Chocolate Coffee Cake Topped with Dried Rose Petals

chocolate coffee cake

With spring/summer in full force here in Holland, flowers are everywhere. Holland is known for its flowers, not only flowers you get at a store but also flowers people plant outside their homes. There is such a burst of color everywhere you look. It is virtually impossible not to feel some sort of joy when looking at the beauty.

This season I have suddenly fallen in love with roses. I never did like roses because of  everything cliched that they represent. Looking around me, seeing how wildly beautiful they grow at every street corner, I have fallen in love with them. The roses in a store have a different appeal, but these that grow so free are so incredibly irresistible.

chocolate coffee cake

It all started when Charlize and I started smelling all the roses we saw around us. Her idea, to find the most beautiful and the most fragrant rose. As beautiful as they all were or are, and had the promise of the delicious fragrance that a rose must possess, they all disappointed. Till we suddenly saw a pale orange rose desperately trying to show itself amongst the bush of other flowers in our very own tiny backyard. By now we were quite sure this rose, as beautiful as it was, would not have the fragrance we were so desperate to find. I plucked just one of it luxurious petals and held it gingerly to my nose. I was knocked off of my feet when the fragrance, so sweet and so intoxicating wafted into my senses. The rose in hiding or should I say in plain sight, was our perfect rose.

And then I left the petal on a table and forgot all about it.

Several days later, I saw that pale orange petal transformed to a flaming dried red one. How the color changed I have no idea. It was as if that lone petal sucked all the color around it. In death, it became yet more beautiful. Nor did it sacrifice its scent.

This event was too beautiful to not try again. Maybe it would not happen again. So I tried with yet one more petal. The exact same thing happened again.

For me roses go perfectly with chocolate. This cake happened because of that rose and not the other way around. I love that because of the way it surprised me. I patiently looked at all the petals from 2 roses from the backyard, turn to a flaming red.These are the petals you will so on top of this cake.

chocolate coffee cake

The rose also gently reminded me of how love, beauty comes to us in the most unexpected ways, by accident and most often by things or people right under our noses.

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

I found this cake on Vogue Living and it really is a deep rich soul satisfying cake

for cake
85 grams Dutch cocoa powder
320 ml sour cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup strong coffee*
3 tsps vanilla extract
320 grams plain flour
2 cups fine sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
400 grams unsalted butter, softened (should be very very soft and not just room temperature)

for the coffee ganache
2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/3 cup cold espresso coffee**

to prepare cake
Preheat oven to 175° C/350° F.

Grease a bundt cake pan of your choice. Lightly dust with flour.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cocoa, sour cream, eggs, coffee and vanilla extract until just combined.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of butter to cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Add remaining flour mixture and butter, in batches, beating until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Set aside for 20 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

to make coffee glaze
Combine icing sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in coffee until mixture reaches a pouring consistency.

* I made the strong coffee by mixing 2 tbsps of instant coffee granules into 1/3 cup hot water.

** For the cold espresso coffee, mix 1 tbsp instant coffee into 1/3 cup cool water.

chocolate coffee cake

 

 

 

 

Apricot Meringue Tartlets with Amaretto and An Almond, Date, Coconut Crust

apricot meringue tartlets

I’m working on this project with a group of some very talented young people who are total foodies. It’s the reason why you may not see me on this space so often the next coming weeks. I will try my best to put up as many posts as I can but developing recipes for this new Indian food portal is hard, exciting and time consuming work!

You will see the full range of recipes here too as soon as it goes live.

Now I came up with a recipe that required me to make almond milk. The milk came out delicious and maybe at a later date I will post it here but for now I wanted to use the left over almond bits in a crust for a tart. So, I go to the store to see what fruit appeals to me most. Apricots were on sale! And that began it all.

The apricots can be replaced for any fruit of your choice. I also used dates just as a natural sweetener for the almond milk so they also form part of the crust. I just thought the meringues were just the cutest little addition on top of it all.

If you like your dessert to look pretty (which in my opinion all dessert should!), then make these. Pretty easy to make too.

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

 

Lets get started.

Inspiration from What Katie Ate

for crust
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
150 grams almond flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsps corn starch
2 tbsps coconut oil
2 tbsps dessicated coconut
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsps maple syrup or honey
5-6 dates, cut in small pieces

to prepare
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Combine all the ingredients except the coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup. With your hands, work the dry ingredients towards the center until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm, then chill for at least 30 minutes.

