Monday, August 31, 2015

Chocolate loaf Cake (with your cup of coffee or tea)

Chocolate loaf Cake 

(with your cup of coffee or tea) 

There are times when I bake or cook for someone and when I do that I usually take into consideration what they like or dislike. For instance my parents love the Victorian sponge cake or a nutty tea cake.

Yesterday I kept craving a chocolate cake not just any chocolate cake one that was a plain loaf cake, no nuts no chocolate chips just one that reminded me of my childhood except that as an adult I have developed a taste for dark chocolate so much so that unless its a minimum of 75% cocoa I don't enjoy chocolates. I like the bitter undertones.

There are these rare times when you try a recipe and it hits the nail on the first day itself and that's something worth documenting, besides being a fan of tea cakes these days there are times when at times I don't really need to search for any recipe to even take inspiration from.

I have tried quite a few chocolate cakes to have a basic idea of throwing things together and because the cake was exactly what I had wanted , moist , soft , extremely chocolaty with a bitter undertone and perfect with a cup of coffee I hereby am sharing my recipe. Its not an exceptional creation. A very basic chocolate cake with the sweetness on the lower side which is why my mother who does not like Dark chocolates found it a bit bitter and it is exactly because of this taste that I know that one of my best friends would love it.

For those who are calorie conscious if you divide this cake into 8 servings it would be roughly 309 calories per slice. I managed to make 10 slices out of the loaf and made quite a breakfast with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. While 370 calories out of my 1200 calorie diet on a  normal day is gone it is totally worth it.

Here is another tip. The quality of the cake would largely depend on the quality of cocoa powder used so try a good quality dutch processed one.

Here is another tip. I had a clear idea of exactly what I wanted which is to team it with a hot beverage so I did not want to too buttery . If you have plan to serve this just by itself I suggest teaming it with some whipped heavy cream or say a bit of ganache or if you want it plain increase the amount of butter from 150gm to 180gm and the amount of cream from 50ml to 100ml. The best cakes are the ones which satisfy you , the baker the most.

You can also increase the quantity of sugar from 150gm to 180gm to 190gm if you like it a bit sweet. Plus sugar adds more moisture to the cake in which case keep the amount of butter to 170gm and caster sugar to 120gm.

Here is my chocolate loaf cake which I feel is exactly what I would want with my cup of coffee :-

Makes 8 servings to 10 servings :-

150gm All purpose flour
50gm Unsweetened cocoa powder
75gm brown sugar
75gm caster sugar
150gm butter at room temperature
50ml cream (must be dairy)
4 medium sized eggs separated carefully to not get a drop of yolk in the bowl containing the egg whites
1 tsp alcohol based Coffee extract (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carbonate of soda
A drop pr two of lemon juice

Extra butter + cocoa powder to prepare pan

Before you start prepare the pan by greasing it with dusting it with cocoa powder.

Preheat oven to 160C. I used an OTG but if you are using a convection cum micro oven I suggest 180C.

If using OTG use both the heating elements top and bottom that is you hat up the rods on top and bottom for even baking.

In the meantime quickly sift the flour with the baking powder and bi-carbonate of soda and then sift the cocoa powder and then sift all the dry ingredients together. This leads to a fluffier cake.

Cream the butter with the sugar till its fluffy and separate the eggs and add the yolks and whisk it with the creamed butter till its fluffy . Add the cream and whisk it a bit more.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with a drop of lemon juice .

Now quickly add a bit of flour to the egg yolk butter mixture and fold it in with 1/3rd of the whisked egg whites and then sprinkle the flour and egg whites and fold  quickly. If using the coffee extract fold it in at this point. and spread it out in the prepared pans and tap it on a solid surface and tap the sides for even baking.

Bake for 40 minutes. After 15 minutes of baking use a loose foil to cover the top so that the top does not brown too easily. Else in my experience the top overbakes a tiny bit. I must admit that I have often baked without the foil and it doesn't make too much of a difference.

Check after 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick. if it comes out clean its done else bake for another 5 minutes.

Once done take it out let it cool down for 5 minutes in the pan and then use a blunt knife or cake spatula to loosen the cake and transfer to a wire rack and cool it completely before slicing it.

In my experience it tastes best after 12 hours of resting.

Enjoy it with a cup of coffee but like I have already mentioned if you plan to have it just by itself without an accompanying beverage increase the amount of caster sugar to 100gm to 120gm and the amount of butter to 180gm. Or else keep the amount of  ingredients as is and team it with some whipped cream or flowing chocolate ganache made with 2 part cream and 1 part chocolate.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Almond Cake

Almond Cake 

I believe there is a cake for every occasion and there is some cake in this world for each and every one.

Sometimes its a silky buttercream iced layered sponge cake, sometimes an old fashioned butter based cake with buttercream frosting and since we don't get heavy dairy cream in India at times making some homemade mascarpone substitute and using that as an icing is what a girl needs.

In our house the most beloved cakes are cakes sans icing. These cakes are butter based and a perfect accompaniment with that cup of delicately flavoured Darjeeling tea or a cup of robust  coffee.

I have always maintained that a classic cake like the Victorian Sponge Cake is one of the best tea cakes but then again so is the sour creamed cake or the fruit cake.

Anyway the first time I baked with ground almonds it was for the classic Dundee  Cake and it was simply delightful even though the quantity of almonds is very less. The next time I made a dacquoise I was hooked. I simply loved the nutty light flavour.

I came upon the blog The Ordinary Cook when randomly searching for recipes for almond cakes and I liked what I saw and made a small cake last year for a birthday and my aunt called me up later to tell me what a wonderful cake it was.

My parents do not like iced cakes. The problem is in my family we are 4 members at present at least 4 2 legged members and 3 members out of the 4 are above 55 years and not too fond of sweets. That said they love cakes sans icing and so this seemed like the perfect anniversary cake for my parents who completed 28 years of togetherness and have a mutual dislike for iced cakes.

This cake is nutty buttery light and an absolute keeper. I mostly stuck to the recipe but where The Ordinary Cook replaces one of her eggs with 150gm greek yogurt I used the egg and I separated the eggs which gives a lighter texture to cakes

Makes about a decent loaf of cake

Loaf tin used 9inch by 4 inch

What you need :-

250gm almonds
100gm all purpose flour flour which is sifted with 1 tsp baking powder
175gm caster sugar
175gm salted butter (In case you are using unsalted butter use a small pinch of salt) at room temperature
4 eggs
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Blanch the almonds peel them, toast them lightly making sure you don't brown them , cool the almonds and then leave aside 10 to 15 almonds and use a coffee grinder to grind the rest. Do not grind for too long else you end up with almond paste.

Preheat the oven at 160C. Prepare the loaf tin by greasing it and dusting it with flour.

Cream the butter and sugar together. In my experience a wooden spoon used for this is the best option.

Now separate the eggs and make sure your whites are in a container with absolutely no fat else the whites would not form soft peaks which we want to achieve

Add the yolks one by one and whisk well. Now use a separate whisk to whisk the egg whites after adding the lemon juice to soft peaks

Add a bit of flour, a bit of ground almonds and egg whites and fold well. The folding technique determines how light and fluffy your cake will be. Quickly add the flour, ground almonds and whisked egg whites and fold it well and spread the mixture evenly on the loaf tin . Tap it from all sides and bake placing the rack in the center of the preheated oven at 160C for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is evenly browned

Let the cake cool down in the pan for 5 minutes and then use a spatula to loosen it and cool is on a wore rack. Slice the almonds which you have kept aside and decorate the cake if you please.

Serve it with your favourite hot beverage or enjoy a slice of this nutty light buttery cake by itself.