Saturday, March 30, 2013

Simple Homemade Cake (Delights of blogging)

See? I am back, just like I promised. Ok, maybe three weeks is a bit late, but for someone who did not blog for a whole year, three weeks is a good time. So you have to credit me with that. And yes, I do remember saying that my next post would feature Chocolate Squares. I will be sharing those with you as well, but just on a later date. Why?  Well let's just say that I am in the mood for cake. :) Boy, I am I in the mood for cake ! I have gone cake crazy in the last couple of weeks you could say. Let me tell you why.

For a long time now I did not have a good functioning oven. The one that I did have drove me mad. Its thermostat conked off and I became  aware of this  only when its temperature soared so much that the handle on the door of the oven melted and fell off. Can you beat that? Have you ever heard of anything like that?  So for a long time baking came to a standstill. But then out of the blue my mom asked me if I needed a oven. She had one that my sis left behind when she moved to the States. It is a well used oven, but it works just fine and now it's mine. I am so thrilled. So I have been baking, inspite of the hot weather. I even took a cake as a present for my niece, when I went to wish her All the Best for her 10th Std board exams. I love gifting homemade cakes. There is something just so special about it.

I will admit though that all my cakes are plain cakes. I do not go for fancy frostings or any kind of toppings. My family too loves the plain ones best. Now this one I have for you, is the first one I made last week. I have posted this under my Delights of Blogging category. This is a category I have for food that I have tried  from another blog. This simple but yummy looking eggless cake (yes!! it is eggless) had caught my attention ages ago and was sitting in my favourites list for God knows how long. I have so often been asked for a good eggless cake recipe so I have tried a few recipes in the past, but unfortunately the cakes that came out were not so good.  So much so, that I had begun thinking that a good eggless homemade cake is a myth. But then I saw this cake on Divine Taste a blog that I follow and I had to try it out. It looked amazing and I couldn't believe it was eggless.Thanks to Anushruti, who runs this lovely blog with the most awesome food and pics.

So here's how to go about it. I followed Anushruti's recipe verbatim.


250 gm plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda/ sodium bicarbonate
1 tin/400gm sweetened condensed milk
100 gm butter melted
175 ml milk
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract/ or vanilla essence


  1. Preheat the oven at about 100 to 120 degrees centigrade
  2. Grease and dust bottom of an 8” square or 9” round cake tin.
  3. In a mixing bowl, assemble the flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix with a spoon and sieve once to make the mixture uniform.
  4. Put in the condensed milk, melted butter, vanilla essence and milk into the mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients.
  5. Beat with an electric hand mixer, whisk or spoon until the mixture comes together and there are no lumps. This shouldn’t take more than a minute with an electric hand mixer/beater. Be careful not to over beat the mixture as this could result into a dry cake.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for an hour at 150 degree centigrade. Since this is an eggless cake, you might find the batter on the looser side, but not to worry, as it comes out alright, soft and spongy out of the oven.
  7. The cake is done when a knife or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake.
  8. Leave the hot cake in the tin for a little while, till it cools down slightly. Inverting a very hot cake is not a good idea. This could break the cake.
  9. Once it has cooled down a bit, invert it onto a cooling rack  and let it cool further.
Now you could enjoy it just like that with a cup of tea or coffee or, you could cut the cake horizontally and sandwich the two layers with jam. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and viola you have a fancy Victoria Sponge Cake on your hand. Or you could apply jam to the top surface of the cake and sprinkle dessicated coconut on it. The possibilities as they are endless.



Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Kajukanda: Little cashew treats to bring back the child in you.

Hi to all of you after almost a whole year. Many of you might even have trouble remembering who I am and I cannot say I blame you. Anyway let be jog your memory a little. I am Anupama, and I blog about all the delicious things (if I may say so myself) that I make in my little kitchen. I have been on a year long break for various reasons that I wouldn't want to bore you guys with. But I am back. Believe me I have missed by blog just as much as you all have. I was desperate to get back into the blogsphere on so many ocassionsin this last year, but it was just other commitments that I had taken up myself that wouldn't let me. 
Now my intention to come back to my blog was always there, but two things that kind  made my resolve to blog again even stronger were:

1. Firstly friends started talking about my blog in the past tense. Oooooh how scary and sad that was!
2. Secondly avid readers of my blog and even a couple of new neighbours who until recently did not even know that I had a blog, kept asking me to update. It was really touching. It made me realise how much people liked what I posted.
So here I am back in action. What I have today and what you see in the pic above are two kinds of treats. Chocolate Squares and Cashewnut and Rose Flavoured Squares, which are called Kajukanda in Marathi. I'll tell you more about the chocolate squares in my next post. But this one is for Kajukanda.
Many of you must have enjoyed Kajukanda as kids and some of us enjoy it even as adults. They are little bites of sugary delight that are hard to resist.
Now Kajukanda is sold by the truckload in most food stores, but I often wonder how much of real cashews actually go into them. Seriously sometimes they taste more of peanuts than cashews. So when my mom came up with this recipe of homemade ones, I jumped.
The first batch she made was a trial and it disappeared in a matter of minutes. Ever since she makes them every so often. As she is a Grandma to three kids (not all mine.... god forbid :)), who constantly crave sugar in all its forms, she has ample opportunity to make them. Believe me, once you try these homemade ones, you will never buy the store variety. They are easy to make, not at all time-consuming and definitely heaps tastier.
So here goes
Grease a 8" x 10" tray. (Dimensions of tray are approximate)

