Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ice Cream Cupcakes

I was asked to make the Ice Cream cupcakes featured on Linda Kaye's  Bake a Cake Party Book  for her TV shoot. They are very cute and an adorable idea for a kids birthday party!
The Bake a Cake Party Book features one easy recipe that you can use for all the cake ideas. The cake batter has to be dense enough that it won't make the ice cream cone all soggy. Don't use a batter if it looks too liquidy like glue. It should be a batter that is thick and doesn't pour easily. You can use a cake mix too if you are short on time!

Make sure to beat the ingredients well with a mixer to avoid any lumps. There is nothing worse than biting into a lump of flour!

Prep all your empty ice cream cones (note these have to be flat bottomed cones, not the waffle or sugar cones) and place them on a muffin tin. This holds them in shape without risk of toppling over and baking into each other. If you don't have a muffin tin, use a cake pan but be gentle when moving it into the oven so the cones don't tilt.

You can fill the cones with a pastry bag for a clean rim, or you can use an ice cream scoop or spoon.

You don't want to fill the cones up too much or the batter will overflow. Allow half an inch on top.

When baked, the cupcakes will not all be perfectly smooth, they will be uniquely cracked, which is fine since we want to frost them and that way it gives them a more unique ice cream look! If you are a stickler for perfection and want perfectly round tops, don't fill the cups as much, allow 3/4 of an inch of space, and don't bake as many cupcakes at once. Spread them out more in the muffin tin so they aren't close together, this will alow the heat to reach all of them more evenly.

When the cupcakes have cooled (you can cool them in the fridge or freezer) make your frosting and color it with as many or as few colors as you want!

When your army of frosted ice cream cupcakes is done, you can chose to decorate the top. You can write letters as shown in the Bake a Cake Party Book, or you can add sprinkles, flowers, whatever you wish.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daring Baker's Challenge March: Meringue Filled Coffee Cake

 The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

It was a fabulous challenge and I want to do it again VERY SOON! Tasty and must be eaten right away.. it's too good not to.

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

Dough Ingredients
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

Hydrate the yeast with warm (not hot) milk and let it dissolve. Stir it a little.

Place all the dry ingredients together.

In a stand mixer, mix all the ingredients together with a dough hook. The dough should feel like bread dough and spring back when you poke it.

Allow the dough to rest covered until it doubles. This depends on how hot your kitchen is, it took me 2 hours.

When the dough has risen, prepare the meringue. Whip the whites with the salt, when they are soft peaks, gradually add sugar and vanilla till stiff peaks.

Roll out half of the dough into a rectangle.

Spread half the meringue over it.

Sprinkle some nuts, chocolate chips, cinnamon, sugar, and whatever else you like.

Roll up the dough.

Connect the ends and using a pair of scissors, make cuts around it.
Allow dough to rise another 45 minutes. Repeat same process with the other half of the dough. 
When dough has risen, egg wash it and bake at 350F for 35 minutes.

Allow it to cool.

Add whatever glaze you like, I did a chocolate frosting. I added some green sprinkles and some leafy greens as decor for St Patty's Day!

This product freezes well, I recommend freezing it without frosting if you don't eat it that day, then thaw it at room temperature when you are ready to eat it and frost it. If you have some left-over with frosting that you didn't freeze, it might start to go stale, as did mine. I ended up turning it into a bread pudding breakfast. It was amazing!

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Indian Tonight!

It's Indian tonight! Have you tried whole foods chicken tikka masala? It's to die
for.. I love Indian food and after having tried some chicken tikka masala this week,
i knew i needed to eat more of it. So I thought I could make it that day when I
bought the chicken.. It so happens that the chicken needs to marinade for 24hours...
So the long awaited chicken was finally cooked as it mellowed out in a creamy
fragrant mixture of yogurt, lime, Ginger and coriander.

Here is the recipe

You will need
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp olive or groundnut oil
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • a 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 ½ onions
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 5 fl oz water
  • Salt to taste
  • Yoghurt or 1 tin coconut milk, if desired
  • Fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 plate or tray
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 large wide pan
  • 2 wooden or regular spoons
  • 1 bowl for mixing the spices


  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato , diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours or as long as possible.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the chicken till cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in canned tomatoes and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add baked chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

To accompany it I made some simple pea rice.

