Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vanilla cake with choc frosting

Mix together cake flour, water, eggs and oil to a smooth batter.

Spray the pan with cooking spray or smear with butter generously. Bake at 325F for 1 hr for a 8 inch diameter by 3 inch height. ( 8 X 3)

Remove from oven. A well done cake should leave the sides of the pan.

Remove after 10 mins, while it is still warm to ensure the easy release of the cake.

Cool on a cooling rack till completely cooled.

Smear some icing on the base of your cake board so that the cake won't slide during placing.

Make as many layers as desired. In my case, due a good height of cake pan, I got 4 layers out of 3".

Pipe a ring of icing so the filling does not ooze out, between each layers.

Ice the top of the cake first by using a lot of icing on top since it is easy to remove extra icing but hard to put it back on if your spatula touches the cake, making all the crumbs to ruin your cake.

Ice the sides next, again without letting the spatula touch the cake. At this point, the spatula should touch the icing only at all times, for the same reason explained above.

A comletely iced cake, also called crumb coating. The cake is visible and the crumbs may show through the worries, since this is getting a second coat of icing. Now the cake can be chilled for an hour to seal the crumbs. I skipped the step since I did not get crumbs on my first coat.

A second coat was applied(In my case chocolate) Decorated and was ready for presentation.

Here's a second look as I totally loved making this for my sweetie!

The irresistable chocolate rose. If I may say so, myself!

Sourdough bread

Sourdough 101
Don't freak out looking at the is just broken in parts so a beginner can do it with no(or less) confusion. It's pretty easy considering that I've failed a few times and came up with a no-fail recipe. I guarantee it!

Ingrediemts needed are pretty much what we always have ready. Theres nothing much to it. Really! What gives this bread a 'tang' is what we need to have ready a day in advance.


A starter:
Mix together 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 tsp yeast(optional) and let sit for 12-24 hrs.
I left mine for a full 24 hrs.
At this point you can do one of two things:
a) take half and follow rest of the procedure with it or share/discard the second half
b) keep the second half & feed half cup water and 1/2 cup flour and let sit 24 hrs for another day of bread making/pancakes/muffins/scones etc.
It can also be saved in refrigerator, loosely covered and keep feeding it every week and this lasts good for a whole year( some bakers say, indefinitely) provided, u take half out and add half cup of each water and flour, religiously. That is another topic with a longer explanation and for another day.

So here's my starter all mixed in & ready to work its magic.

This is how it looks next day. Add 1 1/2 cup flour and 3 cups water and mix well.

This is how it looks after 12 hrs. Let it sit 12 more hrs to get the tang.

24 hrs later, you will see a well fermented batter.

Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 1tsp sugar and mix well to make a pliable dough.

This is how your dough should look like....non sticky and smooth.

5-6 hrs later, the dough has doubled up in volume. You'll know it is ready when you poke a hole at the center & the dent stays in.

Take a look at the beautiful gluten that was working hard to make it look like this...stretchy, yeasty smell & pliable. Its time to punch it down, shape into whatever your heart desires. Typically a loaf, baguette, Boule or rolls.

I shaped mine into lump (talk about being lazy. In my defense, all the wait for the dough to be ready was tiring enough!). Set aside for 1 hr (OR until it has doubled up in volume) to proof( second rise).

Mist the risen dough with water (for crisp crust) and bake for 17- 20 mins @ 450F. For a better color, use beaten egg white as a wash instead of water.
My baked bread sort looked pale...sigh! I wasn't happy with the color but the taste was 'to die for'. The smell that filled my kitchen was amazing. Absolutely a keeper recipe for us, I'll work at it to achieve the color as well as I see many more breads coming out of my oven.
* A well baked bread should sound hollow when tapped on and the crust should feel crisp when poked. Yeah, I can be crazy like that!

Now admire the beautiful bread, pat yourself on the back and bite into the bread with a pat of butter.

Methi paratha

Wheat flour
Methi leaves - 1 bunch, finely chopped
garlic - 4 cloves, grated
turmeric - 1 tsp
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
amchur powder - 1/2 tsp
jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
In a large bowl, add all the above ingredients with enough water to make a pliable dough. Cover and set aside for a couple of hrs to let the gluten work.
Roll out thin parathas and roast on a griddle with a little oil.
Serve hot with mango pickle.