Steamed Milk Cake

I just love steamed cakes…Its very simple n easy to make and munch!!
This one is among my favorite. It hardly takes 30 minutes to make these fluffy little treats.
Also you can play around the recipe and add your favorite flavors, chocolate, rose, mango etc etc.

Here goes the recipe
Adapted from the Aunty Yochana’s blog

170 gm. Fresh Milk
75 gm. sugar
100 gm. cake flour
20 gm. rice flour
2 tsp. double-action baking powder
Dried cranberries- 2 tablespoon
1 ½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Use a hand whisk to whisk fresh milk with sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Add in other ingredients flour, baking powder and cranberries and stir well.
Divide the batter to two and add the Cocoa powder to one half and stir well.
Spoon into small cups lined with paper cups.
Steam in high for 15 mins.I used my electric steamer and it fluffed up perfectly.
Remove and cool on wire rack and njoy the warm treats

FROM PHYLLO TO BAKLAVA!! Along with Daring Bakers

Time to reveal the Daring bakers challenge for June.
This month’s challenge is hosted by Erica, from Erica’s Edibles.
She chose one of my fav middle eastern sweet..The Baklava , a sweet rich pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and nuts sweetened with simple syrup

It was indeed a challenge for me as I added a little extra water to dough and it was super sticky..!!
I somehow managed to roll about 10 layers and stacked each layer after dusting enough flour b/w layers
By the time I finished rolling the 11th layer..I got the shocker!! I saw that all 10 layers have been merged to one thick sheet!! Sigh Sigh..
So I had to do the dough all over again!! On second attempt the dough was just perfect
With little more exercise to my shoulders/hands I managed to get another 15 phyllo sheets!!
I am skipping gym for next week, had enough shoulder workout for a week:-)

So here goes the recipe

Phyllo Dough:
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
2. Mix with paddle attachment
3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water (I had to add a tablespoon more)
5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best
Rolling your Phyllo
1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
2. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
3. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
4. Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel
5. Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the towel
6.  Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
7. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
8. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flour well.

For the syrup:
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove
When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved
2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks.

For the Filling:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside

Assembling the Baklava
Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan
Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet
Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it's not needed)
Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can't cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9x9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge
Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)
When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!
Next morning all syrup is absorbed
Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
Serve at room temperature

Mini Marshmallows

Pretty in Pink..:-) 
Are you a fan on the show Good Eats by Alton Brown? If not,do watch one and I bet u will love it.
Few days back I saw Alton brown making these little beauties.
Although the whole process looked a bit cluttered..I decided to give it a shotJ

Here is what you need

Recipe Source: Alton Brown

1 package unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup ice cold water, divided
1/ 2  Cup Sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of Salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Strawberry essence
Little Pink coloring
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 3 tablespoon of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
In a small saucepan combine the remaining water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt.
Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F,took me 10 minutes
Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture.
Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the vanilla /strawberry essence/Color during the last minute of whipping
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, dust with the confectioners' sugar mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Enjoy the little beauties with a cup of hot chocolate..
Right now I am having one hot cup of chocolate with some marshmallow and its absolutely yummy..
I can never have enough marshmallows with my chocolate:-)

Low Fat Banana n Orange Loaf

I am on a Banana-rama swing…!!
Remember the Banana Pecan Muffins I posted sometime back..
My little muffin babe was among the top five dishes in the Drive me nuts event hosted by Anamika..

Do check out other delicious nutty treats here in the round up..
I have already bookmarked a lot of recipes from there :-)

Coming to bananas, whether it’s a smoothie or a muffin or a cake…we are all just Bananas over this power packed fruit!!
Me being a hard core enthusiast of fruity desserts, here is a double fruit delight Banana n Orange Loaf

Banana n Orange Loaf
Adapted from Baking from Martha Day

2 tablespoon Olive oil
90 gms Whole meal flour
90 gms Plain flour
1 tspn Baking powder
1 tspn All spice powder
1 egg
2 mashed bananas
1 /4 Cup chopped Walnuts
Finely grated orange rind and juice of 1 medium Orange
2 tablespoon honey/maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Sift together the dry ingredients flour, baking powder and all spice powder together
Stir in the chopped walnuts
Now peel and mash the bananas. Beat together with egg, orange juice, orange rind and honey
Now stir the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
Spoon into the baking tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and firm
Turn out and cool on wire rack.

Orange Poppy seed cupcake

It’s quite difficult to find the black poppy seeds here in Singapore
That said you must be wondering how I managed to bake Poppy seed cupcake!!
It was during my last business trip to San Diego that I got it..someone gifted this to meJ
I actually don’t remember when I mentioned about Poppy seeds to Ada[ my colleague from SD]
It was such sooo sweet of her to remember that and give me a pack of poppy seeds on my last day in SD.
I have to say Ada and Pierre are such a sweet couple..They set aside one entire weekend for us
..Took me and my colleague out for a fun filled outing ..some good food and above all there was a surprise at the end of the day
Knowing my love for desserts they took me to an extraordinary place..The extraordinary dessertsJ Just one word to describe it…Seventh heaven
So this is for you guysJ Hope you njoy the visual treat !!

