Friday, 23 May 2014

Surprise Mickey Mouse cupcakes

Oh Toodles!
Vaanya, my bundle of joy, my angel, turns three today!
It was on this very day that our family was blessed with her. I can vividly remember her pretty pink face and her tiny cherub fingers and toes which made me wonder how did God create such a beauty. With time she grew all the more adorable and has filled our lives with unaccountable happiness and joy. 
This entire month has been all about mickey mouse because it is Vaanya's current fascination. With a mickey toy tucked in her arm she loves to sing and dance to the Mickey mouse clubhouse tune. So naturally, Mickey mouse had to be the  theme for her birthday celebration. 
With her birthday falling in the Summer vacations, it was decided to celebrate it with family in Allahabad and Lucknow. It has been so much fun to see the entire family gearing up to the theme with everyone putting in their ideas and inputs. From invitation cards to the cake, decorations to gift bags it is going to be all about Mickey mouse clubhouse.  
While I was doing my bit of research on the theme, I found these very attractive Mickey mouse cupcakes here. The surprise element in the cupcake with a mickey mouse inside it was fascinating enough to attempt. Though mine did not come out as neat as in the original, it was so much in the spirit of the birthday theme. The free download printables-mickey mouse cupcake wrappers and toppers have made them look all the more adorable. 
More about the birthday celebration in another post. 

Ingredients : For 5 cupcakes

Vanilla part:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 40 gms butter, room temperature (I used Amul)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
Chocolate part: to make the inside mickey mouse
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder (I used Bru)
  • 40 gms butter
Chocolate ganache icing:
  • 1/2 cup grated dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used Amul)

 Procedure : 

Mickey mouse chocolate part:
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Prepare a small baking pan by greasing and flouring it. 
Melt butter in a pan over low heat. Add sugar and mix well.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add egg and mix well.
Sift flour with cocoa powder, coffee powder and baking powder.
Add this to the butter mixture and mix well. 
Pour batter in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely and keep aside for further use.

Vanilla part : 
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Prepare cupcake tins by lining them with cupcake liners or just grease and flour them.
Take butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it well it it turns pale and creamy.
Add egg and beat well.
Sift flour with baking powder and mix with the butter mixture. Add vanilla essence and mix. 

Assembly : 
Take half of the prepared chocolate part and crumble it well. (Enjoy the other half with a cup of tea/coffee)
Mix 1 tbsp of the vanilla part with it along with 2 tbsp water.
Ensure that the mixture is of the consistency of a dough. 
Spoon a tbsp of the vanilla part in the prepared cupcake tins.
Now make a small round shape with the chocolate mixture and place it int eh middle, over the vanilla part.
Repeat for all 5 tins.
Make a 2" long cylinder with the chocolate part, join the ends and make it into a circle and place it over the round shape. Repeat the same for remaining tins. 
Top the tins with equal quantity of the vanilla cake batter. 
For more details, please see the video here
Bake for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool. 

Chocolate Ganache icing
Gently heat the cream in a pan over low heat.
Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate, and stir well.
Allow to cool.
As it cools it will, thicken.
Fill this in a patry bag with a star nozzle fitted and pipe over the cupcakes.
Serve, and surprise.
You will be able to see a mickey mouse from any angle.

Oh Toodles!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Coffee cupcakes-the best ever

I have been having this utter coffee craving for a few days. I have unsuccessfully in the past attempted to pair coffee in my bakes where the quantity of coffee was not enough to bring in the required flavour. Since then I have been wanting to experiment with the quantities and find that perfect coffee cake. 
Fortunately I get such crazy experimental opportunities on my vacation. So after the amazing and very satisfying Swiss Black Forest cake experiment, it was time to conquer the coffee devil. 
I used my time and tested, always a winner, butter cake recipe and added a good quantity of dissolved coffee and a little cocoa powder. This tip was inspired by a dear friend Sarani who loves to add coffee to her chocolate cakes to intensify the flavour. I used the reverse and added some cocoa powder to balance the coffee flavour. 
As critical as I am about my own bakes, I was mighty surprised at the perfect balance of flavours and that hit of coffee in the cupcake. This definitely is a keeper recipe for me and was enjoyed thoroughly by my little daughter (apart from everyone else)

Ingredients : For 5 medium sized cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 40 gms butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp coffee powder (I used Bru)
  • 1 tbsp hot water
For icing:
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream
  • 1/2 tbsp coffee powder
  • 1/2 tbsp hot water
  • melted dark chocolate
Procedure : 
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Dissolve coffee powder in hot water and keep aside to cool till further use.
Take butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it till creamy. I used my muscle power. You may use an electric beater. 
Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add egg to the butter-sugar mixture and mix. 
Add the flour mixture and mix till incorporated well.
Now add in the cooled diluted coffee. Mix well. 
Line muffin tins with liners or grease and flour it.
Pour batter equally to 3/4 the quantity of the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool. 

