Doll House – Zucchini chocolate cake

I finally started to go through my hard drive. These pictures are from summer 2010 (couldn’t skip though it is old) when I visited a friend’s baby girl’s first birthday party. A doll house was exclusively built for her, in their garden beside the lake. The doll house was extremely adorable, with little bed, dinning table, kitchen utensils, toys and chairs. Party was filled candies, chocolate, desserts and kids high on sugar. Those were the days when I was learning portraits, still learning, it is tough with kids, so it was a fun evening. The b’day girl was center of attraction, a social baby and she enjoyed her day completely. I had this cake at the party, I couldn’t come out without asking for the recipe simply because it was delicious, later I paid back her mum with party pictures. Today is writers block day for me, it took more than one hour to write this (in state of shock to see pic untouched from 2009). I tweaked this recipe to my own choice, but unfortunately didn’t note down the changes. So i’m giving you the original recipe, this makes a  large portion, coffee table at work saved me, feel free to half it or just go by this! Happy baking! 

                                       she wasn’t happy when so many were entering her territory

                                             She had great fun seeing what everyone gave her

Ingredients
(It is according to finnish conversion in a day or two will give the measurement in gram)
6 dl  wheat  flour
4 dl sugar
1.5 dl cocoa powder
2 dl oil
5 dl grated zucchini
2 teaspoons  baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
2 eggs
70 gram chopped walnuts
dash of cream

Preheat the oven to 175 C
Mix everything together, pour the mixture in a prepared large rectangular cake pan or any cake pan. Bake for 45 min till the knife inserted comes out clean. Could be served with whipped cream or vanilla sauce.

Happy New Year – Chocolate Kiwi – Mousse Cake

Another year is coming to an end, and it has a been a glorious end, with me designated as Dr.Ananda Rajashekar. I’m yet to come back from state of elation. It was a beautiful experience, hard to describe in few words with a nervous start in the morning, then gradually getting engrossed in conveying my 6 yrs of research followed by hours of thoughtful discussion…. The day ended with great party with most dear people, cherished speech, gifts and their love…..A day I enjoyed the most and a day I would remember for life! Will write more in detail with pictures soon! 

Thought i’m still enjoying my holiday break feels fantastic to be back into delicious world of blogging. This cake was baked for my dear friends birthday. Since Kiwi is her fav fruit, the creation of this cake happened. I tried my hands on kiwi mousse, but  kiwi didn’t allow the mousse to set, so ended up with simple mascarpone,  fresh cream and kiwi, it worked wonders….birthday girl was happy! 


Here is glossy cake and me wishing you all a joyful and wish fulfilling New Year. Big shout thank you all you lovely people, for all your support and wishes for past months! 

                                                       Picture straight from birthday party!


Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
4 eggs
150 gram sugar
110 gram all purpose flour
50 ml of oil
1/4 tspn salt
1 1/4 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn baking soda
2 1/2 tbspn cocoa powder
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract 

Method
Preheat oven to 175 degree C.  Butter, flour and line the bottoms 18 cm round cake pan.
Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and sieve to mix.
In a separate bowl, beat sugar and egg yolk until creamy, next add in vegetable oil. In a another separate bowl beat in white egg to soft peak. Very gently incorporate white egg and dry ingredients in parts to the sugar yolk mixture till well combined. After the cake batter is mixed well. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake it for about 35-40  minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Kiwi Mascarpone whipped cream:
250 gram mascarpone cheese
200 ml whipping cream
80 gram sugar (Depending on the sweetness)
1 tspn vanilla extra
3 ripen kiwi fruit, (de skin  and dice the fruit to small piece )
Combine sugar and cream and beat until single stiff peaks are formed. Soften mascarpone cheese and combine with whipped cream, whipping cream on low speed till soft peaks are formed, be careful not to over beat them.  Mix diced fruit to whipped cream. 
Chocolate Ganache
250ml Fresh cream
250gram Dark chocolate chopped (But I used milk chocolate)
30gram Butter
Bring the cream to boil in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and throw in the chocolate and let them rest for 2 minutes then add butter and let aside for about 5 to 10 minutes and very gently mix the chocolate till they become glossy and has good pouring consisting. If it too runny let them rest for a while for them to thicken.

