Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Desi Chai Cupcakes and Shark Tank !

Rack your brains as much as you want but chances are extremely slim to none that you will find a connection between chai cupcakes and shark tank or even chai and sharks alone for that matter. The above statement will hold true before reading the blog post of course. Once, you have acquainted yourself with the text that  follows, the mystery will be  solved or in simpler terms , you might see the connection that prompted me to name the title so . You see, I long to keep interesting titles for my blog posts and when this unusual one came along in my brain , I simply couldn't ignore it . The thought that it may pique the reader's interest and this generate more curiosity for the blog post also prompted my naming it such. The mention of a genial beverage based cupcakes with a gritty business reality show is enough to raise eyebrows but here is the story behind it .
You see, tomorrow is the last day of school for my 4th grader. But instead of watching  movies or playing games as is the norm during the days leading to the summer vacation , their class is holding a "Shark Tank" type  business show where you the students will be pitching their products to the teachers and hoping to secure a loan.Daughter dearest and her friend's business is a "cupcakery" (no surprises there ).As such, the product they will be presenting to the sharks for approval has be to delicious, out of this world cupcakes. That is where the chai parts come. Everyone appreciates the advantage of a unique product in business , hence ditching the chocolate route , decided to got for the desi chai route for some exotic scoring.
The chai scene has really exploded internationally . The word itself has gained widespread popularity with hardly a soul unaware of it's meaning. It had become the new exotic beverage of choice and all major coffee shops proudly display in on their daily offerings board. As it happens with any new edible product that catches people's fancy, this one got multiple makeovers too . From cookies to shortbread and even to sandwiches , it had been fully embraced by the baking community . Yours truly was no exception and chai cake has found it's way into this blog post . But with these cupcakes, I have tried things a little differently . Gone is the condensed  milk and the addition is the chai frosting . So, without further ado, here is the recipe for the same.

Chai milk Infusion
6 oz whole milk
2-3 cardamom pods
2-3 cloves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tablespoon heaped tea leaves

1 stick butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup self rising flour  (Recipe for self rising flour-1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder,1/4 tsp                                         salt)
3 eggs
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp chai milk infusion

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp chai milk infusion

Pre Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tray with cupcake liners.
In a saucepan over medium heat , take the whole milk and to it add cardamoms,cloves and the  fennel seeds.
Now add the tea leaves, stir and wait for the mixture to boil .
Once it starts boiling , remove  from flame, cover it with a lid and let it steep for 5 minutes.
Then, sieve it into another container and let it cool.
In a bowl , take the unsalted butter and sieve over it all the dry ingredients like flour,soda,sugar and cinnamon powder.
Next, comes the eggs and whisk it all for about 1 minute.
Time to add the chai tea infusion and whisk it for another 1 minute.
Pour the batter into the cupcakes liners  and bake for about 20-25 minutes
Remove from oven and let cool .
For the frosting , whisk the butter for about 5 minutes till it is really pale.
Now add the icing sugar in stages while continuing to beat.
When the sugar is mixed in , add 4 tbsp of  chai infusion for the flavor.
Mix it well and pour the icing into a piping bag and decorate the top of the cupcakes.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Orange Upside Down Cake and New Year Vibes !

We are two months and four days past the New Year but still can't help making a reference to it  as  I proudly proclaim this particular blog post to be my first one of 2017. No mean feat considering the fact that  writing baking blog posts has  taken a backseat lately . But, hey another year has  dawned and I for one  intent to fully embrace the positive spirits that New Year brings . Sincerely wishing  that  maybe this year will be different from last year in the fact that  I might surprise you guys with ample quantity of new blog posts though the strict definition of "ample" in this case might be debatable. Whatever number of blog posts I end up writing this year , lets give it a good solid start with this particular one which is for an sticky  upside down orange cake. It is my way of paying culinary homage to the current citrus season.
So, grab your cloth grocery bags and make the trip to your nearest food store or farmer's market to stock up on these seasonal delights . In my case, it is our neighborhood H-Mart  which opened recently and carries a huge variety of greens at not too bad prices. My visit to this Korean food store was prompted by my excitement while visiting "exotic" food stores. I can spend many a happy hour exploring  the aisles for exotic and foreign ingredients in the hope that they might inspire my next bake . Did not get sufficiently inspired this time so another visit is in order but the visit was not entirely unproductive as  I did manage to get some juicy oranges for my upside down cake.

