Sunday, November 28, 2010

Eggless Black Forest Cake BUT no cherries

November is the month for party & celebration in my house. Other than regular festivals we have 4 birthdays and 2 wedding anniversaries to celebrate and out of these 6 celebrations 5 fall within the period of 10 days . This year I decided not to bake any cakes for anniversaries but for birthday's no excuse. So today I'm sharing this birthday cake I baked for my little one, she is two now, independent enough to do everything by herself(at least that's what she thinks). She had lots of fun whole day singing her b'day song...."Happy birday toote cakeah" and do I need to say the girl enjoyed the cake as much as she enjoyed singing her b'day song.
Recipe is simple, you basically need two or more layers of chocolate sponge cake, fresh heavy whip cream, some maraschino cherries and some good quality chocolate bar.  And once you assemble all this tasty stuff into layers the end result will be Black Forest Cake. My cake won't count as true Black Forest as cherries are missing from mine, mainly because b'day girl love MnM's and also I opted not to use any cherry liquor(kirsch) which is traditionally used  to soak the cake but rest of the elements are there. Mainly it's the whip cream which my kids love to eat cakes with so I decided to go for this. I baked the batter divided into 2 equal parts in 6 inches round pan, it sounds small but with our family of four I found this is the perfect size of cake plus it's going to be double layer so everybody gets I've a personal reason also, if I bake big cake then I get to bake less small cakes mean more baking. Now for the recipe :

What U need :
For Cake :
  • 1 cup all purpose flour/maida
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar(not using much sugar here as we r using sugar syrup & sweet whip cream)
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR 3/4 cup of home made dahi + 1/4 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence
For Syrup :
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon regular white sugar(adjust as per your taste, how sweet u like)
For Filling and Assembly :
  • 1&1/2 cups fresh heavy whip cream(I only had 2 layers of cake in case if u r using more layers, will need more cream)
  • 2-3 tablespoons on confectioner sugar(depending upon once taste.....more or less sugar)
  • handful of M'n'M's (for filling if U can find small M'n'M's that works great, I was out of them so I used regular size only)
  • semisweet chocolate bar
What U do :
For Cake :
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients & sift  them to make sure no lumps are there.
  2. Cream butter & sugar. Add buttermilk or dahi. Mix it.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients & mix everything together.
  4. Divide the batter into two 7 inches greased pans & bake them in pre heated oven at 350 degree F till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Let the cakes cool completely.
For Syrup :
  1. In the mean time while cake is cooling mix the water & sugar & make a syrup. Keep it in the fridge.
For Filling and Assembly :
  1. Whip up the cream with confectioner sugar to stiff consistency.(* see Baker's Notes) Keep it cold by placing it in the fridge when not working with it.
  2. Keep one cake onto cake board/serving plate, using a pastry brush drizzle/rub some syrup into it.
  3. Spread some whipped cream, around 1/2 inch thick layer & sprinkle some M'n'M's(see Notes if using cherries) onto it.
  4. Now put second cake upside down on it (* see Baker's Note at the bottom).
  5. Drizzle some syrup onto it.
  6. Using a offset spatula spread some icing on all the sides, if U have a turntable make sure to use it here because it really makes it easy. If icing on sides is not very smooth don't worry as in any case chocolate shavings will cover the sides.
  7. After icing on the sides ice the top of the cake, smooth it out.
  8. On parchment paper grate/shave the chocolate bar, I like to use my vegetable peeler, just make sure it's washed & dry(no vegetable odors)(*see Notes)
  9. Now come the most tedious or U can call it fun part  decorating the sides with the chocolate shavings. I did it the way I've always done it. Before starting with icing I always cut 4-5 strips of wax/parchment paper around 4-5 inch wide put them around & under the cake in a way so that half of the strip(width wise) is under the cake, so in case if icing etc. fell on the cake platter it's much easy to clean. Now either use your hands directly or put some choc. shavings on a piece of parchment paper & try to put it on to the edges.....icing will work as glue and will hold the shavings but there will be lot of chocolate shavings falling down & will get sticky & melty too so when it's done, to clean up U just pull the strips at the end and as a bonus U get to lick all that chocolate which falls on these strips...BUT now this is tedious way that's what I think & till now I never thought about googling it also as I normally decorate a cake once in a while(and my kids in routine are happy with some lots of whip cream & sprinkles on top). But now as I was writing this post thought about checking on web about same issue.....except the first result of my search nothing else(at least on the first page) delivered what I was looking for but that one result does answer this problem(click here if interested) and next time I'm gonna try that and yes it will change the sequence of steps in the filling & assembly part as according to that forum this should be the first step.
  10. Decorate the top of the cake as U wish with M'nM's or cherries or cover it totally with chocolate shavings.
Click of Baby Black Forest (it's hardly 4-5 inches in diameter) I made last year when hubby dear said no to Black Forest cake for his b'day (made after his b'day to satisfy my craving) & instead he wanted this one

 Notes :
  1. If using cherries drain & de-seed them. 
  2. For filling crush some cherries and spread them inside the layer along with the whip cream, making sure do not spread them to the edges, keep at least 1 inch margin from the edge of the cake, otherwise when U put the second layer on top of it filling will come out.
  3. Try to handle grated chocolate gently as it will melt quickly with your body heat.
Baker's Note :
  1. Whenever U want to decorate a cake make sure to use downside up(or call it upside down) because that's the smooth side.
  2. When whipping the cream make sure the bowl, whisk & cream everything is chilled otherwise it might not give U the right results.
Off goes this cake to Champa for her weekly bake-off.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Keema Patties/ Puff Pastry with Minced Meat filling

As I promised in my last post, here's one very easy recipe using keema(minced meat)....Keema Patties as we use to call it in India or I should say Savoury Puff Pastries with minced meat filling. It can be served as snack or as we like to have it as holiday brunch item also. Usually I cook keema a day before for this & then it's his responsibility to get these patties/puff pastries into final shape & to the table. You can use any left over keema or make fresh batch, only thing important here is, it should be totally dry & at room temperature. In case of any water in the cooked keema cook it on the high flame without any cover & keep stirring it till all the water evaporates & keema is pretty dry. Let it cool completely before using in the recipe. Following recipe will yield 4 patties.

