French Strawberry Cake

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One of the best things about the onset of spring and the weather warming up, is the abundance of fresh fruit and veg in my part of the world. This year we’ve already seen an abundance of beautiful strawberries in the market. And the blueberries are close behind. I’ve only just come to realize that I haven’t baked much with fresh fruit in a very long time. So during the last grocery run, I picked up a few punnets of strawberries. Though I think the best way to enjoy them is eating them straightaway, I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to try baking with them.

After a bit of searching, I found just the sort of recipe I was looking for – a French Strawberry Cake. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the strawberries after baking and I’ve often found cake recipes either bland or just sweet with very little going for it in terms of flavor. Not this cake though. It was really easy to make, full of flavor and really delicious. I’d fo as far as saying it had a personality of its own. This recipe sure is a keeper. I made a few minor modifications to the recipe and was really happy with how it turned out. This would be perfect for morning or afternoon tea. It makes quite an impression in a simple, elegant way just in case you’re expecting people over. I love having such recipes on hand. 

French Strawberry Cake
Yields: A 9 inch cake
Adapted from: Foodtastic Mom
350-400 gms fresh strawberries
115g butter, at room temperature / softened 
1 cup sugar + 1 tbsp extra
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup plain, unflavored Greek Yogurt
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Line and grease a 9 inch round cake tin and set aside.
Hull and slice the strawberries.
Whisk the butter and 1 cup sugar till pale and fluffy.
Now add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the vanilla and beat till incorporated.
In another bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder to mix well and set aside. 
Now alternating between the two, add the flour and Greek yogurt to the mixing bowl, beating till just incorporated before adding the next. (I divide the flour into 3 parts and the Greek yogurt in 2 parts. Start with one part of the flour, next one part of the yogurt and continue till it is all added to the batter.)
Fold in the sliced strawberries, setting aside a few of the outer side slices.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. 
Now place some of the reserved side slices of strawberry on the top of the cake and lightly press into the cake batter. (This step is optional and you could just add all the strawberries in at one time and fold into the batter. But I think this makes the cake look prettier.)
Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over the top of the cake evenly.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes till a skewer pierced through the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan itself.
When completely cool, slice and serve.
If you need any more strawberry-licious inspiration, here are some of my previous posts featuring strawberries –
Strawberry Lassi

Mawa Cake … with a recipe for Instant Mawa

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So last week I shared with you a lesser known, but extremely yummy recipe for a biscuit found in the Pune-Mumbai region – Shrewsbury Biscuits. If you haven’t seen that yet, go check it out, I’ll still be here when you get back.

Okay, so you’re back. Today, is the turn for another lesser known recipe, this time for a cake called Mawa Cake. Again, as far as I know this cake is found in the Pune-Mumbai region. Kayani Bakery in Pune and Merwan’s Cake shop in Mumbai are popular for their Mawa cake, though you will find quite a few other shops selling this cake. They are usually sold in packs of 6 – 6 muffin sized pieces. This simple cake is so very special. It is not much to look at, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. If you’ve never heard about this cake before, you should put it on your list of recipes to try out. Mawa is nothing but milk solids and this is widely used in a lot of Indian sweets.

A lot of people cringe at the thought of making their own mawa and just buy it from the local Dairy shop in India. This is because, while it is a simple process of reducing milk, working with about a litre of milk could take you about an hour to process. In the past, I have made Mawa the traditional way a couple of times. But for this cake, I decided to try out a cheat’s version of Mawa. This method takes literally 2 minutes at the most, and you would never be able to tell that it is an instant version.  I’m so happy that I found this method. I have a whole bunch of recipes for Indian sweets that I’ve been ignoring, simply because it calls for Mawa. But that has changed, so you can expect to see some more Indian sweets / Mithai recipes, just before the Indian festival season starts.

Back to the cake. If you have your Mawa sorted out, the rest of the recipe is like a simple pound cake one but with a serious flavor profile. The Mawa adds a richness to the cake and it is mildly flavored with cardamom powder, resulting in a very exotic tasting cake. This time around my husband made the cake, which I guess made it even tastier (lol). He chose to bake this in an 8″ round cake tin, but you could bake it in a cupcake tray too. I do hope you try it out.

