The Easiest Vanilla Cake ever!

Our ‘Stud’, a buttery vanilla batter holds together a bucketful of fruit and nut. A crunchy top and a heavily studded crumb. For me, this beats any number of iced cakes hands down. This is my go to cake recipe now. Make it plain and savour the pure vanilla notes. Use vanilla beans or good quality vanilla extract to enjoy it to the full.
Add lemon or orange rind, or lots and lots of nuts like I did in this!

The Easiest Vanilla Butter Cake Ever!

200 grams each of Maida (All purpose flour), butter, powdered sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Sift flour and baking powder.
Cream sugar and butter till light and creamy ( 5 mins)
Add eggs one by one beating after each addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Mix the flour in two lots.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
To add nuts, roll them in a tbsp flour and add at the end. The batter will be thick. And it needs to be.
To bake as a basic vanilla or lemon or orange add some yogurt/milk if the batter feels too thick, about 3-4 tablespoons)

The last image is of the cake baked plain and nuts added only to the top.  Mysteriously all the cashews were swiped off the crust overnight! 🧐
(Yes I still drink from superhero mugs😁)

Mithai Muffins, the easiest cake recipe ever!

Mithai Muffins 1
Three years back, I started off as a reluctant baker. And I still am always on the look out for simple recipes. Separating eggs, beating whites till stiff peaks etc is not for me.

So, I was super excited to see this recipe on my friend Rhea’s blog. Such an easy peasy one, almost too good to be true!! And I can play with it any number of ways. And play, I did!

Here is the magical basic recipe on Euphorhea. And here is how I made these delightful Mithai Muffins. Call them Kesar Pista Cupcakes or Gulab Jamun Muffins or whatever you fancy, I kinda like Mithai Muffins. So here goes

100 grams Maida (plain flour/ All purpose flour)
100 grams powdered sugar
100 grams butter, at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Nilesen Massey, get the best one you can)
A fat pinch of good quality saffron
1/4 cup slightly warm milk
1/4 cup pistachios chopped coarse
1 tsp cardamom powder
(can add other nuts also if desired)
I had about 50 grams of mawa leftover in the fridge and I used that too. ( You may skip if you don’t have it)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Rub the saffron in a mortar and pestle with 1 tbsp of warm milk so it releases the flavour and colour. Add the 1/4 cup of milk and leave it to steep.
Whisk the flour with the baking powder in a bowl.
Whisk the butter, mawa ( if using) and sugar for 3-4 mins. I just used my hand whisk.  Add the eggs and whisk a little more till smooth and slightly fluffed up. Add the cardamom powder, saffron milk and mix well.
Leave the whisk and using a spatula, mix in the flour. Add the pistachios, saving some for topping the muffins. Can add a little more milk if the batter looks too thick. I didn’t need to.
Scoop the batter into lined cupcake pans, sprinkle the tops with pistachios and bake at 180C for 15-18 mins. The tops should brown and a toothpick inserted should come out clean.
This makes 12 medium muffins.
I have a feeling I am going to use this basic recipe a lot! Thanks Rhea ❤

Mithai Muffins .jpg

Choco-Orange Zebra Cake

Celebrating my 50th blog post with my first ever zebra cake! The joy of attempting a  bake with some amount of trepidation and getting it right! 🙂

I am a newbie in the world of baking, barely three months old. Been doing quite a few breads but cakes still make me a little nervous. Looking at perfect zebra and rainbow cakes, I was a bit in awe and wondered if I would ever get there! Was very skeptical when I started off, all prepared for a leopard in case the zebra didn’t play 😀
But the cake when sliced made me smile wide.

I made a chocolate and an orange zebra and loved the stripes. It is a beautiful, dramatic tea cake and not at all difficult to make! And so very moist! I am going to play with the rainbow soon.

