2-Layer Rose Coconut Cake

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Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal, a time for change. I decided make a change this year with finally reviving this space of mine (yeah, not that profound I know) and in a world where we hardly have control over anything, changing up this little thing makes me super super happy. We have so much to catch up on and gazillion delicious recipes coming your way! But first, THIS! ☝

So end of last year, I bought myself a set of 6-inch cake pans and these are game changers (should have got them sooner!). Small batch baking has always been my thing (here, here and some more) so the smaller size pans were way overdue. I have baked at least 7 layer cakes in these not-so-new-pans-anymore this past 3 months (not hard to believe right?!). It’s just 2 of us in the house and I do like to eat everything I make (you bet it shows) hence small batch baking wins big time in my book so this was definitely long time coming. Not that we I need any occasion to eat cake around here but guys, these 6-inch layer cakes are so very perfect for small gatherings. Not to mention but they look so dang cute. If you are baking for more people then no problem. Just double the recipe and make 4-layers instead, tall cakes are in and they are here to stay! Well, you certainly don’t need to wait for any gathering to make this one right here. It can totally be you+couch+fork situation, demolishing the whole thing by yourself. Believe me, you would want to!

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So let’s talk about this particular cake here. This elegant looking, mildly flavoured, rose scented cake. The flavours will totally make you reminisce about the sweet smell of rose garden. The minimalist, semi-naked look is pristine for the spring season and is bound to make any brunch-table look chic and gorgeous. I have paired three different flavours for this cake but none overwhelms the other and are rather in complete harmony, even complimenting each other. Rose, coconut and cardamom seems to be a match made in spring heaven. So lush! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did!

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2-Layer Rose Coconut Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes | Total active time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp rose extract or 1 Tbsp organic rose water
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, room temperature

Coconut Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp coconut milk, refrigerated
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp rose extract
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grease 2 6-inch round cake pans with flavourless oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, sieve all purpose flour, baking powder, ground cardamom and pinch of salt. Give it a whisk.
  3. In another mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add vanilla extract, rose extract, egg and whisk very well until incorporated.
  4. Now whisk in dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternating with coconut milk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix.
  5. Divide the batter in to the cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool on wire rack for about 5 minutes before demoulding. Let the cakes cool completely on wire rack and meanwhile get on the frosting.
  6. Coconut Buttercream Frosting: In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and coconut milk using electric mixer until smooth. With the mixer on low-speed, add confectioners sugar and salt and beat until just combined. Once incorporated, turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Adjust the sugar until your desired consistency achieved. Briskly whisk in rose extract and coconut extract (for like 10 seconds).
  7. Assembly: Once the cakes are completely cool, place one layer of the cake onto the serving plate (bottom side up). Spread about 3 Tbsp of frosting on this layer, spread it uniformly and top it with the second layer (bottom side up). Spread about 2 Tbsp of frosting on top, spread uniformly and crumb coat the sides. Let the cake rest in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes. Frost with the remaining buttercream frosting and decorate as desired. I topped mine with fresh figs and fresh strawberry slices. The cake stays fresh for 4 days, stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

 

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Italian Summer Pasta Salad

 Italian Summer Pasta Salad1

 

After radio silence for 3 weeks, I’m back. Again. Can’t say for how long but I am here. So how are things guys? Here, monsoon has almost arrived and summer is officially over (for good!). But here I am, with a huge backlog of summer recipes. What am I to do when all these days I have been cooking all things “summery” regularly but not getting time to post them. Let’s just say that it is still summer somewhere in the world, right?! 😉

I love anything and everything Italian so when I came across this pretty looking salad on Sommer’s amazing blog I knew I had to get to it pronto. It is so good and SO refreshing! Zests of orange and lemon, al dente pasta, orange chunks, tiny tomatoes and torn basil all tied together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Must try, whatever time of year it is for you.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.
Stay cozy, it’s gonna be a rainy one! xx

 

