Jan 2, 2015

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting (No eggs)

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2015! I try to make something fun and new for new year's every year. Last year I made my first home-made ice cream. I decided to celebrate the end of 2014 and morning sickness by baking a fabulous cake!! I got a kitchenaid stand mixer in a black friday deal and I've been itching to get it out. I decided to make a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. I wanted to share some cake with my neighbors and they don't take eggs, so I decided to make the recipe egg-free!

I adpated Ina Garten's recipe for the cake to suit my needs and modified the frosting recipe that came with my stand mixer.

For the cake - 

Makes two 9" round cakes

Ingredients :

Butter or olive oil for greasing the cake tins

Flour - 1 3/4 cup
Brown sugar - 2 cups
Cocoa powder - 3/4 cup
Baking soda  2 tsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Milk - 1 cup (I used almond milk)
Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Eggs  - 2 (I used Ener-g egg replacer)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Boiling water  - 1 cup (you can use freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee dissolved in the boiling water) I skipped them because I didn't want too much caffeine in the cake.

Method - 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the cake pans and flour them.

Sift together the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment and mix for a few seconds.

Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl. Set the mixer to a slow speed and add the wet ingredients slowly.

Once well mixed and smooth, divide the batter between the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan first and then cool on a cooling rack. Now we are ready to frost!

Buttercream Frosting 

Ingredients -

Butter - 1 cup (room temperature)
Powdered sugar - 3 cups
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Half and half or cream - 3 tablespoons
A pinch of salt

Method - 

Place the butter in the stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, whip it for about 2-3 minutes till soft and fluffy.

Add the sugar a little at a time and keep mixing till fully incorporated.

Add the vanilla, salt and continue mixing.

Add the half and half till you reach the desired consistency. I wasn't sure how thick my frosting should be, so I added 3 tbsps of half and half and the frosting was soft but firm and not too sweet.

How to assemble - 

Place one cake on a cake stand. Add a big dollop of the icing and spread evenly. Place the other cake curved side down. Press gently. Now add another dollop of icing and spread evenly. Use a spatula to frost the sides. That's it. 

So simple in theory but so hard in practice!!

I don't have a cake stand, so frosting was a bit of a challenge. I used a plate and rotated it around to frost. It was a workout, lol. So get a good cake stand and a good offset spatula. I used a straight spatula here and it was really difficult to angle it right.

Place four strips of parchment paper on the plate/stand in a square shape. Then place the cakes on top and start frosting. At the end of frosting, you could just remove the paper and the excess frosting with it.

Wet your spatula for a smooth flat frosting surface. I made a swirly pattern which is not really showing up in the pictures but it gave it a nice, home-made look. 

Lastly I added Wilton gold star sprinkles on top for a festive touch!

It was so much fun making the cake!! I'm not a big dessert fan, so I won't be making this on the regular but for the next birthday in our home, I'm definitely going to try out other cake recipes!

Once again, I wish you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous new year!!

Dec 7, 2014

Cranberry Apple Muffins

Holidays are here!! I came home with a large bag of cranberries and apples a few weeks ago. While the apples were over in an instant, the cranberries just sat there for days! After searching high and low, I came upon this amazing recipe for cranberry apple muffins. They are literally the best things I've eaten in quite a while!! I modified the recipe a teeny bit and soon, I had the most perfect muffins ever!

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients :

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
A dash of ground cinnamon
1 - 1/4 cup almond milk
2 eggs
8 ounces butter - melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 - 1/2 cup fresh chopped cranberries
1 peeled and chopped honeycrisp apple (or another sweet variety)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon.

3. Whisk together the almond milk, eggs, melted butter and olive oil.

4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Add the apples, cranberries, walnuts and sugar and mix till combined and do not over mix!!

5. Bake for 25 minutes and voila, the most perfect sweet-tart muffins are your to devour!

I love the sweetness from the apples and the tartness from the cranberries. If you like to bake with fruits, this is definitely a must try recipe! Hope you enjoy the muffins.

Nov 27, 2014

Big Changes!

Hello there! Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been a roller coaster of sorts but I'm thankful for every single moment because the journey brought me to a fabulous destination. I'm thrilled to announce that we are expecting a baby in May of 2015! Husband and I are overjoyed and excited and nervous as all first time parents are.

First trimester has been um, interesting. I've been throwing up almost everyday. Everything in the world is a trigger and if you blog about food, well, good luck then. I couldn't even go through pinterest or read other food blogs, lol. I'm almost 14 weeks, so I hope to get back to food and cooking soon. My husband has been so supportive and has taken over the cooking. He is such a champ. Maddie has been an even bigger champ. She is super snuggly. While she is not snuggling with me, you can find her snuggled in my pregnancy pillow. She loves that thing, lol.

There is so much stuff to buy for the baby!! So far all I've bought is a cute 3 month outfit. I'll write more about what I'm buying once I start!! Here is an outfit picture I took last week! I'm not showing a lot yet. It will be fun to dress my bump moving forward.

I've gained weight all over, so nothing really fits. It's winter anyway, so I've been wearing sweater tunics and fleece leggings everywhere I go. I will need to start buying some maternity clothes soon!

We are also moving soon to a new place!! I'm so excited to decorate the house and get it ready for the baby. It will be fun to catalog the process in this blog.

Maddie at the new house!

I have some great recipes and some fun shopping to share. I look forward to blogging about them soon!! Hope you had an amazing thanksgiving day!!

Sep 14, 2014

Strawberry Cobbler

For the first time in history, today's dish was made entirely by the mister. I wasn't feeling my best and he made this to cheer me up. The house smelt like heaven and I was instantly transported to a better mood. So thank you, hubby!!

This is a cake like cobbler and the steps are so simple. First melt the butter in the pan while oven preheats. Second, pour in the batter. Third, pour in the cooked strawberries. Lastly, bake and serve. How much simpler can it get??

Ingredients -

Batter -

All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder  - 2 tsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Milk - 3/4 cup
Egg - 1

Strawberry mix -

Strawberries - 1 lb, hulled and chopped
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Cornstarch - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice or vinegar - 2 tsp (I used raspberry vinegar)
A pinch of cinnamon

For the pan -
Butter - 1/3 cup

Method :

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cut up the butter into pieces and place it in a 9x13 pan inside the oven while it preheats.

3. In a sauce pan, cook the strawberry mixture ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. Just till the strawberries soften. Set aside.

4.  Whisk together the batter ingredients to form a smooth, lump-free batter.

5.  In the pan with the melted batter, pour the batter. Then spoon in the strawberry mixture evenly. No need to mix or anything.

6. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30-35 minutes or till golden.

Enjoy as is or with ice cream!!

 I'm so glad to have this recipe in my kit. So far I've made peach cobbler and apple cobbler with the same recipe with very few modifications. The recipe works with any fruit. I love to microwave the leftovers for about 20 seconds and I have a warm goey dessert to enjoy after dinner for a week.  I hope you enjoy the recipe too!!