Posts filed under ‘vanilla extract’

9 years and counting!

9 Years! That’s how old My Foodcourt is 🙂

What started as a journal to document heirloom recipes, soon became a passion and now an integral part of my life. Exploring different cuisines,Learning food photography,Cook-alongs,Bake-alongs, food events, Giveaways,some media mentions,blogging Off and On (at my own pace 🙂 ), moving to another space and then moving back – all this happened during these 9 long years.

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I have said this before and will say it again- I have been very lucky to meet talented, generous and ever encouraging virtual friends during these years, who now are my friends for life. Some of them I have met in person too. Thank You my food blogger friends as well as readers of My Foodcourt. I am so glad we crossed paths!

thanks

Many of my food blogger friends have stopped blogging now. I miss the camaraderie we enjoyed back then, since we were such a close knit group. Not that it doesn’t exist anymore, but the small food blogging group has now become an ocean and it is a pretty difficult to keep up with the happenings.

I also miss posts from my friend Indira of Mahanandi very much. Mahanandi, as I have said earlier was the inspiration to start this blog in the first place. I am so glad that I met Indira few years back when I visited Sugarland. I wish and hope she gets back to blogging soon!

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On that Nostalgic note, I would like to share a recipe for a Banana and Date loaf  to celebrate these glorious 9 years of my virtual life .

The original recipe is from  Lisa’s Lemoy Kitchen . I made a few changes to it. I used part whole wheat and part APF/Maida instead of the spelt flour. Also I reduced the sugar to less that half cup, since I thought 1 cup sugar was too sweet. Also I skipped the pecans,since the little Diva in our house does not like nuts 🙂

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I baked 6 mini Banana and Date loaves instead of 1 large loaf and they were gone in no time. This is a great way to use up overripe Bananas.

Here’s the recipe for the Banana and Date loaf

Adapted from  Lisa’s Lemoy Kitchen

Makes 6 mini loaves

Ingredients

1 cup All purpose flour(Maida)  + ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
200g pitted dates (roughly chopped)
½ cup caster sugar or a little less
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
3 very large ripe bananas (mashed)
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degC.

Grease and dust the loaf pan or mini pans.

Sift flour and baking soda into a mixing bowl.

Add salt and dates.

Mix to thoroughly coat the nuts and dates.

Use electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and oil until light and creamy.

Add mashed banana and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients into the banana batter.

Pour into the loaf/mini pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (large pan) or ~15-18 minutes for the mini loaf pans or until skewers comes out clean.

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August 6, 2015 at 8:39 am 3 comments

Filled Cupcakes for the sweet punch

Mama I’m hungry, I want something to eat” and a list of specifications follows for ’something’, the most prominent being ‘something different’. I am sure every mother hears this dialogue several times a day. Many times my son has specific hunger pangs;’ I am hungry for chocolate or hungry for oranges or raisins or some favorite snack’ Like every mother I find it challenging to come out with ideas to satiate the ever hungry boy!

This month’s Sweet Punch made my life easier at least for a while; ‘Devils food cupcakes with Vanilla cream filling’ to get me through a few hunger pangs for this week. The boy loves chocolate, even though he does not have a sweet tooth, so he was jumping with joy at the mention of Chocolate cupcakes.

 

A Sweet Punch is a monthly baking event started by three lovely girls  Ria, Maria and Divya, to make baking as simple as possible, bringing you a tried and tested recipe every month.’

This month’s punch was chosen by Divya and the recipe is originally from Baking bites. Thanks Divya I am delighted by your choice of recipe- Filled Cupcakes, a first for me.I don’t think I would had attempted the recipe without your instigation.

The recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes. I did not fill and frost all the cupcakes, left  few of them as it is. The cupcakes were rich and delicious even without the frosting. The little elf polished off a few even as they were still cooling on the rack.

