Eggless buttermilk fruit cake

During last Christmas I had soaked lots of dry fruits in fresh home made grape juice as well as tea decoction. I had made a couple of fruit cakes too. I finished those soaked fruits some 2 months back when I made a last batch of fruit cake for my parents and sister. They all loved it. So when my sister was visiting me last week, I decided to bake a simple light coloured fruit cake . This time I have used buttermilk and used the chopped dry fruits directly without boiling or soaking it. And I must confess that it tasted really yum and had loads of crunchy nuts and dry fruits in every bite. I was a bit skeptical to keep it outside in this hot Chennai weather. So I stored it in an airtight container and after 2 days I kept it again in a slightly warm oven for few minutes and lo! the cake was once again fresh πŸ™‚ So this cake lasted for good 5-6 days at room temperature. Use all ingredients at room temperature.

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour 200 gm
  • Salt a pinch
  • Brown sugar 125 gm
  • Baking powder 3/4 tsp
  • Baking soda 3/4 tsp
  • Orange extract 1 tsp
  • Orange zest 1 tsp
  • Buttermilk 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp
  • Butter 125 gm
  • Spice powder 1 tsp
  • Caramel syrup 1 tbsp
  • Chopped cashew plus badam 1/4 cup
  • Dry fruits 1 cup

Method:

  • Chop the cashew and almonds or any other nuts finely and roast it lightly.
  • Chop desired dry fruits into small bite size pieces. You can use cranberries, black currants, raisins, kismis, cherries, candied fruits, dates etc. I have used all these. The proportion of each doesn’t matter.
  • Preheat the oven at 150-160 degree Celsius for atleast 10 minutes.
  • Grease an eight inch round cake tin with butter or oil and dust it with flour. Tap out the excess flour. If desired, line the base of the tin with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar with an electric heater or hand whisk till it’s creamy.
  • Add the caramel syrup and orange extract and mix well.
  • Sieve the flour, salt, spice powder and rising agents for 2-3 times till everything is mixed well.
  • Now slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter sugar mixture along with the buttermilk in 2-3 batches.
  • Mix in gently with a spatula or whisk. Now add the chopped nuts and dry fruits and fold it gently. You may coat the dry fruits with a spoon of dry flour so that it won’t sink to the bottom of the cake tin.
  • Now pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap it gently to remove air bubbles if any.
  • Bake this in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or till toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove the tin from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for around 8-10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cake onto a wire rack and cool it fully.
  • Slice when fully cooled ( the cooler the better) and enjoy πŸ™‚

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Easy Peasy Poha

I know most of you would be knowing how to make this simple poha upma. But since I keep getting many requests to include easy and healthy snack/breakfast recipes, I thought of adding this in the blog.

Ingredients:

  • Poha/Beaten Rice 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilies 2-3
  • Onion 1 big
  • Refined oil 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves 2 sprigs
  • Coriander leaves 2-3 sprigs
  • Lime juice 1 tbsp
  • Roasted peanuts 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Grated coconut 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Bareek Sev 2 tbsp (optional)

Method:

  • Wash the poha and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoon of water and keep it aside.
  • Finely chop the onion and green chilies.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai and add mustard seeds to it.
  • When it splutters, add the curry leaves, onion and green chilies.
  • Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now add their turmeric powder and salt.
  • Add the soaked poha and mix well.
  • Sprinkle some more water if the mixture looks very dry.
  • Now add the roasted peanuts and lime juice.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut.
  • Sprinkle bareek/nylon sev and serve hot with tea.

Notes:

  • You can add boiled and finely diced cubes of potato along with the onion for a better flavour.
  • My family doesn’t like fresh coconut garnish, so I have omitted that.
  • Also I have omitted roasted peanuts as Neha is not a big fan of them.
  • To increase the nutritional value, you can add steamed sprouted moong too.
  • Just be creative and add various veggies and nuts and make it more interesting πŸ™‚

Mint/Pudina Rice

A simple rice recipe with the goodness of mint leaves and coriander. Ideal for your kids lunch box. Best way to use your left over cooked rice. Add peanuts or other nuts for that extra crunch and increase the nutritional value.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked basmati rice 1 cup
  • Onion 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Refined oil 1 tbsp
  • Mint leaves 1
  • Coriander leaves 2-3 sprigs
  • Green chilies 2-3
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Sesame seeds 1/4 tsp

