Whiskey Salted Caramel, Nutella + a Chocolate Cinnamon Layer Cake + Lately

Hi.
Let’s just talk about this cake for a while.

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It’s not the prettiest cake I’ve made in my whole, entire amateur baker life BUT
1. I made it for my parents marriage anniversary.
2. I’ve never done a fancy pants layer cake before. Or generally fancy cakes in general. I’m a bread gal.
3. It’s really, really RIDICULOUSLY yummy. I mean, it’s salty delicious caramel with a hint of whiskey and when I say salty, I mean perfectly salty. I HATE when restaurants put out salted caramel desserts and you can’t taste the saltyness so the next time you head to one of those cafès, take the name with a pinch of salt.

PUNPUNPUNPUN

Ahem.

The cakes are soft and fabulous. I’m not even joking, you could put your head on one of these babies and take a nap. So soft.

And the Nutella. Obviously. Needs to be everywhere.
Not that I’m complaining.

WHISKEY SALTED CARAMEL + NUTELLA CHOCOLATE CINNAMON LAYER CAKE

For the salted caramel:

For the cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste) GOOD QUALITY GUYS!

2 cups well shaken buttermilk or one cup yoghurt (dahi is okay) and one cup milk. I personally prefer the latter.

Additionally:
1/2 cup Nutella

PROCEDURE:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line two cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and add the cinnamon and stir to combine.

In another bowl, blend together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk/ yogurt milk mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Beat till combined, my Kitchen Aid usually takes 2 minutes. The batter will be a little lumpy, but worry not. Don’t overmix.

Divide batter between your two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, until the edges of the cakes have come away from the sides, a tester inserted through the center comes out clean and the cakes are light and springy.
Let it cool before frosting.

The caramel:
Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, swirl the sugar on top so that it meets the liquid parts of the sugar. Do not stir.

While the sugar is melting, warm the cream and butter in a separate pan, over low heat until the butter has melted.

Once the sugar has completely melted, this should take about 10 minutes and the the sugar should have a deep amber colour, take the pan off heat.

Immediately whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture (be careful, as the hot caramel will bubble up)
If the sugar solidifies, return the pan to medium heat until the mixture is liquid again. {my sugar did actually turn into a hard lump after adding the butter-cream but it was okay after heating, so don’t worry about that}

Stir in the salt and whiskey.

Pour the mixture through a sieve and remove any remaining in dissolved bits of sugar. Let it cool.

For the buttercream:

Beat the butter, sugar and caramel till it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency.

CONSTRUCTION:

I’m no pro. {evidently}
But, here are some handy links to help you construct a pretty cake.

The layers:
I sandwiched the cake layers with the salted caramel buttercream and Nutella. On top, after applying a tough coat of the buttercream, I drizzled on the remaining caramel and topped with a few crumbled cookies to one edge.

Links:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GnL6BpFzA6Q

http://www.marthastewart.com/275519/how-to-assemble-a-layer-cake/@center/276954/great-cake-recipes
Gaaaah.

Apart from that, here’s what my life has looked like lately.

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Yeah basically.
This was the highlight of my week.
Ugh exams.

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lately

Hi.

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Things have been crazy and I’ve had to get back to studying.
I’ve had basically no time to bake/cook, apart from a couple of odd weekends. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and I’ve been eating OUT more than I’ve been cooking, so I’ve a looooot of food to share with you guys. So for everyone who’s been looking for new places to eat, I’ve made a list of places you’ll find me at most often. I’ll share the list in a few days, once I get a breather.
How’ve you guys been? I’ve been getting a few emails asking about the blog and no, I’m not “quitting”, I’ll be back to my three posts a week routine AFTER my exams, which end in March.
So
Here’s what my life has looked like.
I really like you guys. I’ll be back before you know it.

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Nananananaan
I’ll see y’all in a week.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m going to say this upfront.

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I’m (occasionally) allergic to peanuts.

Not always. But sometimes I choke and get a rash and can’t breathe. Not always, but sometimes.
(I was also allergic to Pepsi, but that was eons ago and all allergic tendencies vanished in a year. So there.)

Anywhooo, on days that I’m not feeling particularly allergic, I like baking with peanut butter because I have a penchant for the peanuty.
I do not fully understand why I wrote that sentence, but I refuse to delete it. It adds style to the blog.

Mmhm.

Getting back to the cookies, these are chewy and wonderful, crispy on the edges and soft on the inside. Basically the cookies of my dreams. Don’t over bake these beauties as they’ll be quite soft when you take them out, but fear not, they are not undercooked.
They’ll harden as they cool.

Obviously, dipping in chocolate is not an option. Nor are the sprinkles.

I’m watching you.

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Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

1 stick (100 grams) butter, softened (if using salted butter, such as Amul, omit the salt)

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

200 g dark chocolate + sprinkles to decorate

Directions:

Line/ grease a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter, brown sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix, you don’t want hockey pucks.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add in batches to the wet ingredients and combine gently just until a dough forms.

Chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Scoop our balls of dough and press down gently with the back of a fork.

Bake for 15 minutes until edges are golden brown. Let cool till firm.

(Not)Optional:
Melt 200 grams of dark chocolate. Dip one edge of the cookie in and top with sprinkles.

Yessss. Mondays just got tolerable.

Apple-Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon–Hazelnut Streusel For All Your Problems

Streusel is such a funny word. Stroosil.

No, stop it. Quit making a fool of yourself.

