quite an easy one to put together.This one’s actually the celebration cake in our home.Sure enough for very Birthday,Anniversay and now even on Valentines,I land up baking this one.No special day today….just thought to myself…well chocolate needs no occasion right? Also given the fact that everyone in my family is a Chocoholic this one wont last that long.

The icing is a smooth,dark and velvety one.I’ve used dark chocolate(70%) cocoa.Lindt makes a good one for the icing.I’ve used some roughly chopped walnuts over the icing(that’s just me,love walnuts in practically everything) And then dusted it with some icing sugar…

 Love at First Bite….

Irresistable Chocolate decadence….I’m going to have to join the Chocoholics anonymous soon.Hope you find an occasion in your homes to bake this gorgeous cake.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 11/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coffee(instant)
  • 1/2 cup milk

For the icing:

  • 1 bar(9 ounces) cooking chocolate(70% cocoa)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter(11/2 sticks)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Grease two 9″x2″ cake pans and line then with parchment paper.(cut out in circles)
  3. Sift the cocoa,flour,baking powder and the baking soda into one bowl.
  4. Beat the sugar and butter together till light and creamy.It should be pale yellow in colour.
  5. In a separate bowl beat both the eggs together till mixed well.
  6. Mix the coffee and milk in another bowl.
  7. Mix the dry ingredients with the butter a little at a time till nice and smooth.
  8. 8.Add the coffee mixture to the above and lastly add the beaten eggs.
  9. Divide this batter into the 2 pans and bake for about 25 minutes or till done.

FROSTING:

  1. Melt the chocolate by using the double boiler method.
  2. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove from pan when fully melted.
  4. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk it into the melted chocolate.
  5. Keep whisking this till the mixture is nice and smooth.
  6. Cool and spread over the cake.
  7. Sprinkle chopped walnuts
  8. Dust gently with some icing sugar.

Enjoy browsing through my blog…with love from my kitchen to yours.Look forward to your comments.