Here’s the recipe:

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream filling

Recipe source – Baking Bites

Makes ~ 2 dozen cupcakes

The recipe looks lengthy and consists of three parts:

a)Making the cupcakes

b)Making the filling

c)Making the frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I used salted butter and skipped the addition of salt)

2 cups sugar (I used Vanilla sugar)

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sour cream (low fat or full) –(I used cream mixed with a tsp of homemade yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2-oz(~55 gms) dark chocolate

1 cup water, boiling

 For the Vanilla Cream Filling:

3 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins (I used 4-6 cup muffin pans of different shapes)

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.

Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by cream and vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, sieve together flour, baking soda and salt.

Add half of flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix nicely and add the rest of the flour mix.

Stir well between each addition and mix until no streaks of flour remain.

Stir the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate into the boiling water

Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform.

Evenly distribute batter into prepared baking cups. Bake each tray for 13-15 minutes (it took ~20-22 minutes for me), until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.

Cool the cupcakes completely and then turn onto a wire rack to remove from the muffin pans.

For the Vanilla butter filling:

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes.

Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil.

When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.

When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until light. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

For the chocolate butter cream frosting:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat, with an electric mixer, until frosting is creamy, 3-5 minutes.

Add additional powdered sugar as needed to achieve a thick, but not stiff, frosting that is easy to spread.

Add additional milk, if necessary, to thin the frosting if it gets too thick.

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off

Assembly:

Take a cooled cupcake and, using a small knife, cut a cone of cake (1-inch across by 1-inch deep) out of the top.

Trim off the pointy end of the cone, leaving a flat circle of cake. Set aside and repeat this process for all the cupcakes.

Take the cream filling and squeeze a tablespoon or so into each cupcake cavity, filling the hole up to the top with filling.

Top off with a flat circle of cake to plug the hole and keep the filling in place.

Pipe out the Chocolate frosting to cover the top of the cupcake.

Top with some vanilla cream if you have any leftover from the filling and some sprinklers.(I topped the boy’s cupcakes with sugar coated marzipan cherries)

Note: I found it difficult to unmold the cupcakes which did not use cupcake liners, while they were still warm. I had to wait for them to completely cool and then remove them from the pan.

I used a piping bag to frost the cupcakes, I found this easier

I used only 1 cup of powdered sugar for the Chocolate frosting, instead of the recommended 2-3cups.

 

July 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm 20 comments

Stone Fruit Tarts

Apricots, Peaches, Cherries, Mangoes, lychees; its the season for all these wonderful fruits. Usually, I enjoy my fruits in their natural form, as it is; with cooking or baking.A batch of peaches I bought some time back was very sour and was just lurking around in the fridge. I was thinking of ways to use-up the fruits when I saw Deeba’s post about these gorgeous tarts. The fate of my sour peaches was sealed; they along with a handful of cherries and apricots were baked to make these delectable tarts.

The other thing which attracted me to the recipe was the use of Buckwheat flour for the crust. Buckwheat Flour had been on my wishlist for quite some time. I happened to mention this in one of my comments on Deeba’s blog and Viola! my wish was granted! A few days later I received 2 packets of Buckwheat flour all the way from Gurgoan from this gorgeous girl! Thanks a lot Deeba for the BW flour and for all the inspiring recipes!

 Here’s the recipe for the Stone fruit tarts 

Original recipe on PAB here

For the crust

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used salted butter and skipped the addition of sea salt)
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (skip if using salted butter)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 tbsps finely ground unblanched almonds

For the filling
200ml low fat cream (I used Amul Fresh Cream)
1 large egg lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tbsps vanilla sugar
1 1/2 tbsps cornflour
2 tbsps almond meal                                                                                                                500 gms fresh stone fruit, apricots & peaches, pitted and sliced                                                                                                                                         Fresh pitted cherries
Confectioners’ sugar

Method:

For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Grease 4 6” tart pans.

Mix together the melted butter and sugar and blend well.

Add the extracts and the flours. Mix well to form a soft cookie like dough.

Divide it into 4 dough balls.

Evenly press each dough ball along the bottom and sides of the tart pan.

Place the pans in the oven and bake until the dough is slightly puffy and set~ 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the ground almonds over the bottom of the crust.

