“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party” Ron White
When life gives you lemons.. well I would head straight to the vodka on a Friday evening. But it not being a Friday , more like it’s already a Wednesday evening and I -was -not- in-a great- mood – to -experiment, was tempted to make this light and lemony cupcakes… Make no mistakes these are full on, yummy version. After all these were certified simply yummiest by my youngest tyke..( In all fairness he is like that for any of the cupcakes :-)…
Adapted from the Primrose bakery cupcakes book.
Ingredients: At RT please 🙂
Unsalted butter : 1stick =8 Tbsp.
Sugar : 1 cup
All purpose flour : self rising – 1 cup
All purpose flour : 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp.
Eggs : 2
2% Milk : 1/3 cup
Fresh squeezed lemon juice : 2 Tbsp.
Lemon Extract : 1 Tbsp.
Grated zest of 1 lemon : 1 tsp
Sour cream : 1 Tbsp.
Sift the two flours and keep aside in a separate bowl.
In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar and whip it well till its creamy, pale and real smooth. Should take about 5-7 minutes max.
Add the eggs, one at a time and whip it in.
Add in the lemon juice, extract, milk and sour cream and whip it in for a min or two.
Add in the sifted flour and beat well.
You will notice a nice, smooth, shiny, cupcake batter.
Spoon it into a 12 cupcake prepared pan ( prepare with liners ) about near full or as in my case prepare 15 cupcake liner pans (12+ 3 in another pan).
Fill it a tad less than 3/4 full to make smaller bite cupcakes.
Bake it at 350 for about 22-25 min. Do the toothpick test to make sure.
Remove from the oven and cool it before frosting.
I did not do the frosting in this case as I wanted a lighter version. But hey, you can go all out and frost with lemon butter cream.
Tip : bake this in a mini muffin pan to make it truly bite sized !
I had been toying with this particular thing in my mind for some time. And then came the sudden trip of DH to the west coast. My BIL has a penchant for teas.. Of all kinds. I vividly remember my SIL ( being a non tea drinker) enthusiastically making a cup of strong ginger tea for us, only to discover that it turned out to be the dark chocolate tea kind. Oh well ! Knowing his fondness for these and more so because I was experimenting to get the eggless variety right, and buoyed by the recent success of Thandai Chai Masala Cake, this was born – About 4 hrs before my DH boarded the flight !
Black Tea Spice Cake
Self rising APF : 2 cups
Non-Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk : 14 oz can
Butter : 1/2 cup (Melted)
Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
Walnuts: 1/2 cup chopped
For Making the Black Tea Concoction:
Water: 1/2 cup
Milk 1% or 2% : 1 cup
Black Tea : 6-8 tea bags or 3-4 tsp of black tea
Fresh Ginger : 2 inches. finely grated
Black cloves : 4
Green cardamom: 6
Black peppercorns : 6 . Crushed finely
Fennel seeds: 1 tsp (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spay oil and dust flour on the pan of your choice. I used a 9 inch round pan for this.
Sift the APF and Baking Soda together and whisk it.
Making the Tea concoction:
Boil the water with the ginger, cardamom ,cloves and pepper initially for a few min. The idea being to let the spices steep in.
Add in 6-8 tea bags or add 3-4 tsp of black tea and boil for a 2 min or so.
Now add in the 1 cup of milk and let it all boil so the flavors are well steeped in.
Filter this very thick concoction out and you should have a cup of the final extract in measurement
Let this cool down.Should be luke warm in about 10 min or so.
Preparing the batter
Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and add it in along with the thick tea concoction and condensed milk to the dry flour mix.
Stir it in gently so the flour is completely incorporated.
Now add in half the chopped walnuts in this and stir it in.
Add in the batter into the pan.
Add in the rest of the chopped walnuts – sprinkle on the surface
Bake it in the oven for 38 min or so at 350 deg F.
This will be a very moist , flavor intense , slight dense but very soft cake.
A mouthful of a name.. But that’s all right, cause this is one cookie you will fall in love with. A breakfast cookie, crunchy crumbly cookie, a bite into low sugar decadent piece this is. And thanks to Sonal’s post on her blog and the Epicurean delights group on FB, this recipe beckoned to me. Plus I was on the lookout for a flourless one as well, eggless too. The clincher, this is not one of those overtly sweet cookies. I honestly wanted to follow the recipe to the T, but then again I had a jar of almond butter sitting in the refrigerator. It did need to get used up , so switching things a bit, I ended up with this cookie. Also I used unsweetened cocoa powder and used brown sugar entirely.
