Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battenberg cake

For Daring baker's challenge this month, we were challenged to make a beautiful cake with checkered  squares in yellow and pink....The cake is traditionally flavored with almonds and has the signature Battenberg markings, that is, the yellow and pink squares...The sponge is cut into thin stripes and the stripes are glued together using apricot jam....The whole cake is then covered in marzipan and the top is patterned with a knife....

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
You can make variations in the flavor and covering..I personally am not a big fan of marzipan, so I decided to make my own chocolate plastique.....So here is the recipe...

All you need is

For the cake

  • Unsalted butter-3\4 cups ( softened )
  • Powdered sugar-3\4 cups
  • Self raising flour-1 and 1\4 cups ( 1 cup self raising flour = 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 and 1\2 tsp baking powder + 1\4 tsp salt )
  • Eggs-3
  • Ground almonds-1\2 cup ( I just pulsed the almonds with their skin in a food processor, until they were powdery )
  • Baking powder-3\4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract-1\4 tsp
  • Almond extract-1\4 tsp
  • Red food coloring gel

For the chocolate plastique

  • Chocolate-200 gm
  • Light corn syrup-3 tbsp

  • Apricot jam-1\3 cups

Method of preparation

Prepare a 8 inch by 8 inch pan 

Fold a sheet of foil several times
Fold a sheet of parchment into half and put the foil into the crease
Butter the bottom of the cake pan and arrange the parchment paper
Make sure the divide is in the middle of the pan

For the cake

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl
Whisk together the wet ingredients in a bigger bowl
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
Spoon half of the mixture into the one side of the prepared baking pan
Add a few drops of red food gel to the remaining batter and mix 
Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the pan
Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is well risen and a tooth pick comes out clean
Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes
Remove from the pan and cool thoroughly on a wire rack
Once completely cooled, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife
Cut each colored sponge in half lengthwise so that you are left with four long stripes of sponge
Neaten the stripes and trim as necessary

For chocolate plastique

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler 
Once completely melted, remove from heat and cool it a bit
Stir in corn syrup
It will seize up almost immediately
Keep stirring until mixed and it comes away from the side of the bowl
Transfer the chocolate to a zip lock and spread it inside the bag
Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours
Take out from the bag and knead on a surface dusted with powdered sugar
Knead till it becomes pliable

Assembling the cake

Gently heat the apricot jam and pass it through a sieve
Brush warmed jam onto the stripes of the cake to stick the cake in a checkered pattern
Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar and roll the chocolate plastique in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake
Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam 
Place the cake on the chocolate plastique, jam side down
Brush the remaining three sides with jam
Press the plastique around the cake 
Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake 
Trim the excess plastique

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roasted chicken and mushroom Lasagna with Bechamel sauce and tomato sauce

I have been making lasagna for a long time now....I ate it first ,during one of our visits to Italy and fell in love with it....I always used to make it either with tomato sauce or bechamel sauce, but this time I tried to use both the sauces and wow...It was the best Lasagne, I have ever had....The list of ingredients looks big , but don't worry....It's not at all difficult....And do do try this recipe...This is surely a winner....So here it is...

All you need is ( serves-3 people )

For roasted chicken

  • Chicken breast-1
  • Olive oil-2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Pepper-1\2 tsp

For mushroom

  • Mushroom-250 gms
  • Olive oil-2 tsp
  • Garlic-2 cloves
  • Salt
  • Black pepper-1\2 tsp

For Tomato sauce

  • Olive oil-4 tsp
  • Garlic-3-4 cloves
  • Tomatoes-3 ( medium, chopped )
  • Tomato puree-2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Sugar-1 tsp
  • Black pepper-1\2 tsp
  • Basil leaves-4-5 chopped ( If fresh basil is not available,you can use the dry one )
  • Water-1 cup

For bechamel sauce

  • Unsalted butter-1 and 1\2 tbsp
  • All purpose flour-2 tsp
  • Low fat milk-1 cup
  • Salt
  • Black pepper-1\4 tsp

  • Lasagna pasta-6 sheets ( boiled according to manufacturers instruction )
  • Parmesan cheese-1 and half cup
  • Mozzarella cheese-1\2 cup

Method of preparation

For the chicken

In a oven proof dish, mix all the ingredients and bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees

For the mushroom

In a pan add olive oil
when the oil is hot, add garlic and fry till slightly browned
Add mushroom, salt and pepper
Cook till mushrooms are slightly browned and all the water from them has evaporated

For the tomato sauce

Add oil in a pan
Add garlic and fry till lightly browned
Add tomato, tomato puree, salt, sugar, pepper powder, basil leaves and water
Cook for 8-10 minutes, until tomatoes are cooked well

For bechamel sauce

Heat butter in a pan
Add all purpose flour and fry for 2-3 minutes, on low heat, until it turns light brown
Switch off the  heat and add milk
Mix well
Switch on the heat again and cook the sauce , until it is thick and creamy
If you have a few lumps, sieve the sauce through a strainer


Take a 8x 8 inch baking tray and spread a tablespoon of tomato sauce
Arrange 2 sheets of lasagne on top of the sauce
Spread 2 tablespoon of tomato sauce, sprinkle some chicken and mushroom filling
Spread 2 tbsp of bechamel sauce and half cup of Parmesan cheese on top
Repeat with other sheets of lasagne, until you have 3 layers
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned
Cool for 5 minutes for serving

Monday, June 4, 2012

Whipped cream cake with rum glaze

This cake has no butter...Instead the fat source is the cream....It's a dense cake which is very flavorful and perfect for breakfast or for that matter any time of the day...Do give it a try...So here is the recipe...

All you need is

For the cake

  • All purpose flour-2 and 1\4 cups
  • Baking powder-2 tsp
  • Salt-3\4 tsp
  • Cold heavy cream-1 and 1\2 cups
  • Eggs-3
  • Vanilla extract-1 tsp
  • Granulated sugar-2 and 1\4 cups

For the glaze

  • Confectioner's sugar-1 cup
  • White rum-1and 1\2 tsp
  • Milk-1-2 tsp

Method of preparation

For the cake

Grease and flour a bundt pan
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
In a bowl, whisk all purpose flour, baking powder and salt
In another bowl, blend eggs and vanilla extract
In another large bowl, whisk heavy cream , until stiff peaks forms
Add eggs and mix until combined
Add sugar and whisk until combined
Add half of the flour and fold with a spatula until most of it is incorporated in the mixture
Add the remaining flout and fold til well combined
Pour the batter in the prepared pan
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean and the cake is nicely browned on the surface
Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes
Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack

For the glaze

In a small bowl, combine confectioner's sugar and rum
Add milk, very little at a time, until it is little flowy
Pour the glaze on top of the cake when it is completely cooled

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