  • 2 cups finely powdered plain cashewnuts (I used an ordinary teacup. You can use any other cup, but then stick to the same for measuring the rest of the ingredients.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 drops of pink food colour
  • 1/2  a tspn of  rose essence (Available in all food stores)
  • Water to make a syrup
  1. Place the sugar in a heavy bottom pan.
  2. Pour just enough water over the sugar till all the sugar is just about submerged in the water. Do this very gradually, so you don't end up with too much water in the pan.
  3. Switch on the heat on low simmer.
  4. Let the sugar dissolve and the syrup come to a boil on a low simmer till you have a 2 string consistency syrup. This took me about 7 to 8 mins. But that can change depending on the amount of water you add to the sugar and also the heat settings of your hob.
  5. A more assured way of checking this is to take a tiny drop of hot syrup between your forefinger and thumb and pull your fingers apart, a couple oof times. You should see two strings of syrup formed clearly everytime you pull your fingers apart. This is the tricky part in the recipe. So it's best to keep the heat on low simmer throughout the recipe, so you don't overdo the syrup.  
  6. Once your sugar syrup has reached the right consistency, add the cashew powder and the rose essence to it.
  7. Cook further for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, or until you see the mixture leave the sides of the pan. All on low simmer.
  8. Pour the mixture into your prepared tray.
  9. Give the tray a couple of gentle bangs on your kitchen platform to get a smooth top surface. Don't touch the mixture with your fingers.
  10. The mixture will set in a few minutes.
  11. Cut out squares the size you want.
  12. Store a tight lidded container.
As there is no milk in this recipe, Kajukanda keep well for a reasonably long time. But in warm weather they can be stored in the fridge too.
Enjoy !! And save some for your kids too :))
Coming up next are Chocolate Vanilla Squares


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Fizzy Watermelon Cooler

Fizzy Watermelon Cooler

Hi everyone!! This post is going to start without too much chatter chatter chatter by me. Because it is too hot to type so many words. I mean I can barely even breathe in this heat,but this drink is something that cannot be passed without sharing with you guys.
The whole credit for this super duper cooler goes to my Aai. She is a great cook and is not afraid to experiment in the kitchen . Of course her experiments are also a hit most of the times, so I think it's a good idea to take full benefit of them put the recipes on my blog for you.

So here goes:

For around 10 glasses of this drink you need:

Juice of 1 large watermelon :
(Do not bother to remove each and every seed ,just cut the fruit into large chunks, put them in your blender and work the blender on the "pulse " mode. This produces juice without crushing the seeds. Later just strain the juice to get all the seeds out of the way)

One and half inch piece of ginger grated or pounded finely

1.5 tspn salt
A little sugar if the juice is not very sweet
500ml bottle of Sprite or 7 Up

Mix the juice ,ginger, salt and optional sugar all together and leave to chill in the fridge until its time to serve. This helps the flavour of ginger to infuse into the drink.

When serving strain the juice again to take out the ginger .

Fill each glass up to half with this juice and top it up with delicious chilled fizzy Sprite or 7 Up.

That's it ! Your Fizzy Watermelon Cooler is ready to enjoy!! People normally want a second helping of this ,so make plenty :))

Fizzy Watermelon Cooler

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Mataar Pohe: Simple food at it's best


I know I know, many of you might be laughing and saying to yourself "Oh! why has she posted Mataar Pohe ?" It's such a simple and common dish, prepared at least once a week in most Marathi households. But isn't this exactly what makes Pohe so very special and close to your heart . I mean I have travelled to quite a few places throughout the world and have enjoyed the cuisines of each and every place I visited, but the craving that you get for your own staple food is unbeatable. Particularly when you return home after travelling for a few days to new destinations and after tasting and trying different exotic dishes, the one thing you want to eat on returning home is something familiar,simple and that which you have grown up eating in your Mom's kitchen. And for me Mataar Pohe or simply Pohe falls in that category.

And I know for a fact that the love for Mataar Pohe is not restricted to the Marathi household. I had non-marathi friends in school who loved it when I got this in my short break dabbaa and asked their moms to make it at home and I once even had a German friend staying over at our place who was mad for this dish. So I think it is safe to assume that it is a hit dish.

As green peas are in season right now I make mataar pohe quite often ,so it had to have a place on my blog.
Here's how
For 4 people

5 big handfuls of dry pohe (the thick variety), to get a good handful put your hand in the pohe container and grab as much pohe as you can.
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup shelled  green peas
 8 to 10 curry leaves
5  tblspns of oil
2 tspns mustard seeds
1/2 tspn hing
1.5 tsps Jeera (cumin seeds)
1 tomato chopped
3 to 4 green chillies cut into small pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (the fresher the better)
1 lemon
2 tspn sugar,
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
1/2 a cup water
salt as per taste
coriander for garnishing

Wash the Pohe in a sieve  ,draining all the water and set to one side . This will soften the pohe.

In a deep pan heat the oil and prepare the tempering by adding the mustard seeds first. When they begin to splutter add the hing and then the cumin seeds. Fry for few seconds, then add the curry leaves and green chillies.

After a seconds add the chopped onion and fry this for a few minutes on moderate heat. Next add the peas and now cover and cook on low heat until the peas go soft.

Now add the sugar ,salt ,turmeric powder.

Next add the washed pohe and toss it all nicely until completely mixed with the onions and peas.

Now splash a generous amount of water on the pohe and cover and cook for 1/2 a minute. This makes the dish moist. You do not want dry pohe,so the generous splash of water.

Uncover the pan and add the chopped tomato, give it a toss and again cover and cook for another 1/2 a minute. Not more than that  as we do not want to cook the tomatoes completely . Squeeze the lemon and check the taste at this stage . Add more salt sugar or lemon juice if you want.

Garnish with plenty of fresh coconut and coriander and serve hot .