Passion Fruit & Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes

For a while now, I have been trying to figure out what is my style of baking. I’m sure everybody has a style, I guess. If somebody was to ask me, ‘What is it that defines you?’, I’m not very sure I would have an answer to that. Or maybe I just don’t have a fixed style. I like flavours. I like experimenting with them. I love baking anything & everything. I guess that’s what defines me. I feel sometimes it’s better you don’t know. There’s an almost mysterious sort of beauty in not knowing, don’t you think? And sometimes when we do know, we struggle hard to keep it alive, rather than enjoying the process. I don’t know. I started blogging as a means to sharpen my skills. Yes, I have gotten better, although I have a long way to go on that front. But what is more important is that blogging for me has evolved into something bigger, a space to really share how I feel.

I am a very moody person. I like change. I get bored easily. A lot of people mistake it for being impulsive. I don’t think I am, well not at least for things that matter. Except for when I’m in the kitchen. I get these random ideas out of nowhere, and I instantly want to try them. I had this cocktail at my friend’s party, with green tea infused vodka, passion fruit and kaffir lime. That’s when I decided I wanted to try these flavours in a dessert. Coincidentally, chocolate compliments all these flavours perfectly! I tried infusing green tea in whipped cream, but that didn’t quite work out for me. I know where I went wrong. Maybe I’ll know better the next time I try it. Regardless, these mini dark chocolate flourless cake with whipped cream (semi green tea infused) & passion fruit syrup are just unbelievably good! They are dark, like actually dark. Just how I like it. Surprisingly, a friend who is not exactly a dark chocolate fan, absolutely loved it! So yeah, safe to say you’re gonna like it. I used my Dark Chocolate Cake recipe as the base. The flourless cake is really soft and has that dense kinda texture, which goes really well with lightly whipped cream and syrup. And the passion fruit syrup itself is amaaazinggg! A friend of mine went gaga over it, so much that she started licking it off the bowl. 😛

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You will know what I’m talking about once you give it a try. It’s really quick and simple to make, & believe me, you’re not gonna like your chocolate cakes plain anymore.

Just a few tips before you start:

  • The key to a good flourless chocolate cake is the quality of dark chocolate used. It’s really important to use a very good quality dark chocolate. I used Cocoa Craft’s 85% Cocoa Bitter Chocolate. If that’s too dark for you, you can use 70% Cocoa as well.
  • When incorporating the melted chocolate into the beaten egg yolks, make sure that the chocolate has cooled completely, or else there’s a risk that the yolks might curdle.
  • I use whipping cream which is already sweet, hence I do not add sugar. In case you want to add sugar, add 1 1/2 tablespoon of icing sugar, depending on how sweet your cream is.

 

 

MAKES: 8 mini cakes

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 125 gms dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 60 gms unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 large eggs (1 whole, 2 separated)
  • 80 gms castor sugar
  • grated zest of 1/2 orange(optional)

 

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp icing sugar (optional)
  • few drops of vanilla extract

 

For the passion fruit syrup

  • 1/3 cup passion fruit nectar (about 3 passion fruit)
  • 35 gms granulated sugar
  • 30 gms water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

 

METHOD

For the cake

  • Grease 8 ramekins with butter and dust with flour. Tap out the extra flour.
  • Melt the chocolate either on a double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted, let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
  • Beat the 1 whole and 2 egg yolks with 30 gms of the castor sugar. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and orange zest.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • In another bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the 50 gms of sugar and whisk until the egg whites are just holding their shape but not too stiff.
  • Lighten the chocolate mixture with a spoon of egg whites, and then gently fold in the rest of the whites using a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cake has risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the ramekins. The middle of the cakes will sink as it cools. Remove the cakes from the ramekins onto a cake plate or a cake stand.

 

For the whipped cream

  • Whip the cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar (optional) until it forms soft peaks and holds its shape. Cover with a cling film wrap and refreigerate until use.

 

For the passion fruit syrup

  • In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool completely.
  • Sieve the passionfruit nectar to remove seeds and add the juice to the sugar syrup. Add lemon juice and mix.

 

Assembling the cakes

  • Put a generous dollop of whipped cream on the cakes, and generously drizzle the passionfruit syrup on top. (Make sure the cream and the syrup are both completely cool) Garnish with chocolate shavings or mint leaves. Happy eating!

 

Note: Try this as a 9″ cake! Double the quantities and bake at 180 C for 30-35 minutes.

