Running two startups is not easy! I’m tired and stressed. But I also enjoy the new learning. It’s a mixed bag of feelings, I tell you. On a positive note I’ve learnt to multi-task. Managing i2cook.com deliveries and dealing with day-to-day production. On the other hand I’m procuring and on the other I’m selling. For instance, right now, I’m roasting peanuts and writing this post. Ain’t I cool! 😉
There are days when I’m down or just worked up! I don’t like monotonous work and I do take some productive (ahem) breaks. My logic is very simple, when the pressure at work is too much for me to handle, I just bake. Simple. Bake. Bake bread, cookies or just simple cake. I baked this chocolate cake like three times in less than two months! (God save me from the calories). Once I have like a big unit producing tons of peanut butter, I shall dedicate a room for me. I will have an oven and only bake whenever I feel like taking a productive break ;).
This chocolate cake is simple and gluten-free. I was inspired to make this cake by Smitten Kitchen but I’ve made some changes by trial and error. All the ingredients are meant to be with each other, buckwheat, almonds and dark chocolate is a marriage made in heaven. This cake asks you to bake. Trust me. That is why I ended up making it three times before posting the recipe.
Just bake this cake and you will find reasons like me to keep baking 🙂
100 gms dark couverture chocolate (70%)
100 gms butter
100 gms organic raw sugar
3 free range eggs
30 gms organic buckwheat flour
35 gms almond meal (blend in silvered almonds in the grinder until you get a fine powder)
1 tsp baking powder
- Mix the chocolate and butter in bowl and place it on a double boiler. Allow it to melt completly and keep aside.
- Measure raw sugar in a bowl and break three eggs. Beat it for atleast 10 minutes or till you get a thick and pale yellow mixture. This is the most important part of the cake and a little muscle work (or a fancy gadget) can give you that super crumbly texture.
- Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture.
- Sprinkle the buckwheat and almond meal over the batter and fold gently to combine.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake and it should come out dry.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and invert onto the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with powdered sugar or dolloped with lightly whipped cream or your favourite ice-cream.
I used organic raw sugar & cocoa beans for plating from i2cook.com.
“i2” series is a new intiative to network and encourage young entrepreneurs.The theme for this month is “i2write” with two awesome hosts! Please join us if you’re in Mumbai. I was invited by Rodinhoods to present my startup – “There but not there!” Read my post here to view the presentation and what i2cook has been upto 🙂
Cupcakes are everyone’s favourite and the best part is that they are bite sized (to make us less guilty). Cupcakes are every where! There are dedicated stores only doing cupcakes and you even have cupcake vending machines in America. Have you seen the cupcake wars on television? Originally these cakes where baked in small cups, hence the name cup cake.
If you have been reading my blog you will notice that the use of refined flour is very minimal. I use a lot of wheat flour in my baking and sometimes use ragi or amaranth flour to make brownies or chocolate cake. I use unrefined and sulphurless raw sugar or coconut sugar in my baking. I also keep a jar of vanilla sugar which comes handy every time I bake. Vanilla sugar can be made by adding few pods of vanilla into your jar of sugar. I always tend to forget to add vanilla in my baking but luckily the vanilla sugar always comes to my rescue.
These chocolate cupcakes are eggless and I’ve made them twice already before penning down the recipe here. These are very soft in texture. They seem so easy and seamless to make that your family or friends may not even know if you have added oat flour.
- Measure and mix all the dry ingredients like flour, soda, salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, sugar in a bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to this dry mixture and mix well.
- Pour the cake mixture in the cupcake molds and bake at 160 degree centigrade for about 15-18 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack once done. Makes 24 nos. You could also frost your cupcakes with some chocolate ganache.
If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you would have noticed that I don’t use any refined flours or any other ingredients in my baking. I have been using different kind of flours consciously or sometimes to make use of the left over flours lying in my pantry. Sharing with you a list of unrefined flours which can be used to create tasty and healthy bakes. Whole wheat flour/Atta/Chakki atta – I use whole wheat flour in almost everything I bake from cakes, breads,cupcakes to muffins. It is my best substitute to refined maida or white flour. This flour is a safe bet and if you are slowly switching over from white to whole flour, I suggest that you start with wheat flour. Your cakes or breads may turn out dense initially but you will soon learn to mix flours to give your bakes some nice body and lightness. Recipe for Apple Cake using whole wheat flour.