Almond Butter: 1 cup (I used the creamy one made from roasted almonds)
Oats ground : 1 cup(Roasted quick oats are pounded to get this)
Brown sugar : 1/2 cup packed.
Baking powder : 1 tsp
Unsweetened cocoa powder :1/3 cup
Milk :1/3 cup (Added in intermittently to help the binding the dough)
Preheat the oven to 350deg F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Add in the almond butter and mix thoroughly. At this point the mix is partly crumbly and part sticky.
Add in the 1/3 cup of milk intermittently to get a soft pliable dough. You don’t want a runny mess on your hands, so depending on the brand of oats in use, you might need more or less of the required amount of milk.
Drop in spoonful’s of batter and press gently or roll into small lime sized balls and slightly flatten them on to the cookie sheet. I was actually able to roll it out into small globes because of the almond butter.
Bake at 350 deg F for 15-18 min.
Enjoy them warm with a glass of milk or just eat them plain!
I simply cannot stress enough on the integral part to any outcome of any culinary experimental equation:
Good, fresh ingredients in = great food out from the hearth of the house.. aka the kitchen.
In this case though a bare bones pantry and an impending trip to the west coast actually brought about this culinary experiment. My darling MIL, a frail looking but with nerves of steel lady is a precious gem. She would be this burst of sunshine in an otherwise humdrum day. I am constantly amazed at this septuagenarian’s endless energy and unflailing enthusiasm about things.. everyday things, cooking cleaning, you- name -it- anything.
My otherwise tempestuous affair with cooking is completely complemented by her abounding stable, and infectious enthusiasm . I would seriously marvel at how she could be really ebullient about the cooking process …everyday. And she is one awesome cook!!! Seriously folks, it is lip smacking good food… every time. Traditional Indian food, vegetarian and no frills but prepared with abundant love would be her signature style. And everyone is welcomed with a smile. No one leaves hungry at her door 🙂
Cut to this day, since eggs are not a part of her repertoire, a bit of organic chemistry came to my rescue to yield this birthday cake for her . So dear MIL aka MOM, this one is for you 🙂
Eggless Sponge cake studded with walnuts and almonds- Seriously simple, seriously good!
Preheat the oven / 350 deg F
Grease and flour the pans of your choice. . I used one 10 inch round and one bread loaf pan.
Chop 1/2 cup of walnuts roughly along with 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.
The Ingredients : Dry
Self rising flour : 4 cups
Baking soda : 1.25 tsp
Baking powder : 1 tsp ( I approximated this as the flour I used already has some baking powder in it )
Salt a pinch
A generous tsp of ground cardamom powder
Dry whisk all these ingredients together and keep aside to be used later.
The Ingredients: Wet
Fat Free condensed milk : 14 oz cans, 2 tins . Use any brand. I used the Eagle one.
1/2 cup of butter melted ( told you – fat come in here !)
1/2 cup of olive oil ( sort of balancing the guilt here by not adding in more butter )
1 cup of milk – I used the fat free evaporated kind. Why? The evaporated kind will still provide the density in the medium anyway.
1/2cup of water. ( OK folks, this was seriously some rough calculation. I wanted to add in 1.5 cups of liquid based on my previous banana nut cake recipe and decided to split it amongst water and milk.
1 tsp of vanilla extract – optional. I just had it so added it in !
Mix all the wet ingredients along with a generous pinch of saffron.( Ahem ! Notice my mild obsession with saffron:-) )
Gently add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. I just added it in slowly with gentle mixing of the batter with my trusted electric whisk at low speed.
The gooey mass emanating the mild and wonderful flavor is going to turn even more better. How?
Add in the1/2 the chopped pieces of walnuts and almonds and fold in gently.
Distribute the gooey mass of goodness in the prepared baking pans of your choice.
Add in the remaining nuts ( walnuts and almonds) as a garnish.
Baking :350 deg F for 45- 52 min or until done. Mine took approximately 47 min to be done.
Ok the exam results are out! It smelled heavenly …the aroma of the toasted nuts mixed with saffron and cardamom to emit an – oh – you-so – cannot – resist- me – siren’s call.
Verdict. Slight more dense than the eggs added version, but still very light on the palate. One huge bonus was that it was very mild on the sweet scale. It would make a wonderful custard cake served with fruits and whipped cream or vanilla custard. Or a wonderful tea cake..
Serves : Well it could well serve an army but was polished off by a dozed people in under a day – flat!
Possible variations? orange cake? banana orange cake? spiced cake? chai cake? Well, my chemistry instinct is going on an overdrive 🙂 But you get the idea!
