Posts Tagged ‘Cake’

Strawberry Cheesecake


Baking has become a much sought luxury in our house. With temperatures searing, the last thing I want to do is cook, let alone turn the oven on. Besides, we just moved this weekend. For the 10th time in 12 years. I think I’ve become good at it, requiring only 3 days to unpack all my boxes. My mother in law has been kind enough to feed us during this time. 

Such a luxury it is to not have to cook sometimes. However, when it’s a tiny 4 year old with hungry eyes looking up to you and asking for a treat, you have no choice but to oblige. Last week, Maryam decided she wanted to fast. Seeing her enthusiasm, I didn’t want to say no. To the fasting as well as the cooking.


Besides, I think it’s a good thing for her to become religiously aware so I agreed for her to fast till 1pm. I promised her a present and a menu decided by her. She chose a Minion Rush model, a water gun and a Hello Kitty puzzle. And to top that she also had her menu set out. Chicken nuggets with jelly and a strawberry cake. 


Thus began the task to bargain, on presents and menus. We debated whether she really needs three presents for a half day fast. Apparently, at four years of age, she does. After much debate, we whittled it down to a water gun. Perfect for the current weather. Of course, Hassan needed one too, fast or no fast.


On to menus, turning the oven on was not an option. I kid you not when I say the temperature was 46 degrees Centigrade. ‘How about doughnuts? Strawberry doughnuts with springles’ as she calls them. Hmmmmm. It seemed the theme was strawberries….and pink! 


So we settled on this cheesecake. Well, it was a cake, it had strawberries but best of all, it required no baking. Maryam happy, mummy happy. The cheesecake was light, yet satisfying. The lemony freshness went harmoniously with the strawberries. And there were hints of pink and red. Trust me when I say everyone was satisfied. 


So proud of my little lamb! She now wants to fast again so she can get her Minion Rush model!

Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:
250 g digestive biscuits
100 g butter, melted
300 g cream cheese
120 g sour cream
125 g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
300 ml double cream
420 g strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp water 

Directions:
Butter and line a 9 inch springform or loose bottom baking tin with parchment. Put the biscuits into a bag and pound with a rolling pin until crushed to crumbs. Pour into a bowl and mix with the melted butter until thoroughly incorporated. Tip into prepared tin, pressing down gently, and refrigerate until firm. About 1 hour. 

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, icing sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the double cream and beat for a further minute or so until well combined. The mixture will thicken slightly but you don’t want to over beat the cream (the consistency will be like cake batter). Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base, making sure there are no gaps or air bubbles. Smooth the top using a spatula. Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature before unmoulding. Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and slice all the way round the tin in one smooth action. Open the springform and slip the cake from the base (it will slide easily because of the parchment) to a platter. You can also slide the parchment paper off if you wish. 

Combine the strawberries with icing sugar and let it sit whilst the cheesecake is coming to room temperature. When ready to serve, blend half the strawberry mixture with water until smooth. Strain and pour over cheesecake. Top with remaining strawberries and serve immediately. 

Notes: The amount of icing sugar in the strawberries will vary depending on how sweet your berries are. Make the strawberry puree on day of serving. 

Prep time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Serves: 6-8 people




Continue Reading 15 Comments

Raspberry and Coconut Summer Cake




Early in May of this year, I travelled to Morocco for a blissful ten days. As with any holiday, if my room is good and I can find traditional and authentic food to fill my belly, I can rest assured that my holiday will be a success. 


After much searching, we settled on the boutique Riad el Fenn, a  charming boutique riad nestled in a bustling corner of the old medina. It did not disappoint. When we first arrived, I was a little concerned by the looming dark entrance. But once inside, it was an oasis of tranquility. The art filled retreat was beautifully decorated in the most saturated shades of terracotta and turquoise. 



Each room was filled with quirky details, eclectic art, local decor. I only wished I had gotten to stay in a different room each night. Every morning, we would be greeted by hot tea placed outside our room. This would be accompanied by a small tray of home baked Moroccan sweets. Perfect start to the day, no?



