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! 

Holiday’s on card – Coffee orange cake

My holidays are starting tomorrow one week in summer cottage then I’m flying to Norway Bergen for next couple of days, so folks will be off for next two weeks 😀 Nothing much to say other than “I’m super excited”. Packed, work, silly people, physics, research tightly and threw it in lake, time to relax and have fun….yay yay! Will come back with pic to share till then enjoy ur summer days all you lovely people!!

Made this cake for my friend’s birthday followed this recipe, substituted orange oil with orange extract though the author asked not to do so, that was one reason why my topping (streusel) sank down but still they were good, loved the orange flavours. Sorry guys couldn’t get to many of ur blogs shall get back soon after my holidays! 

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!

Happy Mom’s day! – Breakfast ideas – Avocado with honey

Avocado with honey being my mum’s fav, thought why not I post it on Mom’s day. This light breakfast, we prefer mostly for Sunday mornings.

After reading so many post today where everyone shared many sweet incident with their mom’s, all I remember is how I used to nag my mum everyday morning to drink milk, I hated milk to T, so everyday a drama was played. Milk should neither be hot nor cold, no foam, no cream. Mum prepares the way I want it (have no idea how) yet I will keep it my hand for long, then again when cream starts to form I  used to say “I will not drink this milk”. 

As little girl I hated food generally, have troubled her to the extremes that I remember getting few light slaps! After which, I used to cry buckets creating more drama! These are such a sweet memories, puts a smile on my face just with a thought of it! There are endless stories, incident and anecdote that could fill up page. The beauty is we haven’t changed much till today. I still do harass/irritate her. She sometime forgets and asks me same question she asked before, I respond saying “Come on Mrs. Rajashekar you can think, think think”. In the end I make her to answer. She is the same patient, enduring and loving. Till date I enjoy completely to irritate my mom and sis and argue with dad endlessly. But that’s my way of love for them :) You see we were pampered kids!
Ah miss you guys! and Mom you are the best, as always thanks for bring me into this world and for making me what I’m today for giving me the best education for life and for teaching me how I should grow as a good human! These pic are for you mum enjoy drooling over it  :)
To my sis who is a mum of two little ones, I’m amazed how beautifully she is playing her role, for her life revolves around my niece and nephew, you are such a gorgeous mum! 
And to all the mum’s you all are fabulous! happy mother’s day!
We consider Avocado with honey as good healthy and easy breakfast.
All you need is
Well ripe Avocado 1
Honey  1-2 tbspn (according to amount of sweetness you need)
Cut the avocado, scoop out the pulp, smash lightly add honey mix well and enjoy!  

Happy Feet – Layered Mango Mousse with Saffron and Cardamom

Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs! 
Enjoying sun? Finally spring is here, crisp sun, budding green leaves, cheerful people and so far 16 hrs daylight, Bliss! With joyous attitude I have three happy news to share. 
Happy feet1 – We have a new addition in our family, I’m aunt again, my sis delivered a baby Boy two weeks ago, a new welcoming change has been best so far! He is darling sleeping day in and out. can’t wait to see him! Not sure when I will go but my thoughts are completely there!  

Happy feet2 – A new macro lens in my DSLR kit, very handsome guy I say, one disadvantage which I felt was there was it doesn’t have IS, but well manageable. Haven’t started playing with him, work has been keeping too much occupied, today’s photos are my first trial (have taken in manual mode f/2.8). Slowly I’m sneaking into nook and corner of my house, it’s amazing to get into fine details. During spring party I tried few portraits it worked good, waiting for sometime to learn him better!

Happy Feet3 APL turned one. 43 food post,  30,000 views and huge bunch of wonderful people feels like a winner! Thanks to my lens, made a self check with my earlier posts, was shocked to see the date. It was a dubious start, but the journey so far has been glorious. APL has been a platform for me to connect with all you lovely people out here, without you guys, trust me she wouldn’t have reached here. You all have been a part my joy, understanding my thoughts, encouraging me for both (blog and PhD) and top most all the love. Big THANKS to all of you, keep us loved! Would like to be more regular in posting to keep the visual treat on, you already know why, will try my best this year.