 

If you like hearing from me, please hit the follow button. You can also follow me on instagram for more drooling pictures, updates and behind the scene stories!

Instagram handle: myyummyspatula❤

 

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Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Caramel

I’m not much of a reader but I have been reading this book lately, Life, on the line, by Grant Achatz & Nick Kokonas. I feel that the book has had such a profound influence on me and it has inspired me in so many ways that I couldn’t have imagined. Being at an age, where half the people don’t know what they want to do in life, I feel so lucky to have found something I truly love and want to pursue my career in it. Since the time I realised what passion truly is, I have always wanted to be a chef. It’s only in the recent years that this idea has really started to grow on me. I always tell myself that I’m gonna do something extraordinary, with no clear picture of what this ‘extraordinary’ actually is. But I guess I’m beginning to realise. The more I read the book, the more I can relate to Chef Grant. For anybody looking for inspiration, please do give it a read. When I started my blog, I was an average baker. Some would even say bad. I’m not good yet but I know I’m getting better. And I guess this is what really keeps me going. I want to thank everybody who takes out time to read my blog and share this with me. I’m so happy for that. 🙂

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On a happier note, for those who follow me on instagram might know that I went for the WorldWide InstaMeet 14 on Sunday. The theme was a Dessert Potluck ❤ and it was so much fun! The decor was so pretty and colorful, and so many desserts to try (Now I know why I’m not losing weight). I’m gonna share the pictures with you guys once I get them. Which brings me to this new #favourite post. Tadaaa! I made these for the event as everybody had to get something for everybody to share. Since autumn has just started, I thought it would be a good idea to make these. Plus, I absolutely love Carrot Cake/Cupcakes! I paired them with a simple cream cheese frosting and drizzled some ginger caramel sauce, just to give it an extra kick. I make caramel sauce all the time but it was my first time infusing ginger into it and oh boy! I know I’m going to be obsessed with it for a while now. 😛

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Carrot cakes can be a bit of work, because they have a lot of ingredients to assemble. But trust me, they are super easy to make once you have all your ingredients in place. And the results are just so good! They are so moist and packed with tons of flavour. The trick with them is to use brown sugar to really enhance the depth of flavour, and oil & applesauce help in moistening the cake. I like making my own applesauce because I don’t really like store bought stuff. If you want to make your own, you can use my applesauce recipe. It’s super quick and easy. Or, if you’re too lazy to make some, store bought works fine as well. Just make sure it’s unsweetened. This cream cheese frosting is amaaaazing! It is light, yet rich and so smooth. Honestly, you need to try them right now. They are divine!

Recipe adapted from Sally’s baking addiction.

MAKES: 20-22 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts + some for garnish
  • 200 gms packed dark brown sugar
  • 60 gms castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp black tea
  • 4 large eggs
  • 135 gms (3/4 cup) applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 gms plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 260 gms grated carrot (about 4 large)

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 250 gms cream cheese
  • 80 gm heavy cream/ whipping cream
  • 50 gms icing sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract

For the ginger caramel sauce

  • 50 gms granulated sugar
  • 23 gms salted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

 

METHOD

For the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 150 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the chopped walnuts and toast for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Turn up the oven to 180 C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • Place black tea in a small bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let it stand for 10 minutes. Sieve and discard the black tea leaves. Reserve the black tea concentrate.
  • In a large bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Add cinnamon powder, ginger powder, nutmeg powder & salt and whisk until combined.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, castor sugar, oil, tea concentrate, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract until combined and no sugar lumps remain. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well using a spatula until just combined. Do not beat the batter.
  • Fold in the grated carrots and toasted walnuts. Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake liners (fill up to 2/3 of the liner) and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool.

For the cream cheese frosting

  • In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form, and holds it’s shape.
  • In another bowl, beat the cream cheese for about 2 minutes just to lighten the texture. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until no sugar lumps remain, if any. Gently fold in the whipped cream using a spatula. Cover with a cling film wrap and chill in the refrigerator until use.