Ragi or finger millet – gluten-free and can give a little sandy taste at times. I personally, like to mix ragi with either one or more flours and some almond meal to combine a nutty taste. Recipe for gluten-free banana bread or egg-less chocolate cupcake.
Amaranth flour – this gluten-free and high on protein flour can be used in combination with various flour mixes. Amaranth flour tends to impart a strong flavor which may not be appealing to some. However, if the proportion of this flour in the baked item is less, you can add only the amaranth flour, like the gluten-free brownies or chocolate cake. Trying using amaranth & chocolate together, they are a match made in heaven! Recipe for Amaranth Brownies.
Brown rice flour – It is best to use in very small proportions. Brown rice flour is high on fiber as compared to the white flour. This flour can be used to make banana bread or cookies.
Buckwheat or Kuttu – this rarely found nutty flour can be a baker’s delight. Buckwheat like amaranth goes extremely well with chocolate and can be used in a lot of your baked dishes. Recipe for Chocolate Cake.
Corn flour or makki ka atta – This is another flour which should be used in small proportions, mixed with other flours. It is high on fiber. Do not confuse this flour to the refined corn flour which is used in Chinese dishes.
Cornmeal – Corn meal is also famously known as polenta. It is called polenta because the consumers don’t confuse it to be made of any other dish and also to indicate that it is ideal for making polenta. I had made this delicious cake with this ingredient once. This ingredient is coarse in nature unlike other flours. The other types of gluten-free flours are bajra (pearl millet) or jowar (sorghum) which I’m assuming will work well when mixed with other flours.
These flours work great in combination, rather than using just one flour due to its non-glutenous nature. Whole wheat works great for baking breads but you could also use finger millet or amaranth for that extra nutrition. You can also find mixed millet flours available in most of the organic shops which I’m yet to try. Different recipes call for different flours and I’ve been trying to include as many flours I can in my baking. The choice of using flours is up to you but the proportions is what you should be looking at closely. For eg: If you are using whole wheat and finger millet in a recipe, you could use 2:1 or can be even reduced to half the quantity in some recipes. The reason being that finger millet and most other flours come with a strong flavor and sometimes may over power your baked dish in taste and colour. Here is a quick recipe for you to start getting acquainted with unrefined ingredients.
Ingredients for Cranberry Coffee Cake
200 gms whole wheat flour
50 gms corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 gms butter (salted)
2 free range eggs
250 gms coconut sugar
200 gms frozen or dried cranberries/blueberries
1 vanilla bean split powder
100 ml milk
25 gms chopped almonds
Recipe for Cranberry Coffee Cake
- Pre-heat oven at 180 degree centigrade
- Sieve, weigh and measure all the dry ingredients, flours and baking powder
- If using frozen cranberries, coarse grind them with vanilla and not into a fine paste
- Measure butter and coconut sugar and beat until well combined
- Add egg one by one and beat until it is well in combined with the butter and sugar mixture
- Combine both the dry and wet ingredients. Add cranberries and mix well
- Add milk and mix well until well combined
- Add this cake mixture into a greased pan, garnished with chopped almonds
- Bake for 40 minutes. Once done, allow it to sit for 10 minutes in the pan, before transferring to a wire rack for cooling.
- Eat warm with your favorite choice of toppings.
Introducing my Desi style cupcakes, aka cardamom cupcakes with kesar & pista frosting. These eggless cupcakes are a great way to indulge and without the frosting can also be guilt-free ;). I know I have your attention now!
These cupcakes are made with whole wheat flour (stone ground organic atta) and organic olive oil. These butter less cupcake are not only organic & healthy but also gives a new dimension to your dessert table for this Dussehra/Diwali.
Using local ingredients as much as possible is the best way to support honorable Prime Minister Mr Modi’s “Make in India” campaign. I used an Indian brand for cream cheese and was happy with its texture and taste. After making the frosting right from scratch, I realized that you can also frost these cupcakes with shrikhand, either homemade or store bought.
And also my company was featured in Mint this month. Yay!
- Measure and mix all the dry ingredients like flour, soda, salt, cardamom, sugar in a bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients one by one to the dry mixture and mix well.
