Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaf Cake

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My all time summer favorite combination is Lemon and Blueberry, and when you combine them in a mini loaf, they are irresistible! While I enjoy baking almost anytime of the day, I usually have sudden morning cravings for freshly baked goodies. And this no fail classic comes to my rescue every time. Its almost like saying that when life gives you lemons, you make these Lemon and Blueberry Mini Loafs.

The burst of freshness from the blueberries and the tang from the lemon, these mini bundles of wowness is not to missed this summer. They are an epitome of summer yumness. Buttery, lemon-y and yummy!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 – 5 mini loaf cake)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 80 grams jaggery powder or granulated white sugar
  • 60 grams butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp heaped baking powder
  • 1/ 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter or spray your mini loaf tins. (I used a mini loaf liner hence didn’t have to butter or spray)
  • In a bowl take the blueberries, 1 tbsp of flour and toss together until bluebrries are all coated with flour and keep aside.
  • In a bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, lemon zest and baking soda and keep aside.
  • In a another bowl take the butter and beat it using a electric beater until soft. Add the jaggery or white sugar and beat it until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  • Add 1 egg and beat it until just incorporated. add lemon juice and beat it for 10 – 20 seconds.
  • Now add the flour mixture and milk and fold it gently until the mixture is just incorporated.
  • Add the blueberries and fold it gently into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter equally into the baking moulds and bake it for 28 -30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, let it cool down and then dive in!

Dark Chocolate and Oats Muffins

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Any celebration is almost incomplete without chocolate. And this freshly baked Dark Chocolate and Oats Muffin is a celebration of my 5th wedding anniversary today. I can;t believe time has flown by so quickly and looking back each day in this journey has been extremely gratifying. Its been a roller coaster ride – plenty of excitement, lots of anxiousness, lots of laughter and so much fun. We’ve grown to become a better us each day and I couldn’t ask for anything more. This Dark Chocolate Muffin is indeed a epitome of a bittersweet journey we’ve completed – moments of happiness and moments of tears, we’ve held each other and embarked on a new day everyday!

Coming back to this muffin, the dark chocolate chunks lends a beautiful bitter touch to the muffin. The toasted oats flour adds the nutty flavor to it. Super simple to make, healthy and absolutely decadent. Put on your Chef hat, wear your baking apron and its time to get started with his indulgent muffin.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 regular muffins)

  • 120 grams oats flour (lightly dry toast the oats on stove and grind it to a powder)
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 120 ml buttermilk
  • 130 grams jaggery powder or brown sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped ( I used 70% dark chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup mixed seeds and nuts (I used almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried berries, melon seeds)

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Put the muffin liners on the muffin tray and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix oats flour, cocoa powder, jaggery powder, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside.
  • In another bowl, add the lightly beaten egg, melted butter, butter milk and vanilla extract and whisk it until just incorporated.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold in gently.
  • Add 2 – 3 tbsp of milk along with dark chocolate chunks and fold in until the mixture is just incorporated.
  • Evenly divide the batter in the muffin liners arranged in the muffin tray.
  • Garnish it with the mixed nuts and seeds and put it to bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Once done allow it to cool for 10 – 15 minutes and then dive in!

 

 

Strawberry and Cream Cake

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Strawberry and Cream – does that ring a bell? I remember those winter days in Kolkata when I ate a huge bowl full of fresh strawberry and cream and I fell in love even more everyday. It almost became a part of my meal each day such that I ended up eating less of my staples because I needed to eat my bowl of happiness. This cake is a dedicated for my love towards Strawberry and Cream! I am enamored by the ruby red strawberries and can’t contain my excitement when I get hold of the freshest batch at the grocery store. Its like giving a kids his favorite candy, pure joy! I love it, I am obsessed by it and then fall in love with it even more.

This cake is no brainer, no ornated cake. Simple, basic pantry staples to bake a moist and vanilla rich cake. And then let your imagination flow. I have done a basic whipped cream decoration with lots of strawberry chunks and fresh blueberries to adorn my lil cake. Grab your box of strawberries because you can’t go wrong with it ever!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch round cake)

  • 260 grams whole wheat flour (you can also use all purpose flour/ maida)
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 160 grams white granulated sugar
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder, slightly heaped
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • 8 – 10 fresh blueberries, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C. Butter/ oil your cake tin and lightly flour it and keep aside.
  • In a bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract and whisk it until just incorporated. Now add one egg at a time and beat it until just incorporated.
  • Add whole wheat flour, baking soda and baking powder to this egg mixture and fold it. Add milk and fold the mixture until well incorporated.
  • Transfer the cake batter to the mould and put it to bake for 35 – 38 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done allow it to cool and then de-mould it. Allow the cake to completely cool down. This may take several hours.
  • Once its closer to cooling down, place a bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Take the bowl and pour in the whipping cream and icing sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
  • You can add some chopped strawberries to it. Cover the cake with the cream. You can divide the cake horizontally and then apply whipped cream between the 2 halves of the cake along with the top and sides.
  • Garnish with remaining strawberries and blueberries and enjoy!