What U need :
  • 3/4 cup cooked keema(recipe here) for filling
  • 1 ready-to-bake puff pastry sheet(each pack has two) thawed acc. to package direction
Note : Fish out the bay leaves & whole red chillies from the filling.

What U do :
  • Open up the pastry sheet. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 4 equal squares.
  • Divide keema filling into 4 equal parts. Put each portion of filling into the centre of each square.
  • Wet one of your finger and run it over the inside edge of pastry sheet square.
  • Fold it into triangles & press gently onto the sides to seal the edges. Repeat with all the squares.
  • Put it on a lightly greased baking sheet. Using a fork pierce the triangles at 3-4 places. Bake as per the package directions or at 400 degree F till the patties turn lightly golden brown.
  • Serve with your choice of sauce/ ketchup/ chutney and please be careful, meat inside will be really hot & did I told U they are addictive and I really mean it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Keema Matar(Minced meat and peas) with hidden veggies and Upcoming Review

Today I want to share few things with my readers. First of all wonderful people at CSN contacted me again as a preferred blogger back in the month of sep. for review of any product from their stores (I see new gadget coming into my kitchen for a review). I promised them but  never get to blog about it, and now after almost one & a half month when I came back they still have that offer open from they are wonderful, right? Today I was browsing their collection of  Dining Tables and came across this Dining nook set, how I'm wishing I had a little big apartment so I could have something like that in my dining area. Always love that kind of table, give me the feeling of being kid sitting on that bench.

Another thing to share is an award passed to me by one of my favourite blogger Suma of  Cakes and More. No doubt I love her Cakes/Bakes but also like More section of her cooking too. She is a wonderful cook & a Baker too. Thanks Suma, for sharing the award with me and sorry also as it took so long to post this award.

Also sometime back in the month of Oct. it was Spicebuds first blog anniversary, I myself was so busy with the family back in India that I totally forget about it. Now, moving to today's recipe it's very simple & tasty. Everyone in my house loves it, it's perfect for the times when U don't want to spend lot of time in front of the gas but still want all happy faces on the dinner table asking for another helping. Also a very versatile dish....can be served with rice, roti or naan. When U read the recipe you'll see why I love it so's quite easy to sneak in some extra veggies(see notes at the end) in this meat dish without losing actual taste of keema. This recipe serves 4 hungry tummies.

What U need :
  • 2 pound of minced meat of your choice chicken/turkey/lamb (*see notes)
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 3-4 green hot chillies
  • 1 med. onion finely chopped
  • 2 stalks(branch) of celery, finely chopped
  • 3 med. size tomatoes, finely chopped or pureed using blender/food processor
  • 1 tblsp. of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (or more)  peas
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped or very thinly grated.........totally optional
  • 2 small carrots very thinly grated(good idea to use food processor here).............totally optional
  • handful of fresh cilantro leaves for garnishing
  • cooking oil *see notes
  • salt
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1-2 bay leaves (tej patta)
  • 3-4 cloves (laung)
  • 1 tsp. cumin (jeera)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric (haldi)
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
Notes : Chicken & Turkey keema(minced meat)  comes in many varieties in terms of Fat contents in it. When U look at the packet it says something like 93/7 means 93% fat free & 7% is the fat content. this is what I normally choose as I'm gonna use around 2 tblsp. of oil also for sauteing the garlic, ginger, onions & celery. But there is something like 80/20 also, so U can choose as per your taste & requirement or u can mix  & match.

What U do :
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, add cumin, dry red chillies, bay leaves & cloves. Once they start to splutter which should not take more then 15-20 sec. or so add garlic, saute it.
  • Next goes ginger & a sprinkle of salt, which helps ginger not to stick with pan.
  • After few seconds, in goes celery & onions, saute till they are soft & onions are translucent. Now add minced meat to the pan & brown it, also break the big lumps of meat using back side of a big spoon. I prefer to do this step on high gas while stirring it, once the meat is brown(it release some fat too) turn the gas to med. & keep stirring it occasionally making sure it doesn't stick let it cook for 5 minutes or so.
  • Time to add all the dry spices except garam masala. stir it thoroughly. Add peas, zucchini & carrots, this will add some moisture also. Let it cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
  • Add green chilies, tom. paste & tomatoes. Cover & cook till done, approximately another 15 minutes or so. Check in between to make sure it's not sticking, if needed add water .
  • Also toward the last 5 minutes of cooking add water as per the consistency of the final dish U need. We don't like it too liquid kind just little thick gravy kind to go with rice so I usually add around 1/2 cup of water.
Things to Note : If u r using veggies like carrots they gonna add little sweetness to the final dish so U might want to add extra heat by using an extra chilli or chilli powder.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro & serve it the way U want or for some extra ideas wait for the next post.