For the ginger caramel sauce

  • In a small saucepan, simmer together the heavy cream and grated ginger over low heat. Do not bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let the ginger infuse into the cream for 20-30 minutes. If you want a stronger ginger taste, leave it for longer.
  • Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring using a heat resistant rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
  • Sugar will start to form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown amber colored liquid as you keep stirring. Do not burn the sugar or you will have to restart the process. It only takes a few seconds for it to burn.
  • When the sugar has completely melted, immediately add the butter. Keep stirring. Be careful not to get your face too close to the heat as the sugar will bubble rapidly once butter is added. Stir until butter is completely melted, for about a minute.
  • Slowly pour in the ginger infused heavy cream and vanilla extract into the caramel.
  • Let the caramel boil for a few seconds.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the sea salt. Allow to cool down a bit before using.

Assembling

  • Pour the cream cheese frosting into a piping bag, with a thick nozzle. Frost the carrot cupcakes generously and drizzle the ginger caramel sauce over it. You can sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Refrigerate until use.

 

Note:

  • You can try this recipe as a cake too! It’s gonna give you two layers of 9″ cake. Bake at 180 C for 30-35 mins. Happy Baking! 😀

 

If you like hearing from me, please hit the follow button. You can also follow me on instagram for more drooling pictures, updates and behind the scene stories!

Instagram handle: myyummyspatula ❤

 

Croatia and Me

TraThis post has been long overdue. I somehow never got to actually sitting down and writing about it. Or maybe, I just didn’t make time. It’s gonna be a long post. Please bear with me. Anyhow, I am so excited to finally share my summer experience in Croatia, with you guys! 😀

I was looking online for various internship projects that I could go for, and I came across this one in Croatia. Living in south-east Asia, Croatia is not the most popularly travelled country to. Or at least, not most popularly known to people here. When I told my parents about it, they were obviously a bit hesitant. They didn’t know much about Croatia. The first thing that popped into their heads was-“is it even safe?” And after staying there for 6 weeks, and traveling all over Croatia, I can safely say it’s one of the safest places to be, and arguably the most picturesque, of the Balkan countries. It’s undeniably beautiful, with the sweetest people you will meet.

I traveled to Croatia this summer for 6 weeks, for an internship with one of the tourist boards in Croatia. And I had such a great time there! This was my first solo traveling experience. It was a mix of emotions running through me as I boarded my flight. I was scared, a bit nervous but most of all, I was excited. Excited to be traveling to what google told me, ‘is one of the most beautiful countries in the world’. Most importantly, excited to have my first solo traveling experience.

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The main city square in Rijeka, Korzo.
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Riva, Rijeka
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Riva at night, Rijeka

I was working with the Tourist Board in Mošćenička Draga (Mosh-che-nichka), an hour away from Rijeka. The idea was to help promote tourism in the Kvarner region, Mošćenička Draga being a part of it. It is a small coastal town, with beautiful pebble beaches, romantic villas and hotels. An ideal weekend getaway for just relaxing, lazing & sun tanning by the beach and pampering yourselves to good food & massages. You can check out more about it here.

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Sipar Beach, Mošćenička Draga
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Starting of Sipar Beach, Mośćenička Draga
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Svete Ivan Beach, Mošćenička Draga

I was staying with a local family in Rijeka, along with one of the other interns for the project, Simona.The best part was that my host was a baker! Pretty amazing huh? Antonia is such a kind hearted, sweet person. I am glad she has us. I didn’t expect Simona and I would be spending so much time together, haha. It was funny how we cribbed about being with each other ALL the time, yet missed being apart. Haha, sounds so cheesy. 😛 Amidst all the drama, getting lost on some random street & finally finding our way back, desperate to go out every night but dreading the walk back home at 4 am in the morning, or simply chilling at our favourite cafe, CukariKafe, which soon became our work space, we had such a great time that I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again. It wasn’t all smooth, and there were a lot of times I felt frustrated and annoyed, but at the end, I guess that’s what made me stronger.

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My favourite photo with Simona
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Antonio and Razdeep, in their natural self.

I still don’t know how my 6 weeks in Croatia flew by. It was such a roller coaster, with all the fun and work. There are just so many places in Croatia that I couldn’t go to, and so many places yet to explore. I was going to skip Plitvice, but I couldn’t be happier that I didn’t. It is the most peaceful and gorgeous place to be. I’m definitely going to be visiting Croatia again. There’s just so much to see and explore.

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Plitvice Lakes

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Street in Rovinj
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Old town in Poreč

THE CULINARY EXPERIENCE

Obviously, I couldn’t leave out this part. I wouldn’t say Croatia has the best culinary experience, but I did have quite a few good meals. Every time I traveled to a different city, I would always look for dessert places first.