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Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Recipe scaled down & adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Yield: 2-3 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat Farfalle pasta
  • 1 naval orange, zest and orange segments
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the orange and lemon. Place the zest and the juice of lemon in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk. Peel the orange, gently break the segments apart and seed them. Place them in the bowl.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Then pour the drained pasta over the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Add the scallions and basil leaves to the bowl and toss. Salt and pepper generously, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: I didn’t have scallions at hand so I had to skip them but they are highly recommended as it’d add some crunch & make the dish all the more flavorsome. 🙂

 

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5-minute Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Meal for Two & Some Chit Chat

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Let’s chat, shall we!? Time to end the lazy slump I’ve been rolling in lately. A lot’s been going on around here and I’m up for a full disclosure now. I did slip the news on Instagram couple of weeks ago but didn’t announce officially on the blog. So here it goes!! Drum-rolls please!!! I am going to LONDON this FALL for a one year postgraduate programme!!!!! WOHOOOO!!!!!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!! Sorry for all the yelling but I’m SOOOOO excited for this new chapter of my life to begin. This year has been truly magical so far!

I got the confirmed offer on my admission about a couple months ago but was skeptical on sharing the news as there were so many things to consider and plan for before I decide to accept the offer. Let’s just say I didn’t want to jinx it! I was ecstatic (to say the least) to get into this prestigious college. I was (still am!) over the MOON would be an understatement. I leave in September and there is so much to do. I need to visit my parents, apply for Visa, do the shopping, pack my bags and off I go. Fingers crossed for a smooth sailing!

Now here is a bit of not-so-good-news. Umm… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue blogging along with my studies but I’m not going to incessantly worry over something I can’t control. As of now, the only thing I’m sure of is that the programme is going to be very intense and I am going to have to give my 101% attention to it, even if blogging takes a backseat. I AM absolutely ready to prioritize. I love blogging so much therefore I’ll be blogging here as much as I can until September and after that we’ll see how things go. I would love to pop over in between during my stay in London to share my experiences in new country, food related or not. I will definitely try to stay as active as possible on Instagram nonetheless so do follow me there to stay in touch and be my companion on #LondonDiaries! 🙂

*Recipe*

This recipe I am sharing today is bonkers awesome! It is the quickest meal I have ever made (apart from toss-in-all-you-have salads or couscous!). If you can boil the pasta then you can make this recipe. This one here is basically foolproof! The tomato paste (Brand name – Splitz) I used for this quick pasta sauce is made locally in Bangalore and the ingredients list reads – Tomatoes. That’s it! It does not have any funky ingredients I can’t understand or pronounce, just pure tomato goodness without any color or preservative or salt! Too good to be true and but sadly, it is mostly available only in Bangalore. But fret not. You can go ahead and try any other good, organic tomato paste you can find in the store near you.

This packet is definitely going with me everywhere I travel. I guess it’d be a blessing during my soon-to-start student life! What a cheap, no-fuss and delicious meal option with so many possibilities. Add any number of vegetables to this dish to make it more hearty and fulfilling. Just a heaping Tablespoon of this potent tomato paste is enough for one portion. You can tell I’m quite impressed! What can I say, sometimes simple is truly THE BEST! xx

 

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Quickest Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Dinner for Two

Yields: 2 generous servings | Prep time: 2 minutes |Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after boiling
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Scant 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dry basil herb
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • Shavings of Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta as per the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat the pan on a medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté for a minute. Add tomato paste and salt and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, scraping and stirring occasionally. The tomato paste will turn brown and this will enhance the flavors. Mix in basil and pepper and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water to the tomato paste and magically you’ll get your pasta sauce ready! If you want thinner consistency sauce, add remaining 1/4 cup pasta water too. Stir in the drained pasta. Divide between 2 serving dishes. Top with some shavings of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes:
*You can add vegetables of your choice to make the meal more hearty. Just sauté the vegetables along with garlic and onion before adding tomato paste to the mix. Zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers…. sky is the limit!
*You may also top the pasta with capers or olives.
*Use whole wheat or quinoa pasta to make this meal healthier. 
*Use penne or spaghetti pasta instead of macaroni.

Fudgy White Chocolate Lemonies {Lemon Brownies}

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Lemonies… It sounds so exotic and poetic. Some genius thought of this cool name for lemon brownies, I am not sure who did but genius, nonetheless! A simple reason for not calling them brownies has something to do with their color (They are not brown!!). These are pale yellow beauties adorned with bright yellow zest and white chocolate chips in each bite. They are so fudgy and buttery, dense yet light, just how I like my brownies.

