Friday, December 15, 2017

Chocolate Orange Cake with Orange Glaze



At my work place, we have a tradition of celebrating everyone's birthdays. Recently it was one of my co-worker's birthday. She has dairy allergy and therefore cannot eat regular cakes. I wanted to make her something pretty that didn't have dairy in it. I then decided to make her a Chocolate-Orange Marble Bundt Cake with orange glaze. As you can see I have made Chocolate-Orange Marble Bundt Cake before but without the glaze. I used powdered sugar and royal icing flowers to decorate the cake. 



This time I decided to try a slightly different cake recipe. I must proudly admit that this was an experiment that was successful. The cake was moist, light and with the right amount of sweetness.



 I was proud of the end result and the testimony to that is not only my friend whose birthday it was liked it but all my other co-workers did too and the cake was gone in no time!! Bonus: it looked so pretty. 



This is a cake that is easy to make and decorate, especially on a weekday. It is perfect for the upcoming holiday season where you attend so many holiday parties and may have to bring something or have to host one and have so many items to prepare !






Servings: 10-12

Prep time: 30 minsCook time: 45 mins-60 mindTotal time: 75-90 mins


Ingredients:


For the Cake:

All purpose flour: 2 cups
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1 and 1/2 tsp
Salt: pinch
Cocoa powder: 1/2 cup
Instant coffee: 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Milk: 1 cup
Hot water: 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar: 1 and 1/2 cups
Cooking oil : 1 cup 
Eggs: 3 large
Orange juice: 1/4 cup 
Orange zest: 2 tbsp ( from 1 medium orange) 
Raisins: 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp

For the glaze:

butter: 1/2 cup 
orange juice: 1/4 cup 
powdered sugar: 1 cup 
orange zest: 1 tsp + 1 tsp

Method:


Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Grease the Bundt pan thoroughly and keep ready.

Seive together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt and keep aside. You could also just whisk it using a whisk. Whisk thoroughly.

Mix the instant coffee and cocoa powder in hot water and keep aside.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, with the oil, milk and vanilla essence. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Do not overmix!

Divide the batter into two equal portions. 

To the first half add the water, coffee and cocoa mixture and mix well. Again, do not overmix! If the batter is too thick, add a tbsp of milk.

To the other bowl,  add the orange juice, orange zest and raisins. Mix gently but thoroughly. Do not over mix!

Now pour the batter into the Bundt  pan little at a time alternating between the chocolate and the orange flavored ones. Start and end with the chocolate batter.

Tap the Bundt pan against the kitchen countertop to get rid of any air bubbles. 

Place it in the center rack of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes it until a skewer comes out clean.

My oven took 40 minutes. Keep checking after 35 minutes and adjust the time accordingly.



When done, take the pan out and let it cool down for atleast 30 minutes before taking it out of the pan and place it on the wire-rack.




Let it cool completely before decorating it.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze.




For the glaze: 

Add the butter to a pan. Once it is melted, add the orange juice, sugar and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and simmer for 5 mins stirring continuously. Turn off the flame. Stir in the zest.

Glazing the cake: 

Once the cake is completely cooled, place it on the serving plate/tray. Spoon the glaze on top of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining zest on top. The glaze thickens once it cools down. 






Enjoy! 




I am bringing this to my friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday#202. Angie's cohosts this week are two awesome bloggers,Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. Do check out Angie's Fiesta if you have not already!!

Cooking made easy:


You could make this cake spiked by adding orange liqueur. To do this, add 1/2 cup Curacao or Triple Sec to the glaze with the orange zest once the flame is turned off.

Tip for healthy living:


Since Bundt cakes are not layered with frosting or iced, they are a great alternative to iced cakes thereby reducing the sugar intake. 


Food for thought:


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt 


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!



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Friday, November 17, 2017

Black Forest Cake




My husband's birthday was in the recent past. I try to make birthdays special by making a cake from scratch for each of my family member. Even though we are not much of sweet eaters, my husband would be appreciative of a nicely made cake. I decided to make a Black Forest Cake as it is moist and delicious! Most importantly it is easy to make. This also happens to be one of the first cakes that I attempted 4-5 years ago when I first started baking. I must admit that it has been a learning curve and that I have learnt much since then about baking cakes.



So I made a 4-layer Black Forest cake with fresh cherries in between the layers and whipped cream frosting. I used the maraschino cherries in syrup for the garnish on top. I had only two 6 inch pans so I baked in them and sliced each cake into 2 layers. This batter would easily fill three 6 inch pans. If you do that you don't have to cut the cake into layers.  This batter would also be enough for two 8-inch pans, in which case you will have to slice the cake into 2 and then layer. I wanted something small and tall so I went with 6 inch pan. 



Without sounding boastful, I must admit that my family loved the cake! My kids called it the "best cake ever!" My husband ate 2 pieces and even the neighbor's kids who are picky enjoyed it! I am convinced that the cake was good! 



So without further ado, here is the recipe. The recipe has been adapted from this recipe here. 


Servings: 8-10 


Prep time: 45-60 mins Cook time: 30- 40 mins Total time: 75-100 mins 


Ingredients: 


For the cake: 

Flour: 2 cups 
Cocoa powder: 3/4 cup 
Instant coffee: 1 & 1/2 tbsp
Powdered sugar: 1 & 1/2 cups 
Baking soda: 1 & 1/2 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Cooking oil: 1 cup
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp 
Milk: 1 cup
Hot water: 1 cup
Eggs: 2 large 

For the frosting: 

Whipping cream: 2 cups
Confectioners sugar: 2 cups 
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp 

For layering and garnishing:

Cherries: 1 cup
Sugar syrup: 1/2-1 cup 
Chocolate curls: 1/4 cup 

Method: 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Place the bowl and beaters for the cream in the freezer to chill. 

