Tag Archives: Cake
It’s still fresh in my memory… the white, airy and light cakes that my sister used to send me many years back. I did not know then (rather I didn’t bother to find out) that it was an angel cake. Later when I got hooked to baking, I always wanted to bake chiffon cakes and angel cakes. But couldn’t for want of a tube pan. Finally this Christmas Gaia brought me a 10 inch Wilton tube pan. Though I wanted to make a chiffon cake before she went back, couldn’t manage it as we were very busy with other plans.
So I was waiting for a chance to use the pan. And when our wedding anniversary came around on the 2nd of Feb, it was the perfect occasion to make an orange chiffon cake. Moreover the fact that my husband neither likes iced cakes nor chocolate cakes is all the more reason to bake an orange chiffon cake.
Chiffon cakes are very light and airy and made with lots of eggs, oil, sugar, flour and baking powder with any additional ingredient to flavour the cake like orange, lemon or chocolate, as per your preference. The use of oil instead of butter makes the cake really moist and keeps the cake soft even after a few days in the refrigerator. I used both freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest to achieve the fresh orange flavour in the cake.
Chiffon cakes attain their fluffy texture through stiffly beaten egg whites folded into the cake batter just prior to baking. A few points to bear in mind whenever egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks… Separate the eggs into whites and yolks as soon as they are taken from the fridge. Beat them after they reach room temperature using a handheld electric beater. Start with slow speed and change to medium when it still in liquid form. Beat for 3-4 minutes to get soft peaks. Add superfine sugar, a little at a time, and beat till stiff peaks are formed. Add the beaten egg whites into the batter by the cutting and folding method in 3-4 batches.
If you don’t have superfine sugar at home just run regular sugar through the food processor for a couple of minutes before using in the recipe.
Once the batter is ready pour it into an ungreased tube pan. Ungreased pans are used in chiffon and angel cakes because the stiffly beaten egg whites need to cling to the pan to rise. Once the cake is done invert the pan and let it rest in that position for a minimum of 1 hour. If you allow it to cool without inverting the pan, the cake collapses resulting in a lumpy mass.
Once the cake is completely cooled, run a knife around the sides of the pan to free the outer section off the cake. Then run the knife around the tube and the bottom as well to get the cake released from the pan. Now leave it on a wire rack for further cooling.
|All Purpose Flour
||1/8 tea spoon
Preheat the oven to 165 degree celsius.
Separate the eggs into yolks and whites and leave them aside to reach room temperature.
Sift all the dry ingredients except sugar together twice.
Mix 250 grams of superfine sugar with the sifted flour.
Beat the egg yolks with vanilla essence.
Make a well in the flour sugar mixture, and add the beaten egg yolks and other wet ingredients except egg whites. Mix together.
Beat egg whites till soft peaks are formed, add the remaining 50 grams of sugar little by little and beat at medium speed till stiff peaks are formed.
Cut and fold the beaten egg whites in three or four batches into the batter.
Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan and bake in a preheated oven for 45 – 50 minutes.
Invert the pan for one hour once it is removed from the oven.
Once it’s cold remove the cake from the pan.
Finally dust the cake with some icing sugar and serve with whipped cream or fruit couli.
05 Feb 2014
I always prefer using home-made ingredients in cooking, if possible, to buying them from shops. I can vouch for the quality of the spice mixes I make for various dishes. Now coming to our subject “candied peel” which literally means making candy out of peels.
Candied peels can be made using peels of citrus fruits like lemon, orange, grapefruit etc. Candied peels are generally used in cakes, puddings and can enhance a cocktail as well. You can also munch on them whenever you feel like.
The first time I tried to make candied peel was when I needed some for a cake and I was in a location where I couldn’t get out and buy some. I used oranges and it was a success. Since then, I have never bought candied peels. It’s a good way of making use of the peels as well. The general principle of the process is to boil the peels in strong sugar syrup and then dry off any moisture left.
