Eggless Black Tea and Spices Infused Cake – Chai Cake! – Moist, Quick and Delicious!

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 

Ingredients

  • 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)

Method:

  • 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

Baking:

  • 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.

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’11’]

Thandai Chai Masala Eggless Cake – Of Friendship, Gossip and More!

Ever wonder how some people just cross paths for a reason.. Or for no reason! When we first moved to NC, we left behind a horde of family and friends in California. Sunny California and the Bay area was teeming with our friends, family, friends of family and family of our friends.. (You get  the drift)

I thought I loved people ( well most of them anyways ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and then I meet DH and his family . They simply dwarfed mine. These guys seriously loved people and people seriously loved them. We just became one big crazy family.. Crazy alright !!

The move therefore while we welcomed it, definitely created a pang in our hearts. So just about 2 months of our moving into this new neighborhood in a new state all the way on the opposite coast, a lady in a min-van filled with chirpy kids stopped my MIL on the street , welcomed her home for chai – a cup of tea and some company. My MIL, though could not take up on it but I happened to meet this lady , our neighbor soon thereafter and so began a wonderful friendship.

 Here’s a toast to one of the finest to have crossed ( and stayed in) my path!

“Dear SP, you are one heck of woman ! I love your chai addiction, your margarita madness and your steadfast company!  Filled with many moments of laughter, lunches, crazy talks and some more crazy moments – or shall I say sparkling moments of insobriety.. Dialing in thin air and holding conversations to yourself, monologues and moreโ€ฆ You go girl!

While I did want to bake a chai cake ( I promise, I will do it soon), I experimented this on a lark and got to combine your favorite flavors of chai masala and Thandai ..

Happy Happy Birthday Dear SP and please have your “Queen” moment soon.. For I cannot wait to witness it !”

( This recipe is an amalgamation and innovation of a recipe from ED site  and my eggless recipe cake)

Chai Masala Thandai Spice Cake Ingredients:

  • Self rising APF : 2 cups
  • Non-Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk : 14 oz can
  • Butter : 1/2 cup  (Melted)
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
  • 1% Milk : 1 cup
  • Thandai masala : 1 tsp
  • Chai Masala : 1 tsp
  • Saffron : crushed, a few strands
  • Walnuts: 1/2 cup chopped 

Method:

  • Preheat the overn to 350 deg 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
  • Dry whisk it with Thandai Masala, Chai Masala and Saffron  Strands
  • Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and add it in along with the milk and condensed milk.
  • 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 35 min or so at 350 deg F.

 Notes:

Please keep an eye on the oven as the quality of the flour and materials used could cause slight variations in the baking time.

Mine took about 38 min to bake. In hindsight, I think I should have reduced the temp from 350 to 325 midway during the baking  process. I have read that this would ensure more even baking .

[yumprint-recipe id=’7′] 

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Cake

Tweaked from my own recipe….The awesome light and fluffy banana cake..

The only addition I did was adding of handful of white chocolate chip and semi-sweek dark chocolate chip in the mix. Stirred some right in and just added a few to layer the surface.

Yield : 12 M-L muffins/ cupcakes and big fluffy 9 inch one !

Verdict : Delish!

 

 

Eggless Sponge Cake studded with Almonds and Walnuts!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Eggless Sponge cake studded with walnuts and almonds- Seriously simple, seriously good!

Prep work:

  • 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

  1. Self rising flour : 4 cups
  2. Baking soda : 1.25 tsp
  3. Baking powder : 1 tsp ( I approximated this as the flour I used already has some baking powder in it )
  4. Salt a pinch
  5. A generous tsp of ground cardamom powder

Dry whisk all these ingredients together and keep aside to be used later.

The Ingredients: Wet

  1. Fat Free condensed milk : 14 oz cans, 2 tins . Use any brand. I used the Eagle one.
  2. 1/2 cup of butter melted ( told you – fat come in here !)
  3. 1/2 cup of olive oil ( sort of balancing the guilt here by not adding in more butter )
  4. 1 cup of milk – I used the fat free evaporated kind. Why? The evaporated kind will still provide the density in the medium anyway.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:-) )

Process work:

  • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ But you get the idea!

Versatile, simple and so divine. Go on try it out, you will not be disappointed !

Banana Walnut Cake – So awesome, Light , Fluffy and Nutty!

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 ). ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ . 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.

Prep work:

  • 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 …

  1. Sift the flour,baking soda and salt together and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter,sugar and eggs.
  3. Add in the pureed bananas,,cardamom powder ,cinnamon powder and saffron strands.
  4. Add in the flour and whip up the gooey mixture.
  5. 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.

The results:

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 !!!