Thursday, December 31, 2009

A peep into the year that went by...

Image source -

It just seems like a few days ago,when I was compiling a post for the Best recipes of 2008 post..time flies,really!!I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to do this post as the house is full now..with my mom and Ajay’s parents around.Besides being pampered by both the amma’s I am enjoying all the yummy food they’ve been preparing since last few days.No wonder I’ve been postponing blogging and blog-hopping for later..:)

The year 2009 didn’t see me blogging so regularly as I did in 2008.Month of March saw me posting 14 posts whereas April went down only with 2 posts for the month.Rest of the months,I’ve averaged between 6-8 posts.Which in fact has made my job easier for compiling this post..:)

On the personal front,the year 2009 has been a mixed bag for us.The year started off with a couple of sad instances but we moved on.The shadow of recession was looming large behind us,and the scare of Swine flu too,but again..we moved on.The end of the year though is looking quite good and we are stepping into the new year with new hopes,new dreams and lots of happy thoughts!!

Sending across this post to Srivalli for the event Best of 2009.

Top 5 posts of the year

1. Chocolate Orange Gateau

2. Masala Cashewnuts

3. Dates and Dry fruits Laddoo

4. Eggless Blackforest Cake

5. Homemade Banana Chips

Best post of the month

January – Hittu/Khotte

February – Heart shaped Chocolate Cake for V-day

March – Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

April – Varutharacha Sambhar

May – Ambya Paank/Mango Jam

June – Poori with Aamras

July – Cherry Almond Loaf Cake

August – Pav Bhaji

September – Kanji/Rice Porridge

October – Rulaava Bhakri

November – Vegetable Stroganoff

December - Christmas Fruit Cake

Cooking resolutions for the year – I’ve always wanted to do a menu plan for the week and buy groceries for it accordingly,saving me the trouble of thinking of what to prepare for the next meal.I am strongly planning to incorporate that habit this year!!

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year…:)

Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake ~ Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas..the season of joy and happiness.Though we don’t celebrate Xmas,we are definitely a part of the festivities that come with it.Gifting of Cakes,sending Xmas greetings and special gifts for Chris-mom and Chris-child.Yup,the school I went to had this wonderful tradition of choosing a random friend from a chit out of a box which contained the names of all the students in the class.No one revealed who their Xmas friends were.Secret searches would begin as to what that person was interested in and what that person would like.The joy on someone’s face when you gift them something which they like is immense.

Fruit cakes are synonymous with Xmas and no gift is complete without the signature Plum cake.As I have mentioned earlier,I made my first Christmas Fruit cake last year following Mishmash’s recipe.I loved the taste but wondered if I would take that extra trouble this year too when all around bakeries and hotels sell it like hot cakes[pun intended:)].

But as they say,there is something special when you make it on your own.

I soaked the fruits and nuts about 3 weeks back and baked it yesterday so that by Xmas we’d get a matured-in-taste fruit cake.I got 2 cakes with the recipe and one is almost over.With a lovely golden caramel colour,just the right sweetness and the taste of fruits and nuts in each bite,this recipe is a keeper.I don’t think I’ll wait for Xmas to make this again.

Thank you so much Arundhati for this million-dollar recipe:):)

Christmas Fruit Cake


Flour – 2 cups
Baking Powder – ½ tsp
Dry Fruits – 1 cup (figs, apricots, dates, raisins, currants and sultanas), chopped
Candied Peel – ¼ cup
Tutti Fruity – ¼ cup
Mixed Nuts – ½ cup(Walnuts, Cashews, Almonds), chopped
Dark Rum – 1 cup (optional - you could use 2 tbsp Lime Juice to soak the dry fruits)
Light Brown Sugar – 1 ¼ cup
Eggs - 4
Oil – ¾ cup[I used 175 gms butter]
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon Powder – 1 tsp

For the Caramel

Sugar – ½ cup
Boiling Hot Water – ¾ cup


Soak the dry fruits, candied peel and tutti fruiti along with the cinnamon powder and cloves in 2/3 cup rum for anywhere between 24 hours and 1 year. (I soaked them for 3 weeks.) Do remember to remove the cloves before using the fruits.

When you are ready to bake the cake, start by making the caramel. In a heavy bottomed pan, place the ½ cup of sugar and heat slowly. The sugar will begin to melt. Stir this mixture with a spoon slowly as the caramel forms. When all the sugar crystals have melted, slowly add the boiling water and stir to form a smooth mixture. Cool this completely.

Sift the flour along with the baking powder. In a mixing bowl, add the oil/butter, eggs and brown sugar and beat well. To this, add the flour mixture, the fruits and the nuts by turns. Whisk well and then add the cooled caramel.[I added the caramel along with the fruits and nuts]

Grease and line two 8 inch baking tins and divide the batter between the two. (I used a Christmas tree shaped tin and an 8 inch square tin.) Bake at 190 C/375 F for about 50 minutes.

