Yule Log Cake |Bûche de Noël | Chocolate log cake

This yule log was December month’s baking partner challenge but I never got around to doing it then. So true to my style, here’s the Christmas special Yule log Cake in the new year. The yule log was originally a huge hard log that was burned in the hearth as part of Christmas celebrations. Later when burning such a huge log became difficult and inconvenient, people started making a cake in the form of the traditional yule log and that’s how the yule log cake came into being. The yule log cake is a stunning log shaped cake with lovely alternating swirls of cake and chocolate frosting. I had to make do with my small rectangular pan so I ended up with a much shorter shorter-sided rectangular cake that was a lot taller than necessary (did you get any if what I said just now?). Because of my really short, shorter-sided rectangle, I could just about roll it once. So the swirls aren’t really as dramatic in my yule log but it tastes delicious. My first attempt at the yule log ended in the dustbin. It was a disaster. I woke up early to make this cake and my kids woke up early too right after me. First sign that things are not going well. I was doing it the morning we were supposed to travel somewhere and as things always happen, I couldn’t open the silly vanilla essence bottle. Second sign.It was stuck and it just kept turning around (you know how it happens with little cough syrup bottles) and I didn’t have time to pry it open with a knife. The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon or so of vanilla essence. “It’s just one teaspoon of vanilla” I thought. I decided to go ahead and bake the cake without the vanilla.  What would you know, the cake was nice, soft and springy but it smelt like a frittata. Third sign, more of a slap in the face than a sign. The frosting also turned against me. It was smooth when I pulled it out of the refrigerator, but when I beat it, it suddenly turned grainy and runny. Fourth sign. Must have been the cream I think. Jagan was screaming for me to move my butt and get ready. Enough, it wasn’t going to happen and I knew it was time to give up. So I threw...

Burger Bun

Baking buns and breads somehow makes me feel like I am a real professional baker which I am most definitely not. But I do try my hand from time to time and these buns were one such attempt. These buns turned out pretty good, they looked good and they tasted real nice too, soft and slightly sweet. I used the number one bun recipe from google search results on the KingArthur’s website. These buns would be perfect for burgers, they hold up well and don’t get all soggy and limp. These buns weren’t difficult at all. Just knead everything together and let rise. Then divide, let rise again and bake. That is it! They’re much simpler than cakes even. The best part about yeasted breads/buns is the rising part. I love to see the puffed up dough. It’s fascinating to see those little yeast granules doing so much. If you’ve not tried making buns or breads before, I strongly recommend starting with these buns. They’re super easy. There is absolutely nothing to beat that lovely sweet aroma that wafts all over the house when these buns bake in the oven. It’s intoxicating. You could make slider buns which are basically mini-buns or the usual sized ones. Just divide the dough appropriately. If you are like me and can never make up your mind in these matters, do both like I did. Same with the sesame seed topping. I wanted it both ways. So you’ll see assorted buns here, some with the topping, some without, some big and some mini. Prep time: 15 mins Baking time: 20-25 mins Makes – 6 medium buns or 12 mini buns (slider buns) Ingredients All purpose flour/Maida – 1-3/4 cups Sugar – 1/8 cup Egg – 1 Butter – 1 tbsp Salt – ¾ tsp Yeast – ¾ tbsp. soaked in 2 tbsp lukewarm water and ¼ tsp sugar Lukewarm Water – ½ cup (adjust) Topping Ingredients White Sesame seeds/Vellai ellu – 1 tbsp for topping (optional) Egg wash (1 egg white + 3 tbsp water) – beaten for brushing the tops Melted butter – 1-1/2 tbsp for brushing the finished buns Method 1.      If you are using instant yeast, add directly to the other ingredients. Else sprinkle the yeast in a small dish containing lukewarm water and ¼ tsp sugar. Set aside. The yeast will dissolve and froth up. It is then ready to use. 2.     ...

Banana Bread

I like bananas a lot and so does my son but we still end up with a lot of over-ripe bananas. This banana bread is a lovely way to use over-ripe bananas. In fact the recipe requires bananas to be as ripe as possible. I used the yellow variety of bananas and they were quite ripe. I removed the black seeds in the centre as I wanted a clearer crumb. You could include the seeds as well if you don’t mind a darker, more spotted looking crumb. I used the recipe from two peas and a pod. Some fruits are so delicious on their own that no dish does justice to it. This is definitely true about mangoes. Mangoes are so luscious, so supremely tasty on their own that I really wouldn’t ever prefer mango mousse or Slice to it.  But there are some recipes that bring out the best of the fruit in a beautiful new avatar. Banana bread is one such recipe, which takes the bananas and transforms it into a wonderfully banana-scented, moist, crumbly bread that tastes like, well bananas. I am calling it a bread but it really is so soft and moist, it should be called a banana loaf cake. This banana bread needs no adornment whatsoever. Just slice and serve. If you’d like to glamorize it for a dinner party, just serve topped by a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Super-easy dessert! This banana bread keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator. I packed it for my daughter’s snack box. My kids loved it and so did the rest of my family.     Prep time: 15 minsCooking time: 1 hourServes: 6-7 Ingredients Butter – 1/2 cup, softenedGranulated sugar – 1 cupEggs – 2 largeMashed bananas (I used 5 small yellow ones) – 1 cupButtermilk – 4 tbsp Vanilla extract – 1/2 tspAll-purpose flour – 1 – 3/4 cupsBaking powder – 1 tspSalt – 1/4 tspBaking soda – 1/8 tsp Method 1.      Grease and flour 1 large loaf pan 2.      Sieve together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda twice. Set aside. 3.      In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together, for about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, beat well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla and mix well. 4.      Add the flour and mix well until you see no traces of flour. The batter would be quite thick. Spoon the...

