Sunday, June 12, 2011

Princess Cake

Upon a friend's request, I made this doll cake for her daughters.  I luvd making it and i think it turned out pretty amazing too. I have a few recipes lined up which hopefully u'l come across soon in this month - so stay tuned!

Happy Baking

Monday, May 16, 2011

Red Velvet cup cakes!

Red velvet cupcakes are not a personal favorite but apparently people really like them. Back when I had just started baking a close friend requested that I make a batch for her husband’s birthday. That was the first time I made them and have been making since then. See my thing this I hate to waste what I make and if you are a regular visitor of my blog you would know baking is singlehandedly responsible for my increasing waist line –yes ladies n gentlemen I am a dessertaholic, I don’t eat sweets I literally gulp them down. Well lets not go there so I was saying that because I can’t resist my baking I prefer to mostly bake for other people - friends, family and general acquaintances who would love to eat them. So when my friend asked me for red velvet I jumped at the opportunity to try something new and voila they turned out great and they loved them – mission accomplished!

Few days back my sister who lives in Australia asked for the recipe as her husband is as dessert crazy as I am so I got down to jotting it for her. I am sharing with you the recipe here for those who would love to give it a try. It’s a bit tricky but worth trying if you enjoy baking.

My cake bible is the site ‘Joy of Baking’ – 90% of the recipes are off from her site – and did I mention how amazing she and her recipes are :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk [1/2 milk + ½ tablespoon vinegar – leave aside for 5 mins ]
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (80 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (double cream) (with 35-40% butterfat)

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

4. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

5. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

6. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 - 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

7. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Happy Baking ! :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Baking Wish List

I have been wanting to list down all the things i wish to make/bake since a long time now...Finally today i got down to it :)
So this is my wish list for the year and i really hope I can pull it off on time. Not exactly in this order but hopefully in sum order!

1. Crispy Oatmeal cookies
2. Molten chocolate cake
3. Pavlova
4. Mocha Cream Pie
5. Tiramisu
6. Muffins
7. Mocha Swiss roll
8. Trifle
9. Meringue hearts
10. Lemon pie/ Lemon cupcakes/ Lemon tart
11. Chocolate coconut macaroons
12. Mocha muffins
13. Chocolate fudge cookies
14. Chocolate pudding cake
15. Lady fingers

Happy Baking!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pretty to look, Yummy to taste - Pavlova!

I love pretty things, pretty stationary, pretty flowers, pretty pictures, pretty people - just about pretty ever thing:)
may be that makes me kind of shallow, but well what can I do! Pretty things make me go weak in the knees….even my dessert choices are based on how they look. So there has been this one particular dessert I have been eyeing, even though I had never tasted it before, but it looked so pretty– its called a Pavlova!

Pretty pretty to look at and now that I actually tasted it, quiet yummy to eat! :)

Borrowing a little bit of history from Joy Of Baking, that’s also where the recipe came from.

Pavlova (Pav) is a meringue cake that has a light and delicate crisp crust and a soft sweet marshmallow center. This lovely dessert is typically served with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit.

There is a long standing debate about whether New Zealand or Australia invented this dessert, which has yet to be resolved. What we do know is that the name, Pavlova, was chosen in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured both New Zealand and Australia in 1926.

A Pavlova is a meringue, and it is important when making any meringue that the egg whites reach maximum volume, so make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are clean and free of grease. Since we need just the whites of the eggs, the eggs will need to be separated. It is easier to do this while the eggs are still cold. Once separated, cover the egg whites and let them come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes). Cover and refrigerate the egg yolks for another use. Use superfine sugar (castor) when making this meringue as it dissolves faster into the egg whites than regular granulated white sugar. You can make your own by processing 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar in your food processor until very fine, about 30 - 60 seconds.

Storage & Serving:
The Pavlova can be made several days in advance of serving, if it is stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container. A Pavlova is usually served with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Try to place the whipped cream and fruit on the meringue shortly before serving as the Pavlova will immediately start to soften and break down from the moisture of the cream and fruit.


4 large (120 grams) egg whites
2 Tablespoon Castor Sugar (the original recipe used 1 cup sugar - too sweet for my taste)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated white sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh fruit - kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, or other fruit of your choice


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (130 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks.

3. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers).

4. Beat in the vanilla extract.

5. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in.

6. Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

7. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the outside is dry and is a very pale cream color.

8. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days. Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate.

Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.

Serves 6 to 8.

Happy Baking! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I have a new Website!!

Hey All,

I have been working on a webiste for sometime, its still work in progress but its up n running :)
i am trying to collate all of my work at one single space, this website is a start! :) wish me luck!
do pay a visit if you get time

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Have U kissed a frog lately?!

For Valentines Day I decided to keep it simple and bake a batch of fresh and crisp short breads for my hubby! Mostly because they are extremely easy and quick to make and secondly cause I have had my hands full lately with a lot many feats. The only twist I added to my extremely brittle and soft short breads was that, I did them in different shapes and decided to frost a few with icing; which by the way was not a very great decision. It is better to make sugar cookies if you wish to frost them, cause as I mentioned earlier short breads are very brittle and soft and are not ideal ground for holding gooey icing.

So anyway, apart from doing regular and scalloped hearts, I got this funny idea of making love struck frog faces! This idea may have sprung in my head cause I ended up watching “Princess and the frog” twice this last week, so when I saw the cowboy hat cookie cutter I saw a frog face and decided to have fun with it 
I found working with cookie icing very messy and sticky, that may be because I haven’t really worked with it before and secondly cause I didn’t follow the right proportions (I know, my bad!)…but well … they weren’t exactly master pieces but well I am only learning :)


Scottish in origin, this rich, tender and crumbly straw colored biscuit (cookie) was once only served during Christmas and New Year's Eve (Hogmanay). In its most basic form, shortbreads are made with just four ingredients, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and flour. While today they are made in various shapes and sizes, at one time the dough was baked in a round mold and then cut into wedges that were given the name "petticoat tails". This name refers to the shape of the shortbread wedges which were similar to the bell-hoop petticoats worn by court ladies in the 12th century.

The secret to making a good shortbread is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract.

I am borrowing the recipe directly from joy of baking, my bible for baking 


2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract


1. In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.)

5. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

I made 4 frog faces, using the cowboy hat cutter, then turning it upside down, and icing it with the cugar cookie icing which i will talk about very soon once i perfect it at my end.....till then enjoy my sloppy frog faces .... they were yummy nonetheless and made with luvvv!!


 Happy Baking!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheesecake attempt in UAE

This is the cheesecake version i made in sharjah for my uncle's family, i liked this version better that is the deep pan version plus this time i used thick full fat cream for the filling and it turned out amazing!

Do try it this way and lemme know which version u liked better :)
Happy Baking!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Easy breezy cheesecake!

Random fact about me, I can eat my baby's cheeks n a fresh cheese cake anytime! This might be a good time to impart a very useful advice to all readers; one must never taste anything for the first time which might have the tendency in the longer run to actually transform into a mood lifting, fat accumulating guilty pleasure. But well I made this mistake with the cheesecake, I had lived the first 26 years of my life oblivion to the magic of a cheesecake, until that one fateful lunch with office colleagues when I took my very first bite and things have never been the same since.

Anyway, what done is done, I am possessed by that creamy yummy taste and well I succumb every time to that beautiful sight! So a few weeks back I made the New York cheesecake which is a baked cheesecake and absolutely yummy! Haven’t posted the recipe because no pictures were taken and I like posts with pictures. So yesterday I decided to make it again, but this time I wanted to try the ‘No bake’ cheesecake, this version is extremely easy and quick to make, nonetheless very yummy too!

Borrowed the recipe once again from “Joy of baking”, the site has never failed me! Some seriously amazing stuff is posted here …..

Read more:

Digestive Biscuits Crust:
Digestive biscuits (crushed) - 1 ½ cup approx 150 grams
Granulated white sugar - 2 tablespoons approx 30 grams
Unsalted butter, melted 5 - 6 tablespoons approx 85 grams

Cheesecake Filling:
One 8-ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) full fat heavy whipping cream (contains 36-40% butterfat)

Digestive Biscuits Crust:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.
2. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a well greased 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom.
3. A spring form pan can also be used. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about one inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the pan.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling
Cheesecake Filling:
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract.
3. In a clean bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually fold or beat the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

1. Pour the filling over the chilled crust and smooth the top.
2. Refrigerator to chill for several hours, or even overnight.