Press the dough evenly onto 6 mini tart shells. Shape the dough flush with the edge of the pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and pre-bake for about 10 minutes.

apricot amaretto filling
2 tbsps very fine sugar
500 grams apricots, deseeded and skinned
1 tbsp amaretto

to prepare
Place the apricot halves in a pan with amaretto and 2 tablespoons of the very fine sugar. Turn the heat to medium and cook till the apricots soften and dissolve into the sugar and amaretto. Take off the heat and place in fridge for 30 minutes.

for the meringue
5 egg whites
250 grams fine sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cream of tartar

to prepare
Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer to soft peaks. With the motor running, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, until stiff and glossy. Add vinegar, vanilla and cream of tartar, then whisk briefly to combine.

Transfer meringue to piping bag.

to put together
Divide the apricot mix between your small tart tins. I got 6. Pipe the meringue on top of the apricot mix. You could also spoon it on. Place tartlets on a baking sheet and bake for around 10-15 minutes or till the tops of your meringue are a soft brown. Keep a close eye!

Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving warm or at room temperature.

Note: If your apricots are not ripe enough you may have to cook them in water for a short period (around ten minutes) to get them soft enough to peel off their skin.

 

Chocolate Espresso Cake

chocolate espresso cake

I made this cake last weekend. And since then I have been staring at the computer screen wondering what to say. I go through periods like this a lot. When I have nothing to say. I open my mouth and nothing comes out. Days like this are spent in self reflection. Sometimes with the person dearest to me. And only with someone who really understands me. With this person it all comes out as in a verbal vomit but with others I feel like I am a blur. As if they move in slow motion and I too fast. Or is it the other way around?

Nothing holds any importance in our lives but the love or the passion we have. Especially if you think of how temporary everything is. Only true love defies time and space.

I watched “Lucy” on the plane back from India recently and it left a deep impact on me. If we really did use more than the 10 percent of our brains as we do, the possibilities are endless. We become without form and shape and emotion has no place in this state. A person becomes just energy. As cool as it sounded, I’m not sure I want to feel nothing. Even if it comes at the cost of not having superhuman powers. I want to love deeply, unconditionally and I want to bear any pain that comes with it.

Nothing comes easily. Not for me anyway. And, I am suspicious of anything that does. If it does come too easily, I feel no joy in having it. Working hard and then achieving something has a satisfaction like nothing else. Maybe that’s why I try and look for the tallest cake or the one with the most work in it. You will also rarely see me baking the same one twice. I refuse to buy a kitchen machine because I feel I am cheating. I know I know it isn’t but that’s how I feel. Making buttercream with a hand held mixer is not so easy and many times it goes wrong, but I’d rather toil than not.

This cake is a lot of work and I loved it. So if you are up for a challenge and have time on your hands, this is the cake for you. This cake is so tall, I was actually scared to cut it lest it fall apart. I am happy to report it did not and that effect when you do cut it, is stunning!

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

 

adapted slightly from here

300 grams all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsps espresso powder
2 tps baking powder
1 1/2 tps salt
85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (50% cream and 50% whole milk)
1/4 cup espresso vodka (I made my own from here)
1 1/2 tbss vanilla essence
255  grams unsalted butter, room temperature
420 grams granulated sugar
7 eggs, room temperature

to prepare
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.

Butter and flour three 7-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until the dry ingredients are evenly combined. In a separate small bowl, combine the cream and milk, espresso vodka and vanilla essence.

Cream the butter and sugar together on low speed for 5 minutes (I only have a hand mixer but if you have a kitchen machine go ahead and use that). Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer still on low speed, swiftly alternate between adding the dry and liquid ingredients over the course of a minute. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to reach the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Distribute the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans, using a spatula to even out the tops.

