Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Baking Diaries


It has been almost a month since my last post, and this time I have no real reason behind this delay except sheer laziness. Now I find I have pictures of almost a dozen things I cooked and no posts to show for it! So here's a recap of my baking escapades in the last month...

I started off with another version of the Spiced Carrot Cake, this time with apples and pumpkin. Instead of grating them, I just cut them up into little pieces and folded them into the cake dough. The cake turned out beautifully and the baked pieces of apple and pumpkin were sweet, crunchy and lightly spiced and added a whole new dimension to the cake :) Arundati, I have to thank you for this amazingly versatile recipe!

The next two cakes I baked were adapted from amazing cook, fashionista, housewife, and a dear friend from college who is back in touch thanks to the world of food blogging - The Diary of a disPlaced Housewife.
The first one was her Luscious Mango Cake - which I tweaked into a wonderfully fragrant wholewheat mango and raisin egg-less cake with a home-made cream cheese icing.

MANGO & RAISIN CAKE

Ingredients:


Mango Pulp - 2 1/2 cups (I used fresh ripe mangoes peeled and chopped)
Sugar - 1 cup
Yoghurt/Curds - 1 cup (You can use 2 eggs instead)
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Baking Soda - 2 tsp
Salt - 1 pinch
Raisins - 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and grease and flour your cake tin. In a mixing bowl, combine the mango pulp, sugar and yogurt/eggs and stir. Now add the flour, raisins and vanilla essence and fold well without overmixing it. Pour this batter into the greased cake tin and bake for 35-40min, till the pick comes clean. Cool on a wire rack before slicing it up.
For the Cream Cheese Icing:


Cream Cheese - 3/4th cup
Butter - 1/4th cup
Powdered Sugar - 1 cup
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp

I followed Tarla Dalal's amazingly easy Low Fat Cream Cheese Recipe which I'm reproducing below:

Ingredients

1 litre low fat milk

1 teaspoon citric acid crystals

1/2 cup warm water
Method
1. Put the milk to boil in a thick bottomed pan.
2. When it comes to a boil, remove from the flame and keep aside for a few minutes.
3. In another bowl, mix the citric acid crystals with the warm water.
4. Pour this mixture into the hot milk and allow it to stand for about 5 minutes till the milk curdles on its own. Stir gently if required.
5. Strain this mixture using a muslin cloth, leaving some of the whey in the curdled mixture.
6. Blend the drained milk solids in a food processor till it is thick and creamy.
7. Use as required
Tips
If the drained whey is milky, boil it once more and strain the separated milk solids.
You can also use 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice instead of the citric acid crystals.

Now add the softened butter, sugar and vanilla essence to the Cream Cheese and run it in the mixer on a low speed, and you have a yummy home-made icing ready!
The way I like it:
Spread the Cream Cheese icing over the cooled cake, top with some fresh mango pieces or pulp and serve!
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The second recipe that I borrowed from The Housewife was an Orange and Walnut Cake. It sounds all fancy-shmancy, but believe me, it is the easiest of all the cakes I have baked!

EGGLESS ORANGE & WALNUT CAKE
Ingredients:

Brown Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Butter - 1/2 cup
Yoghurt - 2 cups
Orange Zest - 1 whole Orange
Orange Juice - 1/2 cup
Flour (Maida) - 1 cup
Wholewheat Flour (Aata) - 1 cup
Baking Powder - 3 tsp
Milk - 1/4 cup
Chopped Walnuts - 1/4th cup

Cream the butter and sugar well. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, otherwise you may not get the required creamy consistency. Add the curd/yogurt and beat well. Now mix in the orange juice and orange zest.

Sift the flour and baking soda together and add this to the mixture above, alternating with the milk. Basically start by adding a little flour, then the milk, then the flour again and continue till all the milk and flour has been added. Make sure you are folding the mixture gently throughout this process.

Now add the chopped walnuts and mix gently.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured cake or loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven at about 180 degrees C for 35 min. Check with a knife or toothpick and if it comes clean, turn off the oven and let the cake cool on a wire rack.

The way I like it:
The glossy icing you can see on the slice of cake in the picture above, I must admit, is out of a tin. I used Pillsbury Vanilla Cream Icing that was gifted to me by a dear friend M. It looks gorgeous, doesn't it? But I must say the taste can be a little overpowering. So go easy on the icing if you are using a readymade one.

Just a plain slice of cake with a cup of my favorite Tulsi Sweet Lemon Green Tea makes for a great book-reading snack :)

PS - Ms. Housewife- like you can see, I absolutely love your blog :) keep those amazing posts coming!


5 comments:

arundati said...

one more addict to the spiced cake... am drooling here...but dare not bake any of these just yet! i want to try that cream cheese frosting soon

The Housewife said...

Yumm! Swathi… your versions look so much better than mine! I'm coming over next time I'm ever in Mumbai…:D

Satya said...

swati both the cakes looks simply superb

Satya
http://www.superyummyrecipes.com

Karishma said...

came this way through arundati's blog (escapades)...the cake looks gorgeous...definitely going to bake it..I have cooked your andhra chicken fry recipe and it came out fab!

Swati said...

@arundati - the cream cheese frosting was so good i stored half a cup in the fridge and gorged on it every time i had a sugar craving! lol!
@lavanya - thanks woman :)
@satya - thanks for stopping by! have been following your blog religiously :)
@karishma - am so glad u tried the andhra chicken. its a killer recipe, isnt it? :D