When baked, make small slits in each cake and pour the remaining rum over them. While this cake is delicious straight out of the oven, try storing it for a week before consuming it. (To do this, wrap the cake in foil and then cover it with cling film.) This cake ages beautifully.

One of the best tasting Fruit cakes,there are a few things which attracted me towards this recipe.
--No fancy ingredients-eg:almond/rum essence,dry ginger,orange/lemon zest,spice powder etc--even without all this the cake tasted fantastic.
--The ease of making it--just like any cake recipe.Mix-beat-bake.
--No need to take special care while mixing in the fruits and nuts into the batter[no need to dust the fruits with flour].Even otherwise,the fruits gets distributed evenly and in each slice you'll get a bite of the fruits and nuts.
--Addition of eggs as a whole--somehow,seperating the eggs and beating the egg whites till peak stage and folding it in scares me off a recipe!!

I will be baking this cake again and again for sure.Try this out and you'll know why!!

Christmas Fruit Cake is off to Divya of Dilse,for her event - Show me your Cake!!

and to

Priyanka of Asankhana for Its time to Jingle again..

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake

I’ve been quite excited off late.Yes,this season does that to you.Even though I am a Hindu and as such we don’t celebrate Xmas,the festival spirit is too hard to ignore.Back home,in Kerala,Christmas stars started to light up as early as late November and during childhood,I used to pester amma to get one for myself too.And who can forget the cakes,Fruit cakes or Plum cakes as it is known in Kerala pouring in by December 2nd or 3rd week.The bakery opposite our home was loaded with cakes,all their shelves and storage spaces were crammed with cakes.We used to gift cakes too-as they say,some festivals are celebrated for the joy it spreads,irrespective of caste or religion.

Though I was not so fond of Fruit cakes..the white icing on top and the pretty flowers on it used to excite me more,I have grown to like the cake more now.I love the strong flavor of the rum soaked fruits and the deep dark colour of the caramel.I tried making my own version last year following Mishmash’s recipe.I was surprised myself knowing that the taste of the Plum cake can be recreated after all.

As going through quite a number of recipes for Fruit Cakes this year,I came across this marvelous recipe at Anushruti’s blog-Divine Taste.I had tried my Birthday cake from her blog and loved it.I made this one for my amma who hasn’t tasted a Fruit cake till date as it contains eggs.I knew she would love it and she did.She shared a few pieces with her friends/neighbours and kept aside a major chunk so that she could relish it.Thank you Anushruti!!

Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake
Recipe sourceAnushruti of Divine Taste


Plain Flour – 300 gms
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Oil – 150 ml
Water – 200 ml
Dates– 100 gms (pitted and chopped)
Raisins or Sultanas – 150 gms,I added Apricots and Figs too
Mixed Nuts -100 gms(cashewnuts, almonds, walnuts)
Jaggery – 150 gms(or substitute with dark muscovado sugar)-I used Light Brown sugar
Sugar – 150 gms
Fruit jam – 3 tsp(preferably without added sugar)
Mixed spice powder – 2 tsp
Grated rind of 1 lime


Grease and line the bottom of an 8” square or 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/butter paper.
Sift together flour,baking powder and baking soda to make the mixture uniform.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the fruits and nuts.
Stir in the jaggery/brown sugar,sugar, jam and 100 ml water.
Heat on a low flame until the sugar and jaggery/brown sugar melt, stirring all the while.
Don’t overcook the mixture. Allow to cool and add the remaining 100 ml water, rind and spice powder.. Mix in the sifted flour mixture and beat with a spoon or a wire whisk until there are no lumps.
Transfer the contents to the greased and lined tin and bake in a preheated oven at 150 degree centigrade for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Sending this across to Priyanka @ Asankhana who is hosting a Christmas event - Its time to Jingle again...

Monday, December 7, 2009

A reason to Celebrate & A Note of Thanks!!

Starting a blog and adding my recipes had just one aim for create a personal space in the web which I could call my own.After a while,it became a platform for me to try out new dishes and post about them.If not for blogging,I wouldn’t have learnt to bake at all.As I’ve mentioned before,blogging has given me new arenas in cooking and the whole aspect of learning a new dish from someone who has already tried it out in his/her kitchen gave me a different high.

I used to check out my stats daily[more than once] when I initially started the blog.After a while,when my posts got comments and appreciations,I forgot all about how stats mattered and it was a once in a while peep.Off late I had totally forgotten about it and wham..what happened??Yes,yes yes,my blog had 1 Lakh hits..YAY YAY YAY!!!

I am happy and delighted and what not.This occasion is definitely worth sharing a sweet isn’t it??So,I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you,one and all who made this possible for me.Without each one of your support and encouragement,I wouldn’t have come this far.Thank you so much!!

I made Gulab Jamuns to celebrate.Nope,I didn’t follow any recipe,took the easy way out and made it from an Instant mix packet.Love you for all the support..Thanks once again!!