Mawa Cake
Yields: an 8 inch cake or 15-16 cupcakes

1 portion of homemade mawa (recipe below) or 200g unsweetened mawa
200g all purpose flour
300g sugar
200g butter
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (Seeds of about 10-12 green cardamom pods, powdered)

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Grease and line an 8-Inch Round Cake Pan with parchment paper / baking paper. Alternatively, if you are baking them in cupcake sizes, line a Cupcake tray with paper liners.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the whites to a stiff froth and keep aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks till light and creamy.

Add the mawa, cardamom powder, baking powder and flour and mix till well incorporated. (If the mawa in store bought or is a firm block, grate it before adding into the batter)

Fold in the beaten egg whites gently till just evenly incorporated in the batter.

Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes (if using a cupcake tray, bake for 15-20 minutes) or till a bamboo skewer inserted near the middle of the cake come out clean.

Cool completely, cut and serve. Don’t get fooled by the look of the cake. It tastes a whole lot better than it looks. And don’t forget, if my husband (who has probably not baked more than a handful of times so far), can whip this up, so can you.

Enjoy!!!

How to make Instant Mawa?


1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup full fat milk powder

Warm the ghee and the milk together. You just want this mixture warm, not hot.

Add the milk powder and stir and cook till it comes apart from the pan and starts forming a ball.

Use to make mawa cake.

Notes: If you are baking the cake in a  regular cake tin and not a cupcake tray, in some cases, the milk solids may cause the cake to brown quickly. This is normal, but if you think it is browning too fast and may burn, cover the tin loosely with aluminium foil and continue baking till the cake is done. 




Date and Walnut Cake …. keeping it real !!!

Updated with a new picture and the video recipe. 


Have you tried a date and walnut cake before? A lot of people haven’t. If you’ve spent some time in Bombay and been a part of celebrations there, every now and then you will find a Date & Walnut Cake pop up. This cake is a beautiful tea cake. It has a lovely flavor from the dates, a crunch from the walnuts and a rich, dark color that the dates lend to it. It has the most beautiful, luscious crumb. I can’t praise this cake enough. You have to try it to believe it. Its a shame I don’t make this cake more often.

As for keeping it real, I know a lot of food blogs are perfect. Not just picture perfect, but flawless in so many ways. My little blog is far from that. I like that it is human in that way. Even in my kitchen, there are times where I make some boo boos, I have brain farts and sometimes, I just could’ve planned better. This is one of those times where my brain was on a trip of its own. Maybe I was just over excited about this cake. While this cake batter is really easy to put together, I forgot to put the walnuts in it. I only realized this after pouring the batter into my parchment lined loaf pan. So what did I do? I just poured the walnuts on top and tried to stir it through the batter. That is why, you’ll notice the walnuts are mostly near the top of the cake. If you add them to the batter when you are supposed to, it will be better distributed. Now I could’ve waited till I baked this cake again to post this recipe. But in the true spirit of keeping it real and not wanting to keep this recipe from you any longer, I decided to post it with its tiny imperfection. I cannot tell you how amazing this cake is and I do hope you try it out.

Here’s the video recipe, to help you through the process –





Date & Walnut Cake
200g walnuts, chopped
100g dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
100g butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp soda bi carb
1 tsp vanilla essence
Place the chopped dates in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle soda bi carb over the dates. 
Place the sugar and butter in the bowl with the dates and pour the boiling water over. 
Stir gently and set aside to cool.
In the meanwhile line a loaf tin with parchment paper and grease the base and sides.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
When the mix has cooled down, beat the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl.
Add the eggs and flour in three batches alternating between the two. (Add 1/3 of the eggs and whisk, add 1/3 of the flour and whisk until just combined and continue like this working in thirds.)
Add the walnuts and stir through the batter. 
Pour into the prepared baking tray and bake immediately.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes or till a skewer pierced through the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let it cool down. Slice and enjoy with a steaming hot cup of tea.

SRC: 2-minute Nutella Mug Cake … with just 4 ingredients

I don’t know what I’m most excited about – the SRC reveal, this 2-minute cake, the Nutella in it or that it uses just 4 ingredients. It’s safe to say that I’m super happy with this recipe. For this month’s SRC assignment I had Cathleen’s blog, A Taste of Madness. Picking a recipe for this month’s reveal was particularly tough. Cathleen loves baking and is a big fan of anything covered in chocolate, in a nutshell. After spending some time going through her blog, I think we could become good friends. I know we like the same kind of food. How do I know that? Its simple really. I wanted to make (almost) every single recipe I came across on her blog. Seriously, go over to Cathleen’s blog and check it out. You can thank me later 🙂 With great difficulty I narrowed my choices for this reveal down to her Coconut Oatmeal Cake, Homemade Caramels, this crazy Smores Brownie Pie, these Gooey Cinnamon Squares and the Nutella Mug Cake. After a lot of deliberation, serious deliberation, the Nutella Mug Cake won.

