Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake - Cocoawind

It had been a while that I had baked a cake. Like a real chocolate cake. Rich. Decadent. Chocolate Cake. And slathered it with chocolate frosting. Rich. Decadent. Chocolate Frosting. I had been toying with the idea of trying out a whole different chocolate cake recipe from the ones I usually make and had zeroed in on this delicious Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe by Nigella Lawson. But had been procrastinating as usual.

We had guests for dinner this Friday plus Kamalika of Silence Sings (a fellow KFBian) is our featured blogger for the event of  the week - Chef's Challenge where we make or bake a recipe of our favorite chef/celebrity chef. Two birds with one stone - the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake was the perfect dessert for Friday dinner and for the KFB event.

We enjoyed slices of this decadent chocolate cake with piping hot coffee for Saturday breakfast - an indulgence, I know but we totally deserved it after a super-busy and hectic week. We woke up late, ate frosted chocolate cake for breakfast and stayed in as it was just too hot to venture out. 

Here's the recipe of Nigella Lawson's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake with a couple of tweaks here & there. 

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake - Cocoawind

Ingredients for the Cake: (about 8 to 10 servings)
  • All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 Cup
  • Sugar - 1 Cup
  • Unsweetened Cocoa - 1/3 Cup, go for a good quality one
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Instant Coffee granules - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Butter - 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 Cup/12 tbsp
  • Eggs - 2, large at room temperature
  • Sour Cream - 2/3 Cup
  • Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp

Ingredients for the Icing/Frosting (enough to fill and frost a 9 inch cake, with some leftover)
  • Semi-sweet chocolate - 6 ounces, broken into small pieces
  • Unsalted Butter - 3/4 stick or 6 tbsp
  • Confectioners Sugar - 2 1/2 cups (plus a little more)
  • Sour Cream - 1/2 Cup
  • Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
  • 1 tablespoon of strong coffee
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease (with butter or oil spray) and dust 2 8 inches or 9 inches round pans with flour or cocoa powder and keep aside. I like to line the bottom of my pans with parchment paper, too. 

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (except sugar) - flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee granules and salt.

In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together till creamy and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Now add the dry ingredient mix in batches and mix till everything comes together into a smooth mixture. 

Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. Start checking at the 25 minute mark and keep adding few minutes of bake time till done. Insert a tooth pick or a skewer in the middle of the cakes and if it comes out clean, your cake is done. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to let the cakes cool down completely - that is when you can frost it. 

While the cakes are cooling, make your frosting. 

In a microwave safe bowl, heat up the chocolate pieces and butter for about 30 seconds. Take it out and give it a quick mix. If you see some solid pieces of chocolate put it back in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. Take it out and whisk gently till the chocolate pieces melt and you have yourself a shiny melted chocolate concoction. Let it cool.

Once the chocolaty mix has cooled down, add one tablespoon of cooled down coffee to it. The original recipe uses  light corn syrup - my bottle of corn syrup was way past its prime to I skipped it. Plus I love how a little bit of coffee kicks up the chocolaty taste a couple of notches. Now gently fold in the sour cream and vanilla extract. 

Using a fine mesh strainer. sieve the confectioners sugar into a bowl. Fold in the chocolate-sour cream mixture and mix till everything comes together. Add a little more icing sugar or little more strong coffee till you reach your desired consistency. 

Use a little bit of frosting to secure one cake to the base. Slather it generously with the frosting. Then place the second layer of cake on it. Slather more frosting. Now using your offset spatula keep pushing and spreading the frosting out till it starts dripping over the sides. Smooth and style as you go. I kept mine simple. 

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake - Cocoawind

Tip 1: Before I add the frosting, I stick strips of parchment paper under the cake to catch the wayward drips of frosting. 

Tip 2: The frosting should be spreadable but not dripping. Add little more icing/confectioners sugar if your frosting is too runny or a little bit of boiling coffee or water if it is too thick. 

Cut a big slice and enjoy as a dessert or with a hot cup of coffee. 

I am sending this to Kolkata Food Blogger's ongoing event

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cherry Milkshake with Almond Milk

Cherry Milkshake with Almond Milk

I bought couple of pounds of cherries to make cherry liqueur but the almost 7 yo and I ended up munching on a bunch of it. Since I had no plans of going to the grocery store anytime soon to pick up more cherries... it is just too hot... I made Jalapeno infused Vodka instead and used up the last couple of handfuls of cherries in this yummy Cherry Milkshake with Almond Milk. Of course, you can use any milk of your choice - chocolate milk might be a good idea too. 

The husband is not particularly fond of cherries, so I made just enough for the two of us. We chilled indoors since it was too hot to venture out, read books that we had picked up from the library and enjoyed tall glasses of a very yummy and indulgent Cherry Milkshake with Almond Milk while the husband watched soccer matches on his phone over a bowl of ice cream. 

Cherry Milkshake with Almond Milk

Ingredients: Serves 2
  • Vanilla Ice cream - 6 generous scoops
  • Almond Milk - 1/2 Cup, cold
  • Pitted Cherries - 1 Cup
  • Whipped Cream for garnish
  • Chocolate Syrup for garnish

Add the cherries to the mixer and give it a few pulses. Pour in the milk and once again give it a couple of pulses. Scoop out and add the vanilla ice cream to the blender and mix till everything comes together. Pour into glasses, top it with some whipped cream, drizzle a little chocolate sauce and do not forget to put a cherry on top! Hah!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Corn on the Cob in the oven

Corn on the Cob in the oven - Cocoawind

Roasted corn on the cobs. Cue childhood memories galore with a hearty dose of nostalgia. I absolutely loved eating coal-fire roasted corn from the street side vendors. But Ma did not always approve of it, citing hygiene reasons. So Baba would buy corn ears from the local market and Ma would roast it for me on the flames of our gas burner. It would be very close but the charred on charcoal fire is something else altogether.

Sometimes I get these strong cravings for Kolkata street side food.. the ones that are my favorites that is. During a quick trip to Wholefoods, I came across these gorgeous corn ears and what instantly transported to my childhood. I could almost taste

Now we do not have gas burners in our apartment and I dare not try it on the electrical coils of our burner. Neither are we permitted to use a coal fire grill in our second floor patio. So the closest I could get was to make oven roasted Corn on the Cob in the oven. It wasn't the real deal but it still tasted pretty awesome!

A quick search on the internet regarding the roasting time and 40 minutes later I had these beautifully roasted corn on the cobs which perfectly complemented the Chicken Kebabs that the husband made for dinner.

Corn on the Cob in the oven - Cocoawind

  • Corn on the cob/Corn ears - 3 (or as many as you want), husked and 
  • Butter - melted, enough to brush the corn ears
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges
  • Chaat Masala for sprinkling on the corn (optional)
  • Red Chili Powder/Harissa Powder, Smoked Paprika for sprinkling on the corn (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt a little butter and brush the corn ears generously. Season the corn on the cobs with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place them on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake them for about 35 to 40 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so.

Once done, hit it with a squeeze or two of lemon juice, dab a little more butter if you wish, sprinkle with chaat masala, red chili powder or any seasoning of your choice and serve.

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