Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - Birthday Cake for D

My husband absolutely loves carrot cake, but I will admit that I do not like it that much. He has been asking me for sometime to try bake one at home. So for his birthday this year, I finally made a carrot cake for him. He was delighted and almost ate the entire cake himself. It came off really well.

I have not experimented much with bakery so took suggestion from one of my colleague. She is very good at baking and even takes custom cake orders. She referred me to a carrot cake recipe by Ina Garten (you can find the original recipe here). I followed the recipe with some changes of mine and I have listed those here. I am not a great cake decorator, but the final cake design was pretty (if I can say so)!

For Cake:
All-Purpose Flour, divided - 2 & 1/2 Cup, 1 Tbsp
Sugar - 2 Cups
Vegetable Oil - 1 & 1/3 Cup
Eggs (at room temperature) - 3 (Large)
Vanilla Extract - 1 Tsp
Cinnamon - 1 Tsp (Ground)
Nutmeg Powder - 1 Tsp
Cardamom Powder - 1 Tsp
Baking Soda - 2 Tsp
Kosher Salt - 1 & 1/2 Tsp
Raisins - 1 Cup
Walnuts - 1 Cup (Chopped)
Carrots - 2 Cup (Grated)
Pineapple (Optional) - 1/2 Cup (Diced)

For Frosting:
Cream Cheese (at room temperature) - 3/4 lb
Unsalted Butter (at room temperature) - 8 oz
Vanilla Extract - 1 Tsp
Confectioners' Sugar - 1 lb

For Decoration:
Unsalted Butter (at room temperature) - 8 oz
Confectioners' Sugar - 2 Cup
Vanilla Extract - 1 Tsp

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
We will need two 8-inch round cake pans. Butter these pans.
Next line the pan bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and flour the pans.

Beat sugar, oil and eggs together in a bowl until the mixture turns light yellow in color. (I used electric hand mixer for beating).
Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
In another bowl, sift together 2 & 1/2 cups flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg powder, cardamom powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix them well.
Slowly add the flour mix (in small portions) into the wet mixture and fold well. (Do not use mixer for this step as it will make the cake hard).

Next add the carrots and pineapple into the batter and fold well.

In a bowl toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 Tbsp flour and add into the batter.

Divide the batter equally into the 2 cake pans.
Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool down completely.
Next remove the cakes from the pan and cool them further over a wire rack.

Ensure the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature.
Beat the cream cheese well with an electric hand mixer.
Next mix the butter and vanilla into it and beat again. Add sugar and beat until mixed well.
Place one layer of cake (flat-side up) and spread the frosting on top with a spatula.
Next place the second cake layer on top (round side up) and spread the frosting evenly over and around the entire cake.

Ensure the butter is at room temperature.
Beat the butter and vanilla extract together with an electric hand mixer.
Add sugar to the butter and beat well.
You can add more sugar until you get the desired consistency for piping.
I used 2 variants of Wilton icing color for decorating the cake.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chow-let / Chow-lette – My Submission for Bawi Bride's Best Kept Secrets-Eedu Edition

This recipe featured on Bawi Bride's Best Kept Secret 2nd e-Book, Eedu edition. Eedu, in Parsi, means egg. Bawi Bride is a well-known blogger in Parsi culinary world and this 2nd e-book edition is a collection of fascinating Eedu recipes from India. I am absolutely thrilled that my recipe was amongst the 15 recipes published in her e-book. I am fairly new to the blogging world, and this achievement makes me immensely proud and happy that I am getting to share space with some of most renowned Indian food bloggers. Please visit Bawi Bride to know more and download the Eedu edition.

Chow-let or Chow-lette is my mom's original recipe, one ideal for snack or brunch. This is a very simple dish but everytime I make it, it reminds me of so many old memories from my childhood, my hostel days and days spent with my sister. I come from a very small town in West Bengal. In the early 90's, "cornflex"/"muffins" were not that commonly available in my hometown. Breakfast was usually bread-butter or Indian "French" toast and evening snack was muri-makha (মুড়িমাখা / spiced puffed rice), maggie or onion fritters (pNeyaji/pakora). My mom loved to cook and took extra care of every dish she made. Chow-let was her idea, a mix of chowmein and omelet / omelette batter. Needless to mention that we loved it! Later she improvised by adding more veggie's into it. Chow-let is still one of my favorite and easy to cook recipe.
During my hostel stay at Kolkata, days when canteen food was not palatable, I cooked chow-let for myself. My hostel-mates also loved it. Even now after so many years, when we reminisce our good old days, chow-let is an inevitable topic, the fun we had making it on Sunday mornings and the lovely time we spent together. One more person who loves chow-let is my cousin sister. First time I made it for her was when I visited my aunt's home in Jamshedpur. She loved it so much that I ended up making it everyday I stayed with her. Recently she visited me in US for a vacation and the first thing she said is I that she definitely wants me to make chow-let for her. This time too she relished it. Chow-let may be a very simple dish but there are lot of priceless memories I relate it with.

(To make one Chow-let)
Egg - 2
Chowmein (Thin) - 1/2 Cup
Onion - 1 & 1/2 Tbsp (Finely chopped/grated)
Green Chili - Acording to your taste (Chopped)
Ginger - 1/4 Tsp (Chopped)
Carrot - 1 Tsp (Grated)
Bell Pepper/Capsicum - 1 Tsp (Finely Chopped)
Tomato - 1 Tbsp (Finely chopped)
Cilantro - 1 Tbsp (Chopped)
Milk - 2 Tbsp
Turmeric -1 Pinch
Black Pepper

Boil water in a pan. Add some salt and oil into it.
Once it comes to a boil, add the chowmein. Boil it till al dante, drain it.
Whisk the eggs. Add all other ingredients into it.
Heat oil in a nonstick pan / tawa.
Add the egg mixture and spread it evenly on the tawa. Cover it and let it cook on low heat.
Once the egg batter solidifies, check the bottom part of the omlet.
When it gets a nice brown color, spray little oil on the top portion and flip the omlet onto the other side.
Fry on medium heat, until the bottom side gets the desired brown color. And it's done!
Serve it with a sauce of your choice. I like my "Maggie hot and sweet tomato chili sauce" with it.