These are the perfect treats for summer (or round the year, who am I kidding!?!) and totally irresistible. The lemon flavor really shines through and pairs wonderfully well with all that white chocolate. Be sure to use a white chocolate bar and not white chocolate chips for the batter. It makes all the difference! And have them chilled, straight from the fridge. You’re welcome. 🙂

Have a fun weekend!
xx

 

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Fudgy White Chocolate Lemonies {Lemon Brownies}

Yields: 12-16 slices | Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: about 35 minutes| Total: 50 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 9-oz block of white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp white chocolate chips, to sprinkle on top (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºF / 350ºC. Grease an 8×8-inch square pan; line base and sides with parchment paper and grease with butter/oil (I used foil).
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter in a microwave for 1-2 minute, stirring every 30 seconds. The mixture should be lump-free and glossy. Rub lemon zest and sugar together with the fingers and whisk in to the chocolate mixture. Set aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Once chocolate mixture is cooled down, whisk in eggs (one by one) and lemon juice until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt and fold into chocolate mixture with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Pour the batter in a baking pan, sprinkle chocolate chips on top (optional) and bake for 33-35 minutes until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Let cool completely in pan over a cooling rack. (If you’re in a hurry, throw it in a refrigerator or freezer for a while for easy cutting.)
  5. Lift up the ends of parchment or foil liner, transfer the brownies to cutting board and cut into 9 or 12 squares. Store it covered in an air-tight container for a week in refrigerator. It tastes best chilled.

Vegetable Whole-Wheat Noodle Bowl ~ For Two

Vegetable Whole-Wheat Noodle Bowl ~ For Two1

 

This peanut butter-flavored dish is a cinch to throw together. So convenient on a weeknight or when you’re just lazy. Just boil a pot of water, saute some vegetables and whisk together some sauces from your pantry. Dinner is served!

Vegetable Whole-wheat Noodle Bowl

Serves:2 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For noodle bowl:

  • 2 nests of whole wheat noodles
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch thin strips
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bunch of scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lightly toasted white sesame seeds*, for topping

*You may use toasted peanuts too instead.

For sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp of hot water (or a little more to achieve a thin yogurt-like consistency of sauce)

Directions:

  1. Boil a medium sized pot of water. Add the whole wheat noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add oil and sauté  garlic for about 30 seconds. Add red pepper and broccoli to the pan and sauté for another 5 minutes over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk together all the ingredients for sauce, adding the hot water in increments at the end. You are going for a thin yogurt-like consistency.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked and drained, toss together the noodles, sautéd vegetables and scallions.
  5. Portion into small bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad

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Just popping in to say Hi as it’s been two weeks since we last talked! I am feeling unbelievably lazy and  don’t want to write much so I’ll leave you guys with this quick recipe. I hope you guys’ll understand.

Salads are usually underrated but this one right here is a total stunner. Perfect for spring! It was my first time using fennel in my home kitchen so I was quite excited in terms of what to make with it. I’m a salad person so that is what I wanted to experiment first. The combination of leek, fennel, apple and walnuts works so beautifully and sounds quite exotic but mostly they are all simple, earthy ingredients bound together by a simple dressing. I can’t wait to turn these ingredients in to a soup once the rainy days arrive in full swing(which I hope will be soon!).

Enjoy!
xx

 

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Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnut Warm Salad

Serves: as a side for 2/a hearty meal for 1 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 apple, cored & sliced (peeling is optional, I didn’t)
  • 1 + 1 tsp lemon juice, divided
  • 10-12 walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 fennel, small bulb, sliced
  • 3-4 lettuce leaves
Dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

*Preparing Leek : Cut the ends off the leek and discard. Quarter the leek lengthwise, wash under running water to remove all the grit and cut them into slices.
*Preparing Fennel : Check this easy tutorial on The Kitchn

  1. Wash, core and slice an apple. Toss with 1 tsp of lemon juice to prevent discoloration and set aside.
  2. In a fry pan, add the walnuts and toast them on a medium-low heat until fragrant. Set aside.
  3. In the same fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks and thyme leaves to the pan and sauté for about 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add sliced fennel, cook for another minute or so and remove it from the heat. Immediately stir in sliced apples and splash remaining 1 tsp lemon juice.
  4. In a small jar, add all the ingredients for the salad dressing. Close the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously until completely combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  5. In a serving plate, make a bed of lettuce leaves and top with salad. Garnish with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.