Dissolve coffee powder in hot water and allow to cool. Gently add to the whipped cream without mixing too much. For more on whipping cream read here.
Fill this in a piping bag fitted a star nozzle.
Pipe on the cupcakes.
Take melted chocolate (cooled) in another piping bag or a plastic cone and snip off the end to make a very small hole. 
Pipe random lines on the whipped cream. 
I also made some rough hand motifs with chocolate on  a tracing paper and allowed it to cool for 4-5 minutes. Then peeled them off and put on the cupcakes for decoration. 

Notes : 
  • You may enjoy the cupcake without the icing on top. 
  • If using a stronger coffee, reduce the quantity as it will make the cupcakes bitter. 
  • You can make a coffee cake with the same recipe doubled. Here is one I tried.

Happy Coffee Indulgence

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Swiss Blackforest cake

So I am back to Baking!
I have been literally struggling to find some time off my schedule to try some new bakes and have finally found so by coming to Allahabad for a month long vacation! It has just been a few days and I along with  Vaanya are having a whale of time running around our palatial house. Vaanya is getting far too much exercises just by walking around the house, a luxury which we do not have in our small den in Kolkata. With a beautiful front lawn and an equally big aangan, she surely is making the most of it. 
While she catches up some rest by sleeping late till morning, I sneak up to the kitchen to whip up a bake! The joy of baking is undescribable in words and can be only understood by equal enthusiasts. I save all kinds of elaborate experiments for this trip and thus finally found the opportunity to put my hands on a on-my-list for a long time - Swiss Black Forest cake. 
A classic and one of the most loved cake, this one turned out far easier and impressive than expected. The original cake recipe obviously calls for fresh cherries and some alcohol in the syrup but I have used easily available candied cherries and a simple jam-dissolved-in-water syrup inspired by my dear friend Kamalika. 
The cake recipe worked wonders and the cake rose up like a dream filling the kitchen with that irresistible smell of a fresh bake.

Recipe source : Cake recipe inspired by Deeba Rajpal who blogs from Passionate about baking.
Ingredients :

For the cake : Makes a 9" round cake to serve 8-10
  • 6 eggs
  • 1+1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • a pinch of salt
Syrup : 
  • 2 tbsp mixed fruit jam dissolved in little water

For Garnish:
  • 1 1/2 cup non-dairy whipping cream
  • candied cherries
  • grated dark chocolate
Cake : 
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Grease and flour a 9" springform pan or a normal round pan.
Sift all purpose flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cornflour and salt.
Take eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat till triples in volume. This will require an electric beater and will take about 10 minutes. Add vanilla essence and beat again.
Gently fold in the flour mixture into the eggs with light hands so that the air incorporated in the eggs do not escape. 
Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
Allow to cool and slice in 2 equal layers.

Whip cream:
Thaw the whipping cream by taking it out 1 hour before required to whip. 
Chill the beaters and the bowl. 
Whip with electric beater for about 5 minutes with 1 minute breaks. Gradually increase speed from low to high. 
Beat till the cream begins forming lines and has thickened enough. Be careful not to overbeat as the cream may curdle.
Refrigerate till required.

Assembly : 
Spread the syrup prepared with jam dissolved in water equally over the cake layers. 
Spread the whipped cream in between the cake layers and sandwich them. 
Spread the remaining cream all over the cake.
Decorate sides with pressing the grated dark chocolate to the sides. Sprinkle some on top too.
Fill an icing bag fitted with star nozzle with some cream and pipe along the edges and one in the middle.
Decorate with candied cherries. 

Notes :  
  • Slice the cake in layers as soon as it cools enough to touch as the cake will get too crumbly if you allow to cool further.
  • With no butter or oil, this cake is a little dry so be careful to sprinkle enough syrup if you like your Black forest moist like me.
Happy Baking

Monday, 5 May 2014

Roasted Beetroot Chaas

Summers is not really my favourite month but Summers have a lot of sweet memory attached to it and remind me of the fun filled and careless childhood days. Summers then meant packing up our bags and traveling by the Sleeper class for 2 nights and reach our heaven haven in Punjab. The Summer vacations was spent running out and playing in the scorching sun and enjoying yummy delicacies made by Nani and Masi's. In those days we had no distraction from the television or the internet and enjoyed our silly games with all cousins. Summer Vacations will truly be the best days of my life!
With Vaanya, my daughter, growing up and soon to join a school, I look forward to give Vaanya a truly wonderful and memorable Summer vacation experience. I hope when she grows up, she will fondly recollect her best days of life with equal enthusiasm.
Summers are also synonymous with cool drinks. Being a Sikh, Lassi was a drink that was always ready at home. My grandmother would ensure that she uses enough milk to set homemade curd which was used generously in Summers. While I always loved my Lassi sweet and thick, others at home loved to gulp down a salty and thin version along with lunch. My grandmothers 'Madhani' was always ready to churn up a yummy cooling Lassi. 
My grandmother also made homemade white butter which now my mother continues to make very diligently. The top layer on milk called 'Malai' collected for a few days was churned to get the pristine white unsalted butter. The water remaining while churning butter was used in her salty lassi which I learnt later is called 'Chaas' in Hindi. Extremely popular esp in the northern part of the country because of its scorching heat in Summers, Chaas is a drink that is not only loved for its taste but for its health benefits too as it cools the body.
This chaas is normally made with boiled beetroot puree but the Baker in me made me experiment with a roasted beetroot version.