Assembly
Start assembling the cake while waiting for the ganache 
Slice the cake into three layers,
Divide the cream in two portions
Place top layer of the cake at the bottom and spread one portion of the cream uniformly, try not to take cream to corners. Now place the middle layer of the cake give a very gentle press next spread the other portion of the cream. Now place top layer of the cake. Place the cake on the wire rack, pour the ganache on the cake and tap them a bit till it spread uniformly. Top it fresh fruit or anything you desire! 

Kiddos! – White chocolate apricot shortbread

Months after I stepped to Finland in 2005, I got to know three wonderful Finnish family who have adopted three Indian baby girls, two from south  India and one from north. To connect with these family has been a blessing for me, have seen them growing for past five years. First time when I met one of those babies, her parents ran to me asking if was from south of India and could I speak in Tamil? Initially she used to very well understand Tamil and smiled when I spoke with her that’s when we started to connect later I got to know two other families. These days they hardly remember any Indian languages, but speak perfect Finnish!

I meet them now and then since not only I get chance to be with three lil girls but also with other blue eyed cute Finnish boys, families own kids. Most of the time, I hear their stories, though I don’t understand, play toys or just run up and down! My evening with them are so relaxing and enjoyable. Last summer (yes pretty old  recipe I say which was resting in hard disk, had to come out finally) for a evening with one of those kids, made apricot white chocolate shortbread, thinking she would like it. I was wrong!
                                              
As always we went around up and down, they had two fat cats, am not cat person they freak me out, knowing that she made sure cats sits on me and I was literally running from her, letting her to laugh loud and her mum saying stop!! 

Then came cookie time, the moment she saw my cookies, she asked “Mita…?” (what is ….)  followed by “Ei…” ” No….” all that was running in my mind was “Oh Ananda, you failed to impress a little girl, go jump into the lake”. Beside my shortbread, there was yum strawberry fresh cream cake glowing, no wonder she hardly had a look at my shortbread. Even-though her mum tried to convince her she didn’t bother much as she was licking clean her mum’s cake. I wasn’t sad but was smiling all the way and enjoying the cake aswell, but others were happy with my creations.
Later she was in the mission to teach me some Finnish, after hearing my poor Finnish pronunciation. We sat down and were learning, slowly her mum came and said in ears she is teaching you bad words. I was again thinking, 5 yrs in Finland, my knowledge level in this area is less than 5 yrs kids, jump again into lake. Oh don’t worry guys, I’m living city of lake!
End of day, I came back home, with some cartoon tattoos and stamps on my wrist, some flowers which she picked and some gifts from their trip to India, wonderful evening it was. Another lesson learnt, to bring food into kids attention is difficult. This is not the first time, I have failed with my niece as well. Have to work more on it!
Note: this recipes makes a big batch, following day took it to office for coffee, colleagues enjoyed it, realised it was more for grown ups!!

Ingredients

150 gram butter
200 gram sugar
230 gram cream cheese 
300 gram flour
200 gram white chocolate (chopped)
150 gram dry apricot ( cut in small pieces)
Method
Butter, cream cheese should be at room temperature.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly mix in cream cheese till it is evenly mixed. Add in white chocolate and dry apricot, then gently mix flour till a dough is formed. Make small balls out of dough. Give a small stab with fingers to flatten a bit and bake at 165 C in preheated oven for 15- 20 mins till turn pale pink brown.. Cool them for while for them to crisp up a bit!

Will hibernate for a month – Black Forest Cake

What’s in air? I have no idea whats going around, but yes I’m surrounded by my treasured peoples love 365 days! If you chose today to express yourself, say you love!In Finland it is celebrated as friends day, every year it has been fun time with friends, food and yum chocolate cake. This year with mum around, we haven’t planned anything special (weather is -25C outside) other than  warm cozy dinner, with some bruschetta, pasta and molten chocolate cakes 😉

Black forest being Papa’s and Mama’s favorite cake I made sure to bake them. Since there had been many baking and eating we opted for mini version, later thought giga size would have been better! Previous time when the cake was baked during summer I made the jam from fresh cherries, freshness was scintillating, have added the recipe for it below. For this season I chose jam version, luckily got kind of home made version with chunks of cherries and ofcourse a good dollop of rum in it brought the difference. Fresh cream + mascarpone cheese was the highlight and super moist chocolate cake….Bliss!  We relished every slice of it!