Lazy breakfasts of berber pancakes and cinnamon porridge were had on their rooftop terrace which had views of the Koutubia mosque and it really was the most perfect spot to catch the sun setting every evening. They even had a family of turtles housed in the courtyard that kept both kids highly entertained. 




One of my favourite things to do was recline on the large oversized cushions in the courtyard and gaze up at the overgrown citrus trees. Full of ripe oranges and lemons, their heady scent filling the air. Bright pops of orange and yellow against the blue spring skies. Every morning, Maryam would count how many had fallen to the ground and proceed to collect them. 



What Maryam and I, even Hassan, looked forward to most was chomping away at the home baked cakes and pastries every afternoon with a steaming cup of mint tea. Every afternoon, the treats were different and all housed in a beautiful bird cage. There was a pear tart, a luscious orange scented cake, baklavas and some dainty coconut crusted concoction. 



Ever since we have returned back, Maryam has constantly asked what ‘cake’ we would be having after her nap. Every single afternoon without fail. And so I thought it would only be fair if I made her one to remind her of the fun afternoons spent in the riad’s courtyard. This version has lots of coconut which pairs beautifully with the tart berries. 

Now if only I was sitting in in orange scented courtyard with a local cup of freshly brewed mint tea in hand and listening to the distant hustle and bustle of the city of Marrakech!

Raspberry and Coconut Summer Cake

Ingredients:
225g butter, room temperature
225g sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
175g all purpose flour
pinch salt
1 1/12 tsp baking powder
100g unsweetened shredded coconut
100ml coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g raspberries

Extra raspberries, icing sugar and creme fraiche to serve

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade and butter and flour a 10 inch baking tin (I used two 7 inch pie tins and had extra batter leftover for 4 cupcakes as well).

Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and frothy, about 7 minutes and on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time and scrape the bowl now and then. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and shredded coconut in a separate bowl. Mix together the coconut milk and vanilla extract in a jug. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour and coconut milk alternatively. Pour the batter into the prepared tin (or pie tins) and top with raspberries. Bake for 40 minutes if using the 10 inch baking tin (25 minutes if using 2 pie pans) or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack. 

Decorate with more berries and a sprinkling of icing sugar and serve with creme fraiche on the side. 


Continue Reading 30 Comments

Banana Chocolate and Hazelnut Loaf Cake


I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year and a half since I last baked a banana cake. I was six months pregnant at that time and it was a craving that led me to bake one of my favourite cakes. Since that time, many things have changed.

Our family has grown and is complete. We moved to a bigger house to accommodate this- and my growing collection of props. Maryam started school and Hassan learnt many new things. I worried for the longest time when he didn’t sit till nine months. Now he tries to climb into Maryam’s chair and sit, just like his big sister. He crawls and cruises and has the most headstrong personality a fifteen month old could ever have. It is highly amusing to see him throw his head back in anger and then bury it between his legs when he doesn’t get his way. Terrible twos already?


I finally have a garden although it still needs some love and attention. A few more plants and flowers to add colour and perhaps even a herb garden at some point? I’m being rather optimistic I think. But one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for banana cakes. Oh yes, I still have a thing for them.



Here I have taken that same cake I baked whilst pregnant and changed it to suit our current cravings (Oh and I’m definitely not pregnant). Added some chocolate and hazelnut butter and finished it with some chopped toasted hazelnuts. We devoured it together. Me, Maryam and my little Hassan as well. Good thing it makes two loaves so we could share with friends too. 


Banana Chocolate and Hazelnut Loaf Cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup hazelnut butter (stir if oil has separated)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skin removed and chopped coarsely 

For the ganache:
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream

Extra chopped hazelnuts for garnish.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Grease and flour 2 loaf tins. Mash bananas mixed with lemon juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer beat the butters and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the mashed bananas, chopped chocolate and hazelnuts. 

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour or so or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Frost when completely cool. 

To make the ganache, bring cream to a boil. Turn the heat off and add the chocolate chips. Let it sit for two minutes. Add butter and with a wooden spoon, mix until smooth. Frost cooled cake immediately and garnish with extra toasted hazelnuts. 

Makes two loaves.



Continue Reading 18 Comments

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting


You may think from my absence on this blog that not much cooking has been happening in our kitchen. Quite the contrary actually. If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen what I’ve been up to in the kitchen.