Easy Chocolate Brownie with dark chocolate frosting

Chocolate brownie with dark chocolate frosting is something I can imagine ordering anywhere. Chocolate – good, Dark chocolate – even better. There is something so deliciously seductive and irresistible about chocolate, that it’s just plain addictive. Chocolate brownies are so easy to whip up at home that you’ll wonder why you ever scurried to “Cookie Man” (Sometimes the brownies at Cookie Man smell burnt and taste quite hideous) or “Coffee day” for a brownie. These chocolate brownies are dark, fudgy and so full of chocolate, they’re delicious. The final brownie batter is so wonderfully silky and chocolatey that by the time the flour and cocoa were mixed in, my daughter squealed “chocolate, amma chocolate” and dipped her little fingers into the batter to lick it up. She likes helping me bake, my son too. They grab a handful of measured out flour to powder themselves, break eggs, rummage through my tableware drawer for the most fragile pieces, empty icicng sugar packets and start fighting by the time the butter is creamed. They make baking a cake as gruelling and as dramatic as a master-chef challenge. Beat butter, turn around, grab the glass bowl, pull the sieved flour further away, put back the bowl and retrieve the icing sugar, give them cookie cutters instead to play with… Yeppa!   You could serve these brownies just as they are. They’re that yummy. Or you could up the chocolate quotient even more and frost them with this lip-smacking dark chocolate frosting. I generally don’t frost all of my squares at once owing to my family who are generally not very frosting crazy. I frost only a few of the squares and leave the rest as they are. I love it either way. You could even serve these brownies topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some chopped nuts and chocolate sauce for an impressive dessert. I am a dessert crazy person. Even if everybody is totally full or it’s already too late and we need to get back to office or nobody feels like dessert, I feel like dessert, always. I crave something sweet after every meal. Having these brownies in the fridge, calms my nerves. I know I have a sweet ending waiting. I used Hershey’s chocolate brownie and frosting recipe. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30 minsServes: 16 squares Ingredients Butter – 1/2 cupAll purpose flour/Maida – 1/2 cupCocoa powder – 1/3...

Eggless Chocolate cake

This eggless chocolate cake is a delicious not-too-sweet cake. It is simple, un-fussy and pretty quick too. The condensed milk gives it a wonderfully sweet “mithai” tone to it. I served this cake as is, sans any frosting and it was a huge hit at home. I adapted this recipe from the Morphy Richard manual. This is a great cake to try for beginners as there is no sugar to cream. The first time I made this chocolate cake I used an entire tin of condensed milk plus some more milk and ended up with mithai really. Guess what – it tasted great, really, it tasted like no other cake (it wasn’t a cake). I loved it. My sister like it a lot too. It tasted exactly like kalakand (Indian milk sweet) and it took nearly 1-1/2 hours in the oven. Knowing me you should have realized it wasn’t intentional. I read the “300 gm” condensed milk as “300 ml”. I am not usually this bad but sometimes I am. The batter was a little too runny, but some cake batters are like that, and I didn’t give it much thought. I put it into the oven and even after half an hour it kept bubbling like a kozhambu. I knew then that something was wrong and even before I looked up the recipe I somehow realized that this was what I would have done. Sometimes when you try extra hard to remember something, you forget that (do you?). The recipe below is for eggless chocolate cake (not the kalakand). I will someday post the innovative oven baked kalakand recipe as well. Preparation time: 15 minsBaking time: 30 minsServes: 7  Ingredients Butter – 1/3 cup softenedAll purpose flour/Maida – 3/4 cupCocoa powder – 2 tbspBaking powder – 1-1/2 tspBaking soda – 1/2 tspWater – 110 mlVanilla essence – 1/2 tspCondensed milk – 300 gm (3/4 of a milkmaid 400 gm tin) Method 1.      Grease and line a 7 inch round baking pan. Preheat oven to 170 degree centigrade. 2.      Sieve flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together twice. Set aside. 3.      Mix vanilla essence and water and set aside. 4.      Beat butter till soft and creamy. Add condensed milk and continue beating for 2-3 minutes till well mixed. 5.      Add flour and water mixture alternately starting and ending with flour and stir to make sure all the flour is...
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