Recipe source : Adapted from GoodFood magazine 

Ingredients : For 3-4 servings
  • 1 small beetroot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup curd (I used homemade)
  • 2 cups water (or more)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • few curry leaves 8-10
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 green chilly chopped (optional)
  • salt to taste


Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Take a baking tray and line it with aluminium foil. 
Toss the quartered beetroots with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
Place on the baking tray and loosely cover with the foil. Let the beetroots roast for 30 minutes. 
Take them out carefully and allow to cool.
When they have cooled down, pulse them in the mixer to make a smooth paste.
Whisk curd and water in a bowl to make a thin chaas. 
Add the beetroot paste to it and mix it well.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. As they splutter, add curry leaves, grated ginger and chopped green chilly. Cook for a minute and then add this to the chaas.
Refrigerate the chaas and serve chilled. 

  • You can use buttermilk in place of curd and water.
  • You may boil the beetroot in boiling water or pressure cook it, peel the skin and puree it. 
This recipe is part of the exciting ongoing event at Kolkata Food Bloggers called 'Beat the Heat'.

 Enjoy Summers

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Taj Bengal - Wednesday Wine O'Clock at the Junction.

'TGIW'-Thank God Its Wednesday 'Wine O'Clock' at Taj Bengal Kolkata. Party-goers and professionals do not need to wait till Friday any longer with The Kolkata Taj Bengal breaking barriers yet again with their Wednesday Wine O'Clock, Wine by the Glass overdrive. 
Taj Bengal has opened up their cellars in a way that has made wine sampling very enjoyable, affordable and available to people at large.
The brilliant idea behind the concept is to take a midweek stress buster time out from one's heavy work schedule and indulge in a moderate midweek pamper that would refresh you to go on for the rest of the second half of the week. It is for this reason that the Taj has designed this Wednesday Wine O'Clock where one can sample wine by the glass from a selection of more than twenty five Indian and International wines ranging from Champagnes and Sparkling Wine to various types of White and Red Wines. Whats more, the wines has been priced so aggressively that it makes more sense to make a bee-line at the Taj Bengal Junction than any other popular joints in the city where wine is generally served more by the bottle.
The effect, if not the after effect, of Wednesday Wine O clock was instant on me as that happened to be one of my busiest day and with the blogger team from Kolkata Food Bloggers invited in the first Wednesday launch, I was running against time to be there.  Exactly as the concept visualized, the evening after that stress filled day was truly very reviving and rejuvenating.

chips and peanuts

Selection from the cheese platter- English Cheddar Cheese and Gouda Cheese to go with wine.

With Vinod Pandey of Taj Bengal

As a food blogger I love to write about food and at the same time it intrigues me to know about the people behind that food or programme which would normally go unnoticed.  
I had a great opportunity to interact with Mr. Vinod Pandey, Executive Assistant Manager Food & Beverage of Taj Bengal. During an exclusive casual interaction with him I found him having a sea of knowledge about wine and has been an appreciator himself for over many years. He helped me to understand and know the story and history of the selection of wines in the offering. He also happens to be an avid collector of numerous wine cork openers, something that I had never heard or have come across before.
The knowledge of wine was reflected in the rest of the staff as well who were very courteous and helpful to select wine and food.
Mr Jaydeep Biswas, Manager Junction Bar was also full of indepth understanding about all the wines in the offering and chatted a great deal about the enthusiasm about Taj Bengal's Wine O'Clock drive.     

The Soave Allegrini DOC ''Corte Giara'' Pagus from Garganega was a very crisp young wine for all occasion casual drinking and a great one for beginners.

The experience of the G H Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne was as magical as experiencing a podium finish at a Formula One Grand Prix. You can pamper yourself with this champagne by the glass and again at a very affordable price.

Ebeia Riberia Del Duero DOC made from Tempranillo grapes from Spain was again a full bodied red wine.

The Oxford Landing, full bodied wine from Australia goes extremely well with red meats such as steak and chops. 

The Wednesday Wine O'Clock at the Junction Taj Bengal will be an ongoing campaign and you can sample from a range of twenty five wines. The carte of twenty five wines would keep changing from time to time to roll more options. The idea of twenty five wines is to celebrate the 25 Years of Taj Bengal. 

The range of wine by the glass is very aggressively priced from Rs 250 to Rs 1000 and for ac compliments you can choose from their range of exotic starters to pair the wine of your choice.  Truly now you can say 'Thank God Its Wednesday'.


Vishal & Amrita Tupper

Disclaimer: The views presented above are solely individualistic and was not influenced or paid monetarily. The consumption of alcohol can be injurious to health. Individual's desecration is required.    


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