I like to have my cheesecake plain, not with blueberry or rasberry sauce but if u want u can add the sauce after chilling the cake. :)

Happy Baking!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy New Year!!
What better way to begin the New Year with a dessert as yummy as tiramisu! For all those who don’t know what tiramisu is, it is basically an Italian dessert, pronounced as "tih-ruh-mee-SOO") invented in the 1960's at the El Touga restaurant in Treviso, Italy.

Literally translated Tiramisu means "pick me up" or "carry me up", which probably refers to the jolt you get after eating espresso and alcohol laced ladyfingers. It is often called an 'Italian Trifle" because, like any trifle, it has layers. In this case, ladyfingers are dipped in a mixture of coffee (espresso) and alcohol (rum or Marsala), and then they are layered with a custard that has been mixed with mascarpone cheese.

Mascarpone, pronounced mas-kahr-POH-nay, is a soft unripened cheese that belongs to the cream cheese family. It is a thick, buttery-rich, sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese, with a delicate and mild flavor, produced from cow's milk that has the texture of clotted or sour cream.


Read more:

Well this is a little bit of background on the actual dessert and its ingredients; however I have localized it to fit my taste and culture of course. So, my recipe naturally does not include wine, have replaced it with chocolate syrup. Original tiramisu uses zabaglione, which is an egg yolk custard. I tried it but didn’t really like the eggy taste so I replaced that as well. I am a coffee person, hence I used coffee flavored cream instead. So if you really look at it my tiramisu its like a Pakistani version of the Italian dessert, with chocolate, fresh cream, coffee cream, chocolate sauce and of course the “Savoiardi” or lady fingers. Ladyfingers form the base of this dessert, and these finger-shaped cookies made with a sponge cake batter. Again, I did some customization here as well and instead of experimenting (which I did once and failed miserably:() I made a square vanilla egg sponge cake and cut it into the lady fingers size and shape to form the base. So, really should I even call it a tiramisu that is the question :p;) :p but I will, it still has the pick me up effect from the coffee!

Coming quickly towards the recipe, first let me list down the different individual components that make up the final dessert.
1. Lady Fingers or Sponge Cake
2. Whipped Fresh Cream
3. Coffee Cream
4. Mascarpone Cheese
5. Chocolate sauce / Chocolate Ganache
6. Chocolate shavings
7. Coffee concentrate / syrup

Lady Fingers:
Sponge Cake recipe I have already shared with you here, instead of baking it in a round 8 inch pan I used a rectangle dish around approx 10 by 5 inches. Once baked, cooled in fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, I cut them into rectangles. You can cut them into any shape, any size you wish.

Whipped Cream:
1. Chilled fresh cream approx 450 - 500ml (approx 2 packets each 200ml)
2. 4 tbsp Icing sugar
Just beat these together until soft peaks form. Please don’t overbeat as it could become runny and loose its shape.

Coffee whipped Cream:
Use half (250 ml) of the whipped cream mixture, add1 teaspoon ground coffee powder and mix together.

Mascarpone Cheese:
You can buy ready made cheese from any super store, or make it by following the process below, I found this extremely easy to make as opposed to buying the ready made very expensive version. Since I don’t like extremely sweet desserts, I generally decrease the sugar content in which ever way possible. So I dint use sugar with the cheese, just beat it to give it a nice texture of spreading consistency.
(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)

Full fat fresh cream 200ml / 1 packet
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or Fruit vinegar

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.

Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

Coffee concentrate: Add 2 tsp coffee and 2 tsp sugar in one cup water, bring to boil.

Chocolate Sauce / syrup -> I used ready made hershey’s chocolate sauce

You can also use the chocolate ganache that I discussed here.

Chocolate shavings -> just use a peeler to peel some shreds off the cooking chocolate bar

1. Cover the base of the serving dish with the lady fingers.
2. Drizzle coffee concentrate to moisten the sponge cake.
3. Spread the mascarpone cheese layer over the lady fingers.
4. Next put the chocolate sauce layer, then the coffee cream layer.
5. Cover the coffee cream layer with the lady fingers.
6. Repeat the above process of layering, finishing it off with the lady fingers layers.
7. Cover the entire visible surface with whipped cream
8. Finish off by garnishing with chocolate shavings
9. Can also dust the surface with coco powder
10. Chill the dessert before serving, tastes best when chilled and firm enough to be cut properly.

Happy Baking! :)
Please excuse my photography in this post, my camera died ...cell phone camera to the rescue! :)

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