- Pour the cake mixture in the cupcake molds and bake at 160 degree centigrade for about 15-18 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack once done. Makes 20 medium sized cupcakes.
- Beat all the ingredients for frosting until smooth in texture. Frost your cupcake garnished with some pistachio. You can also use some thick shrikhand as mentioned above in this post.
You might also like
Hello from my new office in Bengaluru 🙂
I kickstarted 2014 with a new office and the madness called ‘transfer & set up’. I felt like I was restarting i2cook but with a bit more experience and help. Couple of months have been busy with birthdays and family time too! I seem to have finally settled into my new space and hoping this year to be a super duper one and promise to bring you more recipes!
I’ve also been spending less time cooking and having a long distance relationship with my husband, who is in Mumbai (Sigh). Which is why baking a cake always makes me happy even if I’m missing him 😉
I maybe a little late at sharing the ginger bread recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks. But this cake has become my all time favourite cake to bake any time of the year.
Baking a cake has its own positive energy! I like to use only unrefined ingredients. I avoid using maida in my baking and use wheat flour or gluten-free flours. If you are not comfortable using 100% whole wheat flour, I suggest you change the proportion to 50-50 mixed with multi-purpose flour (maida). We are going to use three types of sweeteners in this cake. Remember my post about natural sweeteners… We are using raw sugar, molasses and honey. Molasses does a perfect job at giving that nice flavour which can get you addicted.
This cake is good for any occasion. You could add some walnuts to it and have it as a tea cake or just have it plain. I served this cake for my brother’s birthday with some cream cheese flavoured with coffee and garnished it with some caramelized walnuts; his reaction was a silent smile. You could also make a trifle and gift it to your friends. This cake is versatile and with a little creativity with flavours can get your guests asking for more!
For dry mixture:
350 gms wheat flour
6 gms ginger powder
5 gms cinnamon powder
6 gms grated ginger
5 gms baking soda
For wet mixture:
200 gms butter
100 gms raw sugar
150 gms black strap molasses
150 gms honey
110 ml water
120 ml milk (at room temperature)
- Measure and mix the dry mixture along with grated ginger. Mix well and set aside.
- Measure all the wet ingredients like butter, sweeteners and water in a non reactive pan. Heat on a stove top until the sugar and butter has melted. Keep aside to cool.
- Add eggs one at a time to the wet mixture while it is warm. Add milk and mix well.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.
- Pour them in the desired pans and bake in a pre heated oven at 160 degree centigrade for 45-50 minutes or depending on your oven settings.
- Once baked, allow it to cool for about 30 minutes before removing it from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You might also like…
I’ve been baking for a year now….I have realized that baking is like learning how to drive a car. You practice, gauge and finally become an expert. I bake not only to eat healthy but also to rejuvenate. I know, most of you will agree that baking is therapeutic and can really get you all pumped up! I prefer to follow or create recipes which are easy and most of my recipes are made using unrefined ingredients. If you are addicted to refined ingredients, it may take you a while to get used to unrefined ones. However, these small changes do make a huge impact on your life and I can assure you that I’m experiencing it first hand.
I’ve been wanting to use amaranth flour in a lot of ways….I’ve used them in my choco chip cookies, combined with wheat flour. Amaranth or rajgiri flour has a very distinct taste. Amaranth comes in three forms – grain, flour and puffed. Puffed ones are commonly used in Maharashtra and are easily available. Amaranth flour can be used in baked goodies like cakes, cookies, cereals and if using it to make bread, it is advisable to mix it with another flour for bread to rise. Amaranth grain can be used as a substitute for rice or in cereals or baked goods and the puffed one can be used in making muesli, bars, laddoos or snacks. Flour and grain are not easily available and only a few keep them in stock. SOS is one such brand, which produces locally grown Himalayan amaranth.