Without further adieu here goes the recipe

Orange Poppy seed cupcake
40 g Poppy seeds
125 ml warm milk
150 gms butter softened
2 tspn finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Orange Juice
150 gms caster sugar
2 eggs
185 gms Self raising flour

For Icing
100 gms cream cheese
Orange juice 1 tablespoon
1tspn Orange zest
50-70 gms Icing Sugar

Pre heat the oven to 180 degree

Combine the poppy seeds and milk in a bowl and set aside for 15 min

Place the butter, orange zest, sugar, eggs and flour in a large bowl
Add the poppy seeds mixture, orange juice and beat with an electric mixer until well combined
Increase the speed and continue to beat for 3 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale

Spoon the batter into the paper cups and bake for 15 minutes.
Transfer onto a wire rack to cool

To make the icing, beat the Cream cheese, orange juice and zest until smooth
Add the icing sugar gradually and continue to beat until the desired consistency is reached.

Apple and Blueberry Cake

Haven’t you heard of the Newton’s first law, The law of inertia..
Ladies..letz refresh our school physics lessons a bit.. "Everybody remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force"
I have to admit...His first law is totally applicable to my personality as well..
I continue to be in my rest/lazy phase or cooking/baking marathon phase until we receive our utilities bill [Then I will go back to laziness phaseJ]
Good news is I am out of my Boredom shell and have been baking non-stop for the past few days..

So here goes the latest creation .. a fruity cake, Utterly moist n delicious .. Just out of the oven!!

Apple and Blueberry Cake
70 gms Butter softened
140 gms Caster Sugar
1 egg
80 ml Fresh milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
125 grams self raising flour
2 Apples peeled, cored, thinly sliced
Blueberries 70 gms

Preheat the oven to 180 Degree and grease a 8 inch pan.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add in the egg and vanilla essence and beat well.
Alternatively stir in flour and milk and mix until smooth
Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan.Arrange the sliced apples on the batter.
Spoon the remaining batter on top of the apples and smooth it.
Scatter the berries over the top and bake for 40 minutes until cooked and golden .

Frozen Kiwi Tartlets and the History of Boredom.

Can you guess what I have been reading about for the past few days? Boredom..
And apparently there are tones of sites about Boredom at work.
And here’s something funny I came across BWN, Bored at Work Network

 Are you bored at work? If so, read this extremely boring article about the history of boredom here..
 Wasn't that interesting? I guess now you guys must have got a clue of how bored I amJ

Anyways to symbolize my boredom, I made some super simple lazy  dessertFrozen Kiwi Tartlets

Here goes the recipe
3 Ripe Kiwi Fruit
3-4 tablespoon honey
6 small cupcake moulds –freeze proof

Peel the Kiwi fruit and chop the flesh into chunks.
Put it in a blender/food processor and add honey little at a time –depending on the sweetness of the kiwi fruit

Pour the mixture into moulds and freeze for 4-6 hours until completely solid

When ready to serve, dip the moulds in hot water for a few seconds to loosen the frozen tartlets and serve immediately.


Banana and Pecan Breakfast Muffin

Is there a better way to start your day than having a fruity n nutty muffin?J
This one is also a handy recipe to get rid of those oven ripe bananas from your countertop!!

This recipe is adapted from my all time favorite book from Martha Day, I like to call it as my Baking bible
It has a magnificent collection of recipes from breads, muffins, cookies to tarts and pies…
Since I made it for breakfast, I added some flax seed meal, little more pecans and little less sugar.


Here goes the recipe
Adapted from Baking from Martha Day

150 gms Plain flour
1 ½ tspn Baking powder
50 gms butter
100  -120 gms Caster Sugar
1 egg
1 tspn Vanilla essence
3 medium Bananas mashed
60 gms Pecan chopped
4 tbspn Milk
1 1/2 tbspn flax seed powder [Optional]

Preheat the oven to 190 Degree
Sift the dry ingredients, flour and baking powder and set aside
In a bowl cream the butter and sugar together.
Add in the egg, vanilla essence and flax seed meal and beat till fluffy. Mix in the mashed banana and continue to beat for a few seconds.
Add in the pecans. With mixer on low speed, add the flour alternately with milk.

Spoon the mixture to muffin cups, filling them two thirds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Let it cool on wire rack for 10 min and enjoy your breakfast muffinsJ

Off this goes to Healing Food-Banana Event hosted by Krithi and Siri and
Driver me nuts event hosted by Anamika


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