Sticky toffee pudding

I agree that this may not be the prettiest looking pudding out there, but I assure you that what it lacks in aesthetic appeal is more than compensated for in taste. Now that we are on this topic, I have a question – how on earth do you make something that’s sticky and gooey look good in a photograph without it looking like you’re the messiest eater on the planet? Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I took Martha Stewart’s recipe. And I tweaked it. I subbed the castor sugar for brown, reduced the quantity, and also found it enough to make just half the amount of toffee sauce that it called for. The brown sugar gives the pudding that extra caramel-y nuttiness, accentuated by the plump date bits that form its base. The toffee sauce ties it all together and makes it a foolproof lick-worthy pud. Delicious!

We had friends over for dinner this past weekend and I’d made Aubergine parmigiana but with beef instead, and this sticky toffee pudding for dessert. I made the pudding a good 8 hours earlier and after going completely berserk with the hole-poking on it, poured half the toffee sauce over to soak it all up. The rest was reserved for drizzling over and licking straight from the bowl. Had to be done. Continue reading

Advertisements

BAKED STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE

Vanilla and strawberry have had a love affair for as long as I can remember. Look in the dessert section of any restaurant menu, recipe book, or café window, and you’ll see them canoodling joyously like little else matters. But who’s to disapprove? This relationship was meant to be.

Cheesecakes have taken over the world, and there’s not one flavour that hasn’t been tried and perfected already. I’m a liberal when it comes to food choices and bold enough to experiment with food from different cultures, but some of them out there are downright ridiculous – sweet bacon cheesecake? I think I’ve said in one of my earlier posts that bacon makes everything better. I’d like to take that back now, please.

You don’t need artistic talent to make this cake look stunning. It just bakes itself like that. If you don’t want to do the strawberry topping, you could just arrange some fresh strawberries on top and dust with icing sugar. Or find a preserve that isn’t too sweet and scoop some over the top (if you can get your hands on this, perfect).

I’m notorious for cutting down on the sugar content in desserts, but the 150 grams that’s in the recipe is perfect since the cream cheese has a subtle sourness to it. The bite from the biscuit base with the voluptuous filling all tied together with the slight tang from the strawberries, makes this cheesecake a force to be reckoned with. And devoured. Definitely devoured.

Continue reading

Twenty six

I celebrated my birthday last week. The big 26. Why the big hype for that? When you have an unwavering feeling of 18-going-on-19 sustained over so many years – and when you’re actually one and a half times the age in your head – I guess that’s kind of a big deal. I know something doesn’t quite add up with this situation we have here.

Birthday gifts and celebrations were always a big deal growing up. Although I spent a major chunk of my childhood in boarding school and my birthdays always fell during the school term, neatly wrapped presents, cards and generous wads of money (read : grandparents) always found me. It wouldn’t suffice if I said that this year was a step up from that..what my parents had planned was more like a giant leap – 70 people – mostly extended family that hadn’t met my husband and in-laws, and some friends. A party, it was! Got some pretty sweeet gifts too!

Although the smallest reason is all I need these days to start planning something delicious to eat, making my own birthday cake just didn’t seem right. But a mixed fruit gâteau the size of a 4-seater table? A glorious substitute indeed! The cake was rich and dense and at the same time succulently moist. So much so that when I cut into it and tried to take out a piece, it almost collapsed in my hand. On the moistness meter, that is always a good sign. And most importantly, it wasn’t cloyingly sweet like other shop-bought cakes that you find here. It was stunning as it was scrumptious, but I know I’ll never try my hand at re-creating it. Life is just too short.

Bittersweet : COINTREAU-GLAZED ORANGE BUNDT CAKE

IMG_1492

Today, we’re talking oranges and orange-flavoured liqueurs (again). We seem to have a bit of an unplanned theme going on here! In my post about Orangecello earlier this year, I’d talked about using liqueurs to spruce up a cake or a pudding. Here’s a go at that from my end!

The Cointreau was, however, a bit of a wild-card entrant. I wasn’t sure if the pronounced boldness of the orange in the cake would complement the potent liqueur. I very hesitantly substituted the orange juice the recipe called for, with one small trickle at a time of Cointreau.. it just somehow worked itself out – the robustness of the base fully held up to this crystal-coated magic!

If you visit this blog on a regular basis you’ll know that I love citrus zest, and my experiments with using it in all things sweet and savoury have run amok. Ah, the flavour, colour, zinginess. A whole orange’s worth makes this cake all the more intense, which is perfectly grounded with the sweetness of the glaze. Are you ready to make your taste buds sing?

Continue reading

Love at first bite : BERRY FILLED CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

I ended up engaging in some “insider trading” of my own with these cupcakes, by scooping out the center and filling it with a gooey mixed-berry preserve. Seeing that it was Martha Stewart’s recipe, I just HAD to point out the irony! (Read : Martha Stewart – Insider trading scandal)

Personally, I think a good cupcake is glorious in its own right. Having said that though, this one takes that just a tad further into addictive cupcake territory; the love-child of a gooey lava cake and a cupcake, this recipe is going to knock your socks off every.single.time.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s ‘Vanilla cupcakes’, the changes that I made are pretty straight forward – I reduced the amount of sugar to ¾ of a cup from the said 1 cup, and of course added the delectable mixed-berry filling. I have to mention here that I only got 9 cupcakes out of this quantity. The size of the mould used was not mentioned, so I’m guessing the difference was probably due to this (mine were slightly bigger than fairy cakes)

Since the luscious berry filling adds a certain amount of richness to the cake, I decided to go with a simple vanilla cream cheese frosting. You could very well use a butter-cream icing or any other topping of your choice, really.

Apart from adding a different dimension to the flavour profile, the filling actually makes this somewhat of a gourmet piece! You definitely want to flaunt this one in your repertoire. Continue reading

MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE

I came across this gem when I was looking for a cake recipe for my grand mom’s birthday a few years ago. The instructions were simple to follow, but what really caught my attention was how moist it looked. It turned out that the pictures weren’t that deceptive after all, and basically..I was SOLD.

I’m no expert chef, and I have had no formal training in the culinary arts, but I have never been one to follow recipes “as is”. This is an adaptation of Robyn Stone’s chocolate cake recipe, only, I substituted the milk for butter milk (I tried the former, but found the cake to be a little too dense, and anyway, this just happens to be a low-fat alternative, so who’s complaining?)  I cut down the quantity of sugar by half (get a taste of the batter before it goes in the oven and add more sugar if you wish to). Also, I decreased the cook time by 10 minutes.

The strong coffee in the batter not only moistens the cake, but it also intensifies its chocolate flavour. And the taste, you ask? You wouldn’t be able to taste a hint of the coffee in the cake!

I’ve used a simple chocolate frosting that I whipped up with a hand whisk to get it light and aerated, when the recipe just calls for a regular spoon&bowl mix-up.

This chocolate cake has it all – it’s super-easy, it’s quick, cooks evenly and most of all, tastes divine! I say that about a lot of cakes, but the fact that I’m not really much of a chocoholic should add to the credibility of that statement.

This is hands down the best chocolate cake you would’ve tried! Continue reading