Bake until the a toothpick comes out of the center of each cake clean, approximately 30-40 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan.

for the chocolate espresso italian meringue buttercream:
350 grams granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsps water
1 tsp agave syrup
5 egg whites
450 grams unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
85 grams unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tbsp espresso vodka, room temperature
1 tbsp brewed espresso, room temperature
to prepare
Add sugar, water and agave syrup to a medium sized sauce pot. Cover and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid begins to simmer and steam has developed, remove the cover (this helps prevent crystallization). You can use a candy thermometer, cooking the sugar to the soft ball stage, 235-240°F. I however did not have this thermometer and all you need to do is to let the mixture cook for for 5-10 minutes and if you then drop a drop of this mix into cold water it should form a ball and float. That’s the soft ball stage.
While the sugar is cooking, whisk the eggs on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until a soft peak has formed.
Turn the mixer speed down to medium low and very slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Don’t pour the hot syrup directly into the meringue.
Once the syrup is completely incorporated, turn the speed to high and allow the meringue to continue to form a stiff peak while cooling down. Mix on high until the meringue has reached room temperature. To speed up this 15-20 minute process, ice packs can be placed around the bowl. This really helps and cuts down the time to half.
Once the meringue is room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the soft butter on medium speed. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to high and very slowly add the chocolate, espresso and vodka.
to put together
Place the first layer of cake on a stand. Spread approximately one cup of buttercream on the cake and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more buttercream as needed to reached the desired thickness. Repeat with the second and third layer. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set this first layer of buttercream. Cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting. Decorate as desired.
Cake is best when served at room temperature.
notes
I just want to say that even though with a kitchen machine making this buttercream is much easier, I did mine with a hand held mixer and it is possible!. The key is to not stop whipping, so make sure you have all ingredients prepared beforehand and close at hand. Adding the butter slowly is also key.

Coconut Cake with Coconut Rum

coconut cake

So it was my birthday last week. And I made this amazing cake with coconut and more coconut. I was sad when it got polished off.

I want to talk about love today. Because I am brimming over with it. I am so thankful for all the love in my life… sometimes it comes in the most obvious ways and other times in an unexpected manner. Whatever it is, I would like to embrace it. And I do.

This trip of mine to India was amazing in the amount of love that I received from the people that I met. The love that I received from my friend Priyanka that gave me the opportunity to shoot her important day. The man in her life that without even knowing me welcomed me in his life just because I am her friend.  The new and very funny people that I met at the wedding.

My old friends that I again connected with as if the years in between hadn’t happened.

And the love that I came back to. Love that needn’t be voiced (even though is so wonderful to hear) but is just felt.

This cake is therefore about love. Love for life. Love for cake + coconut! :)

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

adapted from here.

for the cake
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup oil
1 1/3 cups well shaken canned coconut milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
1 tsp coconut rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

coconut cream cheese frosting
12 oz. cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp coconut rum
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cups shredded coconut

to prepare
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
Butter and flour three 7-inch round cake pans and set pans aside.
Sift cake flour into a large mixing bowl, then add baking powder and salt and whisk mixture for 20 seconds. In the bowl blend together granulated sugar, butter and the oil on medium speed until well combined. Add in egg yolks one at a time and mix until combined after each addition (reserve the 2 egg whites), then mix in coconut rum and vanilla extracts. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/2 of the coconut milk and mixing just until combined after each addition. Lastly add the shredded coconut.
In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip 6 egg whites with cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold 1/3 of the egg whites into cake batter at a time and fold just combined after each addition (don’t over-mix and deflate egg whites). Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Spread batter into an even layer and bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 19 – 22 minutes. Allow to cool in cake pan 5 – 10 minutes then run a knife along edges of cakes and invert each onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely.
for the coconut cream cheese frosting
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter with cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Mix in coconut rum. Add powdered sugar and whip on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Chill as needed if frosting seems runny (slightly runny is fine).
to put together
Spread the cream cheese top of one layer, add another layer and apply more cream cheese then top with last layer and pour the rest on top. Sprinkle cake evenly with shredded coconut on top (you can also add the shredded coconut in between the layers).

 

 

 

Sesame Kale Chips with Kale Stem Pakodas + the 100th post!

kale

As you know I am in India. And as I had mentioned in my last post briefly, I am here on emotional matters (my mom) and for work. I say work but it was more pleasure. A dear friend was getting married and she asked me if I’d like to take pictures of her special day. I, of course said yes, not only because she is a friend but because I am always so pleased when someone appreciates my style of photography, which is as real as it can get.