Chop up an onion and cook it with a little olive oil until softened.
Throw in the rice and coat with the oil and onions.
Add 3 times the amount of rice in water.
When water has almost disappeared check consistency of rice. Add more if needed.
When almost cooked through, add frozen peas.
Take the rice from the heat and toss with a little salt and butter.
Place in baking tray and place in oven to toast the top.

Turkey and Veg Eggplant Cups

So you might be wondering why I have been so MIA lately.. I moved. That's right..
I've been living in the middle of boxes and a pantry that has been emptying day by
day. Which ultimately means a lot of take out and eating out. Well i am back in my
new kitchen and ready to cook up a storm. I just read a new recipe on the latest
food and wine magazine that intrigued me a lot and decided to try it asap. It was a
stuffed eggplant with shitake mushrooms. It looked delicious and hearty so I decided
I would make it for dinner. Now does anyone know what is up with the missing
eggplants? I just spoke to a friend of mine who asked me the same thing. I had to
run to a few supermarkets to find an eggplant. I finally found a few Asian baby
eggplants and cooked those. I was so determined to make this dish. I made it my way
of course! Add-on the meat! I used regular mushrooms for cost savings, then added
ground turkey, Parmesan cheese, red onion, garlic, the works. Throw in the kitchen
sink too if you will!

So here is the preparation method.

Cut an eggplant in half and then on each half cross cut it so that it makes a square
like grid. Using a soup spoon, scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and save for the

Brush eggplant cup with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put in the oven
at 400F. Bake till soft.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat two tbsp of olive oil, add the chopped
mushrooms. Allow to cook till slightly soft. Don't crowd the pan or the mushrooms
will release water.

Then add chopped red onion, ground turkey and garlic.

Cook till meat is no longer pink. At this point the onion should be soft too.
Sprinkle some cumin and  Parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Take off the heat.

When eggplant cups are done, place some of the filling inside them and sprinkle with
more cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted.

Serve warm. Be careful, eggplant retains a lot of heat and can burn. Your mouth if
you are not careful!

I also decided to throw in a side dish with this eggplant which can take advantage
of the oven being on. I made sesame-seaweed sweet potato fries. Here is how:
Cut the sweet potatoes into even thin long strips. Spray with some olive oil and
toss to coat. Then sprinkle some sesame seeds and crushed up seaweed flakes.
Bake until the potatoes are soft.

Delicious! Try it tonight...find the eggplant first!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Husband's Favorite Bread

 Has your husband, boyfriend, friend ever tried this bread? Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread. It's my husband's favorite and I just made it this weekend because he asked me for it. He never asks me to make him anything, so I had to!

We all remember Pepperidge farm's Raisin Swirl bread from when we were kids, but now that we are all grown up, how about making it ourselves and add a little twist that we wouldn't have when we were children? Walnuts!
Peter Reinhart is behind this amazing recipe. 

His book Bread Baker's Apprentice is fabulous, it even won a James Beard Book Award, which if you've never heard about, it is like the Oscar for a book in the Culinary World.  The book is so comprehensive and he makes it so that if you've never taken any bread baking class, you get your lecture right in the beginning of the book.

So you're dying to get the recipe now aren't you? We'll get straight to it.. I can't give you the recipe exactly from the book since that's illegal but here is an adaptation.

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread
Adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread flour
4 tsp (.66 ounce) granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp (.31 ounce) salt
2 tsp (.22 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp (.16 ounce) ground cinnamon
1 large (1.65 ounces) egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp (1 ounce) shortening, melted or at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup (6 ounces) water, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) raisins, rinsed and drained
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts

Additional granulated sugar and cinnamon for swirl, and sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter for topping

1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add the egg, shortening, buttermilk, and water. Stir together with a large spoon (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff.

2. Sprinkle flour on a counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed, switching to the dough hook). The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Add flour as you knead (or mix), if necessary, to achieve this texture. Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes (or by machine for 6-8 minutes). Sprinkle in the raisins and walnuts during the last 2 minutes of kneading (or mixing) to distribute them evenly and avoid crushing them too much. (If you are mixing by machine, you may have to finish kneading by hand to distribute the raisins and walnuts evenly). The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. (This is very important, don't skip the fermentation step or shorten it!)

4. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form them into loaves. If desired, before rolling the loaves, sprinkle the dough with a mixture of 1/2 c granulated sugar and 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, creating a cinnamon-sugar swirl. Place each loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan, mist the tops with spray oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

5. Proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lips of the pans and is nearly doubled in size.

6. Preheat the oven to 350F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Place the loaf pans on a sheet pan, making sure they are not touching each other.

7. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished breads should register 190F in the center and be golden brown on top and lightly golden on the sides and bottom. They should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

8. Immediately remove breads from their pans. If desired, brush the tops of the warm loaves with melted butter and roll the tops in cinnamon sugar. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2, before slicing or serving. 
If you won't be eating all the bread, cut the loaves in half and freeze them wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or ziploc bags. Then let them thaw at room temperature. Never put bread or baked goods in the fridge (unless they have frosting) the starches will retrograde and you will have a product that is inedible. If your bread goes stale, just make bread pudding with it or french toast. It will be the best bread pudding you'll ever have!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm in the middle of a move, as I empty out my fridge and come up with the most bizarre food combinations that surprisingly work, (Buckwheat pasta with anchovies, artichokes, walnut oil and goat cheese- believe me.. it was AMAZING!) I am getting tired of figuring out what I can make from canned and frozen food products, so I've been eating out a lot.

Just before lent started I decided to try a restaurant that had been on my list for quite some time, Devi. It is an indian restaurant with an almost royal ambiance. As soon as you walk through the doors you enter a reddish toned room with decorative lamps hanging from the high ceilings.
The restaurant looks very refined, not like a regular Indian buffet style restaurant.
The menu looks very intriguing and I had a hard time not trying the chef's tasting menu. If it wasn't Lent the next day, I would have done it.

To start us out they brought us a little amuse bouche. Some vegetable croquettes in a sweet sauce.  It was a great appetite opener.

Then I had a hard time chosing between the samosa trio (I LOVE Samosas!) and the chicken stuffed with lamb. I picked the chicken just because I can't find that at any regular indian restaurant. It was fantastic. If you like lamb you will enjoy this dish. And the tomato chutney that accompanies it is great to the last drop!

I was really going for unfamiliar territory with my main course, I tried the goat curry and the eggplant curry. Both mildly spicy and delicious! Does anyone make better curries than the Indians? I don't think so! I accompanied it with some garlic naan (tastier than the plain kind!) and loved every bite of it! Totally worth a try! The restaurant is very close to Union Square in Manhattan so next time you are craving indian, go for something different and try this delicious restaurant!

Naan is so incredibly easy to make: If you are a bread baking pro, try this one. My mother used to make panninis for me when I was younger using naan, brie cheese and ham. Not indian but very delicious.
Ingredients for indian naan recipe:

4 cups White Flour (Maida)
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Milk
1 tbsp Sugar
1 Egg
4 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Nigella seeds (Kalunji) If you can find them...
How To Make Naan:
  • Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  • Mix the sugar, milk, eggs 2 tbsp of oil in a bowl.
  • Pour this into the center of the flour and knead adding water if necessary to form soft dough.
  • Add the remaining oil, knead again, then cover with damp cloth and allow the dough to stand for 15 minutes. Knead the dough again and cover and leave for 2-3 hours. Don't rush this process!
  • About half an before the naan are required, turn on the oven to maximum heat.
  • Divide the dough into 8 balls and allow rest for 3-4 minutes.
  • Sprinkle a baking sheet with nigella seeds and put it in the oven to heat while the dough is resting.
  • Shape each ball of dough with the palms to make an oval shape.
  • Bake the indian bread naan until puffed up and golden brown. Serve hot.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby's Racecar

Name: Baby's Racecar
Personality: Moist Yellow Vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, enrobed in fiery fondant.

Rainbow Cupcakes

I've been obsessed with making these rainbow cupcakes for the longest time, and now that I had time, I am thrilled! They came out ubber colorful and very tasty. I didn't even want to frost them because they looked so good! So here is the basic recipe.


3 cups (330 g) cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces or 230 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (454 g) granulated sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces or 300 ml) buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lline with parchment paper two 8x2-inch (20x5-cm) pans. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Cut up the butter into 1-inch pieces and place them in the large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment or beaters. Beat for 3 minutes on MEDIUM-HIGH speed until the butter is light and creamy in color. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the butter for an additional 60 seconds.
4.Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time.
5. Reduce the mixer speed. Stir vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Then separate the batter into as many bowls as you want different colors.

Spoon each color into a cupcake cup.

And keep adding more colors on top. Don't mix the batter or the color will blend.a

Fill 3/4 of the way up and bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.

So colorful!

I love them! And so moist!
 These would be great for kids birthday parties! And of course all grown ups love them too!