Correction- what we have been up to. With Maryam off from school, baking and cooking is a great way to entertain and keep her busy- she ALWAYS wants to help. We have made orzo salad with arugula and sweet cherry tomatoes, soft doughy bread rolls, home made pizza with the most flavorful and easy tomato sauce ever. Must share that one soon.


This one bowl chocolate cake has been a favorite. I cannot tell you how many times we have made this cake over the last few months. July and August is a busy month for us when it comes to birthdays and other celebrations. A total of eight I think. Yes, and our anniversary too. Eleven years married.


And so a celebration cake is always sitting on our counter, more than likely chocolate. After all it needs no season right? Moist, easy, no hassle and little clean up. Simple, yet always looks like so much effort went into it.


I like to top it with some chocolate whipped cream for special occassions but it works just as well topped with fresh berries and powdered sugar. Even though I have blogged about this recipe before, it was Maryam who prompted this post.


‘Mamma, why are you not taking a picture of the cake?’ And I thought, why not. Even though this cake has graced the blog, sometimes there is nothing like on old favorite. Something comforting, like a soft old blanket. Weathered, frayed at the ages, used a multitude of times but cocoons like no other.


And that is exactly what this cake does.  


One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Whipped Frosting

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup hot brewed coffee
2 eggs
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Centigrade and grease and flour two 6 inch cake pans. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Create a well in the centre and add all the rest of the ingredients except coffee. Mix well until combined and then add coffee. Mix once again (the batter will be very runny). Pour into greased pans and bake in the middle rack in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out just clean. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, heat the whipping cream in a pan to a simmer (do NOT boil). Add to it chocolate chips and stir to combine until chips have melted. Regrifgerate until cool and whip until stiff peaks form.

Cream will not whip if boiled or if not completely cold before whipping.

Cake recipe from Allrecipes.com

Continue Reading 56 Comments

Strawberry and Pistachio Cake


I am in bed typing this post, a worn out 20 year old throw that I used since I was 5 years old comforting me and a pineapple and mango coconut crumble sitting on the bedside table. Piping hot, so much so, that you can you still see the juice bubbling. With custard on the side. Crumble with custard. ALWAYS with custard.


We have had stormy weather on and off and today is one of those days. You may have even heard on the news last week when Tanzania was issued a tsunami warning. Incessant rain, dull grey skies, a few strikes of thunder. Such a contrast to the bright blues I posted about last week.


Maryam is enthralled with this weather and glued to the window, sticking her hands out of the grill to catch a few drops every now and then, giddy with excitement. You see, Dubai has never experienced rain like this before. Capturing little sparkly drops in her tiny palms.


I am still in Dar es Salaam, having extended my trip by a week. Although I have been taking photo after photo to show you my second home, my country, I have really missed this space. This blog, writing. YOU. And so, here I am. Doing what I love.


You must be wondering then where these bright spring inspired images of strawberries have come from? It was a strawberries and pistachio cake I baked a few weeks ago before leaving Dubai. BBC Good Food Middle East did a short interview with me for their April issue and asked for a spring inspired recipe.
I knew I wanted to do a fruity dessert. Light and refreshing, oozing with fruit. And so this strawberry and pistachio cake was born. A simple cake elevated by using ground pistachio meal and raw pistachio milk. Then generously studded with tiny fragrant berries on top. The red of the strawberries and the jade green pistachios makes for a striking visual picture.


No frosting needed here- just a simple dusting of icing sugar and a warm cup of tea. And as for that crumble I mentioned earlier- well I’ve already polished that down. Slurping the last bit with creamy custard as I type. But I’m sure I’ll be making it again when I head back home. To savor the taste and the memories of home. With Tanzanian pineapples naturally that I hope to take back with me.
Catch you when I’m back in Dubai.
Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp soda bicarbonate
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbs butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup raw pistachio milk (can use normal milk)
4 tbs pistachio meal
Strawberries, hulled and cut into half (approx 1/2 cup)
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade and grease a 9 inch cake pan with butter. In a bowl, mix together the first four ingredients. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape sides of the bowl if necessary. With the mixer speed on low, add the pistachio milk alternating with the flour mixture until just mixed. Stir in the pistachio meal. Put batter into cake pan and place strawberry halves on top of the batter. Press them in very slightly into the batter. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Continue Reading 47 Comments

Chocolate Nutella and Hazel Nut Brownie Cake



We haven’t spent much time together. You see, I’ve been busy and she is confused. Before, my world revolved around her. She would be the first thing I set my eyes on when I woke. Or rather, when she woke me up. And the last thing I checked on before I went to bed. Just to make sure she was still tucked under her blanket.