Method:

  • Slice the onion finely.
  • Make a smooth paste of the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilies, garlic and salt.
  • Heat oil in a pan or kadhai. Add cumin seeds and sesame seeds and let it splutter. Add the sliced onion and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now add the ground paste and saute for a while.
  • Now add the cooked rice and mix gently.
  • Garnish with fresh mint/coriander leaves and serve hot with pickle, curd and papad πŸ™‚

Raw Mango Rice

A simple easy peasy rice variety ideal to beat the summer heat with the cooling properties of raw mango.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked rice 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Grated raw mango 1/2 cup
  • Curry leaves 2 sprigs
  • Dry red chili 1-2
  • Refined oil 1 tbsp
  • Roasted peanuts 1-2 tbsp (optional)
  • Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Chana dal 1 tsp
  • Udid dal 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida a pinch

Method:

  • Heat oil in a kadhai and add the mustard seeds, sesame seeds, chana dal and udid dal.
  • When they splutter add curry leaves and dry red chili.
  • Now add the grated mango and salt and saute for a while. Add asafoetida and mix.
  • Add the cooked rice and roasted peanuts and stir gently. Take care not to break the rice grains.
  • Serve hot with curd, raita, pickle or papad or pack it for your kids lunch box.

Moong Dal Bread

As you all know, I love experimenting with breads, be it flavour or various flours or the use of vegetables etc. As said before hubby and Neha are not fan of sweet breads. So my earlier tootifrooti custard milk bread was consumed by me alone 😦 ( I finished it in 3-4 days ). They are always ready to try any savoury breads or rolls or buns. I had made a small mini loaf of this dal bread few months back and was quite happy with the texture and taste. So this time I am back from with proper measurements and procedure. Btw, always cook dal in a bit larger quantity (atleast use it twice) and give fresh tadka each time. So I had some cooked moong dal after I made dal tadka for Saturday’s lunch.

All breads have a similar way of kneading and baking. So every time I might not remember to type all minute details. Beginners please ready my post on 100% apf bread and other related posts in the Loaf Breads category for all minute details and more step by step pictures. I am a busy house wife and I try out these experiments amongst a busy schedule, so might not always get time to click step by step pictures for each bread. Hope you guys understand these and click on related links for more details. Thanks for understanding.

Btw, this bread is completely egg free, maida free, milk n butter free. As always the cup size is 240 ml.

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour 300 gm
  • Cooked moong dal 200 gm
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Instant yeast 3/4-1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Lukewarm water 200 ml

Method:

  • Cook moong dal with sufficient water and salt till it’s soft and mushy. You can also use leftover dal.
  • Mix flour, salt, sugar, turmeric powder and instant yeast in a big mixing bowl.
  • Now add the cooked dal and mix well.
  • Now slowly add lukewarm water and knead into soft and pliable dough.
  • When the dough sticks to your hand sprinkle oil and knead again using the standard stretch and fold method.
  • Knead for atleast 10-12 minutes till the dough becomes soft, elastic and bouncy.
  • Now transfer the dough onto a well oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a wet towel or cling wrap it. Allow the dough to double in size.
  • Grease a 7 by 3 inches bread tin and keep it ready.
  • Once the dough is almost double in size, knock out the gases and knead again for a minute or two.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle and fold it tightly into a log and pinch the edges.
  • Place the prepared log into the greased tin with the seam side down. Spray some water on top of the bread or brush it with milk wash or egg wash.
  • Place the tin in a big plastic cover or cover the tin with a big dome like lid and allow it to proof again.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven at 180-200 degree Celsius for atleast 10 minutes.
  • Place the tin into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or till the top looks golden.
  • Remove the tin from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the tin for 5-6 minutes.
  • Slowly demould the bread and transfer it onto a wire rack.
  • Apply some oil or butter or ghee or top.
  • Place a moist soft towel on top of the bread while its cooling.
  • Allow the bread to cool for atleast 2-3 hours before you slice them.
  • Enjoy your bread with a slather of butter on top or make some delicious sandwich.