Baked Lemon Doughnuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze ~ Eggfree

Baked Lemon Donuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze1

 

Hello folks! April went by at a lightening speed. It was a total blur. A beautiful blur at that. Yes, I absconded again for the latter part of April. Well, I hope you didn’t miss me much. Sorry to say but I didn’t miss you guys one bit. Here is why. These past days were spent with my most beautiful angelic cutie pie tiny-little-peanut-sized-newborn-niece. She turned 12 days today. We feel so blessed to have her in our lives and welcomed her in to this world with lots of snuggles and baby talks. We immediately named her Cherry (lovingly, of course!) because trust me when I tell you this, she looks just like a ruby red cherry. She is such a doll, so adorable, so so precious. All the sleepless nights spent in soothing her back to sleep were totally, absolutely worth it. I’m back home now and miss her so so much.

The moment I returned home, I had to bake. To celebrate. I instantly thought donuts! I mean, come on, donuts=celebration. Summer is not treating us Bangaloreans well this year and lemons are always on my mind. Big, plump, juicy, organic, tart yet sweet lemons from my parents-in-law’s lemon tree. They are simply THE best. So lemon donuts it was. They turned out so amazing that the next day I made them again. This time around I doubled the recipe and baked it as an 8-inch single layer cake for my parents-in-law’s wedding anniversary. So if you don’t own a donut pan, buy one ASAP! These little things are addicting! For now, simply bake them as mini cupcakes or just double this recipe to get a cake.

 

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The recipe is simplicity at its best. Almost refined sugar free. No eggs required. No mixer needed. Just one bowl and a whisk is all you need to make the sun shine brightest! You can even prepare the glaze in the same mixing bowl. I am always happy with less dishes and lesser clean up. So in these donuts, moisture is being imparted by buttermilk and oil. Honey shoulders the responsibility of lending sweetness. Truly ordinary ingredients create this extra-ordinary treat. These baked donuts are light, fluffy and just lemony which doesn’t make you pucker!

These donuts are then topped with lemon cream cheese glaze. The glaze is a perfect accompaniment for the donuts. Again, just lemony and just sweet. Decorate them with a sprinkle of yellow colored sanding sugar. Vibrant, just like our little one.

So celebrate life and all things nice with these lemon glazed donuts!

 

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Baked Lemon Doughnuts with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze ~ Eggfree

Makes: 6 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For donuts:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (lemon enthusiasts may use 2.5 to 3 Tbsp)

For glaze:

Following measurements can glaze about 10-12 donuts.

  • 100 gm (3.5 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • Yellow colored sanding sugar, to decorate

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven at 180ºC / 350ºF. Grease 6-count donut pan with oil. Set aside.
  2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest and rub together with finger to release oils from the zest. Whisk in honey, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract and lemon juice until the mixture formed is completely smooth.
  4. Slowly whisk in dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Divide the batter among prepared donut pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 8-9 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully turn out doughnuts directly onto rack to cool completely.
  5. Glaze: Whisk together cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and sifted icing sugar to form a smooth consistency. Dip completely cooled donuts one by one into a bowl of glaze and place back on a cooling rack. Sprinkle with yellow sanding sugar just before serving as the colors will bleed. Donuts will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days stored in a refrigerator.

*You will have little cream cheese glaze leftover which is never a bad thing in my book. You may lick with spoon or store it in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Give the glaze a good whisk before using on baked goods.
*Double the donut recipe and bake it in an 8-inch cake tin. Bake for about 20-23 minutes.
*To make this recipe vegan, make your own non-dairy buttermilk. To 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, add 1/3 cup non-dairy milk of your choice . Let sit for 15-20 minutes and use as a regular buttermilk substitution.