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz / 250 g) powdered sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) oil (corn, vegetable or canola is fine) (I used a little less than a cup, about 2 Tbsp less)
2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) all-purpose flour
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (equals 3 teaspoons) baking powder (if not available, substitute with 1 teaspoon baking soda)
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 Tbsp orange zest (skip it to make a vanilla chocolate zebra)

Preparer a baking tin by lining with parchment or butter paper.
Mix the flour and baking powder and sift twice.
Mix eggs and sugar and beat well till light and creamy.
Add ¾ cup of the milk and the oil and beat till all is well combined. Add in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients  and mix it till just well comnbined. Do NOT overbeat or overmix.
The batter should be a medium dropping  consistency. Neither too thick , nor too runny.  Add more milk if it is too thick. Add some flour if the batter is too thin.
Divide the batter into two.
Add the cocoa to one and the orange zest to the other half.(You may add a few drops of orange colour if desired. I didn’t)
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Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Now to the assembling,which needs to done carefully as this actually creates the zebra pattern.
Take two equal sized ladles. Each should be able to hold three tablespoons of batter. Or use 3 Tbsp fulls of  batter for each addition. It is easier to do with a ladle.
Add a ladle of the chocolate batter to the middle of the baking pan.
Quickly follow with a ladle of the orange  batter dropping it over the chocolate batter ,right in the middle.
Continue doing this alternating the batters, till both the batters are used up.

So a ladle of chocolate followed by a ladle of orange and then chocolate again and so on! What fun! Felt like I was back in my craft class 😀

Do not stop and wait for the batters to spread. Keep going. They will spread on their own. And this is what will form the pattern. Do not tap or tilt the tin.

Bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 20-25 minutes else the cake will shrink and not rise. Check by inserting a toothpick after 35 minutes or so.
Cool completely and slice wedges and see the lovely zebra pattern emerge!

This recipe is from Suma’s wonderful blog here that I often visit to get clarity on all matters baking.
Happy Zebras! ❤

Sharing an eggless recipe that works beautifully for zebra and rainbow cakes. It is a tried and tested, super simple recipe. Recipe credits are Ruchi Jain’s.
She is a very close , school time buddy. Thanks Ruchi  🙂

Malai/Heavy cream- 1 cup
Powdered Sugar- 1 cup
All purpose flour- 1 ½ cup
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Baking soda- ¼ tsp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Cocoa- 2 Tbsp/ colors as desired for a rainbow cake.

Mix all ingredients apart from the cocoa(or colors, if using them)
Divide the mixture into 2 parts.
Add cocoa to one and orange zest to the other to make the cake above.
Follow instructions as given above for assembling the cake batter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 40-45 minutes till done.
Here is a tricolor cake Ruchi did for Independence Day using this recipe.
Happy Baking  ❤


Another look at the Zebra

Fruit and Nut Cake

Give me a slice of a well made, simple,unfrosted cake with my cuppa and I need nothing else! I am especially partial to the fruity and nutty variety. So here is a very simple basic vanilla cake loaded with dry fruit and nuts.
Fruit and Nut Cake

APF/Maida- 1 Cup+1 Tsp (for dusting the fruit and nut mixture)
Baking Powder- 1 tsp
Eggs,at room temperature- 2 ( To make an eggless version- you may use 1/4 cup of curd/yogurt in place of each egg. Be careful not to make the batter runny though. We are looking for a thick dropping consistency)
Powdered sugar- 1 Cup
Butter,at room temperature- 80 grams
Vanilla extract- 1 Tsp
Mixed fruit and nuts- 1 Cup (I used cherries, tutti fruity, chopped almonds, cashews and walnuts, cranberries and raisins)
Milk,at room temperature- ¼ cup (use only if needed)

Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and prepare a cake tin by lining and greasing.
Sift the flour and baking powder twice and set aside.

Mix the fruits and nuts and sprinkle a tsp of APF/Maida and mix well coating them. This will ensure that the nuts do not sink to the bottom on baking.
Take sugar and butter in a medium size bowl and beat with an electric beater till light and fluffy.



Add the eggs and beat till they are incorporated into the mix.


Add in the vanilla essence and mix once.


Fold in the flour with a spatula.


If the batter is too thick, add some milk. I needed to add about 1 tbsp. We need a thick dropping consistency batter.
Gently fold in the fruit and nut mixture.
Bake on 180C for 40 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let cool and slice. Enjoy!