Tag: cakes

Mets la main à la pâte!(YEASTED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE) My first at Daring Bakers!

For the past few days, ever since India beat Australia in the Quarter Finals World Cup Match cricket has been the talk of the town. From Facebook updates to my college chain mails to newspaper articles- wherever you go – the India Pakistan match is the topic of conversation. I can only imagine the excitement in my hometown Mohali, where the match is being played today. The advertisers, airlines, hotels, all are cashing in on the much anticipated match. Jokes on Afridi and his men are doing the rounds among Indians on social networking sites while the Pakistinis are doing the same on their pages for the team in blue. The mind games have begun on both sides. After long I have been excited about a match- I think there is something about playing Pakistan that triggers every Indian’s blood and the do or die spirit takes over. Defeating Pakistan is for most Indians like winning the world cup. Every Indian today is praying that India wins- I have no more nails left to bite!

Putting the excitement aside for a while, I completed my first Daring Bakers challenge, although a little late! *Victory clasp!*

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

This entry was supposed to be posted on the 27th but since I was busy packing, travelling, shopping, packing again and more travelling, only now I got the time to bake for the challenge. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in this challenge. The recipe yields two cakes and thought I would do one savory version and one sweet.

While the sweet dough kneaded to form a sexy (as Ria and Jamie put it)!, elastic and smooth dough, I had a tough time with the savory dough- I just could not get the elasticity called for in the dough. I used the bread maker’s dough cycle, then used my own muscle strength and boy how I used them! I’m sure tomorrow I’ll have sore muscles- yes I had to knead THAT much!

I also had trouble with the dough rising. It took longer than usual and did not rise as much as I hoped it would. One mistake I did with the sweet dough, which could be a reason for the not rising problem is that when heating the milk with water and butter- the milk almost boiled and it was still quite hot when I poured it in the flour mixture. But, that still does not explain why the savory dough did not rise. Maybe the yeast?! Hmmm…..Anyways the dough eventually did rise.

In the savory version I thought of putting cheddar cheese and have mentioned so in the recipe but when I got to rolling of the dough I realised that I had no grated cheese on hand. Pressed for time as the match had started (the long rising time changed my whole schedule- I was supposed to have been done with baking by the time the match was to start), I put parmesan cheese- but would still recommend the cheddar cheese.

I decorated the savory yeasted cakes by painting on it using a coffee-yolk mixture. (To see how to paint on your bread check this out!) For  painting I did not have a brush. I used an unused lipstick brush from my kit. Of course I washed it thoroughly. The things I do for baking!

The oven still gave me problems while baking- it does not heat evenly. So I had to make sure that I keep shifting the trays. It also took me longer than the stated time to bake the yeasted cakes as they were not getting brown from the top-nor was the hollow sound coming. As a result the sweet yeasted cake got burned from the bottom. I miss my own oven!!:(

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CHRISTMAS FRUITCAKE

Merry Christmas!

When I was young, every Christmas, one of my mom’s friends, would gift us a loaf of fruitcake. It was the most delicious cake I have ever had. Growing up, I experimented tasting other fruitcakes, but nothing ever came close to that cake and well, the other fruitcakes just put me off fruitcakes altogether. This Christmas I wanted to recreate the same recipe. I tried asking my mom to get the recipe from her friend, but, unfortunately she did not have her number. One thing my mom did know about the recipe, though, was that she would make it at least a month before Christmas, soaking the cake with booze every few days.

So, the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, I started prep for my version of fruitcake. One thing I was sure that I did not want to use in the cake, was candied fruit. I was so sure about that, that even before searching for an apt recipe, I had already bought dried fruits. So I looked into my cookbooks, but none carried the recipe that made the cut. Then , I turned to my next best friend, google, for the recipe. And I found Alton Brown’s. Now, I loooooove his series Good Eats and the recipe is from one of the episodes of the series that aired this recipe. Besides not including any candied fruits, the recipe also got rave reviews. I did tweak it a bit by including the dried fruits I bought. My list included black figs, calmyrna figs, dried currants, medjool dates, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, monukka raisins, pitted prunes, sultanas. I used brandy instead of rum as thats what I had on hand. Since, I planned to gift the cakes to a few of my friends, I tripled the recipe.

The dried fruits chopped up and covered in sugar

I have never baked so many cakes together at one time before. And, there was this nagging feeling telling me- this is not a good idea. I did not have a bowl big enough to mix the whole batter. Then the oven wasn’t so big to accommodate all the cakes and having enough space for air circulation. Anyways, I thought to myself, if they are an utter failure- well, I’ll keep them for myself and make a pudding!

Three weeks later, they are all wrapped and ready to be gifted to friends, save for one- the one for us. Now, of course, I don’t remember the taste of the fruitcake I had eons back, but this version has been the best I have eaten since then!

All wrapped up!

Alton Brown likes to have his slice toasted with some mascarpone cheese! Like Alton Brown says, this is Good Eats!

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APPLE COFFEE CAKE WITH CRUMBLE TOPPING AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZE

Thanksgiving is in the air! Food Network and the Cooking Channel are filled with recipes for thanksgiving. Even google’s search page had a thanksgiving doodle by Ina Garten (of Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa fame). Its such a wonderful festive time. After Thanksgiving its time for Christmas! I think this is the best time to be in the US. Everybody is in the festive mood and in the mood to EAT! Loads of cook shows, loads of recipes, loads of calories to put on!

Now, V doesn’t eat any other meat than chicken and sometimes, lamb meat (though prefers it only when it is in a kebab form). So turkey for thanksgiving was out of the question. Even though after watching so many thanksgiving shows I was really keen on trying my hand at one. Alas! Acceptance (like my dad said)- thats a key to a successful marriage – and that’s what I did and made my peace with it.

We are having a pot luck on Friday at V’s friends place in Phoenix, and somehow living 4 hours away doesn’t justify not bringing something to eat and since this is going to be like a Thanksgiving feast but with Indian dishes, I thought of taking a dessert that would be somewhat true to Thanksgiving. Now, its not the traditional pumkin pie, or any other kind of pie- because I don’t know how well it will hold off till the next day (but, to tell you the truth, the actual reason is that I’m still not confident with pie crusts- they are still my nemesis-hopefully soon that would change- fingers crossed!). So, I decided to make an Apple coffee cake with crumble topping instead. The recipe is from the Food network site and its Emeril Lagasse’s. Well, what can I say about that guy, I love the guy and his show Emeril Live! Reading the reviews (its got a five-star rating), I am hoping the recipe won’t disappoint.

Note: I did double the crumble topping because I love the crumbs on top! I also took out a few pieces for us for two reasons- one, so that I know what I am serving is good and two, well it smelled so darn good that it was hard to resist!

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