Versatile, simple and so divine. Go on try it out, you will not be disappointed !
Planning your day around possible thunderstorms is a bit like planning a scientific experiment with a ton of variables thrown in. An experiment, that is fun but the outcome is so unpredictable . To cut a long story short, it was the ” boy who cried wolf “.. while the huge thunderstorms didn’t show up, what did was a reminder from mother nature that she was the one in charge . And we were blessed with blistering temperatures hitting near ninety ..Lovely !!
And of course when temperatures hit that high, the stock of sorry looking bananas get even more sorrier. read natural organic progression .. more dark brown spots appear ( more like the pounds that magically appear on self ). 🙂 Well, I cannot just dump nearly half a dozen bananas out. They were just overripe and more sweet than the youthful ones. But no amount of cajoling could get my 3A’s to venture near them. And then inspiration stuck, or rather the thought in the back burner just jumped several hoops ahead to make itself shout ” Make banana bread / cake “. Sure, sounds easy, but here is the cinch, I have never baked this one. Yes, I have baked so many more kinds, but banana bread/cake, the easy peesy one, I have never attempted to do so. Well partially because , I had a good friend who would treat me to her delectable version quite often and partly because it’s banana bread. And well honestly a fruit smoothie would be so much easier. Just throw in the bananas, add a couple more fruits, a dash of honey and there you have it. But no, the itch to bake set in and I do need to scratch it. Call me stubborn, but my friend , let’s just call her D ( you know who you are , sweety), had this heavenly version and I just wanted to try it. After about half an hour of searching,I did manage to locate the one. Here is the version, that she primarily used. (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/a-number-1-banana-cake/)
This is the one I based this experiment upon, but of course my pantry ingredients decided the kind that went into the batter mix. Seriously, I was in no mood to go shopping to the grocery store in the sweltering heat, just because I did not have buttermilk. The ones’ marked in Asterix, are variations of the original recipe.
Alright , folks, this is my version of the ingredients that went in:
2.5 cups of self rising flour* ( notice it is self rising, why? cause I did not have the regular one ,and seriously a little bit of baking powder should technically make the cake more airy. In any case, my gripe about the run to the grocery store , well I stood my ground )
1/2 cup of unsalted butter .( You can substitute this with almond butter for a more nuttier taste I suppose )
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of milk* ( the original recipe called for butter milk. Well, I decided to use milk here 🙂 . Why.. well no buttermilk and seriously, thought milk would be an awesome choice. I used 1% milk of course.)
1 and 3/4 cup of sugar* – I used brown granulated sugar entirely
About 5 medium ripe bananas * mine were pretty spotty brown ( the original recipe calls for 4. But I suppose an additional banana would do no harm )
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
A generous pinch of saffron *( I know I am obsessed with saffron )
A generous pinch of caradamom powder *
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of skinned sliced almonds*
A pinch of cinnamon powder *
( Whew, don’t let the exhausting list fool you. I just emptied those nuts that were sitting in the pantry. And decided to add in a few flavors to enhance the mix. More like, once I get started, I just cannot get to stop myself from adding a dash of this and dash of that ).
Alright, now that the stage is set, lets get the gooey good stuff going.
Preheat the oven / 350 deg
Grease and flour the pans of your choice. the original recipe called for two 8 inch pans. I used one 8 inch round and one 9 inch square pan.
Let’s get the party started …
Sift the flour,baking soda and salt together and set aside.
Cream the butter,sugar and eggs.
Add in the pureed bananas,,cardamom powder ,cinnamon powder and saffron strands.
Add in the flour and whip up the gooey mixture.
Fold in the walnuts and almonds
Let’s cook them:
Stick those pans in the preheated oven and bake them at 350 deg for 30 min.
Holy mackerel ! Honest to goodness yummy light and fluffy and airy goodness in squares and circles. Beautiful brown goodness, perfectly baked and crunchy walnuts. The aroma filled the entire kitchen and brought the oldest scooting down to the kitchen.. all the way form the attic. 🙂
Texture : Very very soft ( possibly the baking powder in the self rising flour combined with the baking soda, did wonders) and porus.
Aroma : Fragrant cardamom and hint of cinnamon with saffron emanating creating the wonderful fusion with bananas.
Serve it up..the kids devoured it it warm with the cool combination of whipped cream. Yummy!
Verdict:Just awesome !.. And like I always believe, great cooking results is mostly achieved by right combination of ingredients and the freshness of your stock. And of course, the right chemistry !!!