February 23, 2011

Chocolate and Banana Birthday Cake

First birthday cake
(Photo courtesy: Venky Rao)

My son turned one last month. I decided to bake a birthday cake for him. It took me a while to think of what to make. I wanted to include chocolate and something blue in it as he seemed to like those two elements. But I didn't want it to be overly chocolatey either.

After looking around, I decided on one chocolate layer, one banana cake layer; all covered in blueberry cake frosting. The number one on top was made with dried blueberries. Little A took a couple of swipes of the frosting, and maybe a spoon of the cake. But the rest of us enjoyed big pieces after we sang "Happy Birthday" :)

For the chocolate cake I got the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini. All her cake recipes, that I have tried so far, have turned out great. And this one was no different. It almost had a brownie texture and was a hit with the adults. Everyone, including me, was oohhing over the richness of the cake.

For the banana cake, I dug in my archives and came up with this recipe. And this was a favorite of the kids.

Here are the recipes:

Chocolate Cake
(courtesy Chocolate and Zucchini)

2 sticks minus 1 Tbsp butter
7 oz dark chocolate (I used 54 %)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
a rounded tablespoon of flour

C&Z recommends that you make it a day in advance. But I ended up making it the day of, and it was moist and delicious.

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Butter the pan and set it aside.

Melt together the butter with the chocolate. I did it in a microwave heating it for 30-45 sec and then stirring it. I cooked it for 5-6 minutes. After it's all melted, transfer into a medium mixing-bowl. Add in the sugar, stir with a wooden spoon and let cool a little. Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Finally, add in the flour and mix well.

Pour the dough into the pan, and put into the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the center is set but still a little wobbly. Let it rest in the warm (switched off oven) for another hour. Then, put the pan on a cooling rack on the counter to cool completely.

Banana Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tspoon baking soda
1 tspoon baking powder
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbspoon sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 50 F.

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and the butter together. When they mix well and is fluffy add the sour cream and the milk. Whisk well.

Then add sugar slowly to the mix. When it all mixes well, add in the bananas. Add flour to this mix slowly stirring well. I don't have a food processor, so I used a egg whisk and a fork alternately.

Pour batter in the bundt pan bake for 40 to 45 minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean.

Whipped cream topping

Take heavy whipping cream and add in two tspoons of sugar. Whip till soft peaks form. Then add in 1 cup fresh blueberries puree. Mix well.

amu's cake

I put the chocolate layer in the bottom and banana on the top and layered it with blueberry whipping cream. Yummy!

February 21, 2011

Phulkopi aar aloo dalna

aloo phulkopir dalna

It's grey outside and has been snowing for the last couple of hours straight. Just when we thought there was spring in the air (temp above freezing for one whole week!), the snow storm warning comes back on. In this gloomy weather, I needed some cheering up. I decided upon this cauliflower and potato curry which my dad made when he was visiting.

After he made this, I asked him to write the recipe which he did and then shared it with me on Google docs. He was quite thrilled that he could share documents with me without e-mailing them. I am hoping that he will have more recipes to share soon.

It provided the perfect warmth in this otherwise snowy, cold day.

2 medium potatoes - cubed
1 small cauliflower - cut in small florets
4 green chilies - slit in half
1" ginger - grated
1 small onion - chopped
I tomato - chopped in small pieces
1/2 tspoon cumin powder
1/4 tspoon asafoetida powder
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon coriander powder
1 tspoon cumin powder
1/4 tspoon garam masala powder
1 cup water
2-3 tbspoon oil
Salt to taste

Microwave potato and cauliflower adding salt and turmeric powder for 2 minutes.This will reduce your cooking time.

In a non-sitck frying pan add oil to fry potato first and then cauliflower. Temper the rest of the oil with cumin seeds and green chillies. Then add asafoetida powder and ginger and onions.

Next add the tomato, turmeric powder, cumin and coriander powder along with potatoes and cauliflower pieces and saute it on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add water and salt to taste. Boil the curry for 8-10 minutes on medium heat closed lid till they are fully cooked.

Add garam masala, let it cook for another minute and take it off the heat.

aloo phulkopir dalna

Serve warm with rice or rotis. Now doesn't that look like sunshine in a bowl?


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