But recently her world has been turned topsy turvy, she is in a midst of a hurricane. She doesn’t quite understand why. Why I’m always in a hurry? Why we don’t go to the park EVERY day? Why I don’t feed her EVERY meal time? Why I don’t drop her to nursery anymore?



Why do we never mange to finish the story at bed time? Why don’t we have play dates anymore? Why don’t we spend hours playing in the bath nowadays? Why do I have to share my toys? ‘Why’ has been a prominent question in our home lately. Sometimes I have an answer, a lot of the times, I evade the question.

Whilst Maryam is loving being the big sister and having a young brother to cuddle, play with and experiment on (!), she hasn’t been liking the fact that I cannot spend all my time with her. There just aren’t that many hours in the day anymore. But I had a plan. A surprise to make it all better again, to make ir right, to make her happy. Like old times.


The first thing she asked when I had gotten back from hospital was, ‘Mummy, can we make ‘loodles’ and carrot cupcakes?’ So I knew baking had to be involved. I told her the night before that we would make a brownie cake for Valentine’s. And a card for Papa. She was excited with a twinkle in her eye. ‘I’ll chop the nuts. And mix.’


And that’s exactly what we did for Valentine’s. I measured. She chopped, whisked and mixed. And tasted of course. That is always part of the plan.  Together, we baked and for a little while, there was a pause in the WHY. That is how we spent our Valentine’s. Simple. But with a decadent treat. A chocolate brownie cake with hazel nuts and Nutella. It was gooey, fudgy and the perfect end to our dinner.




Chocolate Nutella and Hazel Nut Brownie Cake

Ingredients:
Brownie Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 tbs dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup hazel nut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa

Nutella Layer
1/2 cup Nutella spread
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped hazel nuts

Ganache Layer
1 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbs cream
1/8 cup butter, room temperature

Chopped hazel nuts to garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade and line a rectangular pan with baking paper. In a bowl set over a a pot of boiling water, melt the butter and chcolate until smooth (can use a microwave). In whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Add dry ingredients into the liquid mixture until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs. Refrigerate brownie cake after it has cooled.

In the mean time, mix all the ingredients of the Nutella layer. Spread over cooled brownie cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so or until it has set.

In the mean time, prepeare the ganache by melting all the ingredients in a bowl set over boiling water. Pour ganache over the set Nutella layer and immediately garnish with chopped hazel nuts. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so to set the ganache layer.

Serve cold. Makes 18 pieces depending on pan size. Leave to cool out of the fridge for 5 minutes before slicing



Continue Reading 46 Comments

Apple Cardamom Cake


Something has been on my mind for a few weeks now. I’ve been pondering over it for some time. Should I, should I not? Will I succeed? What will Akber and Maryam think? Are they going to be open minded and accepting? Or will they scoff at me and turn up their noses? 



You see, the reason I’ve been so hesitant is because I’ve been thinking of breaking a marriage, a union, a relationship. A longstanding one that has stood the test of time. A marriage with no fights and arguments. A marriage that is an example, one that everyone looks up to. One that is ideal and perfect but also boring and ordinary.


But the urge was too great and so I did it. It felt good…. I was relieved and at the same time apprehensive but when I got the nod of approval from Maryam and Akber, I knew I had done the right thing. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m talking about the harmonious alliance that once existed between apples and cinnamon.


The two have always gone hand in hand. But I have found a better partner for the apple. A match that may be unconventional but still comfortable- apples and cardamom. They form a happy family in this cake that I adapted from this Pear and Almond Cake I have made numerous times. Out with the old and in with the new and everyone who ate a slice agreed. Apples and cardamom are very content with one another, they compliment each other. 