4 ingredients, a quick stir and 2 minutes later, your kitchen will smell amazing and you’ll have a little mug of deliciousness in the form of this cake ready. This recipe was really the obvious choice for this reveal when I think of it, atleast subconsciously. My first mug cake recipe – this 2-minute Chocolate Mug Cake is one of the more popular recipes on my blog. And I know why. The appeal of instant gratification is hard to turn down. So if you lurve your Nutella, treat yourself to this Mug Cake.

2-minute Nutella Mug Cake


4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Nutella
3 tbsp milk

Whisk all the ingredients together. I find it easiest to whisk everything together in a bowl.

Pour the batter into a microwave safe mug.

Microwave for about 90 seconds and see if its done. If its not done, microwave in 30 second increments as needed.

Enjoy!!!

2-minute Chocolate Chip Mug Cake … bonus SRC post

So like I promised on SRC reveal day here, here is the bonus post from my assigned blog.

We recently moved houses and while I didn’t have a microwave in the previous place, this place came with a microwave. I’ve have wanted to add a few microwave recipes on the blog for some time now, but I really didn’t want to buy one to do this. Now microwave cooking is not my method of choice. But I believe that anyone should be able to enjoy home made food. I know that there are folks out there that don’t own an oven so here’s how you can make small portions of cake at home without an oven. I have shared one recipe before for a 2 minute chocolate mug cake. We enjoyed it a lot. And looks like you did too. It is one of the most popular posts on the blog. I know, right? Who would’ve thought that a humble microwave cake recipe would be this popular. Certainly not me. So while I was looking at posts on Burnt Apple, I spotted this 2-minute mug cake recipe.

Now this may come as a little bit of a surprise to you, but this was also meant to be a chocolate cake recipe. The original recipe uses chocolate chips and I followed the recipe to the letter but I didn’t end up with a chocolate cake but something more like a layered cake. The top was a plain sponge but as you dig in you see little specks of chocolate from the chocolate chips and right at the base of the mug you will find this ooey-gooey molten chocolate. Totally not intentional, but pretty darn amazing. Also, did I mention that this is like an instant cake fix. That’s the part I really love. Another plus is the portion control. These are individual serves, so you really can’t go overboard. I was very pleased with this happy little accident. I think I might have to look for a few more such recipes.

2-minute Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

(This makes one portion. Feel free to double the recipe to make two portions.)


3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips

Place all the ingredients in a microwave safe mug.

Stir the mix till smooth.

Microwave on high for 90 seconds. (This was the recommendation of the original recipe. I had to keep mine in for another 60 seconds. Every microwave is different, so please check at the 90 seconds mark and use 30 second increments, if needed.)

The cake will be scalding hot. Let it stand for 2-3 minutes before eating.

For a slightly more indulgent treat, serve with a scoop of ice cream or with some whipped cream.

Enjoy!

The deeper your spoon goes, the more chocolate you find 🙂


The best Baked Cheesecake ever

Those of you who follow my blog posts will know that my recipe titles which are normally my post titles usually never make lofty claims. This time it just had to be done. I believe, yes, truly believe that I have come across the best cheesecake recipe.

Let’s go back to where it all began, shall we! My husband and I were sitting one evening and watching the latest season of Masterchef Australia (one of my favourite food shows) and it happened to be a Masterclass episode. I’m so stoked they brought back the Masterclass episodes this year. I felt quite cheated out of them last year. Anyway, Matt Preston was making a baked cheesecake. We love cheesecake in our house. So we were very keen to check this masterclass out. Long story short, we loved the way his cheesecake turned out and decided that we would try it sometime soon.

Now I didn’t know how soon “soon” would actually be. I figured it would be a while before I got a chance to make one of them. Turned out, my husband had other plans. The following Saturday while I was at work (yes, unfortunately I do work some weekends), he actually went to the shops and picked out all the ingredients for the cake and had it prepped by the time I got home from work. We popped it in to bake and then in the fridge to set. After dinner that day we were both anxious to see how it turned out. It was HEAVENLY. Soft, creamy, beautifully flavoured with a fantastic crust. We we both very, very pleased with the way this cheesecake turned out and I can happily say that this will now be my go-to recipe for a baked Cheesecake. Thank you Matt Preston! and thank you Masterchef Australia!