Now she was getting married to a famous Indian cricket player. Now I may not watch cricket actively but cricket runs in all our Indian veins. Even if you don’t really watch it, it is always playing somewhere in the background, or is in an advertisement or billboards. It really is everywhere around you. Everything you eat or drink is endorsed by some cricket player or the other. My fondest memories are of mom, sitting us down on her lap while she eagerly heard the commentary on the radio. There was no pulling her away from that radio set.

Everything in India revolves around food. We all know that. But when something as special as cricket is on television, then of course all the Indian snacks come out. The pakodas, the samosas. It is not unlike the Super Bowl in the US I guess. Cricket is a religion here, in India. As soccer is I suppose in Brazil or Argentina. It gives people hope and most importantly brings people together.

Well, food I think does the same.

I had a great time shooting the wedding. And I fell in love with the great darling that is Suresh Raina to the nation. When cricketers are treated as Gods, it is truly amazing to see someone, who as one of the best players on the national team, is as humble and kind as he is. He is the only cricketer to have hit a century (100 runs) in all formats of cricket. So it is only fitting that he should grace my 100th post!

So here I am, bringing the pakodas out. These are made from the stems of the kale leaves that we usually throw away. Don’t! Make pakodas!

And then make yourself some chai and sit back, put up your feet and enjoy a good game of Indian cricket! :)

kale

kale

kale

kale

for the chips
250 grams kale leaves
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
rock salt as desired
a good splash of olive oil

to prepare
Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.

Wash the leaves and pat dry with a kitchen towel. With a sharp knife cut the hard stems off and set aside. Do not throw these!

On a baking tray line with parchment, lay out out your leaves. You can either tear them into pieces of the size you want or you can leave them whole and crack them later.

Splash on the olive oil and massage into the leaves. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, the chili flakes and the salt.

Bake for 15 minutes and take out to cool.

for the kale stem pakodas
1/2 cup gram flour
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds
a pinch of baking soda
salt as per taste
water for making batter
the leftover stems from your kale leaves
oil for deep frying

to prepare
Heat enough oil in a wok for deep frying the stems.

Mix the gram flour and the water to make a batter of pancake consistency (as you can see in the picture).

Mix in all the spices and whip with hands till there are no lumps. Dip the stems into the batter and make sure you cover the stems evenly. You could also could also cut the stems in rectangular pieces if you find that easier.

Drop a bit of batter into the hot oil. If it sizzles and rises your oil is ready.

Deep fry for a few minutes till golden brown.

Eat hot!

 

Guest Post: Mustard Bread with Petals and Garam Masala Toffee

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

I have been missing for a while from my space and I hate that. I take my commitments seriously, so when I am unable to make good, there this is horrible niggling feeling that keeps at me till I can come back to whatever it is that I don’t have time for, or for some reason am unable to attend to.

My blog is like my security blanket. I love being here. It is my little creative space.

I am here in India for mom and for work and the craziness here has kept me away from the blog. I also came here to shoot the wedding of a dear friend and the man she married, a famous and endearing cricketer. But that is another post. For now, a dear blog friend was kind enough to guest post for me today. I am in awe of this lady. She is can bake things like I haven’t seen before. Now I am awfully afraid of baking breads. But, Eva aka Mrs. Hudson can whip them out like magic. And she has done it again with a bread she has so wonderfully created, just for Boxofspice. Please check her blog out if you haven’t already at Bakestreet. She may write in Spanish but I think cooking is like music. It has no language. And Eva plays this music like a master.

She has been more than kind in her words for me in her post to me below.

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

First of all I want to thank Rakhee for letting me be a part of her wonderful blog space in which we are accustomed to see real wonders.

For months I have known her blog and since then have enjoyed every one of her recipes, pictures … shame not to try them! Certainly I have several that I need to try.
One day I woke up to a pleasant surprise. Rakhee contacted me, requesting me to do a guest post on her blog. Of course, I accepted with pleasure. It’s wonderful to share one of my recipes here and it is certainly a great honor.

I asked Rakhee if she would like something special and she told me I could do whatever I wanted, just that she would like to see spices in the recipe if at all possible, since she is Indian. I found it a perfect proposal, since many fantastic combinations can be done with them.

At first I was not sure if I could do something sweet (she has many exceptional ones on her blog) or some variety of bread. Finally, I opted for the latter.