 

Click recipe card to print.

What more could you want from a relationship? Roasted almonds and custard played happy friends with this delicate cake. Try this new combination and you won’t be disappointed.

Have you broken a longstanding (food) relationship? Were you happy with the results?

Apple Cardamom Cake:
Ingredients:
2 Fuji apples
3 tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 cup roasted almond flakes plus extra for serving
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Grease and flour an 8 inch pan. Core apples and cut thin slices. Place apple slices in water and squeeze half a lemon into the bowl to avoid discoloration.
Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer and at medium speed, beat the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the bowl when needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the rest of the ingredients except roasted almonds. Gently stir in the roasted almonds and pour batter into cake pan. Arrange sliced apples in a circular fashion and press gently into the batter. bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out nearly clean.
Let the cake stand for 5- 10 minutes on a rack before turning it out. Serve with a drizzle of custard and sprinkle roasted almonds on top. This recipe will serve 12 people.

Continue Reading 55 Comments

Mini Apple and Cinnamon Bundt Cakes


I was recently asked what I thought was the quintessential fall fruit. My mind instantly turned to apples. Perhaps it was the abundant sea of warm reds and lime greens that welcome me every time I enter the supermarket this time of the year. 



Or perhaps it was the weather. That morning, when I woke up and looked at my clock, it was 8am. I turned to ask Akber to check his watch and I heard a muffled ‘8am.’ But how could it be? There were no rays of bright morning light sneaking past my shutters. Maryam, my dependable alarm clock, had failed me that morning as well. She was fast asleep.



I opened the shutters and the scene that greeted me was one I hadn’t experienced for a while, probably won’t see it again in the forseeable future. Dewy mist, grey skies, hazy views, crisp air, even some rain. Some….not a lot. And not for long. But we savored it whilst we could. Until it makes an appearance again. Some day……


And so to welcome the cooler climes in Dubai, I developed these three fall recipes for BBC Good Food Middle East using apples. Although I instantly think of desserts baking when I imagine apples, I enjoyed experimenting with it versatility by using it in a salad and soup as well.


From the three recipes, this one for apple cinnamon bundt cakes is my favorite, the one that excited me the most. It’s as though cinnamon was created to be used with apples. Almost like you can’t have one without the other. A lasting reunion.


I used some homemade applesauce that Maryam normally eats with her banana and porridge for breakfast. I wished I had added some whole chunks of apple in the batter. Next time. There surely will be a next time. Perhaps I’ll rock that happy marriage of apple and cinnamon by replacing it with some cardamom?

In other news, I have made some minor changes to the way I have laid out blog posts. You might see some pops of colors here and there. The recipes can also be printed out by clicking on the recipe card at the bottom. Color is such an important part of food, of photography and of nurturing creativity and that’s what I am hoping to do.


I was inspired by this post Rosie wrote on art, color and inspiration which introduced me to the beautiful concept of Design Seeds. It is as though color is for the eyes what music is for the ears. You can get lost in both these sites and happily spend hours looking at various color palettes that you may never have imagined. Do you like the new changes here on Sips and Spoonfuls? I would love to hear your opinion.


Click on the recipe card to print.

Continue Reading 39 Comments

A Birthday Weekend in Ras al Khaimah, a New Life and a Banana Cake With Passion Fruit Cream Cheese Frosting


Pin It

We have never been big birthday celebrators. In fact, to date I can only remember two birthdays that have stood out for me- the first was in my early teens when my Mum planned a surprise party for and as cliched as it may sound, I have never been so surprised and overwhelmed. The second was fairly recently when I received some shocking news regarding my health on my birthday. 



  
But this birthday was different. We decided to spend the weekend relaxing, eating and playing- and resting. We’ll definitely be needing the rest in just a few months time. You see, I’ve been wanting to share this news with you all for quite some time. But I waited…..and waited.




Until now I can no longer fit into my regular clothes. I eat at odd times, have unusual cravings. I’m constantly hungry, sometimes irritable, always grateful though- grateful to feel the vibrations of tiny kicks inside me, kicks that make me toss and turn at night, kicks that reassure me everything is OK.