 

Chocolate and Almond Biscottis

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What is holidays and merry making without any chocolate? A quintessential ingredient while baking because chocolate makes things taste darn delicious. One of my all time favorite holiday pairing is Chocolate and Almonds and when you get both these in a biscotti, its pure bliss. The magic of chocolate and almond is such that it entices you with every bite. The crunchy toasted almonds and the chunks of dark chocolate is a perfect treat for this holiday winter!

This year has been phenomenal for me. Everyday was a new day with lots of learn and relearn. Professionally and personally I have grown and become more confident. Yes, every path has its own hurdles, I learnt how to embrace it, work on it and come out of it sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully. And every lesson learnt called for a celebration and these biscottis is a reminder to the awesome year that almost flew past my eyes. A great treat to munch during the day before your ring in the new year. Crunchy, chocolaty and something which shouldn’t be missed this year!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 15 – 16 biscottis)

  • 120 grams blanched almonds
  • 110 grams all purpose flour
  • 110 grams whole wheat flour + extra for dusting
  • 135 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 grams dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C and line a baking try with parchment paper and keep aside. Spread the blanched almonds on the sheet and bake it for 10 – 12 minutes  until just fragnant.
  • One done remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Chop it roughly and keep aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Now in a bowl add the eggs and granulated white sugar and beat until thick and pale. This would take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat it for 30 – 40 seconds. To this add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt and beat it until just combined.
  • Now add roughly chopped chocolate chunks and almonds and fold in the mixture gently.
  • Transfer this dough to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out in the shape of a log around 12 – 13 inches long and 4 – 4.5 inches wide. Bake this for 22 – 25 minutes.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool for 5 – 7 minutes. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into pieces which is 3/4 inch – 1 inch thick.
  • Preheat your oven to 170C for atleast 10 minutes. Keep each piece of half baked biscotti side by side on the baking tray and put it to bake on one side for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Flip the biscottis on the other side and allow it to bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and allow it cool completely. Once cooled bite into this magical biscottis.
  • You can store it in an airtight container for 10 – 12 days.

 

 

Fig and Almond Cake

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Love to eat a cake at breakfast or do you love your tea time with a stumptuous piece of cake? Do not worry because this recipe has got you cravings covered. A simple and delicious cake often needs no introduction. A cake which has been adorning my breakfast and brunch tables these days is a Fig and Almond Cake. It is as pretty as it tastes and darn easy to make!

I must confess as much as I love eating cakes, I am not a bog fan of the frosting and fondants that come along with it. I hated it as a child because it was overly sweet and overpowered the true flavors of the cake and the feeling still prevails. When it comes to my kitchen, I enjoy baking cakes free of frosting. Something which is simple, naked and true to its flavors.

This cake is moist and fluffy. The combination of fresh and dried figs together in the cake is so magical. The subtle cardamom flavors lends an aromatic and spicy nature to the cake. The gorgeous and perfectly toasted almonds on the top adds the perfect crunch to the entire cake. Such simple ingredients yet a pretty little cake that you can never get bored off!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch cake)

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 egg
  •  3/4 cup plain buttermilk (you can use 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, room temperature + extra for greasing the cake tin
  • 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, for garnishing
  • 10 – 12 fresh figs, cut in circles for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter and flour the cake tin and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and salt and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract and keep aside.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixture and fold gently.
  • Add the dried figs to the mixture and fold in until its evenly spread.
  • Transfer the mixture to the cake mould. Now top it with fresh fig slices, sliced almonds.
  • Allow the cake to bake in the oven for 22 – 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, allow the cake to cool down, garnish with icing sugar, slice it and eat!

Enjoy!

 

Stone Fruit Galette

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Looking for a dish to adorn your sunday brunch table or a nice rustic dessert to make your weeknights exciting – this rustic stone fruit galette is the simple answer. It is goodness bundled into a fuss free easy pie which lets you enjoy the tone and the produce of the season. It’s a perfect way to show off the perfectly ripe and juicy stone fruits available in the market.