Baked Cheesecake


For the base – 
1 packet of Granita biscuits (250g pack) (if you can’t find Granita biscuits, you can use Digestive biscuits instead)
60g sugar
75 g butter, melted

For the filling – 
750g cream cheese, at room temperature
230g or 1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
300ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 175ºC.

Line a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Double wrap the outside of the cake tin with extra wide aluminium foil. This is to make the tin water tight to ensure that water from the little water bath you will create for the cake, doesn’t seep into the cake.

For the base, blitz the biscuits in a food processor till you get crumbs. Add the sugar and blitz again for a couple of seconds till its mixes well. Add the unsalted butter and blitz again to combine.

At this stage, your base mix should resemble coarse wet sand.

Press the mix into the bottom of the prepared cake tin, spreading it out with the back of a large wooden spoon to even it out.

Bake for 10 minutes till lightly brown and set.

Remove the tin from the oven and set aside to cool. This base should be completely cooled before you add the filling.

For the filling, place the cream cheese in a stand mixer and using a padding attachment beat till smooth and creamy.

Add the sugar and beat till the sugar has completely dissolved.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition and make sure the egg is fully incorporated in the mix before adding the next one.

Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and mix until well combined.

Now add the cream and mix until well combined.

Pour the mix over the cooled base. Set the cake tin in the middle of a larger roasting tray or larger baking dish. You want to ensure your roasting tray / baking dish has high sides. Set this on the middle rack of the oven.

Carefully, fill the roasting tray with boiling water upto a 2 cm height and bake till the cake has set and the top is a little golden brown. This should take about 65 minutes.

Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside the oven to cool with the oven door closed.

Then take the cheesecake and leave to cool completely.

Cover it and pop it into the fridge to cool a little and set further.

Serve with fresh berries if desired. But even by itself, the cake is so good you’ll be glad you baked it.

Chocolate Mud Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Today, let me tell you a little story. Its a story about a cake that looked a little ordinary. But we’ve all heard about how looks are deceptive, and in this case it was so very true. I made this cake a while ago and have no idea why I hadn’t gotten around to posting about it yet. I made this cake for my husband’s birthday last February. To give you a little perspective, at the end of January last year, we finally moved into an apartment here in Sydney, before which we were in a little studio apartment with a little kitchenette for the previous six months. I was excited to have a kitchen, but we’d only just moved and were still working on getting everything in place, namely furniture, appliances and the like. I knew I wanted to bake my husband his birthday cake, because he honestly doesn’t care for the store-bought stuff anymore and I hadn’t baked in more than 10 months.

So with a single cake pan and a wooden spoon, I set out to bake this cake. Please excuse the aesthetics on this one and don’t let it fool you for a single moment. This cake was so very good, I was amazed. I know I will make this recipe again. This cake was down right delicious. I think I might’ve jumped the gun when I tried to sandwich the cake with the icing. I now know better. I would’ve had a better looking cake had I just iced it on top. Which is why I don’t have a picture of the entire cake, just one enticing piece 🙂  That’s something I know I will do differently the next time. But all said, this is a winner of a recipe.

Chocolate Mud Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from: La Mia Vita Dolce

For the cake – 
400g butter, chopped into cubes
400g dark chocolate, chopped
15g instant coffee powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
60 ml water
225g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
25g cocoa
6 large eggs
440g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Line a 9″ round cake tin with parchment paper and lightly grease it.

Place the butter, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir and heat till melted. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Sift another 2 times.

Beat the eggs and sugar till pale and thick.

Add the chocolate mixture and beat till combined.

Fold in the flour cocoa mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.

Bake for 90 minutes or till done.

Leave it in the baking tin to cool for about 10 minutes.

Take it out of the cake tin and cool it down completely.

Note: According to the Donna Hay Magazine, where this recipe is originally from, she recommends testing a mud cake with a skewer. Piece the skewer into the center of the cake. It will emerge coated in cake. Roll the cake from the skewer onto your fingertips. If it balls up and feels tacky, the cake is done. Take the cake out of the oven.

For the ganache –


250 ml single cream
300g dark chocolate, chopped


Place the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir till melted and smooth.

