Know your flours & recipe for cranberry coffee cake

Cranberry cake 1 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. Cranberry cake 2 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.

Cranberry cake 3

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Gluten-free banana bread using i2cook’s coconut sugar

Banana bread 1 My all time favorite snack is banana bread. It is not only easy to make but it is so tasty and healthy! The best part about banana bread is that you can always play with different ingredients. I usually make banana bread with whole wheat flour. This time, I wanted to try the gluten-free version by using millet flours that were lying in my pantry for sometime. I’ve made this bread couple of times as this particular recipe has become one of my new favorite. I’ve used two types of millets – pearl and amaranth. The addition of almond meal gives this banana bread a nice texture and a nutty taste. Coconut oil is something that I love using in my banana bread as it imparts a pleasant aroma and is also an healthy option when compared to butter. More about coconut oil here and coconut sugar here.

Ingredients

75 gms finger millet flour or ragi

75 gms amaranth flour

50 gms almond meal

1 medium sized or two small over ripe banana, mashed

80 gms coconut oil (some extra to grease the pan)

80 gms coconut sugar

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

few pieces choco chips or cocao nibs (optional)

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven at 160 degree centigrade and grease a 8 by 4 inch loaf pan or equivalent.
  2. Sieve the flours along with baking soda and salt.
  3.  Add coconut oil, coconut sugar and beat until mixed well. Add egg and lightly beat.
  4.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients (with mashed banana) and mix some choco chips gently with the help of a spatula.
  5.  Pour the mixture into the greased pan and  bake for about 45 minutes or until its done based on your oven settings.
  6. Allow it to cool on a wire rack for about one hour before slicing.

Banana bread 2


Desi style cardamom cupcakes

 

Cake stand 1

 

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!

 Ms Sussanne Khan’s The Home Label team sent me this gorgeous two-tiered cake stand & cake stand for my cupcakes.
 2 tier stand 4
Ingredients
187 gm whole wheat flour
150 gm raw sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp baking soda
84 gm olive oil
 a pinch of salt
1 tbs vinegar
245 ml buttermilk or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp of vinegar
Ingredients for frosting 
1 tub or 180 gms cream cheese (I used Britannia)
25 ml of cream
2 tbs of raw sugar
few strands of saffron (kesar) soaked in warm milk for that lovely yellow colour
pistachio for some garnish
Preparation
  • 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.

 

 

2 tier stand 1

 

DSC_05802 tier stand 3

 

 

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Eggless chocolate cupcake


Eggless Chocolate Cupcake

choco cupcake

 

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.

Ingredients:

187 gm flour*
150 gm raw sugar or vanilla infuse sugar
30 gm cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
84 gm olive oil
1 tsp vanilla powder or essence
 a pinch of salt
1 tbs vinegar
245 ml buttermilk or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp of vinegar
2 tbs chopped chocolate (50-60%)
Note: I used a mix of wheat & ragi flour in my first batch and wheat & oat flour in the second. Feel free to experiment with flours.
Procedure:
  • 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.

 

 


An evening with apple cake

Apple cake 1

 

The sun plays hide and seek in the absence of rains, reminds me of Bangalore winter more than the monsoon. An evening cup of tea or coffee to enjoy the perfect weather beckons an evening treat!  Apple cake is a versatile teacake or a coffeecake like the banana bread. Throw in any ingredient you like and it won’t disappoint you. You can add grated, cut or sliced apples, mixed with flour or placed at  top or bottom (for caramelized apple) of the pan. I think I will  leave it to your creative senses. I prefer to make my tea cakes simple and the idea of glazing it sounds divine!

You can glaze your apple cake with a simple mixture of coconut sugar, milk or water and a hint of cinnamon or glaze it with some cinnamon spiked cream cheese or cream or some caramel sauce. Oh my! I can go on and on….

This cake is simple to make and calls for only basic ingredients easily available at home. Wheat flour gives this cake a nice nutty and rustic taste. I’ve only used cinnamon and ginger powder to spice up the cake. Coconut sugar gives a nice colour  and taste to this cake.

Apple cake 2

Ingredients:

25o gms wheat flour

150 gms coconut sugar or raw sugar*

3 medium sized apples, grated without skin

3 eggs

150 ml olive oil

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp rock salt

* You can add more sugar if you like. I was going to glaze my cake hence I used less sugar.

Procedure:

  • Measure and mix all the dry ingredients. Keep aside.
  • Measure and mix oil with sugar.
  • Add egg one at a time to the sugar and oil mixture. Beat lightly until well incorporated.
  • Mix the dry and the wet ingredients slowly until well combined.
  • Pour it in the desired greased dish.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven, set at 180 degree centigrade for about 30-40 minutes or depending on your oven settings.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with your favourite glaze or topping.

Apple cake 3

 


Peanut Butter Blondies

DSC_0363

 

I’ve been addictive to these blondies and everyone at home just love it! These are made with real nuts and addition of choco chips makes these an heavenly treat.

Baking with nut butters negates the use of butter since nut butters contain their own fat/oil. You can use any nut butter as the main ingredient and these can be made vegan or gluten free or flour-less. Blondies are like brownies but contain less of cocoa or chocolate. As the name suggests, they are brown in colour. They are  great as a snack or you could have them as  dessert with some  ice-cream.

Ingredients 

500 gms nut butters like  peanut butter or almond butter

2 eggs or 30 gms flax seed powder lightly beaten with 6 tbs of water for egg-less version

1 tsp baking soda

120 gms raw sugar

25 gms choco chips

20 gms nuts or cocao nibs

Note: I usually prefer to add some crunch to my blondies by adding cocao nibs or nuts

Procedure

  1. Measure all the ingredients and keep aside.
  2. Lightly beat two eggs in a bowl.
  3. Mix the nut butter, raw sugar, soda , choco chips and nuts into the wet mixture very softly.
  4. Line 10×10 inch baking dish/pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly throughout.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for about 18-20 minutes.
  6. Once done, allow it to cool before cutting them into desired shapes. Serve warm or at room temperature.  This recipe makes about 25 pieces.

 

DSC_0399

 

 


Gingerbread Cake or Molasses Cake

Hello from my new office in Bengaluru 🙂

office

i2cook 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 😉

Gingebread 2

Gingerbread cake has a lovely texture

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.

Gingerbread 3

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!

Gingerbread 1

Gingerbread trifle with cream cheese, pomegranate and cocoa nibs

Ingredients

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)

Procedure

  1. Measure and mix the dry mixture along with grated ginger. Mix well and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Add eggs one at a time to the wet mixture while it is  warm. Add milk and mix well.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.
  5. 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.
  6. Once baked, allow it to cool for about 30 minutes before removing it from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Gingerbread4

Gingerbread cake is good for any occasion – topped with coffee flavoured cream cheese and caramelized walnuts.

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Gluten-free chocolate cake

Polenta cake

Carrot cake with liquid jaggery