This post is for my Mum, Pops and Sis. Mum and Pops,  thanks for bring me into this world, for making me what I’m today and for dealing with your overly demanding girl. To my sis who is top on earth patient and extremely supportive. I love you guys.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, I will be off from blogosphere for about a month, sorry about it. I know maybe I need some courses on time management, sigh! Till then have fun, cook a lot, eat well and stay happy. Will hop in once in a while in your blogs, if not pardon me! Happy Valentine days/Hyvää ystävänpäivä!

Happy New Year – Chocolate Caramel Cake

HAPPY NEW YEAR …Oh was that too loud being late since we are already in the new year? it doesn’t matter isn’t it? Hope you all partied hard, had fun and very warmly embraced new year.Myself and mum had a great new year eve. We were in fun filled Desi party, with enormous amount of food, fire crackers and gallons of fun. I made vindaloo chicken, spicy enough for the cold night and chocolate caramel cake for cake cutting ceremony. It was one of the longest parties (12 hrs) we talked, discussed, laughed, played games….and big hangover after that…:pAfter a day full of sleep I recovered. This year for the first time in my life I took a resolution, that was by hook or by crook I have to complete my PhD…..God are you listening? Fingers crossed.

Another unforeseen surprise was I bagged DMBLGiT’s originality award for my picture. It gave me a great motivation to start the year and brought the feel good atmosphere around me :D. With all goody goody thoughts around me one thing that struck my mind was “reflection”. I reflect the deeds I do, my soul reflect the thoughts I think and my reaction reflects the action I do. I’m going to keep a constant check of all these within myself to get a clear reflection of self and there by put a foot forward for a clear world. Possibly you will see that in my pictures in this post.

With the end of “just my thoughts” I wish you lovely people a blessed, glorious, successful, wealthy, healthy and cheerful happy new year.

I adapted the recipe from here. Made some mild modification. My addition was caramel cream layers to the cake.

Caramel Cream
35gram Castor sugar sifted
25gram Brown sugar
2tbsp Butter
3tbsp Milk
1/2tsp Vanilla extract
Method
In a saucepan, melt the butter, add in milk and brown sugar. When they start to melt take them away from heat. Very slowly whisk in sifted caster sugar until it is uniformly mixed. Let them cool for about 2 to three hours. It will become like a thick creamy texture.
(I made two batch of caramel cream)
Chocolate Ganache
250ml Fresh cream
250gram Dark chocolate chopped (But I used milk chocolate)
30gram Butter
Bring the cream to boil in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and throw in the chocolate and let them rest for 2 minutes then add butter and let aside for about 5 to 10 minutes and very gently mix the chocolate till they become glossy let them rest for about two hours they will gradually thicken up.

Ingredients
Chocolate Cake.
5 eggs
75gram Sugar
70gram All purpose flour
30gram Cocoa Powder ( I used organic)
40gram Cooking Dark Chocolate
50gram Butter
1/2 tsp of Baking powder (due to coldness I preferred to add some baking powder)
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Method
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler till they are melted and let them aside to cool down.
Separate yolk and white part of the eggs.
Sieve cocoa powder, all purpose flour and baking powder
Beat butter and sugar until light and airy. Add egg yolk and beat until they become creamy and fluffy. Now add dry ingredients by three parts and very gently fold into the mixture. Now add the melted chocolate and fold in gently. Next beat the white egg until single peak is formed. Now fold in the egg white to the cake batter. Pour the cake batter into the 18cm prepared cake pan. Bake them in to preheated oven at 170C to about 25 to 30 minutes.

(I made two batches so that i could get four layers)

Assemble
I baked the cake the previous day so that they would cool down to room temperature. 
Very carefully halve the cakes. Select one good bottom part of the cake and let them aside to use it as a top layer.
Place one halve of the cake, then pour in one batch of caramel cake and spread uniformly. Then place next half (upper part) of the cake pour in chocolate ganache spread uniformly. Then again place next upper halve of the cake. Pour in next batch of caramel cream spread uniformly. Now place the good bottom part of cake. (Make sure bottom part of the cake is facing upwards this helps to get the uniform spread of ganache.)  Now generously spread the ganache and do any kind of decoration of your choice :)

For caramel basket check this dam good video :)