Pin It

Me and Akber are so excited to welcome a new little lamb to our family very soon and Maryam can’t wait to become a big sister. She talks to her new sibling everyday but isn’t excited at giving up her crib or high chair just yet.




So since traveling abroad is no longer an option, we decided to load up the car with family and spent a lazy weekend in Ras al Khaimah. We started the day with a pancake cake that I had made the night before. As usual, Maryam assumed it was her birthday and insisted on blowing out the candles. I promise to share that recipe soon but I couldn’t get any good shots with all the commotion in the morning.



On arriving in Ras al Khaimah, the views from our hotel were breathtaking, magnificent. The hotel is perched on a cliff and scenes of endless blue seas beckon at its feet. We headed straight to the beach- sunk our feet into the hot clammy sand, built sandcastles and collected shells. When Maryam wasn’t busy burying herself in the sand, she was splashing in the pool, playing with the gentle break of the waves. We rested lots and played cards.



In between all that, there was lots of eating- we had fresh fish, cheesecakes, paper thin crepes filled with maple syrup, pear and almond tarts and exotic Lebanese platters. All washed down with the freshest juices. And of course ice cream to cool off.


We had a fabulous weekend, a birthday to remember. And of course, my last as a mother of one. Today I’m sharing with you one of my latest cravings- a homely banana cake. It really is the best recipe for banana cake I have ever eaten or baked. Try it- you must!



And be sure, that in the coming few months, many sweet cravings will be shared in this space. Can’t wait for another wee baker to join our family.


Banana Cake With Passion Fruit Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/12 cups buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

For the frosting:
225 gms cream cheese
3 tbs butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
3 tbs passion fruit pulp (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Grease and flour 2 loaf tins or one 9×13 inch pan. Mash bananas mixed with lemon juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the mashed bananas.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour or so or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Place the cake into the freezer as soon as it comes out of the oven for 45 minutes. Frost when completely cool.

To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together and beat on high speed until light and airy.

Banana Cake Recipe minimally adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Continue Reading 81 Comments

Cappuccino Cupcakes With Whipped Cream Frosting

What did you want to be when you grew up? Me….. well, that depended on what age you asked me. When I was around six or eight, my most favorite thing to do was gather all my play china, build a tent out of bed sheets and play families with my neighbor. Funnily enough, I always wanted to be the Mummy who would cook and bake and make exotic things in the play kitchen.


All that changed when I was twelve or thirteen. Summers were spent in London with my grandparents and besides strawberries, trips to Alton Towers and Trafalgar Square, there was also the lure of Wimbledon tennis. I got my first crush……..on a tennis player!


I became obsessed with tennis. I bought my first racket, my first white skirt and wanted to be a tennis player. Even a ball girl would have been ok. I spent hours in front of the television and begged and pestered my grandparents to take me to watch a game live.


Then came the modeling years. I was always tall for my age and towered over the rest of my peers at school . My family would tease me that I should become a model and the idea stuck in my head. I spent hours locked in the bathroom trying on my mum’s make up and pinning my hair in different styles. I even cut my own fringe and threw the hair out of the window. That phase ended when I forgot to lock the bathroom door and my mum caught me looking like a drag queen.

Finally came the time to choose my ‘real’ career. I was excelled at English Literature at school and loved looking for hidden meanings and messages behind words. However, my parents weren’t too keen on me studying Literature at university so I finally settled on Optometry.

And so I have had many such phases in life where I’ve constantly felt like reinventing myself, learning new skills, craving new aspirations, discovering new talents and…….just enjoying life. I wrote all this because even though I have never met Emma in real life, I am so proud that she is following her dreams and aspirations- to become a pastry chef.

Emma, I wish you all the best. You have achieved so much in a short space and I can see many wonderful things in your future. I hope you enjoy these coffee cupcakes with a light whipped cream frosting. Airy and spongy…….with just the right amount of kick.

You can find the recipe for these scrumptious cappuccino cupcakes here.  Also the worldwide giveaway for the Braun hand held blender is still running so if you haven’t taken part yet, you can do so here.

Continue Reading 31 Comments