Today recipe is very special one for me, it was dream to make this kind of layered mousse cake, I spend days in other versatile food pages seeing and getting inspired. When I saw Mango event in Tanvi’s Sinfully Spicy, when I saw the book she is going to give as the gift I knew what I have to make. So here is guys, I wanted to try the way I could handle, by keep it extremely simple and very subtle. Base cake (mango saffron olive oil cake) I tried couple of months before when mum went back to India made it for my sis, she was singing glories of it so wanted to it make it for myself….it is fantastic! When I made it for my sis, used normal cooking oil but for the competition made it olive oil, since I didn’t taste it last time, not sure if there was change in taste, but I believe there shouldn’t be much. I’m submitting it for the Mango event.

That is the end of my happy feet story, I shall dance along it for some more days, you guys have a wonderful weekend and happy may day.  Envoi de L’amour :)

Note: I used tin mangoes, so flavour was bit mild, if you use fresh mango it will be just wonderful!

I kept the gelatin level also less since I to have a smooth and soft texture, it did start to tilt after 5 hours. If you want to it be firm for long time you ahead it bit more gelatin 
Ingredients

Mango olive oil saffron cardamom cake
2 Eggs
50ml olive oil
55 – 60 gram castor sugar
60 ml mango pulp (I used tin mango pulp)
1/2 tspn cardamom powder
1/2 tspn saffaron
3/4 tspn baking powder
65 gram flour
Method.
Gently mix castor sugar and olive oil. By beating on high, slip in one egg. Beat for about 1 minute, next add in another egg, beat till it forms a frothy mixture. Next gently fold in mango pulp. 
In another bowl mix flour, saffron, cardamom, baking powder. 
Now by parts add the dry mixture into the we mixture and gently fold them until well combined. Pour the cake batter in greased 9 inch cake tin. Bake at 170 C for about 20 – 25 minutes. When inserted toothpick comes out clean leave the cake to cool and cute in to small 2.3 inch (or desired size) disc using a cookie cutter. I had 8 uniform discs
Step 1 of assembly 
If you have pastry tins or mould (not sure about the name though) use them or (i used) transparent pastry sheets 4.5 inch in width and about 9 inch in length. Roll it around disc shaped cake. In such a way that cake form the base and pastry sheets forms the hollow pillar which will be filled with mousse. 
Mousse 
375 gram mango pulp (you add more if you want more orange flavour, then you will need to add more gelatin)
330 ml fresh cream
150 gram sugar
12.5 gram gelatin sheet (you add 5 more gram it need bit more firm)
250 gram mascarpone cheese
1/2 to 3/4 tspn of saffron
1/2 tspn of cardamom powder 
Few drop of mango essence (i added 2 drops of vanilla essence )
A pinch or few drops of yellow food colour (optional)
Method. 
Beat fresh cream and sugar till they form single peak. Make sure not to beat too much you will make the cream dry. Next add mascarpone cheese in to soft fluffy cream and continue to beat on LOW till they again start to form firm single peaks .
Next place gelatin sheet in warm water. when it becomes soft. Slowly sieve the gelatin in to the mango pulp. Make sure mango pulp is in room temperature, else gelatin will firm if mango pulp is cold.
(Tip: very gently warm 1 tbspn of mango pulp in microwave and mix the sieved gelatin with 1 tbspn. Stir well then add it rest of the mango pulp)
Next mix the gelatin mixed mango pulp into the macarpone cream mixture and very gently fold in till it is uniformly mixed. 
Now divided the mousse in to 3 parts.
To part 1 add about 1/2 to 3/4 tspn of saffron and mix gently till well combined 
To part 2 add abot 1/2 tspn of cardamom powder and pinch of yellow food colour to bring some difference in layers. Mix gently till well combined and 
To part 2 you could add few drop of mango essence (i added 2 drops of vanilla essence ) 
Step 2 of assembly 
Now pour the mousse into 3 pipping bags (or you could spoon it as well, but it can be messy, or if you have good beaker could pour it as well) 
According to you choice layer the mousse and leave them in the freezer to set. After set maybe 6 to 8 hours. peal the pastry sheet and decorate as your wish. I used fresh flowers and sugar stained glasses
Mousse is quite running before set so don’t panic when you do it :) 

Sugar stained glasses
Same as making caramel, but don’t let it turn brown. Place a  butter paper in a baking plate and spread some food colour randomly. When sugar is boiling, pour it on the butter paper and squirl it around and let it set. After cooled cut into desired size. 
I played too much with it…it was fun!