I thought about a mustard bread, very fragrant and perfect to combine with sweet or savory (though it may seem strange to combine savory with sweet, it is wonderful). The presentation took me some more time. I wanted to make something elegant, delicate, with impeccable presence so that I could capture the beauty of an Indian woman in elaboration.
Then I remembered this kind of bread that I learned to do with a master baker, Josep Pascual, and I just knew it was going to be perfect.

A bread that resembles a flower with petals and allows us to decorate the inside with seeds.

To accompany this bread, though you can eat it alone, I prepared a Garam Masala spiced toffee. I am speechless! This combination is pure pleasure. Full of aroma and great flavor for your palate.

The best way to enjoy it, and this reminds me of when I was child, a good slice of bread accompanied by a piece of black chocolate and a couple of tablespoons of spiced toffee.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it.

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

masa-2

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

for the sourdough
180 grams Levain, 100% hydrated and refreshed with strong flour (70 grams) and whole rye flour (20 grams)

rest of the dough
250 grams wheat flour (bread flour)
190 grams semolina
50 grams whole rye flour
295 grams water
11 1/2 grams coarse salt
3 tsp of mustard Maille A l’Ancienne or any coarse grained mustard
seeds: poppy seeds, sesame, pumpkin seeds

for the garam masala toffee
75 grams sugar
25 grams butter
150 grams cream
2 tsp mixed curry powder (coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, bay, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, basil, fenugreek and pepper)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg

preparing the bread
In a bowl incorporate the 3 types of flour, mix lightly with a silicone spatula. Pour water* over the flour and mix again until a smooth dough forms. Cover with a cotton cloth and let rise for around 50 minutes.

*If your flours already have a lot of hydration, instead of adding 100% by weight of water, you can add 70-80% for rising, reserving the remaining water. Once you knead the dough, you can add the rest gradually. That way you can can see how much water you need for your dough.

Add the sourdough and integrate well into the mixing bowl scarping down the bowl well with a spatula.

Place on a clean work surface, and without any flour. Begin to knead. We will now proceed to make the French kneading or Bertinet Kneading. Resting in combination with kneading. The dough will develop the gluten without working it excessively. Knead 2-3 minutes and let stand 4-5 minutes. This step will be done once before adding salt.

Add salt spreading it over the surface. Integrate carefully and knead again. The dough will become strong gradually. Alternate the kneading with rests until the dough passes the membrane proof.

Once we have reached this point, add the mustard. Knead gently to distribute evenly across the surface. Prepare a large airtight container or a large bowl, greased with oil, and place the dough inside and cover. With a bowl cover with film.

Let the dough ferment for 4 and 1/2 hours at room temperature * with 2 folding sessions every 45 min. The 45 minutes starting in the beginning of the fermentation time.

Once we complete the folding, let it stand again until it has almost doubled in size. In my case it was 3 hours but keep a close eye. The temperature in my house was 22ºC.

After this time resting prepare the banneton (a basket that provides structure for sourdough breads), I used a round shape. Sprinkle the banneton with rye flour and set aside.

forming the shape
Before proofing, cut a piece of dough 160 grams and make a boule. Set aside.

Pre-form a ball with the rest of dough, and let stand 20-25 minutes covering the dough with a cloth.

After this time we form a boule with the big dough. With the small piece form a disc, stretching it using a rolling pin. Set aside.

Spray water on the big ball of dough and decorate with seeds. Brush the disk with oil without doing the edges and place it on the dough ball. The folds should be at the base.
Place the boule again in the banneton, covered with foil (covering the entire banneton to prevent moisture absorption) or place into a large freezer bag, closed well and store there until the next day. Total 14 hours in the refrigerator.

baking
Preheat oven to 250° C (475° F) heated up 30 to 45 minutes before. Put tray/stone at the bottom of the oven and a container with small tray with volcanic stones that must be put in before you turn on the oven. The stones must take on the temperature and be hot.

In case you use a stone I recommend to preheat the oven, for one hour.

Five minutes before placing the bread in the oven, warm some water (in a regular cup,  1/2 cup aprox). You can do this in the microwave.

Carefully take out the bread dough on a table which was previously in the banneton lined with foil.

Score the dough. Not a deep cut. Only the layer that is the disc.

Insert bread in the oven and pour the hot water over the tray with the stones and close the door. You need to do this fast to maintain the temperature inside the oven.