Grease and line three 6 inch or two 8 inch trays with parchment paper and keep ready.

Dissolve the instant coffee in the hot water and keep ready.

Seive all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix well. 

In another bowl, beat the eggs well. To this add oil, vanilla essence, milk and mix. 


Now slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Add in the instant coffee and mix.Do not overmix.


Pour the mixture into the prepared pans until 3/4 th full. 


Tap the pans against the kitchen counter before placing it on the middle rack in the oven. Bake at 350 degF. for 30-40 mins or until a toothpick when inserted comes out clean. 



Take the pans out and let them cool on the kitchen counter for atleast 30 mins.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the whipped cream. 

To make the whipping cream, take the chilled bowl and beaters out. To this add the whipping cream. Whip on medium until soft peaks emerge, around 3-4 minutes. 
Now add in the vanilla essence and the confectioners sugar little at a time. Whip for another 2-3 minutes.


Keep the cream back in the fridge until ready to frost the cake.

Assembling the cake:

Once the cakes are cooled, level each of the cakes. 


If you are using 2 pans, you will have to slice each cake into 2 layers. Keep the layers aside. 

Sprinkle sugar syrup on all the layers. This keeps the cake moist.

Take a cake circle ( the cardboard on which you intend to assemble the cake). Place some frosting on the middle of the cake circle. Place the first layer of cake. Place a large dollop of whipped cream on top of it. Using an angled spatula, spread the cream evenly. Now evenly distribute pieces of cherry on top of the cream. 



Place the next layer of cake and repeat the above process. Do this to all available layers until you have placed the last layer on top. 


Once the last layer is placed, frost the cake evenly in all directions. 


You can pipe peaks of whipped cream on top and make borders at the bottom. I used Wilton tip no: . Place cherries on top of the peaks.



Decorate the middle with chocolate shavings. If you wish you can decorate the sides of the cake with chocolate shavings too!! 



Refrigerate the cake until ready to eat. 



Enjoy!! 

I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday #198. Her co-hosts this week are two accomplished bloggers and my favorite people, Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas and Spoons.


Cooking made easy: 


While baking it is good practice to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature unless the recipes calls for a specific temperature. This includes the eggs too. 

Tip for healthy living: 


It is better to use as much natural ingredients as possible while cooking. This makes the food much healthier and nutritious. 

Food for thought: 


Silent gratitude isn't much to anyone. Gertrude Stein 



Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!




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Monday, November 13, 2017

Veestro: Organic, plant-based meals , a Review







Ready to cook meal services are nothing new to me. There are several vendors out there who send 1-2 meal recipes with the exact ingredients prepackaged, to your doorstep. I have tried meals  from Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. It is definitely convenient as you don't have to go grocery shopping, you know what you are going to cook on a given day as you place your order atleast a week ahead of time. The ingredients are purported to be fresh and from the best sources and they are literally delivered to your doorstep. The flip side is that this service does tend to be a bit pricey and you still have to make time to cook the meals. I also feel bad that there is so much packaging that is required. 



When Veestro reached out to bloggers via Meatless Monday, to try their plant-based vegetarian food service, I was intrigued to say the least. I cook and eat vegetarian meals most of the time. I do not eat meat. I truly believe  that eating vegetarian food is a healthier way to live. Those who are used to eating meat in all their meals often find it hard to go vegetarian. I usually recommend beginning by switching to one vegetarian meal a day and then going to one vegetarian day a week. Meatless Mondays is a great way to do this. I was very happy when I was one of the bloggers selected to try their meals. 


A week later a big box was delivered to my doorstep with contents packed in a nice freezer pack. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the meals were already cooked. All I had to do was heat them up as per package instruction and serve it. My expectation was to see ingredients, not prepared meals!! 



In the package that I was sent I had 4 meals and one drink. They were as follows: 

Tuscan Calzone
Veggie Lasagna 
Southwest BBQ chick'n
Golden Chickpea Stew
Hand Grenade



Tuscan Calzone




The Tuscan Calzone was a decent sized one. All I had to do was stick it in the oven for 18-20 mins and Voila!! It was nice and crusty with filling of vegan cheese, tofu and squash. 




Veggie Lasagna 





The veggie lasagna was made from Rice noodles, vegan cheese and  zucchini. It was truly delicious! I don't think that I could have made that at home!! My husband and I enjoyed it.




Southwest BBQ chick'n






The Southwest BBQ Chick'n meal came with a slice  of vegan chick'n breast , a side of fries and a side of sautéed vegetables ( squash and corn). It is a great vegan alternative to the regular BBQ chicken. 


Golden Chickpea Stew




The golden Chickpea Stew was made from chickpeas, quinoa and vegetables such as squash, potatoes and tomatoes. It was more like a curry which was right down my alley. I eat all these ingredients regularly but not cooked together. I make quinoa salad, quinoa dosa and quinoa pilaf but never tried it in a stew! 






Hand Grenade





I simply loved the hand grenade!!! The taste was refreshing with no added sugar. It was made up of apples, celery, kale, broccoli, kiwi and maqui Berry. 




All portions were decent sized and filling. The cooking instructions were simple and easy to follow. The ingredients were clearly listed at the back with the nutrition information. There was no ingredient that I did not know or couldn't pronounce. The meals tasted fresh and  were delicious. 

Veestro would be the place to go for Vegans. Each item listed above costs roughly around $10.00. You get everything that they promised and the convenience makes it worth it especially if you are only now going vegetarian/vegan and are at a loss as to how to substitute for meat! This might give you some ideas for vegetarian/vegan cooking too!!

Happy eating!!

I am sharing  this at Angie's Fiesta Friday #198. Her co-hosts this week are two accomplished bloggers and my favorite people, Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas and Spoons.

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!



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