Amaranth is one of the oldest grain. It is a nutritional grain and contains only 4 grams of fat. Amaranth is also very high on proteins. Amaranth contains four times the calcium found in wheat and two times the iron and magnesium. Amaranth is very similar to quinoa when compared to it’s evolution and nutritional contents. However, amaranth contains slightly more protein compared to quinoa. Buckwheat is another gluten-free flour that I love baking with and it goes perfectly well with chocolate. Chocolate and amaranth are a good combination too! The earthiness of amaranth flour and the hint of dark chocolate can make this brownie your snack, breakfast or dessert. The addition of amaranth grain gives this brownie a good crunch and a texture. Feel free to add nuts or cocoa nibs. This brownies tastes better each day. I had refrigerated it for a week and found that it matures with age. This is my guilt-free version of brownie and ofcourse, don’t tell anyone that you have added amaranth flour…Let your family and friends keep guessing 😉
100 grams dark chocolate (65-70%)
75 grams amaranth flour
100 grams raw sugar (you can add 25 grams more for sweetness)
2 free range eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp baking powder
50 grams butter
50 grams olive oil
25 grams raw amaranth grain or add nuts or chocolate chips
- Measure butter, olive oil & chocolate in a bowl and melt it on a double broiler. Keep this aside and allow it to come back to room temperature.
- Mix all the dry ingredients.
- Once the wet mixture is cooled, add two eggs and beat it lightly until fluffy.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, including the amaranth grain and mix well.
- Pour this mixture in a pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 18-25 minutes or depending on your oven settings.
- Allow the brownie to cool completely before cutting into squares. I got 15 pieces. Store these in an air tight container. This can be refrigerated up to a week.
Caramel is generally made by adding butter and cream to caramelized sugar. I’m sharing a vegan recipe of caramel sauce here. You heard it right! It tastes equally good or I can say even better. The secret ingredients in this caramel sauce are coconut sugar and coconut milk. Coconut sugar is better than refined sugar and the coconut milk gives right amount of fat for a great texture.
The low glycemic index (GI) of coconut sugar is 35 (around half of white sugar) and has led some to claim that it’s a good sugar substitute for people with diabetes. It has a high mineral content compared to other sugars and is a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. You can use coconut sugar 1:1 in any way you would use regular sugar, including coffee, baking or cooking. More benefits and details in my previous post about this wonder sugar.
How does coconut sugar taste? It does not look, smell, or taste the way one would expect it to (like coconut). It actually looks, smells, and tastes like brown sugar with the slightest hint of caramel.
Although this recipe is fairly simple, it does require some understanding of the caramelization process. When sugar is heated to the point of melting (with or without water), it begins to color and caramelize. If left as is, it will solidify into a hard mass. If water is added, it becomes a thin sauce. If water and fat are added, the caramel develops body and texture. Adding water will make the caramel bubble up- Caramel is extremely hot and can do serious damage, so be careful.
1cup coconut sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup of water
1 cup coconut milk (I used homemade)
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
Mix all the ingredients in a pan. Place it on a stove top, on low flame. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes, until thick or till desired consistency. Stir occasionally and keep a keen watch on the sauce. Once done, allow it to cool before transferring into a bottle. Remember, that the sauce will thicken after cooling. You can refrigerate up to 3 weeks.
Serving suggestions: This sauce is so good and tasty to use it as a dip for fresh fruits, crepes, waffles, ice-creams, trifles, cakes, cookies, chocolates or best had straight from the bottle 🙂
‘Vegan for a day’ is a challenge organised by Harini of Tongue Ticklers (I’ve met her couple of times in many blogger events and really admire her photography skills) in collaboration with Preethi and Srinivas of Kyra (they sell natural detergents which is chemical-free and certified organic too).
Harini has interviewed them in her blog, so hop on to her blog first to read about these lovely entrepreneurs and don’t forget to come back and read my experience with being Vegan for a day 🙂
I’ve always believed that most of our indian or everyday cooking is mostly vegan unless you add ghee or butter. So I decided to take up the challenge and wanted to test my will power for a day.
My daily ritual in the morning is to have a cup of milk tea. Only when I took up the challenge, I realized that milk in my morning tea is such a big deal. Tea without milk kinda made my day seem dull. I immediately shook myself out of any negative feelings and was looking forward to the challenge.
I usually don’t eat any breakfast (I know it’s a bad thing but I’m lazy to cook or go into the kitchen in the morning). If I’m hungry before lunch I munch on some dry or fresh fruits.