Leave it in for 15 minutes at 245° C (475° F) with heat only coming from below. Turn off the top heat.

After these first 15 minutes, open the door slightly to release all the steam inside. Be very careful so as not to burn yourself. Take out the tray/container with stones and close the door again.

Lower the temperature to 230° C (450 F) and turn on top heat. Leave for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature further to 190ºC (375 F) and leave for 10 minutes. Finally turn on the air at 190ºC (375 F) and leave for 5-10 minutes. This drying will favor and improve the bread crust.

Total baking time is 45-50 minutes.

Once we finish baking, turn off the oven and leave a few minutes in the oven with the door half-closed to help form the crust. About 15 minutes. Then remove and let cool completely on a rack before opening.

storage
This bread holds for between 3-4 days. Simply put it face down on a wooden board on the side where you have made the cut, to preserve the air or cover it with a cotton cloth. If this area is dry, just have to cut a thin slice and the interior will tender up.

garam masala toffee
In a saucepan add sugar and on medium heat, stir until it turns light brown and seems to caramelise. Then add butter, liquid cream, salt and spices. Keep stirring on medium low heat for 5-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and store in a glass jar. Let cool completely.

Enjoy a few slices of mustard bread with spiced toffee and black chocolate.
Bon Appetit!!

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

Mustard bread with petals and Garam Masala toffee

Indian Honey Soaked Cake with Rosewater and Coconut

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

I come to you with yet another Indian cake. As you have heard me mention on this space before, there is no such thing as an Indian cake. Or so I thought. And I’m not the only with this preconception. An Indian friend called while I was making the cake and she too was shocked that there was such a thing as an Indian cake. Apparently there is a bakery in Bangalore called Iyengar’s bakery and it is their signature cake. I have been to the city of Bangalore when I was very little. I only have moms word that I did, since I remember nothing of it. It is supposed to be a beautiful city and these days a hub for IT professionals.

I just love the preparation of any recipe. Looking up how other people were making it, if at all, going in search of the ingredients and then the cutting, chopping, mixing, pouring, whisking. I so love it all.

So this cake was no different. After working out how I needed to make it, I went to one of my favorite grocery stores here in The Netherlands called marqt. They have the most wonderful produce and organic goods.

And I found these beautiful large coconut flakes. I could eat coconut in just about any form. It is absolutely one of my favorite things and it is such a pleasure to share the love of it with my guy. And the large flakes have that extra wow factor too!

AND, so here it is and it is so so sooo good. And deliciously simple too. I was a little skeptic of all that drowning of the cake in the honey syrup but seriously, the moist goodness is incredible and that sweet scent and flavor of the rose water, intoxicating.

I was lucky to find these large thin coconut flakes but you could just the regular dessicated kind. And if you would like (this is optional) add some wonderfully dried fruit along with the coconut. Another round of drenching the cake and you are ready to go!

This recipe is adapted from a blog I’m loving right now, from the talented Asha of Food Fashion Party.

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

Indian Honey Soaked Cake I Boxofspice

adapted from here

for cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup dessicated coconut + 1/2 cup for decoration
4 large eggs
250 grams butter
180 grams sugar
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
handful of dried fruits for decoration (optional)

for the honey rosewater syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 cups water
50 grams sugar
1 tbsp rosewater

to prepare
In a pan heat the sugar and, honey and water. While mixing, bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and continue mixing for a few minutes. Turn off the heat, let cool for another few minutes and then add the rosewater. Mix well and set aside.

to prepare
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter and flour a cake tin. Mine is a round 7″ shape.

In a mixing bowl, whip the butter till light and fluffy. Add sugar a little at a time and whip well.
Add one egg at a time and beat well to mix. Mix the dry ingredients well with the butter egg mixture. Whisk till the batter forms and mixes evenly. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time and continue to mix. Lastly add the vanilla extract.

Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes. Once a skewer comes out clean from the center, your cake is done.

Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes. You want the cake completely cooled before soaking.

Pierce the cake with skewer randomly and soak the cake, with 3/4 of the honey rosewater syrup. Top the cake after soaking with some shaved coconut, or just plain dessicated coconut. Top with some dried fruits (optional), Once you have decorated the cake, pour the remainder of the syrup.

This cake is gorgeous the next day, once the syrup has permeated every little bit of the cake!