  • Healthy and protein rich dal bread is ready πŸ™‚

Notes:

  • I am giving a range for the amount of yeast as you can adjust it to the quality of your yeast and how much time you have in hand to bake your bread. If you are in a hurry, increase the amount a bit and of you have a lot a time at your disposal, use lesser quantity of yeast and allow the dough to proof slowly. Slow proofed breads are more flavourful.
  • I have used Angel brand instant yeast.
  • You may add some Indian herbs like coriander leaves, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, chili flakes etc while you knead the bread for added flavour. Or add Italian herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, parsley etc.
  • You can top the bread with sesame seeds, pumpkin seedS, flax seeds etc.
  • You may even add some powdered flax seeds to the dry flour mixture.
  • If your cooked dal is more watery, reduce the amount of water mentioned in the recipe.
  • If your dal is too dry, increase the amount of water.
  • Always add water little by little as each flour absorbs liquid differently and the absorption depends on the weather conditions too.
  • Lastly wait till the bread cools well before slicing.
  • Use a long sharp serated knife for slicing.
  • For my usual bread I use around 400 grams of flour and usey 9 by 3.5 by 3.25 inches bread tin. But for such experiments, I prefer smaller loaf and hence use my small bread tin. Also such breads will taste good only when it is fresh. Moreover in summer, home made breads have a very small shelf life.

Custard Tootifrooti Milk Bread

Don’t we all have some or the other childhood memories associated with this bread, I bet many of you have πŸ™‚ I used to love this in my childhood days. This used to be the only way to have tootifrooti in those days. Though these days after I have started baking a lot, I always have a pack of tootifrooti in my pantry to bake Karachi biscuits or some tootifrooti cakes. Coming back to this bread, I have been wanting to bake this since long, but delayed it knowing no one at home would be ready to share it with me. But still went ahead and made one just for me and my blog readers πŸ™‚ I have seen some recipes which uses custard powder in this bread. So I thought why not cook the custard in milk or water and then add it to the dry in like the Tangzhong method.Β Ideally, this would taste real yummy with 100% all purpose flour. But just to satisfy my inner conscience, I have replaced some part of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Another thing I would like to stress upon is that if you are new to bread baking, please go through the bread basics and yeast facts posts. Also first try to bake a fully all purpose flour bread and then slowly replace part of apf with whole wheat flour slowly in batches. One more thing, I get lot of messages from my readers regarding the problems they face with their yeast. I would suggest them to get hold of good quality yeast like Gloripan or Angel or Prestige or Prime ( I have used these and hence can vouch for its quality ). Once the yeast is good, half the problem is solved. Also the amount of yeast to be used depends on the potency and quality of your yeast. I have observed that as my yeast grew older ( though I store it in airtight containers inside the freezer ), I needed to increase the quantity of yeast used in my breads. A small USP of my breads is that I use less quantity of yeast ( atleast that’s what my followers have been telling me πŸ™‚ ) But you can really start with a little more quantity of yeast than what is mentioned in the recipe and slowly reduce it in your subsequent bakes. Ok.. now without further delay, let me pen down the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour 160 gm
  • Whole wheat flour 80 gm
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar 2 tbsp
  • Milk powder 2 tbsp
  • Instant yeast 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
  • Custard powder 2 tbsp
  • Tooti frooti 2-3 tbsp
  • Milk ~ 200 ml
  • Butter/olive oil 2 tbsp

Method:

  • Add around 120-150 milk to the custard powder and mix well to form a lump free mixture.
  • Cook this on low to medium heat while stirring constantly till it forms a gooey mass. ( Just like how we cook custard sauce ). You may choose to cook this with water too instead of milk.

  • Allow this sauce to cool well. Add vanilla extract to this and mix.
  • Now mix the flours, salt, sugar, instant yeast and milk powder in a big bowl.
  • Add the cooled custard sauce and mix well.
  • Now slowly add remaining milk little by little ( each flour absorbs liquid differently and this absorption depends on the weather conditions too ) and knead well by the stretch and fold method.
  • Sprinkle oil or add butter while kneading till you get a soft, non sticky and elastic bouncy dough. Knead for around 10-12 minutes.
  • Oil a big bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a moist towel or cling wrap it or use a shower cap for this and allow the dough to rise till it is double in volume.
  • Meanwhile chop the tootifrooti into small pieces using a steel dough scrapper ( small pieces help in getting neater bread slices ).
  • Grease a 7 by 3 inches bread tin and line with parchment paper if necessary.
  • Once doubled, transfer the dough onto a clean kitchen platform and knock out the gases.
  • Now knead again for a minute or two.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle and sprinkle the chopped tootifrooti pieces on the rolled dough.

