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
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😁)
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 ❤
I simply love coffee flavoured cakes and cannot seem to find a prominent coffee flavour in the ones available in the market. This recipe from Amrita’s blog makes the best coffee cake ever!
Makes 12 cupcakes or two small loaf cakes
120 grams Maida/ All purpose Flour
170 grams powdered sugar
80 grams butter, at room temperature
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Coffee Powder (Nescafe or any other)
2 Tbsp Boiling water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Mix the coffee in water and leave to cool.
Pre-heat the oven at 200C.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Mix butter and sugar till creamy and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
Now using a spatula add the dry ingredients in three lots, mixing in till the flour mixture disappears. Add the coffee and mix in.
Pour to a prepared pan or the lined muffin pan.
Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins for cupcakes and 30-35 mins for loaf cakes.
Had this huge lauki/ gheeya/ bottle gourd staring at me each time I opened the fridge. No one wanted lauki.
So whipped up this in about 20 mins.
And 3 ingredients (give or take a few!)
A large lauki, peeled, seeds removed and grated
1 tbsp ghee
2 Tbsp milkmaid ( or more as per taste)
3 cardamoms, peeled and pounded fine
Nuts of choice, chopped coarse
Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan and cook the grated lauki till it is almost dry. Add 2 tbsp milkmaid and continue to stir and cook till it forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Add nuts and cardamom powder and mix well. Spread in a greased plate/pan. Stick nuts on the top.
Cut into squares and leave to set.
It won’t be firm like mawa/khoya barfi, but a nice soft concoction with a bite. Somewhat reminiscent on gajar ka halwa…Yum!
Breakfast is a very important meal, in general. It marks a good, healthy ( or otherwise) start to a day. I attack my breakfast which gusto as it is right after my workouts. I try and make it wholesome and filling and am always looking for interesting options.
This Unniyappam recipe was recently shared by a dear friend and a fitness co-enthusiast Shruti Shehnaaz Khan. Made some minor tweaks and made pancakes also with the same recipe.
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup ragi flour ( can use any other of choice)
1 large banana mashed
1/3 cup jaggery, chopped into small chunks ( can use less or more as per taste)
2 cardamoms, shelled and pounded fine
10 almonds, chopped coarse
2 tbsp fresh coconut small cubes
1/4 tsp baking soda
Some ghee for brushing the appe/paniyaram pan
Take 1 cup of water and add jaggery to it. Heat it till the jaggery melts. Switch off flame and cool for few minutes. Now pour this jaggery syrup through filter to remove any impurities from it.
Next in a wide bowl, add all ingredients and mix well. If needed, add water slowly and make a smooth batter, it should not be too thick or too thin. Set the batter aside for an hour.
Brush each cavity of paniyaram pan with ghee. Pour the batter into cavities once it’s hot. Pour a spoonful of batter into each mould until 3/4 full and cook covered, over medium flame until the bottoms of the unniyappams become crisp. Brush the tops with ghee. Then flip and cook on other side, uncovered this time.
Unniyappam is ready to be serve.
Originally raw rice is soaked and then dried and ground to make rice flour. Using rice flour shortens the process.
For variation replace 1/2 cup rice flour with any flour of you choice and increase or decrease water for the batter consistency.
To make pancakes, spread ladlefuls on a non stick pan. Cook. Flip. Cook and serve!
Ever since I discovered these, the whole family is hooked and I have no hassles getting the guys to eat the healthy seeds and nuts! Gets made in a jiffy, no preservatives and you control the sweet that goes in! Win-win, right?
So it is the texture of a soft sweet chikki/ brittle. And you can go crazy with the ingredients, really 😀
These are what I used
150 grams jaggery, chopped fine
100 grams peanuts, roasted, shelled and broken
100 grams sesame, roasted and coarse ground
100 grams roasted flax seeds (half of it coarse ground)
100 grams roasted pumpkin seeds
3-4 cardamoms, shelled and pounded fine
(feel free to change any of the seeds to nuts or other seeds: I once added roasted chana when I ran out of pumpkin seeds and plan to make these with cashews, almonds and walnuts too. Play with them the way you like!)
Mix the peanuts, sesame, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and cardamom powder.
In a heavy bottomed pan add a tbsp of water and the jaggery and let in melt on low heat. Once it has melted, take off heat. Add the seed and nut mixture and mix well. Spread on parchment paper and cover with another sheet. Roll out with the rolling pin and cut into squares while still warm. Let cool. Store in air tight box separated with parchment paper in between layers of the bars.
Recipe Credit: The basic idea came from Madhuli’s Tilgul recipe. Thanks darling.
* In case you do not have parchment paper, grease the back of a large plate or thaali with little ghee and roll with a greased rolling pin.
Craving waffles? I was the other day and didn’t want to have refined flour. Peeped into the fridge and found dosa batter!
Added some left over veggies and made these beauties in my sandwich maker! (It comes with removable waffle plates too!)
The next morning, added some condensed milk and made sweet waffles and served them with fresh fruit and a dollop of vanilla ice cream!
Such awesome fun!
I had these first at a breakfast place called Suzette and quite liked the idea of these earthy tasting pancaked served with hummus and salad.
Now I keep trying them with various flour combinations and toppings.
The recipe is simplicity itself.
A fantastic quality non-stick pan
1/2 cup buckwheat flour ( or a mix of buckwheat, amaranth and rice flour, just amaranth, just play with flour combos!)
Salt to taste
Water to get a runny batter
On a hot pan, pour the batter with a ladle. Cover and cook. Flip after one side is done. Cook uncovered. Can brush with butter or oil if desired. If the pan is good, it won’t stick at all.
Serve with Hummus and some salad.
Or serve with any sides of your choice!
These little ones are mangoey delights. I have recently started doing this ‘desi’ custard using rice flour to thicken the milk and there are so many ways to play with it!
All you need it a litre of milk ( I use cow milk) and 2 tablespoons of rice flour,
Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling on a low flame for ten odd minutes. Mix rice flour with half a cup of milk to make a smooth slurry paste. Add to the boiling milk and stir non-stop till it thickens and is cooked, say another ten mins.
Add brown sugar/ white sugar/organic sugar as per taste.
I added generous amounts of saffron to it and some fresh Alphonso mango to get this mango custard.
Yesterday, I added a few dropped of vanilla extract and chopped mangoes to make these cute Mango vanilla shots.
I kept some without sugar and added some palm date jaggery and froze it as kulfi. More yumminess 😀
This is so perfect for that 4 PM craving or the 11 AM hunger pangs! Chock-a-block with proteins and nutrition, it keeps you feeling full for hours.
Half a cup of mixed sprouts
1 Tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds, melon seeds (roasted cashews, almonds, coconut chips)
3 Tbsp roasted chana
Mix and enjoy!