Posts Tagged ‘baking’

One of my recurring nightmares while in the third semester of my Masters degree was that I’d missed a date for submission for an assignment. Third semester was highly disorienting, we’d have 20 assignments due within 2 weeks time, with submission dates almost within 2 – 3 days of each other. Even the most organized of people on campus had panic attacks about over looking a crucial piece of paper, not being able to take a print out, computers crashing and forgetting days and dates.

I for one, still end up counting days and dates wrong!!! And so I imagine today was the first day of the Recipe Marathon, and that today was the fabulous 17th of May when we all begin on this challenge on posting one recipe each day for the next 15 days!! Thankfully I don’t have any “life sustaining” credits to earn on this challenge. So I shall go ahead and imagine, that today is a beautiful Day 1 when I start my highly ambitious project of posting one recipe every day.

My in laws had come to visit over this weekend. I love cooking for my niece and nephew – kids give you the most open hearted, frank opinions on how your food taste. They’re generous with their appreciate, precise with their criticism. I packed some tutti frutti sour cream cake for them.

It’s a not too dense, not too light cake that’s most delicious when warmed slightly and eaten with ice cream on the side.


  • All Purpose Flour – 2 cups
  • Sugar – 3/4th cup
  • Cinnamon – 1 stick
  • Sour Cream – 3/4th cup
  • Curd – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Cooking Soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Tutti Frutti or Chocolate Chips or Butterscotch – 1 cup


  1. Line a 12 inch or equivalent Baking Pan. Mix Cooking Soda and Baking Powder with the Curd. Powder the sugar and cinnamon stick together.
  2. Mix All Purpose Flour, Cinnamon Sugar, Sour Cream, Curd and Milk together. Add the Tutti Frutti (or Chocolate Chips or Butterscotch).
  3. Pour batter into the Baking Pan. Bake at 220 degrees centigrade for 40 – 50 minutes.
  4. Put a toothpick in the center of the cake after the 30th minute to check for if the cake is done. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
  5. Cool the cake, cut into pieces and store.

Another look at the cake – turned upside down.

The good people who posted on the actual Day 1:


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Chocolate Apple Brownies – low fat and vegan

My “bestest” days are when my kitchen experiments translate into success. One of the interesting food events that I stumbled upon is the Heart of the Matter – eating for life that rounds up heart friendly recipes each month based on a theme. This month’s theme is Baking. I find it interesting not because I am a health fanatic – in fact most of my favourite indulgences are far from low fat – but because:

a. Zero Butter low fat cooking opens up a whole world of amazing possibilities – Cakes and Brownies can graduate from a “once in a while” indulgences to a routine snacks.

b. I find it challenging to recreate the magic of food for those whose health affinities don’t permit these indulgences cooked the conventional way.

Here’s a “low fat- no dairy” recipe that I adapted using Emeril’s Microwave Double Chocolate Brownies as a reference. It qualifies as both low fat and vegan – and personally I am very satisfied with the yummy result it produced.

Chocolate Apple Cake

Chocolate Brownie with an Apple flavour

Preparation time: 10 minutes, Baking time: 5 minutes, Yield: 10 brownies


  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Nuts (Powdered)##
  • 1/4 cups Nuts (Chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar (40 grams Powdered) (or 1/2 a cup for a sweeter taste)
  • 3 ounces Dark Chocolate (or 4 ounces for more chocolatey taste)
  • 1/2 cup Apple Puree* ##
  • 1 large Banana (Pureed) **
  • 1 tbsp Coffee (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence (or flavourings of your choice)
  • a pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder**

cups = 8oz measures .


  1. Line a baking dish (an 8 inch square dish or equivalent in other shapes) with wax paper.
  2. Coarsely chop the Dark chocolate into small pieces and transfer to a microwave safe glass dish. Micro on high for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate every 30 seconds. Whisk into a smooth paste with the Apple Puree and Banana Puree. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix the All purpose flour, powdered nuts, chopped nuts, salt and sugar.
  4. Add chocolate mixture, flavorings – coffee and vanilla and whisk into a smooth batter. Add baking powder and mix well.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and Microwave on high for 5 minutes (Timings for a 900 watts oven). Stick a plastic knife or toothpick in the center to check for doneness. #

Cut into pieces after cake cools completely and store in an air tight container.