I am always enchanted by the rustic galettes. They are so appetizing and pretty to look that I want to eat the whole thing almost instantaneously. The wonderful colorful fruits are wrapped in a flakey rustic pastry, baked in no time and topped with sugar – oh so tempting! They are definitely less demanding than a pie and stunningly sumptuous. I heard someone say that its a lazy people’s pie. I am happy to be called lazy if the result is so deadly delicious.

I can’t rave enough about the versitality and the awesomeness of these galettes. Once you make then, they will become your best comfort food. A perfect farewell to the juicy and ripe stone fruits!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 8 – 10 people)

For the pastry:

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 gms granulated white sugar
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes and chilled
  • 6 – 7 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:

  • 300 grams of plums, seed removed and cut into wedges
  • 450 grams of peaches, seed removed and cut into wedges=
  • 3 tbsp of granulated white sugar (you can add 1 tbsp more if the stone fruits are sour)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • orange skin segments (optional)
  • mint leaves, to garnish (optional)
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, to garnish (optional)

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take all purpose flour, whol wheat flour, sugar and salt and whisk it. Now add the cold cubes of butter.
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. It is okay to see small chunks of the butter.
  • Now add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring together the dough.
  • Dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on it. Add more water if needed and bring it together to make a ball. Cling wrap it and refridgerate it for an hour atleast.
  • Meanwhile you can make the filling. Take the stone fruits in a bowl. Add sugar, vanilla or almond extract and salt and mix it.
  • Preheat your oven to 220C for atleast 15 – 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Once the dough it chilled, take it out and roll it out to 15 inch circle. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet.
  • Top the pastry with the fruit mixture (you can also layer it piece by piece) leaving 2 – 2.5 inch gap from the edges.
  • Fold the edges over the peaches gently or make pleats if necessary.
  • Take the lightly beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush on the folded edges which will give it a nice golden color.
  • Allow it to bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 200C or until golden crisp brown.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely. Garnish with icing sugar, orange skin segments and mint leaves.
  • Slice and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas

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Monsoon therapy with rustic Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas – pure joy! The rains lashing against the window panes, steaming cup of coffee and empanadas – perfect rainy afternoon. Dreamy yummy creations which is bursting with flavors. You have to be crazy to not enjoy these savory pockets!

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to try these out, probably your childhood memories surely will. Remember those vegetable patties and pies you enjoyed at the neighborhood bakery store… oh so delicious! The crisp and flaky pastry and the absolutely gorgeous stuffing…I am already dreaming about it while writing this post. While I was in the US, I often missed those patties until I stumbled upon these hot pockets filled with sumptuous stuffing called empanadas from a famous food truck in San Francisco. It ticked all the boxes for the things I was missing. Homely and satisfying.

I was trying my hands to make empanadas at home and guess what, I  was bursting with ideas. It almost took 1 week for me to calm down and decide about the filling. You can fill the dough with all your favorite things and enjoy these wonders.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 14 – 15 pieces)

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 grams butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 120 ml ice water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, chopped
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the dough:

  • Take all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it.
  • Using a pastry blender/ 2 forks or using the tips of your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a coarse crumb like mixture.
  • Beat 1 egg, ice cold water and white vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture and using a fork combine the entire mixture. Do not over knead it.
  • Generously dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on to it.
  • Bring together the entire dough together by gently kneading it.
  • Divide the dough into 2 halves, cling wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for atleast 1.5 hours.

For the mixture:

  • While the dough is resting, take a saucepan on medium heat. Put oil in it.
  • Once its hot add 1 tsp chili flakes and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it for a minute until it turns translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the mixture and let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the remaining chili flakes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and saute the mixture for couple of minutes,
  • Once done take it from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add grated cottage, spinach and mozzarella cheese and form a mixture using a spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat your oven to 230 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Take some dough and roll it out on a flat surface into round discs of similar sizes ( approximately 6 inch diameter)
  • Take the stuffing and place it on one side of the circle.
  • Take the other end of the dough and form a semi circle. Seal the edges as shown in the picture or by making knife impressions.
  • Once all the pies are formed, beat one egg and using a pastry brush, egg wash the top of the empanadas before they go into the oven to bake.
  • Place the pies atleast 1 inch apart and put it into the oven to bake at 200 C for 18 – 20 minutes, until the empanadas a golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve it hot with a yogurt dip and enjoy!