  • Roll it tightly into a log and place it in the prepared bread tin.

  • Place the tin in a big plastic cover or place a big dome like lid on the tin and allow the bread to rise again till the dough doubles in volume again.
  • Brush some oil or milk or water to prevent skin formation on top.
  • When the dough is almost double, preheat the oven at 180-200 degree Celsius for atleast 10 minutes.
  • Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes till the internal temperature of the bread is more than 90 degree Celsius or the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Incase you feel that the top is getting over browned after the first 15-20 minutes, cover the top with a sheet of parchment paper. ( Mine turned brown after 20 minutes, so please open your oven after 15-20 minutes and check the top ).
  • Remove the bread from the oven and let it remain in the tin for 3-4 minutes.

  • Now slowly transfer it into a wire rack and cool well.
  • Brush the top of the bread with some butter and you may cover the bread with a soft moist towel while cooling, which will ensure softer crust.
  • Slice the bread only after its fully cooled. Please please don’t be in a hurry and slice it before it cools fully. You need to wait for atleast 2-3 hours. Yes I know, it’s difficult especially if it’s your first bread, but believe me, the results would be worth the wait πŸ™‚
  • Relive your childhood and enjoy this yummy bread with a cup of milk or tea or coffee πŸ™‚

Eggless Chocolate Cake

A good n decadent chocolate cake is every baker’s dream, isn’t it? I have made chocolate cake many times, but I have never been able to add one in my blog, though I have a good enough chocolate cupcake recipe in the blog. Every time I bake a chocolate cake, I would have forgotten to click a good picture or wouldn’t have remembered the exact measurements and hence it never got updated in the blog.

Neha’s school reopens on Friday and so thought of baking a cake for her today so that she is fully ready to face her school work friday onwards. Always have dreamt of making a tall 6 inch cake with nice soft texture and beautiful side profile. But I think I went a bit over board and miscalculated the measurements a bit. Or else I should have ideally baked this in an 8 inch cake tin. The batter was a tad bit too much for a 6 inch cake tin. But the sides look beautiful though the top crust developed a crack on its side. The picture that you see above is the bottom part. The cake however tasted delicious and it was quite moist and very soft. All in all a happy experience and loved by Neha, though she said that you can’t eat too much of this cake. Mind you, this is an eggless, butterless cake which can very well be used for frosting.

Bake it in an 8 inch round or square tin and get a perfect flat crackless one. Use a good quality cocoa powder for that perfect colour and flavour. Also remember to use all ingredients at room temperature and of best quality. Do not use very sour curd. Always use fresh and thick curd. Synthetic vinegar can be substituted by apple cider vinegar. I have used Parry’s brown sugar, you can use white sugar or cane sugar. If you like your cakes very sweet, you can increase the quantity of sugar by a tablespoon or two. I and my family prefer less sweet ones. As always I have used a 240 ml cup.

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour 150 gm
  • Cocoa powder 50 gm
  • Salt a pinch
  • Brown sugar 150 gm
  • Baking soda 1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder 1/2 tsp
  • Oil 80 ml (1/3 cup)
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Milk 240 ml (1 cup)
  • Vinegar 1 tsp
  • Thick curd 2 tbsp
  • Instant coffee powder 1 tsp

Method:

  • Preheat the oven at 150-160 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.
  • Grease an 8 inch round or square cake tin with butter and dust it with flour. Tap out the excess flour.
  • Sieve the measured flour, cocoa powder, salt and the rising agents 2-3 times.
  • Mix the milk and vinegar together and leave it for 3-4 minutes.
  • Now add the curd and oil and mix well with a whisk.
  • Now add the sugar and mix till the sugar gets dissolved.
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix.
  • Now add the liquid ingredients into the dry flour mixture and whisk quickly till no dry particles remain.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap well to remove the air bubbles if any.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove the tin out of the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cake onto a wire rack and cool well.
  • Slice and serve.

Notes:

  • I have used a six inch tin and it took almost 45 minutes for the cake to bake fully.
  • I think the tin was a tad bit small for the quantity of batter and hence there was a small crack on the sides of the cake.
  • Use good quality cocoa powder. I have used Callebaut cocoa powder.
  • Instant coffee enhances the chocolate flavour.
  • This cake is ideal for frosting and can be a good base for any chocolate cake.