*Slice Apples and micro on high for 4 minutes and blend in a blender. Strain the puree and blend the coarse lump that is left on the strainer. Repeat till you get a smooth puree.
Alternatively if you puree raw apples, melt Chocolate along with the Apple Puree for 2 minutes.

##Apple Puree and Powdered Nuts have been used as butter substitutes to add richness to the Cake. Apple Sauce can be used in place of Apple Puree though this might make the cake sweeter.

**Banana and Baking Powder have been used as substitutes for Egg. Banana also serves as a natural sweetener.
# Over cooking can result in cake becoming very crumbly.

The brownies were mildly fruity in taste and had a wonderful crust for something that’s been baked in a microwave. People with a sweet tooth might find the sweetness on the lower side and chocolate fanatics might need an ounce more of chocolate to make it more decadent. For Brownies that are richer, I suggest increasing the chocolate by an ounce and sugar by a few tablespoons.


Heart friendly low fat vegan Chocolate Apple Brownies for Heart of the Matter 8: Baking hosted by Joanna.

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We had a long weekend and I took to blog hopping and posting random musings – like this previous post on Nagapattinam with pictures of my family temple. While I was blog hopping I saw almost everyone showing off their cook books! After seeing Suganya’s Tassajara cook book, I had to muster some courage to show off my humble belongings! 🙂 . I have a modest collection of cook books. I gather most of my cooking knowledge from my mother and aunts, my friends and acquaintances and their mothers and patties, random people I meet on holidays like this person who cooks at a guest house in a remote hill station, chefs at marriages and functions at all kinds, cookery shows like that of Sanjeev Kapoor and now food bloggers and food websites. Having travelled throughout India, I have met a whole lot of interesting people and been introduced to their cuisine.

So here are my cook books with some memories. Hope you don’t find my narration boring! 😀

Just before my marriage, I was attending a Nirmal (a traditional art form) painting class, around 5 km from my home. I wanted to join the bakery course conducted in the same place. One day on my way back from the classes I lost my purse with around Rs.7! Rs. 7 in those days was a loooooooooot of money for a youngster. I was so upset that I created a scene after reaching home! My mother got scared seeing my crest fallen face and refused to send me to the class from the next day. I somehow convinced her and joined a painting class closer home, though I was pretty upset about not being able to attend the baking class. Since I was so keen to learn baking my Appa who travelled a lot as a part of his job at Telecoms bought a cake book from Manneys, Poona for Rs. 50. Yes 26 years back the book was only Rs. 50 !!

Woman’s Own Cook Book of Cake Decorating and Cake Making is a large collection of recipes published by Hamlyn Publishing, London. No author/s have been mentioned anywhere in the book. This book was my introduction to the world of baking. Though my mother baked eggless cakes in a round gas oven, I learnt baking and decoration from this book! For the rich fruit cake I follow the recipe from this book, omitting rum.

My Coo<a mce_thref=kbooks 4

The other book I cherish is my handwritten note book which is a treasure house of recipes from my mom and aunts, with exact measurements and rare dishes! This is the only book I follow 100%, with no modifications to the recipes. 🙂

My Cookbooks1
I am also fond of the Tupperware cook book in which some of my recipes were published. 😉

My Cookbooks 3

I have a few cook books by Tarla dalal – some of them are with my daughter now. I like her North Indian recipes – simple and practical. Supersoft naans with Navratna kurma is the first dish I prepared from her books. TarlaDalal comes across as a simple and lovable person in her cookery shows! 🙂

I would like to send this as my entry for “Show me your Cook Book” the event hosted by Nags (Nags, please do accept my entry even if it is 3 days late!:)

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I am awful at Math, especially for someone whose parents eat mental arithmetic for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But as far as cooking is concerned, this is how my math works:

A series of chocolatey posts at Emily’s ROL blog + a double chocolate treat at Jugalbandi+ a follow on @ Arundhati’s Escapades + a Madrasi’s chocolate indulgence = “I need to cook some Chocolate before I go mad”.

Now the elements of my eco system have this compulsive need to conspire against me at the most unnecessary hour – the nearest store ran out of cooking chocolate stock and chose to remain closed the following day. Hmph!!! Dear conspiring elements, FYI, there is ancient recipe which makes it possible for me to make brownies without the cooking chocolate. I chose to make the eggless version, since I have developed strong disliking for the smell of egg after my failed attempts at making poached and boiled eggs a part of the breakfast menu.

