Cake & Cupcake Heaven

Christmas Baking: Strawberry Shortcake

Want to make a desert this festive season?

But you want it to be quick, simple, lacking any kind of technique?

And most importantly, need it to look rustically perfect?

Well, have I got all those criteria marked off, and more!

You see, my Strawberry Shortcakes not only make the best and most beautiful centrepiece to your table this festive season, but take literally no time to make, use fresh in season luscious strawberries and is topped off with vanilla bean infused whipped cream. How do you not salivate?! And with christmas around the corner, the redness of the strawberries make the desert look even more festive and inviting!

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Breakfast Banana Muffins with Coffee-Chocolate Chunks, Hazelnuts and Oats

The last weekend has been a busy busy but fantastic one. It started with a day dedicated to cooking and baking and making everything look pretty and yet relaxed. My idea of entertainment involves very little effort once the guests arrive, I prefer everything to be laid out and let the guests have a little fun DIY-ing and playing around with different stuff, that may to may not work well together. But that’s all the fun! There was: mango feta crostini with red wine fleur de sel, paprika spiked hummus, valrhona cointreau cupcakes, layered lemon cake with lemon cream cheese topped with fresh cranberries and gaufres shards, as well as some mini-mosaic apple tarts. It was quite a day night! And, of course, when at 2am this and this (the British version, of course!) makes a debut, you know the entertainment has taken the best possible turn!

With a Friday like that, even the best of us couldn’t rise and shine from the wee hours into a domestic diva. The thing is, I love the idea of grabbing a weekend (or any day, really) breakfast/brunch/late lunch comprising of breakfast favourites. I love the concept of brinner too (breakfast for dinner, get with the lingo!). The only part which tends to evade this achievement is the fact that it’s usually in the morning, and mornings and me haven’t become quite that friendly yet. That’s kind of how I stumbled upon the idea of making Breakfast Banana Muffins with Coffee-Chocolate Chunks, Hazelnuts and Oats the previous day, so I wouldn’t have to rise and shine early (eek!) to made a hot breakfast treat, I’d just drizzle it with some homemade warm salted caramel, and breakfast is served!  Read more…

Pear & Vanilla Preserve Cake

I adore fruit cake and tea cake. I adore cake that doesn’t get lost or doused in layers of cream and sugar. But sometimes I like that too.

Ok fine.

I love cake.

ALL cake.

And this Pear & Vanilla Preserve Cake is no exception.

The standout ingredient is (most obviously) the pear and vanilla preserve, which honestly I don’t know if I would ever again waste on toast. Like ever. again. The entire bottleful went into this cake, and worked so wonderfully well with the crunchy walnuts and the spicy cinnamon and nutmeg. Almost like carrot cake meets orange marmalade cake!

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Valrhona Bundt Cake with Fresh Strawberries

It’s mid-December, and it’s HIGH time that I get down to those strawberry centred recipes! Quite honestly, I have been busy travelling and attending weddings or doing wedding planning, the former being more fun than the latter! Over the last weekend SS and I were in Bangalore to celebrate a college friend’s wedding, and it was so wonderful to see people again after 7-8 years! The weekend was fabulous, and we even got to sample some authentic Karnataka food, my favourite being their popular shallot-based curry and dry roasted whole chillies which have this amazing pungent spice, yet isn’t fiery.

It was also so humbling to meet people after ages, and the first topic of conversation being Joie De Vivre, and how it makes people salivate, and want to eat/cook some themselves! [Predominantly it was the eating!] Now that being the case, I feel like committing sacrilege by constantly professing my love of strawberries and not translating that into anything on the blog. I’ve actually made this cake a couple of times already, and they’ve managed to gain  Read more…

Vegan Pound Cake

I do realise that when I say vegan pound cake, it sounds like a major oxymoron – a hoax, almost like saying a vegan macaron or a vegan meringue. But this time, its legitimate. The butter most obviously is substituted by margarine or any other vegan dairy spread. But the real richness and that solid heaviness typical to a pound cake batter is courtesy of the tofu. I used a half packet of the 12oz firm variety, so approximately 6oz, and processed it until smooth and lump free before adding to the batter.

Now like many pound cakes world over, there are many additions, flavours, and other confetti that you can throw in, based on your personal preferences. But this cake is a great great one to keep in your repertoire, and it is genuinely one that I wasn’t initially sure would actually result in a pound cake consistency and texture.
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Sticky Orange Marmalade Tea Cake [Vegan]

I’ve never ever experienced (and succumbed to) summer lethargy this gravely before. Part of me is thoroughly enjoying every minute of it, and the other part is (obviously) getting rather itchy to get my hands on something solid, something concrete and meaningful. To balance the two extreme ends of my psyche, baking a summery treat seems to meet both the requirements – the recipe being slightly lazy in its approach + the end product being something tangible, solid and pleasing. Mission was set, and the accomplishment has been repeated thrice already.

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