Lunch was simple with some varan bhaat (dal and rice) with alu bhajji and chilli pickle. Dal was made simple with some gur (jaggery) and seasoned with hing (asafoetida) and cumin seeds in oil. Alu were sautéed till golden brown and seasoned with some salt and chilli powder.
I had a little sweet craving in the afternoon and I decided to make a 5 Minute Microwave Cake (recipe given below) to have it with my evening black tea.
Dinner was simple carried in a dabba to office (ah an enterpreneur’s life). Sautéed Mushroom served on a bed of organic wheat couscous seasoned with paprika, black peppercorns and garnished with fresh basil.
5 Minute Microwave Cake
Recipe has been adapted and been modified from a fellow blogger and a good friend Madhuri of Cook-curry Nook.
1 1/2 cup All purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar (preferably raw sugar)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2tbs flax seed powder mixed with 1 cup of warm water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 2tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
Sift all dry ingredients together like the flour,baking soda, baking powder, vanilla powder twice and transfer to a bowl.
Add sugar and stir well. Stir in water, flax seed, chocolate chips and oil and mix really well. The batter must have a ribbon like texture.
Pour the batter into a greased microwave safe dish – glass or plastic.
Now cook the cake on high (900W) for 5 minutes.
Once down allow it to cool completely and try piercing fork, tooth pick or knife to check for wetness. The cake will be done if there is no residue left on any of the devices that you use for testing.
Cut them into desired pieces and have it with tea or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can negate adding chocolate sauce as the chips do the trick 😉
Verdict: I was travelling to Bangalore and thought that it would be a great idea to give a taste to my mother and sis in law as they are very new to the concept of vegan. They were surprised that there was no milk or butter and yet it tasted so good. I’ve tried the same recipe with milk and butter and believe me there’s not much of a difference between the two.
Vegan for a day was a challenge that made me realize that it takes a lot more of will power and determination to stay away from things that you have been brought up with. Kudos to Harini, Preethi and Srinivas for being an inspiration to many others….
Warning: This is going to be a long read, so please stock up your coffee & cookies…..
Santa greeted me first by saying Namaste, when I visited him in 2009 in Rovaniemi (Finland), Santa’s official address. The Santa park has it’s own post office from where you can post greetings to your loved ones sitting anywhere in the world. Rovaniemi is the land of reindeer and yes I got to try out reindeer meat with wild berries and I know I sound like a carnivore now….
This Christmas, I’m remembering my wonderful holiday and would like to share some of my happy times!
I would also like to share with you a double treat of sweets that I made from sesame seeds that I received from iherb, for being selected as one of the winners among ten in SOS Challenge in the month of October, hosted by Diet, Dessert & Dogs and Affairs of Living.
I’m heading home for this holiday season to Bangalore and looking forward to some travelling and exploring new recipes.Since it’s Christmas time and you would want to gift some cookies, cakes or nibbles and I have come up with two easy to make recipes that would be easy to pack and can last up to a week even without refrigerating. So here it goes…
Sesame Chikki (Til ke Chikki)
4cups of sugar
1cup hulled sesame seeds
1tsp lemon juice
2tsp cardamon powder
Heat sugar in a pan and just when it’s melted and before it’s crystallizes, add lime.Once the sugar is fully melted, add sesame seeds, cardamon powder and turn of the gas. Mix well. Grease back of a plate or tray and spread the prepared mixture while hot. Allow it to set for an hour. After an hour, you will be
able to break the pieces easily. Break them into desired sizes and store them in an air tight container. I got about 30-35 medium sized pieces.
Sesame & Chocolate Balls
2cups hulled sesame seeds
1cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup honey
2tsp cardamon powder
50gms dark chocolate
Mix all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate in a bowl and mix well. Make small balls and keep them aside. Melt the chocolate in a bowl (microwave it) and dip the balls one by one, until it is fully covered with chocolate. I prefer to have a thin layer of chocolate rather than thick one. Allow it to dry and refrigerate for an hour. Store them in airtight containers either at room temperature for a week or refrigerate until they can last. I got about 25 pieces.
My tastebuds: I’ve had sesame chikki before and they are not my favourites. Sesame & Chocolates balls has been tried out for the first time with the intention to clear my fridge before I head start out on my travel. This recipe seems to have become an instant hit with me and hubby.
Wish you all Merry Christmas!!!