For the Filling:

Whisk together the Fresh cream, egg, extracts and sugar in a bowl.

Whisk in the Cornflour and almond meal.

Carefully pour the filling on the baked pastry crusts.

Arrange the sliced fruits and cherries on top.

Bake until the filling is firm and the pastry is a deep golden brown ~55 to 60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Cool the tarts

Just before serving, sprinkle again with confectioners’ sugar.

. 

Since I have used fruits lurking in my fridge and have followed a recipe from one of my favourite blogs, these Stone fruit tarts are heading over to Nupur’s blog for Blog Bites 4

June 17, 2010 at 10:12 am 22 comments

Tiramisu Cake- A sweet punch

One of my resolutions (?) for the New Year was to explore baking beyond the simple basic cakes and cookies. This also meant an opportunity to try out different recipes from the several cookbooks I own; cookbooks which were just gathering dust on the shelves.Given my hectic schedule and the 6-7 hr daily power out(r)age I was getting nowhere near implementing my resolution.So when Ria, Maria and Divya announced –A Sweet Punch I could not resist the opportunity.

A Sweet Punch is a monthly baking event started by Ria, Maria and Divya, to make baking as simple as possible, bringing you a tried and tested recipe every month. It could be either from cookbooks or from other food-blogs.All we need to do is, follow the recipe and create magic!’

The recipe chosen for this month was Tiramisu Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours

There were quite a few ‘firsts’ for me:

  • This is my first Sweet Punch
  • This is my first recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours , which I bought months ago from Flipkart
  • I made my first batch of Mascarpone at home! I have been eyeing this on blogs and always planned to make it.

 The Sweet Punch rule was simple: ‘try to stick to the recipe as far as you can but you can make changes to suit your religious/ dietary requirements’ and I did just that!

I followed the recipe to the tee. The only change I did was to bake a single cake and then cut it into two, instead of the recommended two 9”cakes.

My first try at making Mascarpone was very encouraging and I was quite pleased with the results, moreover it was so simple to make…making me wonder why I did not try this before?

I made the Mascarpone 2 days in advance and the cake a day earlier.

The only problem I faced was, when I mixed the Mascarpone with the other ingredients for frosting it changed its texture (I guessed the heat here was too much to keep the cheese firm, any suggestions to firm up the frosting are pls. welcome). I did not have the time to keep it back in the refrigerator to firm it up so I just poured it on the cake and inbetween the layers and let the frosting drizzle from the sides.

I used mini chocolate chips for the filling and dusted the top with dark Cocoa. I had a small bottle of Amaretto liqueur, which a close relative had gifted us many many years ago (another first) and I am glad I added it to the frosting. The rich burst of flavors from the coffee and the liqueur made the cake almost divine! I am glad I used the entire syrup to soak the cake even if I had some initial doubts.

Thank you Ria, Maria and Divya for the intiative, lovely recipe and most of all for the detailed explanation to make it look so easy and simple! 

Here’s the recipe for Tiramisu Cake:

Tiramisu Cake

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

 For the cake layers:

2 cups cake flour (I used All purpose flour +Cornstarch)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk (I used homemade buttermilk)

 For the espresso extract:

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 tablespoons boiling water

 For the espresso syrup:

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

 For the filling and frosting:

1 8-ounce container mascarpone (store-bought or homemade) (I used 250 gms homemade from the recipe on Deeba’s blog here)

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional) (I did not have these so I skipped it)

Cocoa powder, for dusting

 Getting ready:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F ( I baked at 180 degrees C). Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans,(I used only 1) dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

 To make the cake:

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.

 Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes,( took ~ 45 minutes for me) rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.

 To make the extract:

Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup:

Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

 To make the filling and frosting:

Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

 To assemble the cake:

 If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

 For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

 Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.

(Though the cake recipe looks exhaustive it turned out to be quite simple when I actually made it)

Check out the roundup for more scrumptious versions of this cake at A sweet Punch

June 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm 9 comments


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