Make sure firm oranges are selected for this, otherwise peeling the skin off the fruit becomes messy. Use a sharp tipped knife to core the skin into segments and then peel off. Remove the pith as much as possible to reduce the bitterness. Cut them into ½ cm strips before boiling in water.
The bitterness is further removed by boiling the peels in water before candying. Boiling the peel not only makes it soft and porous (to absorb more sugar) but also removes any pesticide residue.
Sugar syrup made for this purpose is a sugar to water ratio of 2:1. Once the peel strips are boiled and removed from the syrup and left to dry on a wire rack, the remaining sugar syrup can be used for making cocktails or to moisten cakes before icing them.
My candied peels were dried overnight and ready to use the next day.
Orange Peel – 2 oranges
Granulated sugar – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Granulated sugar – ¼ cup
- Peel the skin off oranges, remove the pith and cut into ½ cm strips.
- Add this to a pan of water and heat till the water is boiled. Drain.
- Repeat step 2 once more.
- Add the drained orange peels into pan with one cup of water and add sugar. Heat the mixture till it starts boiling.
- Once boiled reduce heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the peels using a slotted spoon into a bowl, sprinkle sugar and spread them on a wire rack to dry completely.
29 Jan 2014
Ugandan Pineapples are the best….
This time when I put my baker’s hat on, pineapple upside down cake – the glistening, sticky sweet top of pineapple slices on top of a simple white cake, came into my vision. This sweet top lifts the simple white cake up a notch.
In the US, pineapple upside down cakes became popular in the 1920s when canned pineapples were easily available for reasonable prices while fresh ones were difficult to find and if they were available, they were very expensive. The widespread availability of canned pineapples owes to Jim Dole of Hawaiian Pineapple Company who canned a major chunk of pineapples available. Traditionally pineapple upside down cakes were made in cast iron skillets on top of the stove.
When you bake a pineapple upside down cake in Kampala, it’s criminal to use canned pineapple since pineapples grow in plenty in Uganda and are currently in season. Not only the quantity but the quality is also topnotch. The pineapples are sweet, succulent and big. The skin/crust of Ugandan pineapples are hard and hence has a longer shelf life. Read what Ms. Salima Njeri, a Kenyan trader says about Ugandan pineapples.
As I was little apprehensive about using fresh slices of pineapple instead of canned as it can make the batter watery. So I tried my hand at canning the pineapple slices which I did the day before baking.Peace, my house help helped me in peeling and slicing the pineapple. If you are not skilled at peeling whole pineapple, I suggest cutting it into rings after cutting the crown and stem off. And then cut the skin off holding each slice . The core can then be removed using a cookie cutter or any sharp cylinder of right size.
Sugar syrup is made using sugar and water in a ratio of 1:2 as these pineapples are really sweet and will be used up in a day. If the slices have to be kept for long use a syrup of 1:1 ratio.
For any upside down cake the fruit and brownsugar are placed on the bottom of the pan before batter is poured in. But here caramelised sugar is used instead of brown sugar. Oil and yoghurt are used instead of butter in my cake recipe.
In pineapple upside down cakes a glazed cherry each is placed in the middle of each slice where the core of the pineapple was. Since there were no cherries in stock in my pantry I’ve decided to bake mine without it as cherries wouldn’t add on in any way to the taste of the cake. But later once the cake was turned upside down,I realised that it was not very appealing to look at.
Voila! here’s the final product. Red Plum jam came to my rescue.
For Canning ( read Cooking J ) the fresh pineapple slices
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 2
Orange peel – 1-2 pieces (optional)
For the base
Granulated sugar – ¼ cup
Water -1 tablespoon
Pineapple rings – 6
For the cake
All purpose flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 1 ¼ teaspoons
Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
Granulated sugar – 1 ¼ cup ( can change it according to the sweetness – of the sugar available)
Vegetable oil – 2/3 cup
Yoghurt – 1 ¼ cup
Eggs (large) – 2
Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon
Syrup from the cooked pineapple – ¼ cup
Cooked pineapple (minced) – ½ cup
- Skin the pineapple, cut into 1 cm thick slices and remove the centre core.