Yes, I’m done having a conversation with myself

cake

Anyway, my very apt title perfectly sums up everything this cake will do for you. Basically it solves problems.

I made this a say before my psychology assignment was due. My whole day went a little like this:

Me: Oh look!  I have three hundred thousand pages to write

My Brain: great lets bake a cake.

Me: okay

 

(three hours later)

My Brain: wow great cake Amani. You’re so talented

Me: wow I have so much to do. So, I’ll just lie on the floor for a few hours and do nothing

Brain: and eat cake

Me: and eat cake.

 

The next day, my assignment was magically complete and pigs began to fly.

The end.

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No, but you should make this cake.

And do all your work.

 

Apple-Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon–Hazelnut Streusel

 

Ingredients:
3-4 apples peeled and cubed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g butter, softened
1 cup / 200g sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
200g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup  milk

¼ cup chopped, lightly toasted hazelnuts

 

For the streusel:

½ cup oats

2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted

½ tsp ground cinnamon

4 tbsp cold butter

1 tbsp flour

1 tsp milk

 

The cake:

  1. Preheat      the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Grease and flour a baking pan.
  2. In a bowl,      using a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar      and vanilla, followed by the egg. Mixing them in one at a time, until the      mixture is soft and fluffy.
  3. Whisk      together the flour and baking powder and fold it into the egg and butter      mixture. Finally, stir in the milk and form a batter.
  4. Fold in      the apples and hazelnuts.
  5. Pour into      the prepared tin
  6. Top with      streusel and bake for 30-40  minutes      or till a skewer inserted through the center comes out clean.

The streusel:

Put everything except the milk and butter in the bowl. Now add the butter and work through it till only pea sized lumps remain. Add the milk ONLY if needed.

Individual Chocolate + Ginger Cobblers

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Hey there!
I wish I could stay to talk today but I’ve got my papers this week. So it’s just a recipe today.
I’ll be back soon with delicious things to eat and ofcourse, unnecessary nonsense. In the meantime, find some time to make this. Melty, gooey chocoaty cobbler with a hit of spicy ginger.

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Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE + GINGER COBBLER

Serves 6
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder + 3 tbsp extra
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated and peeled.
1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp unsalted butter,softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla powder,extract or paste.
FOR THE INSIDE:

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate

FOR THE TOP:
The 3 reserved tbsps of cocoa.
1/4 cup brown sugar
11/2 cups boiling hot water

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients(except the sugar).
On the side, cream the butter and sugar. Now pour in the milk and vanilla. Add wet to dry and and stir to form a batter.
Preheat the oven to 180/350 F.
Grease 8 ramicans with butter. Spread the batter evenly. Now place a chunk of dark chocolate in the middle and coat with the batter around it.
Sprinkle the tops with cocoa powder and the brown sugar.
Now, pour the hot water over the tops of your brownies. DO NOT STIR.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or till the tops are bubbly.
Eat warm, with cream or ice cream.

Chocolate Chunk Olive Oil Cake with Basil

(Have a unique cake that you made? Or an interesting link that I should read? Let me know!)

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This beauty is not for everyone.
Honestly, I loved it. I found it delicious and sweet but no coyingly so.

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Some of my testers however, didn’t like it. But, if you’re like me and like wierd tasty food, you need to try this. The chocolate and basil are so, so good together. The basil is very light, and not dominating. The cake has a slight ‘basily’ undertone that is just right.

The recipe is inspired by a cake that Sarah ( of The Vanilla Bean Blog) did a while ago , and I tried out yesterday.

It’s a unique cake, in its own way, for unique person.

CHOCOLATE CHUNK OLIVE OIL CAKE WITH BASIL.
Makes one big cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup good olive oil ( you don’t need an extra virgin oil here, but again, better quality ingredients = a high taste baked good)
3 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup dark chocolate chunks (again, quality!)
1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonaded
3/4 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar ( dark brown is ideal)

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. On the side, cream together oil and sugar. Now add the eggs and whisk to combine.
Now add the oil mixture to the flour, slowly, alternating with the milk.
Now fold in the basil and chocolate chunks.

Bake in a cake tin, lightly oiled with olive oil, for 35 minutes or till golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

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Salted Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies With Orange Zest

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So, two things: One, I never would have thought to be whole wheat flour in cookies. Like normally, I like white flour, white sugar and butter for my empty calories.

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BUT.
This may as well be a life changing cookie. The whole wheat flour gives it a nutty, amazing flavour like none other.

Two, I accidentally BURNT the bottom of these cookies. For reals.
So someone ( read: me) had changed the oven setting so that only the BOTTOM of the cookies bake.
So you can guess what happened after that.

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I cried.

Then, I ate a cookie. Then, another one.
THEY ARE SO DARN TASTY. Even with the burnt bottom. Ohhhh, man. You have to make this. If there’s one thing you’ll bake this weekened. Let it be this.

( ps: I updated my about page!)

SALTED WHOLE WHEAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH ORANGE ZEST

1 1/2 cups whole wheat
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 egg
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts/almonds/more chocolate chips
1 tsp grated orange zest
Sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180/350.
Stir the dry ingredients together, sifting out any large pieces if grain. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugars till combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the egg and beat again. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low till barely combined. Stir in the chocolate chips/nuts and zest. For large cookies, drop 1/3 cup mounds on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea sy and bake for 15-20 minutes or till golden brown.