No fuss carrot cookie – cake bars

It’s a delicious combination of three different layers. The middle layer is mashed carrots sandwiched between cookie and cake. Between the layers the orange color gives a nice contrast whilst hiding the true –carrot- identity. Prior to this, I had tried to prepare a pie version of it by adding Graham crumbs as the base. But it was not appealing for some reason (I haven’t given up on that yet…I will be trying one more time :). Here the cookie dough as the base did a fantastic job by absorbing liquid content and kept the mixture intact between the layers while maintaining the consistency and taste throughout.

IMG-87656

It’s a great treat and comforting as well since it has vegetable as a one of the main ingredient :).  If your family has that one little fella who hates vegetable addition – it would easily mask that initial impression of vegetable added to it. In fact, soothing orange color in the middle does the ruse to do the appealing job! In the end, decorate with little whipping cream and chocolate glaze on top turns it into a decadent treat! Actually, caramel glaze goes far better than chocolate glaze. Unfortunately, I tried the chocolate version first and was hasty to capture the images. The next day when I tried it with caramel glaze, it tasted amazingly great! So I would recommend the caramel sauce 🙂

To get the firm yet soft base I used the cookie dough, over the cookie dough spread a layer of plain mashed carrots with a hint of pureed apple, and the final top layer is simple cake – a basic cake recipe would elegantly cover the top layer. It’s a very versatile no fuss cake or bar. When you bake it in a loaf pan, it’s easy to cut as bars. These bars are so great with coffee or tea. Or after meal, anytime!!

P1130060-0

For the bottom layer cookie dough
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the below dry ingredients and mix well.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
In a medium bowl, add the below ingredients and mix well until well blended.
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Add 1 egg to it and beat well. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Combine everything well.
For the mashed carrots
Simply boil few carrots in a pressure cooker with less water; probably a 1/4 cup of water plus steam would be enough. Or simply drain any excess water off, if there is any. As you mash it, add a tablespoon of apple puree. Honey or sugar for the sweetness, if desired and ya, if you’re more of a sweet gal/guy 🙂 Blend it well and mash it to a roughly smooth paste. Now, spread the mashed carrot mixture over the cookie dough, may be 1 inch thickness. It reduces to half as it bakes as the cookie dough absorbs the water content.
For the top layer cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs along with vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to it. Gently mix everything together.
Grease a loaf pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper. Spread the first layer - cookie dough and level it evenly. Do not press hard! Then, over the cookie dough, layer the mashed carrot mixture about 1/2 inch thickness. Final layer would be the cake batter over the carrot mixture for about 1/2 to 1 inch thickness. You need to gently spread the mixtures without disturbing the layer beneath. Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Advertisements

Apple pie crossover cake

Visiting orchards during summer is inevitable for me. Not just visiting but buying bags of fresh apples right from the garden makes me quell with joy. But all the joy disappears when I get home – the moment I see bags of apples waiting for my routine processing and packing. But I don’t entertain the nagging thought since I hate seeing spoiled apples! Hence I promptly designate a day just for apples! Then on, the job seems quite exciting, not a burdensome at all 🙂 It’s a one time job, after allJ. Anyhow, my freezer has a good amount of apple pie mix ready to use. And I have been baking pies all along!

P1120987-7

So I have been thinking of some new ideas to bring the best out of the apple pie mix I had in the freezer. Although many times the combination of pie and cake crossed my mind, the real motivation kicked in as I lay my eyes on graham cracker crumbs. In fact it needed a job, too. It was a half package all alone at the corner of the pantry. So for a change I paused and shifted to cake. Hence the idea of crossover cake which is a clever way of bringing three different layers of goodness!

P1120996-6

Since I didn’t have any guides to follow, timing was sort of tricky at first. In the end, it took about 40-45 minutes all along just as for a normal cake. Even though I was concerned about the bottom layer whether it stays well without burning or what if the pie mixture extends the moisture and ends up with a soggy lump! As luck would’ve it, everything stayed well and all the layers looked extremely elegant. As it bakes, the pie mix keeps the moisture throughout. So when it comes out of the oven you get a well layered perfect crossover cake in one shot!

Things needed are;

Graham cracker mix:
1 cup of graham cracker mix and 2 tbsp softened butter. Gently blend it into a coarse mixture.

Apple pie mix:
3 – 4 cups of peeled and sliced apples (mix of Granny Smith & Honey Crisp)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp softened butter
In a wide pan, add the apple slices along with rest of the ingredients. Cook over medium heat until   bubbly and soft, sort of thick consistency.

For the cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tbsp vanilla

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs along with vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to it. Gently mix everything together.

Grease a tart pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper. Spread the first layer – graham cracker mix and level it evenly. Then, over the cracker mix, layer the apple pie filling 1/2 inch thickness. Final layer would be the cake batter over the pie filling for about 1/2 to 1 inch thickness. You need to gently spread the mixtures without disturbing the layer beneath.

Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

pound cake

Our grandparents’ blissful treat – a slice of pound cake for all 🙂

Give me a slice of pound cake with just honey over it, or layer it with fruits and jam…It tastes heavenly! No matter what cake we enjoy, pound cake still has a special place all over the world. Our grandparents’ blissful treat handed over to generations… No mess or fuss; measurements are easy to remember – a pound of each ingredient, an easy way to remember the recipe.

IMG_5056-03

But over the period, tweaking took its toll and started to become sort of sophistically light and soft added with icings and investing creativity – which is very convenient of course. Yet the name stayed and the tweaking continued…

IMG_5064-02

Why the fuss, oblivious to the fact I followed the same road that gives me the option to bend it and sneak in the leavening agents to make it look slightly fluffier and soft. Still you get the dense and hard looking texture as you slow bake. Given the dense and hard texture, pound cake works well with anything. It is sort of quintessential if you’re a fan of layering. A fruit truffle when friends come over is so darn perfect.

The following are the measurements I have for pound cake. Work it around till you get a good grip of it.

Ingredients

All purpose flour 1 & 1/4 cups

Baking powder 1 tsp

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 stick butter

1 tsp vanilla

Grease a round cake pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. First, add the vanilla to the egg and then beat the egg mixture nice and airy. Next add the cream mixture. Then after, add the flour mixture. Gently mix everything together.

Transfer the batter into the pan and even the top with a smooth icing spatula. Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Banana cranberry loaf

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I started off to bake something lighter for the evening coffee after the Thanksgiving lunch. Then came the idea to jazz it up with some sort of contrast. I had a bag of dried cranberries in the refrigerator and an over ripe banana on the counter. What more, a bowl of butter icing on the other side of the counter begging to be part of my Thanksgiving series of snacks. I didn’t neglect none of their desires, incorporated everything well yet consistently. Mashed banana blended with softened butter, a layer of butter icing in the middle and crowned with delicious dried cranberries on top. Luck would’ve it, the loaf was a perfect match for the occasion. It was a hit and probably would recur more often.

P1120217-7

 

P1120217-7

Ingredients

All purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups

Butter, 1  stick, softened

White sugar, 3/4 cup

Egg, 2

Milk, 2-3 tablespoon

Honey, 1 tablespoon

Vanilla, 1 teaspoon

Baking powder, 1 teaspoon

Baking soda 1/2 tsp

Salt, 1/4 tsp

1/2 cup cranberries to sprinkle on top

Grease the loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mash the banana and add softened butter to it. Blend well.  Add it to the flour mixture. Then add eggs, vanilla and milk to the mixture. Mix well. Gently mix everything together.

Bake in 350°oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Moist Chocolate Muffins!

Just like an abstract art finally forms into something beautiful, the clueless raw additions in the bowl finally forms into delicious muffins  even though its baffling in the beginning.  That’s the first thought that came into my mind. Obviously I enjoyed baking these muffins.

Simple chocolate cake and muffins are sort of evergreen items that match with any snacks or any cuisine, a quintessential when children are around, or for a quick chocolate fix for anyone who adore chocolate!

The preparation is sort of simple and effortless and a must have in your repertoire.

Ingredients

All purpose flour  1 1/4 cups
Cocoa powder
Butter  1 ¼ stick, softened
White sugar  3/4 cup
Eggs 2
Milk  2-3 tablespoon
Honey  1 tablespoon
Vanilla  1 teaspoon
Baking soda  1 teaspoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon

Grease the muffin pan with cooking spray and place the cupcake liners in the pan.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine well

Then add the butter, honey, eggs and the vanilla extract. Combine well with a spatula.

Beat the mixture until its well combined. Add milk to it for a smooth consistency.

Fill 3/4th cups full. Bake in 350°oven for about 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the centre comes out clean.