- Heat sugar and water ( add orange skin as well if it’s used ) together till it starts simmering.
- Transfer the prepared slices into the syrup and keep it in a waterbath and cook for 45 minutes with a lid on.
- Remove from the waterbath and cool. Cooking of the pineapples can be done in advance.
- Prepare a 10 inch / 25 cm tin by buttering the base and the sides. But flour only the sides.
- Heat the sugar for the base till it caramelises.
- Add 1 tablespoon warm water and heat it again to get pourable consistency without any solid bits.
- Pour into the prepared tin and spread it on the base of the tin by tilting it.
- Arrange the pineapple slices in a circular manner with one in the middle.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together twice.
- Beat sugar, oil and yoghurt together till till creamy and mixed well.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
- Now add one third sifted flour, mix well.
- Add half of the syrup, followed by half of the remaining flour. Beat till the flour is just mixed.
- Add the remaining syrup and flour and mix again.
- Once all the flour is incorporated mix the batter well for 4 minutes using a wooden spoon. If an electric hand mixer is used, attach the whipping attachment and beat for 3 minutes in medium speed.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
20 Jan 2014
As the season demands, I’m all set to make a fruit cake. Fruit cakes are quite rich with lots of dried fruits and nuts. Unfortunately fruit cakes are looked upon with disdain. So here I’m trying to uplift the image of our poor fruit cake with some changes in ingredients and how it’s made.
Boozing the fruits
The tradition of “boozing” the fruits started only a week before. In my cake the fruits & nuts are limited to dark and light raisins, candied peel, dates and cashew nuts as I’m not very keen on using umpteen ingredients.( read no green and red thingies ) I used dark rum; brandy can also be used, as it’s always available at home.
The Christmas fruit cakes are characterised by their dark colour and dense texture and the aroma of the spices added. Cinnamon is my favourite among them. The dark colour is attained by using caramel syrup which can be made at home.
As I prefer a lighter texture for the cake I always separate the egg yolks and whites and add the beaten egg whites at the final stages of mixing the batter. A sprinkling of a couple of tablespoons of rum when the cake is still hot keeps it moist.
Soaking the fruits
|Raisins (both light and dark together)
|Candied Peel (orange)
|Dark Rum/ Brandy
Deseed the dates and mince all the above ingredients. Add rum to the minced fruits and shake them every day. Soaking of fruits can be done a week ahead of baking.
Heat the sugar in a dry pan till it caramelises. Care should be taken not to burn it, otherwise the caramel syrup will become bitter. Once the sugar attains that dark colour slowly pour the warm water and heat it again till all the solid particles get dissolved, if there are any. Keep it aside to cool. Caramel syrup can be made ahead of time.
Powder the whole spices with sugar and mix with the cinnamon powder.
Ingredients for the Batter
||250 grams / 2 cups
||1 ½ teaspoons
|Unsalted butter (at room temperature)
||175 grams / 1 cup
||200 grams/ 1 cup
|Eggs (separated into yolks and whites)
|Rum / Brandy
|Cashew nuts (powdered coarsely)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius / 350 degree Fahrenheit.
- Butter and flour a 10 inch round, 3 inch deep cake tin.
- Sift the flour with baking powder and baking soda twice.
- Cream the butter till creamy.
- Powder the sugar and mix with the creamed butter. A handheld electric mixer or a whisk will do the job.
- Once the butter and sugar are blended, egg yolks can be added one at a time and beat well.
- Add vanilla essence, spice powder and caramel syrup at this point and whisk again.
- Add the sifted flour mixture in 3 batches and whisk in between to get a uniform mixture without any lumps. If the consistency of the batter is too thick 2 tablespoons of rum can be added in between.
- Add the soaked fruits, powdered cashew nuts and 2 tablespoons of rum (if it’s not added already) to the batter and mix well.
- Now beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the cake mixture.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Once the cake is out of the oven let it cool on a wire rack. After 5 minutes sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum over the cake and let it cool completely.
- Now loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and invert onto a plate.
03 Jan 2014