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Duchess of Krk, Casa Del Padrone

I definitely think I had more desserts on my trip than savoury meals, haha. Every morning on my way to work, I would pick up a chocolate croissant and a cappuccino from this famous bakery chain, Mlinar. It was sort of a ritual. I really miss that in India since we don’t really have that culture. Moreover, the different vibrant flavours of ice creams were to die for. My favourite combination was the Strawberry/Berry Cheesecake with Raspberry Sorbet. It was heaven! I discovered this stylish bakery, Cacao quite later in my trip but thankfully at least I did. The Strawberry Cake there was so good! Another great bakery find was Cukerin Cafe, which focused on healthy desserts. My favourite was the Seasonal Fruit Tart. It was so light and yet rich. One of the weekends, I travelled to Krk, an island near Rblog12ijeka, where I spent the whole day walking around, trying out different restaurants and sun tanning by the beach. As my customary trip advisor search for dessert places, I came across this ancient bakery Casa Del Padrone. It was the best bakery in Croatia. The Duchess of Krk, which was their speciality was heavenly! Apparently, that was the same cake which used to be served to the Duchess of Krk in the olden days, hence the name. They also had a wide variety of chocolate truffles and pralines, which were again heavenly. It was like a pool of comfort. 

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CukariKafe, Rijeka (One of the most beautiful cafes I’ve been to. Also, our workspace)
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Bakery in Split
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Zijavica, Mošćenička Draga

I think the best meals I had was definitely in Hvar, an island on the Dalmatian Coast.

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Squid Ink Pasta, Zijavica

Fettuccine in white wine-garlic sauce with Shrimps & Truffles at Posteni is the BEST pasta I have ever eaten in my life! I cannot describe how delicious that dish was! ❤ Even the Spicy Mexican Burger at Spice was just amazing. So yeah, overall, Hvar had some really good food. My next memorable meal was in this tiny hotel in Plitvice. It was a typical Croatian meal, made in every household. It was warm, comforting and absolutely delicious. I was so happy with the meal that I ended up ordering all the desserts on their menu, haha. One of my favourite croatian dishes has to be the Scampi buzarra, made of the freshly caught Scampi, even though it’s a big task de-shelling the scampi. If you are a sea food lover and a wine lover (like I am), Croatia is the place for you!

While I was there, I felt like there’s something missing about the whole experience. I thought it could have been better. I wanted to meet more people, and make new friends. Now that I look back upon it, I think it was more about getting to know my own self. It wasn’t the perfect ideal experience I had been dreaming of from weeks. But honestly, I kinda like the reality version better. 🙂

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Just being themselves

 

Check out my video about my experience in Mošćenička Draga: Discover Kvarner

Note: I have so many beautiful photos to share with you guys. So I’m going to make a board on Pinterest and share it soon! Till then, happy reading! 🙂

Multigrain Oatmeal Cookies

Hiii guys! How is everybody doing?

For a lot of you who have been reading my blog would already know, and for all the first timers, I had a #favourite series going on throughout August, posting my all time favourite recipes. Now I couldn’t manage to get everything posted since I have quite a lot of all time favourites (:P), and also because I fell unwell. But I’m better now and I promise to post the rest of them over September. Yayy!

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Which brings me to this new post! I don’t usually make a lot of cookies, and I have no idea why. I mean, they are easy, quick and utterly delicious. Why would I not make them more often? I’m gonna now, starting with this one. It’s so sinfully delicious, with kinda less sin attached though haha. And it’s super easy & quick! Perfect with your morning cuppa of hot coffee! Let’s give them a try, shall we?

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Recipe adaptation: Pooja Dhingra’s The Big Book of Treats

MAKES: 10-12 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 120 gm salted butter
  • 90 gms dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 gms multigrain flour (can use whole wheat as well)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 20 ml boiling water
  • 80 gms cooking oats
  • 120 gms dark chocolate, chopped

 

METHOD

  • In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Fold the flour into the sugar-butter mixture, until combined.
  • Pour the boiling water into the dough and mix well.
  • Finally, add the oats and chocolate and knead into a dough. Wrap the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C for 10 minutes.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper. Make medium sized balls and flatten with your fingertips. Bake for 10-15 mins. Don’t over bake it as they will continue to cook a little as they cool.

 

If you like hearing from me, please hit the follow button. You can also follow me on instagram for more drooling pictures, updates and behind the scene stories!

Instagram handle: myyummyspatula❤