Coming to the actual preparation of this particular bake, like any upside down cake, you need a sticky base at the bottom where you place the fruit batter that will rise in sufficient amount when placed on top of the fruit and result in a good even bake in the oven.Normally, we make a brown sugar-butter base like in pineapple upside cake but here we will be going for candied orange slices which we will be making ourselves.For the batter, we will also incorporate some almond meal along with all purpose flour and the baking temperature will be reduced to 325 degrees fahrenheit.You could beat the egg whites separately for the rise but I am not feeling too much inclined towards that method. I will beat my eggs whole though I might add some orange essence.


Sticky Orange Topping
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 oranges thinly sliced

The Cake
4 eggs
1 cup castor sugar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal
6 oz butter
2 tsp baking powder

For the topping -

Take a saucepan and to it add  water,sugar and vanilla .
Place it on medium heat .(You may add some cinnamon and star anise to it for flavor)
Keep on stirring over medium heat   until all the sugar has dissolved. 
Now add the orange slices and let them simmer for 15 minutes until soft.
Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

For the Cake -

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare the cake pan by greasing and coating it with flour.
In a bowl. place the  eggs, sugar and vanilla .Whisk them with the help of an electric mixer till they become pale and become triple in volume.
Now sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold in .
Next is the turn of  melted butter and almond meal to be  folded in the mixture.
In a greased cake pan,  place the orange slices at the bottom.

Over the oranges, pour the cake mixture and level it with  a spatula.
Bake for 40-45 minutes till a needle inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool and serve it along with your favorite beverage.

Note : The blog post was written some time in March but posted in May . We understand that the year is not new anymore but the author would still like to believe so .

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Smiley Face Brownies!!! :)

  So, brownies. Haven't done them in a while. Last brownies I remember finding themselves on the blog were the Black Bean Brownies way back in May of 2015. Now , that is a long time to go without brownies. Seriously !! Well actually, I didn't even  bake the brownies then. Last I checked, my mom did. That's right. I'm not the famous Harveen Roy. I'm her daughter, Yagyesha Roy with some good old fashioned chocolate brownies.Since they are my first bake, I am going ahead and giving them a fancy name - "Smiley Face Brownies."
Why this name, you ask ? The picture should give a clue. Well, there was more text on the surface of the brownies which you will come to know later but the smiley got lucky as it got to be the one which got photographed and thus found itself  on the pages on this blog.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about brownies! When somebody says brownies, what comes into your mind? The All-American fudgy ones, with the crust breaking apart? Or perhaps the ones stacked on top of one another, soft and warm to the touch, fudgy and decadent to taste? Whatever your definition of brownies is, you'll get the brownies of your dreams when you bake these( provided you measure the ingredients accurately and follow the recipe instructions precisely. (Except minus the fudgy part, because these are more cakelike.) My brother declared them to even better than mean feat considering how good of a baker she is and also because  if you have an elder brother you know how stingy they are with compliments.

So these days I haven't been going on a shopping spree, but on a brownie one.( I hate shopping.) I've already baked brownies twice before, but that was using a mix. But it was also on 2 consecutive days. Then I took a break. For one day.(No one can never get enough brownies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) My brother was going to D.C. for 3 days as part of his NJHS team , and his teachers told them to bring small snacks along for the journey , (Well brownies aren't small snacks, but I had to make them. They were just going to have to deal with it.) so I made brownies from scratch.  We didn't have any mixes left and Mom wasn't about to go get me another one especially when she kept reminding me that all ingredients to make them were available in our pantry.From scratch it was then   So, I followed one of her  recipes and accomplished my first from scratch bake. I decorated the top with a "Have a great trip" message with a smiley at the end . 

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and prepare your baking tray (grease and flour it ).
2. Take a saucepan and melt the butter on the stovetop..
3. Remove from the stovetop  and mix in vanilla extract, eggs, and sugar
4. Then slowly beat in the salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and flour . 
5. Transfer the  batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
6. Cool them on a wire rack , cut into individual slices and enjoy with your friends.
(Making smiley faces on them is entirely optional :-)).
Baked by : Yagyesha Roy