I am yet to invest in a convection oven (Dont ask me why -My parents furnished my kitchen exactly a year ago), so I made these in the microwave. Microwave Brownies aren’t as crusty as the ones made in a convection oven, but make delightful pudding bases.

Preparation: 10 minutes, Baking: 5 minutes, Yield: lasts two gluttons 10-15 days.

Chocolate Cake for Brownies

Chocolate Cake for Brownies
The above photos are each a portion of batter cooked. I baked in two installments. If you plan to do this, please refridgerate the remaining batter.


  • All Purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Cocoa Powder – 1 cup (increase or decrease as desired)
  • Sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • Butter – 1/2 cup
  • Milk Powder – 1 cup
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Curd – 1/2 cup
  • Nuts of your choice – as desired (I din’t add any)
  • Flavourings of your choice – 1 tsp (Vanilla, Instant Coffee, Almonds)

*cups= 225ml or 8oz

  1. Line an Oven Proof Dish with Wax Paper. (or spread 1 tsp oil over a normal white paper lined in). Note: Dont choose a deep dish, thick brownies may end up becoming very fluffy and more cake like in the microwave.
  2. Powder the Sugar. Mix all ingredients into a smooth batter.
  3. Pour batter into the Oven Proof Dish. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Check after the 4th minute for doneness by inserting the back of a spoon or fork through the cake. (Timings are for a 900 watts oven).
  4. Set aside for cooling. Invert into a flat plate and cut into pieces. Store in an air tight container.

Note: Overcooking or cutting while its still warm can make the cake very crumbly.

Is there a vegan version? No clue, though I dont see why one couldn’t try this with soymilk substitutes. Is this low fat? No idea, though I dont think 1/2 a cup of butter spread over 10-15 days of pure joy could be sinful. And if I cant burn that many calories, I must be a really lazy bum.

I like mine drenched in Apple Sauce and topped with some fresh cream.



  • Apples – 4
  • Bananas – 2
  • Honey – 1 tsp


  1. Slice Apples and Bananas.
  2. Microwave Apple on high for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in Bananas and Microwave on high for 1 minute. Mash lightly.
  4. Add Honey and Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Mash lightly and set aside to cool.
  5. Pulse to a puree in a blender.

Like Rava Idlis and Ghee Cookies, this is yet another recipe, my mom and I will cook up at any time of the day or night. Chocolate Indulgence in 15 minutes.

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I have been baking these cookies or ghee biscuits alteast once a month for the past 25 years. Some times for my hubby and children, most of the time for my relatives and friends. Baking has always been a passion for me, there is nothing as delightful as making a car shaped cake for your kids or taking a bite off delicously melting cookies.

My mother used to make cookies in her old biscuit maker, placed on the stove with sand in the lowest campartment, biscuits in the middle and charcoal on the top. With some experience and experimentation, I have made a few changes to the recipe like using ghee instead of butter and omitting soda. Over the years many people have enjoyed these cookies that I bake. But the recipe received its ultimate seal of validation when Sunil, a chef at Taj and Anupama, his wife a professor in a Hotel management school said that my cookies are the best they have ever tasted. :DYay!!!

Choco chip cookies and Super soft idlies smeared with Mulagai podi are my entry for Anupama’s picnic event.


  • Maida – 3 cups
  • Sugar – 1 and1/4 cup
  • ghee – 1 cup
  • milk powder – 1 cup
  • Dark chocolate chips or gratings – 1/2 cup



  1. Grind the sugar to a fine powder.
  2. Mix ghee, sugar, milk powder and maida in a big bowl.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes till it blends well to form a ball.
  4. Now add the choco chips and mix well.
  5. Some chocolate will combine with the dough and give a light chocolate colour.
  6. Shape on your palm into 1 and 1/2 inch rounds. Place this biscuits on baking tray and bake in a pre heated oven in the convection mode at 230degree centrigrade for 9 minutes.
  7. You can also shape the biscuits using biscuit cutters.
  8. Store in air tight container and carry for your picnic.

Prepare idlies and mulagai podi as per the recipes.

In a plate mix mulagai podi with til oil and spread it on both sides of the idlies. It is easy to serve idlies in a picnic.


PS: I just noticed that we have touched 100 posts and this is 101!

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