Sunday, May 16, 2010

Classic Vanilla Beans Muffins

Dear All,

Vanilla Beans,Vanilla Muffins,Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla has always been apple of my eye when compared with other universal flavors. Did you know vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, due to extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods. And still I am sure we all love vanilla flavor for its oure and delicate flavor which is described by author Frederic Rosengarten Jr as "peculiar bouquet". The most common types of vanilla pods are Bourbon or Madagascar vanilla, Mexican vanilla and Tahitian vanilla.

Vanilla Beans,Vanilla Muffins,Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla beans are not easily available in India though few super markets do sell them but one really needs to search a lot. My sources say that the only place in india where you can find Vanilla pods is Kerala so if any of your friends and family coming down from kerala or visiting kerala dont forget to request them to get a bunch of fresh vanilla beans for you! I probably dont mind visiting Kerala only to buy vanilla pods, I am sure its worth it! Or if anyone coming down from US or EU you can request them to get vanilla pods from there as well as I too got mine from Switzerland, a little expensive but I have no complains! Planning to request few more, hope D is listening :-)

Vanilla Beans,Vanilla Muffins,Vanilla Cupcakes

Recipe is adapted from Deeba's blog, which can be found here
Recipe yields 12 medium muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of vanilla sugar
2 tsp  baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
*1 vanilla bean or use 1 tsp vanilla extract

* Tip - Slice the vanilla bean from middle and scrape the sides using back of a knife to remove the seeds

  • Gease and line 12 muffins cups or muffin pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  • Sieve flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Beat butter and sugar together in a seperate bowl for 2 to 3 mins until light and fluffy.
  • Add in one egg at a time and beat well between each addition.
  • Add in flour and milk alternatively in 3 additions. Beat well after each addition.
  • Add in the scraped vanilla seeds and mix well.
  • Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake them at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 mins, until tooth pick inserted comes out clean/
  • Remove from oven and cool them completely, you can see the muffins leaving the side of the pan.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature, its a perfect tea time cake!
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Celebrating 30 years of togetherness !!!!!

Dear All,

Eggless Chocolate Cake,Eggless Baking,Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Today is my parent's 30th wedding anniversary. To celebrate I made Eggless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing. Here's wishing my parents a very Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary and wish for another 30 to come :))

Making eggless cakes is always a challenge and since my mom doesn't eat eggs I had no choice but to make an eggless cake. The first recipe that i ever tried for eggless cake was with condensed milk and I was very happy with the outcome only that the cake isn't as soft and spongy as the cake with eggs. But there are ways to achieve a softer and spongier cake. The recipe used for this cake is perfect when you will be frosting and icing a cake. It uses Coke or Thunps Ups instead of milk and thats the secret ingredient. Somebody told me that aerated water reacts with the baking soda or baking powder to produces a softer and spongier cake. If you are making plain vanilla then use Sprite or Plain Soda water and for chocolate use Coke or Thumps Up. So without any further delay lets directly go to the recipe.

Eggless Chocolate Cake,Eggless Baking,Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Eggless Chocolate Cake
Recipe below makes one 6 inch round cake
1/4 cup ie 60 gms unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk ie 200 gms
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coco powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 to 3 tbsp of coke or thumps up


  • Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and coco powder together and keep it aside.
  • Grease and flour a round 6inch cake tin. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  • Beat together unsalted butter and condensed milk, until light and creamy.
  • Add in the flour + coco powder mixture in 3 additions, beating well each time. In between the flour additions, add thumps up or coke little by little and beat well after each addition.
  • Finally add in the vanilla essence and mix.
  • Pour the batter in the cake pan and cake for 25 to 30 mins. Mine was done under 30 mins.
  • Check by inserting a tooth pick, if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove the cake from oven and cool is completely before proceeding.
  • Once cooled, depending upon your requirement slice the cake into 2 or 3 layers. For this cake sliced my cake in 2 layers.

Recipe for Buttercream Icing:-
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, about 225 gms
4 cups sifted icing sugar , approx 460 gms
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 to 2 tsp milk, if required
Food colors as required.

  • Beat butter and essence together until light and creamy.
  • Add one cup sifted icing sugar at a time and beat well after each addition
  • If making roses, make sure your consistency is stiff, add a tsp of milk or more for medium consistency icing.

Frost and fill the cake with buttercream and chill for about half an hour in the fridge before proceeding with the decorations. IMP TIP: Once the cake is chilled and the cream is firm to touch, take a butter paper or parchment paper and lightly press on the cake, very very gently, if the icing is firm enough it will not stick to the paper. This method helps to achieve a smooth finish on the cake surface which is always a very difficult job. Decorate the cake as required. I have made cornelli borders around the sides of the cakes and sweet peas on top. The color combination used is perfect for cooling in summers!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope my parents love the cake too as its a surprise for them..Shssssssssss..dont tell them!!!