Cool to room temperature.

To assemble – 

When the cake has completely cooled, spread the completely cooled ganache over the cake.

Serve.

Note: I did cut and split the cake into 2 layers and placed some ganache in the center. This is something I won’t do the next time, it just messes up the finish. I would recommend baking the layers separately, if you’re keen on a layered mud cake.  

What to do with left over egg yolks!

Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter! We enjoyed some wonderful moments with family all Sunday.

So you’ve made your own Easter goodies and have some egg yolks left over. What do you do with them? This time around, I made some egg yolk cake. I added a tinge of lemon to the cake and made a lemon glaze to go over it. This isn’t the prettiest cake you’ve seen, but don’t let that fool you. This cake was so, so good. It had a lovely sponge and the tang of the lemon glaze was just perfect. Mind you, this has a powerful lemon punch. The citrus flavor is just perfect for these warm days. It just tastes so fresh. If you’re a lemon lover, please try this cake out, I can tell you, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t do too many foolish things like I did. If you’re wondering what these were, well for starters check out what I got my hands on very recently.

Pretty, isn’t it? I was so excited that I was finally using it, that I forgot to grease it and here’s the outcome. Be warned, its not pretty, but in the spirit of keeping it real, you should see that there are a few baking disasters that I encounter along the way.

Have you had any baking disasters? Write in and tell me about it, it would be nice to know that I’m not the only one these things happen to. Also, please use superfine sugar or grind your granular sugar to a fine powder or you’ll have a cake dotted with granular sugar like I did. I don’t know why or how I ended up doing stuff like this. The only reason I can come up with is exhaustion. Note to self – Even though baking is therapeutic, avoid baking when you’re exhausted and the weather outside is blistering hot.

Anywho, inspite of all these crazy happenings, I am glad to report that this cake was a great one and I’m definitely going to make this again, minus all the disastrous details though. Thankfully, after using the bundt pan, I still had enough batter for a 6″ cake, that turned out fairly well.

Lemony Egg Yolk Cake
Adapted from: Cooks.com

8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
Juice of half a lemon
Rind of a lemon

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Beat the egg yolks till light.

Add the sugar gradually, beating well while adding.

Add the hot water gradually, beating continuously.

Add the juice and rind of the lemon.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add it to the batter. Mix thoroughly till well incorporated.

Pour batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until done.

For the Lemon Glaze – 
2/3 cup of castor sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Stir this together and drizzle over cake when it is still hot.

As it cools, the glaze crystalizes in the yummiest possible way.

Enjoy!




Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I celebrated my birthday last week and I wanted a cake that I’d never made before and strangely I wanted one without frosting. Go figure! Anyway I’d been thinking of trying my hand at making a Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a while and this was the perfect opportunity. I found a recipe by Nigella Lawson and you guys know how much I love her food. So I tried it out and quite liked it. A few points to note however, is she recommends using a can of pineapple in pineapple juice and not syrup, but I could only find cans in syrup. This made the slices of pineapple a little sweeter than I would’ve liked, but the great thing was that the cake was not to sweet so the combination turned out really well. One thing that I’m going to do differently the next time I make this cake is try to caramelize the pineapple somehow, I’m thinking of using brown sugar to sprinkle in the pan or to caramelize the slices of pineapple on a griddle or something, I haven’t quite decided yet, but I know for a fact that I’m going to try fresh pineapple the next time. The canned slices that I used definitely lacked flavor. I’d love to hear of any recipes that you use or any tips that’ll give me the results I want the next time around.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Adapted from: Nigella Lawson

100g butter + extra to grease the cake pan
100g sugar + 2tbsp to sprinkle in the cake pan
2 eggs
100g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 bicarbonate of soda
6 slices of pineapple

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Butter a 9″ round cake tin. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of sugar on the buttered base of the tin and place the pineapple slices in a circle around the pan and place one in the center.

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat together to form the cake batter.

Pour out the batter carefully to cover the pineapple rings. You may think you don’t have sufficient batter at first, I did. But spoon the batter over the slices and gently and very light handedly spread it with a spoon if necessary to cover the rings. Trust Nigella here, the pineapple to cake ratio is perfect.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Place a plate over the cake tin and in one deft move, turn the pan and plate upside down to un-mould the cake.

Voila! You have yourself your very own Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Enjoy!

This recipe is linked to –
Sweet Tooth Friday
Friday Potluck
Sweets for a Saturday