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.
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.
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
- Measure all the ingredients and keep aside.
- Lightly beat two eggs in a bowl.
- Mix the nut butter, raw sugar, soda , choco chips and nuts into the wet mixture very softly.
- Line 10×10 inch baking dish/pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly throughout.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for about 18-20 minutes.
- Once done, allow it to cool before cutting them into desired shapes. Serve warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes about 25 pieces.
An invite to an organic chocolate tasting and a 1 hour drive led me to a quaint cafe at Indiranagar where the tasting was held. A nice breezy evening and conversation over some tea and chocolate made me forget all about the horrid Bangalore traffic. We were all seated in a room and watched David and Angelika educate us about their passion – Earth Loaf.
Earth loaf makes artisan raw chocolate and tea infusions. I was surprised to sip on a glass of pure raw cacao beans infused in hot water that tasted good to my liking. David explained that it is a good energizer and a perfect post lunch drink. Earth loaf also has a blend with Assam tea leaf and cacao beans. David and Angelika come from the background of cocktail mixing. Their true calling for raw organic food lead them to experiment with chocolates. Earth loaf is based out of Mysore and currently David is busy training two women who come to work with him from a nearby Village. It took about two years to source and make their own machinery to produce the finest quality of handmade chocolate, right from scratch. David believes that chocolate is addictive due to its sugar content and he wants his customers to experience the opposite in his product. He believes that by adding minimum amount of coconut sugar, he is giving a pure taste of cacao rather than a sugar overload. David believes that it is more sustainable to go local (Indian) rather than sourcing it from abroad even though he may be tempted to. The raw materials are all procured from South and the ingredients used are minimum.
After all this talk about raw chocolate and cacao beans, many of you must be wondering that what is cacao beans….
Cacao beans are a source of all things chocolate. Cacao beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body’s adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings. So now you know the reason why chocolate makes us happy 😉
Cacao beans may look like an almond and comes with a thin skin covering. This skin can be removed by hand or soaked in warm water to discard the skin. Large processing house use machine to remove the skin covering, David built his own machinery to remove the skin. These beans are then crushed and are called cacao nibs, which is used as a garnish or are processed into making chocolates. Cacao beans is particularly found to be very healthy for its flavonoid content. The darker the chocolate the better flavonoid content is has, which helps to prevent diseases Cancer and Alzheimer.
How is earth loaf chocolate different from the conventional dark chocolate?
Earth loaf chocolate is made with minimum ingredients and doesn’t contain any milk solids. This chocolate is made from pure raw cacao and is also vegan. Most of the conventional chocolates are so highly processed that they tend to lose their nutrients and antioxidants. More on raw chocolate and coconut sugar.
David says that he is trying to set a trend as it is one of its kind in India. I liked the idea of tasting raw cacao and coconut sugar in my chocolate. Right now, I’m enjoying my chocolate with a glass of wine 🙂
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.
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 🙂
Diwali is all about food, food & only food for me! It is the time of the year to let go of your calorie count and indulge 🙂
Every Diwali I receive 3 very common gifts – mithai (Indian sweets), assorted chocolates or just plain dry fruits. It’s not that I don’t like any of the above. But Diwali is special and requires some thought while gifting your close friends and family members. Don’t you agree?
I’ve divided the gifting options into two categories:
- Homemade/Handmade by you
- Create your own Food Baskets – assortment of some hand made and some store bought
I love the idea of doing it yourself for simple reasons – it’s different, made by you with love and your gift becomes the talk of the town 😉
Orangettes – candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate
It’s the most delicious thing to be nibbling on. I’ve made these and they are really easy and you really can’t go wrong with them even if you are an amateur cook. You can negate the chocolate and gift them as plain ones too. They go great as a topping in salads or even on some of our Indian sweets – try using just the candied orange as a topping on gulab jamuns…..sounds yum right :).
Sesame Balls in Chocolate – til ke laddoo dipped in chocolate
These will really surprise anybody. The combination is different and sure is a hit – don’t worry I’ve tried and tested this recipe at the Farmer’s Market and it was a hit!
Herb or Spice Infused oils – use your favorite spice or herb to flavor your oils
Recently I spotted them at a dinner during the Food Bloggers Meet. I love, love and love them!
Pickles – every house has it’s own special variety
We Indians love our spicy, tangy pickle with our food. You can bottle them up in fancy bottles and proudly gift your in-house specialty, North – South doesn’t matter just add some spice this Diwali!
You can explore a wide ranging of gifting ideas depending on your personality. But remember whatever you gift, it sure does reflect your personality…….. So go ahead and put on your creative hats!
Few points to consider for your gifts:
- If using glass jars, make sure you wash them properly and sterilize them.
- You might want to include a card with instructions or ideas about how to use your fabulous gift. It might be completely new to the person whom you are gifting.
- If using plastic bags, it’s advisable to use the food grade ones.
- It’s always better to use biodegradable material for a safe and sound environment.
Create your own food baskets:
There are hundreds of combination that you can try while creating your own baskets. All you need is a good cane basket and some attractive colored papers. Again put on your creative hats and lets begin to create some interesting combos 🙂
Hope this post has given you ideas/inspirations to start with your own food gifts. I’m sure you will do a good job!
I would love to hear your gifting ideas too 🙂
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!!!