I ♥ you all..:)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake

After the Jam Tarts,its time for some Cake..isn’t it??How about a rich Chocolate cake,flavoured with Cinnamon and a simple dusting of icing sugar..??Bring it on..:):).I had bookmarked this recipe from Deeba’s blog who in turn made it from Mary-The Food Librarian’s blog.The lovely chocolatey colour and the moist slices were too hard to ignore.I decided to make it once I lay my hands on a Bundt pan,but no such luck,I am still without one.Every time I checked the recipe and the pics,my desire increased and I decided,bundt or no bundt-I am making this.

After a season of Butter shortage,my fridge is suffering from a butter of us[me and hubby] brought butter at different times and now I have almost a kilo of butter sitting pretty in my chiller.I decided I should put it to good use and BAKE:).

Its been a while since I made something for Ajay’s friends-how can I forget them,they are my loyal taste testers and quite often the cakes I make ends up in their tummy after my photo sessions.I usually keep a piece or two for us and pack off the rest to them.This time was no different.They loved it and the empty box[not even crumbs left] is the proof.I feel the cake tastes better the next day with the full flavors of chocolate and cinnamon seeping through..MMMM:)

Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake
Recipe adapted from The Food Librarian,
who got the recipe from
Vintage Visuals-readapted from Deeba


Butter – ½ cup
Water – 1 cup
Vegetable oil – ½ cup
Cocoa powder – 5 tbsps[I used Cadburys]
Plain flour – 1 ½ cups
Wholewheat flour – ½ cup
Sugar – 1 ¾ cups
Salt – ½ tsp
Buttermilk – ½ cup
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Eggs – 2,lightly beaten
Cinnamon – 1 ½ tsps
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a large bundt pan/ring mould with cooking spray.
Put butter, water, oil, and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, whisk together both flours, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
Then, add the buttermilk and baking soda.
Mix together the eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl, and add to the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 25 minutes.[Mine took 10 minutes extra] Allow cake to cool completely in the pan.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jam Tarts!!

How often have you felt,’if only I could get ___[fill it up with whatever you fancy] RIGHT NOW??Oh..I always do.I fancy eating cupcakes from Best Bakery,Pink Cake from Society bakery and very often,Chocolate sip-ups from Punchiris[a shop near my College in Ekm].sadly,most of the times,I satisfy my cravings by eating something closest to it.I don’t have a choice,do I?

Few days back,while watching Rachel Allen’s show on Travel and Living,I saw her making Tarts.I remembered the yummy Jam-filled and Chocolate filled tarts from Best bakery which my bro used to bring home for me.Even if he didn’t *giggle*,I could just get out of my house,cross the road and get it myself,yup it was bang opposite our place.I had not had them for the longest time and I was literally craving for it.Maybe I should just stop watching those food shows on Tv.

I remembered Ria had posted them a while back.I didn’t waste a moment and set out making it.The recipe is a winner,a simple one which even a beginner can make.I was one-it was the first time I was making tarts and I was a bit apprehensive.But the recipe worked like magic and I was satisfied only after I gobbled down 3 of those in one go..YES!!

Buttery Jam Tarts
Recipe source –Ria ,Original recipe from Thangam Philip book of Baking

Ingredients[Makes 12 tarts]

Butter-60g [chilled]
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Water-4-5 drops


Mix flour and baking powder together.
Add the butter and rub it with your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs.
Now add water little by little and form a dough[do not knead,just mix slightly with your fingertips].
Divide the dough into 12 parts.Flatten each ball using a rolling pin and line the tart moulds.
Fill 2/3 of the tart with jam.
Bake at 180 degress for 15 mins or till done.

De-mould when cool.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake ~ Getting ready!!

Have you started your preparations yet?I think Christmas being just few weeks away,there is festive spirit all around.Bakeries taking orders for cakes and Christmas wreaths on doors,I love this festival which spreads joy all around.Me,well I wanted to make a Christmas Fruit cake and had planned to soak the dry fruits and nuts in rum long back.But of course,that never happened.As always,I am struggling to zero in on one recipe!!So many yummy recipes all over blogosphere and its just not possible for me to choose one..I want to make them all!!

Few months back,Raaga wrote a status message on Fb saying that she was soaking the fruits in rum that weekend for the Fruit Cake.I must have gone through her recipe a thousand times,I mailed her asking the details and she was quick to respond.She cleared all my silly doubts and YES,I am following her recipe this year.

So fruits and nuts are chopped,and soaked in Rum.

I just can’t wait to bake the cake and EAT it too:).

Here are some Fruit Cake recipes I had bookmarked-

Mishmash’s Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake-which I tried last year
Cham’s Fruit Cake/Plum Cake
Annita’s Rich Fruit Plum Cake
Maria’s Chocolate Fruit Cake

Anushruti’s Eggless Fruit & Nut Cake
Shilpa’s Eggless Fruit Cake

So many choices,which one are you baking??
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover