Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kids 2nd Birthday

Old Mc Donald had a farm.. a moo moo here, oink oink here, ba ba here and a ba ba there this is all I heard the 2nd whole year so an attempt to recreate the scenery for the kids.

A white cake with Mango Mousse filling and fresh chopped mangoes. A perfect treat for the summer.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Chocolate Rum Tres Leche

Tres Leche a traditional mexican cake seems to be the most popular cake amongst people I know. I never had to heart to tell anyone that I never liked it. To be honest (being a bong) it feels like a cake soaked in Rasmalai and I always wondered why would you do that. My husband is ok ok with it so Jan being his birthday month he gets to throw a baking challenge my way. He picks his flavors and wants me to bake him something. This year however it was fairly descent challenge where all he told me was "Make me love Tres Leche".

So here is a Tres Leche with a twist. Disclaimer: people who love traditional Tres Leche try with caution. This one's bold and meant for experimental pallet.

After searching the internet I really liked this recipe and went with it completely. I am usually a rebel who doesn't follow recipes from the net. But this time decided to go with the recipe completely and it was a super duper hit. Off course made my own judgement on the sugar level, cream level and how much to soak. Also assembling the cake can be tricky since the cake is soaked and super duper moist.



For the cake:
         3/4 cup water
         2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
         1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
         1 3/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans
         2 teaspoons baking powder
         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
         1/2 teaspoon plus 1 pinch fine salt
         1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
         5 large egg yolks
         1/2 cup vegetable oil
         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
         8 large egg whites
         3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the tres leches:
         4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
        1/2 cup half-and-half
         1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
         1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (not nonfat)
         1/2 cup dark rum

For the filling and top coating:
         2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream
         1/2 cup powdered sugar
         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        Semisweet chocolate, for garnish


  • Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the sides and bottoms of 2 (9-inch) cake pans with butter. Cut 2 rounds of parchment paper and place in the bottoms of the pans. Butter the tops of the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess; set aside. 
Place the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, add the instant coffee, and stir until dissolved. Place the cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk in the hot coffee until there are no lumps. Let cool slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Sift the measured flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar into a large bowl; set aside. Place the egg yolks, oil, and vanilla in a separate large bowl and whisk until combined. Pour the cooled cocoa mixture into the egg mixture and gently whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth; set aside.
  • Place the egg whites, the remaining pinch of salt, and the cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until the egg whites begin to turn white and foamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, about 1 minute. Continue beating until stiff and glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes more.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir about one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the mixture. In two additions, gently fold in the remaining egg whites, making sure no white streaks remain but being careful not to deflate the whites. Equally divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake side by side, rotating halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then unmold the cakes onto the rack to cool completely. Wash the cake pans.
Using a serrated knife, trim a very thin layer from each cake top, just enough to even out the surface and expose the inside of the cake. Return the cakes to the cleaned cake pans; set aside.
Tres Leches:
  •             Place the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl. Place the half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring it just to a boil. Pour the half-and-half over the chocolate and let it sit until the chocolate has softened, about 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the condensed milk, evaporated milk, rum, and salt until smooth and combined.
  •             Divide the tres leches mixture into 2 equal portions. Starting with 1 cake and 1 portion, pour as much of the tres leches mixture over the cake as possible. Repeat with the second cake and tres leches portion. Set the cakes aside until they begin to absorb the mixture, about 20 minutes. Continue to add more of the mixture until all of it has been added, about 30 to 40 minutes more. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours, or freeze 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the cakes are easier to handle. (They may not completely absorb all of the mixture.)
  •             Turn the cakes out of the pans by inverting each onto a plate over the sink, as some unabsorbed mixture may spill out.
For the filling and to assemble:
  •             Place the cream in a chilled bowl and whip until slightly thickened. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until thickened and smooth.
  •             To assemble the cake, place 1 of the cakes on a serving platter. Using an offset spatula or long, thin knife, spread about one-third of the filling evenly on top. Place the second cake on top and evenly spread the remaining filling over the top and sides of the entire cake. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to let the whipped cream set.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Holiday Rum Balls

Rum Balls yet again for me brings back childhood memory of christmas times. Naoums made the best rum balls in my city and my association for rum balls always goes to that. However my recipe is heavily altered and has no cake in it.


  • Bittersweet chocolate chips - 14oz
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • Almond powder (optional)
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)


  • Melt the chocolate in double boiler. string in between ensuring it doesn't burn
  • Add caster sugar and stir well till sugar is completely mixed
  • Remove from heat and add the rum
  • Let it cool, refrigerate for 30 mins if required before rolling
  • Take a little rum in a bowl, some chocolate jimmies in another, shredded coconut
  • Roll the chocolate into balls, dip in rum and then roll in chocolate jimmies or shredded coconut and save for serving
  • Njoy!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an italian desert or I would like to think so as I only had it in Italian restaurants. I kind of liked the texture and taste especially whenn paired with a fresh raspberry sauce and some more berries thrown on it. Thus thought of giving it a shot.


  • 2 and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup skimmed milk
  • 1 sachet plain gelatin
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Mix gelatin with milk and keep aside
  • Bring sugar and heavy whipping cream to boil watching carefully so it's not burnt in the bottom
  • Add the milk and gelatin. Mix and turn the gas off
  • Add vanilla, let is settle down.
  • Pour in your serving dish, let it cool down to room temperature, then refrigerate it before serving.
Raspberry Sauce:
  • Boil water sugar and raspberry. 
  • Mix well till raspberry is completely blended and melted. Boil well. 
  • Strain and cool it down.
  • Drizzle on top before serving.  Chop some strawberry and serve with that

Bengali Sandesh

Ok I have been meaning to learn this recipe for a few years now from my aunts in New Jersey who are experts in bengali sweets. Finally this year during Thanksgiving break when I visited them I did learn it and tried it out. Needless to say this is the best we non resident bongs can do to make up for the gurer (jaggary) sandesh that we traditionally find in Kolkata in winter.


  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • few spoons of vinegar to make chin / paneer
  • 1/2 sachet of dry milk powder (substitue of maul milk powder found in India)
  • Jaggary or Gud / sugar / Succanat (my discovery replacement of jaggary - i used this)

  • Bring milk to boil
  • Turn of the gas and start adding white vinegar one spoon at a time only until the milk separates and curdles up to form chena
  • Let it cool and then strain in a muslin cloth. Was under running tap to rinse off any tartness form vinegar. Squueze excess water and then hang for few hours till all water's drained out
  • Now put it on a plate / bowl and add 1/2 sachet of dry milk powder and knead it well
  • Put it in a food processor and knee further more till it's smooth
  • Brush a little ghee in a nonstick pan and pour this. At this point add your sugar / jaggary / succanat and mix well in medium heat till it forms a lump and the sugar is melted.
  • Let it cool for 5 mins. Brush ghee on your palm and make round balls or shape it in any sort of mould you have and Njoy!!
Succanat: http://wholesomesweeteners.com/Products/product-detail/PId/8/Organic-Sucanat

A friend introduced me to this wonderful thing and ever since I discovered it I realized it's nothing but tastes like ground jaggary and it clicked. Trust me no one who tasted it figured out that I did not use jaggary at all. So all your jaggary lovers here is your substitute

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Peach Crumble Cake

Randomly made it for a warm summer party with fresh peaches that I found in our local farmers market. It was a super hit especially the flavor of peach and the crumble on top.

  • 1 packet white or yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cans peach or fresh peach


  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • In a baking dish first layer the dry cake mix powder
  • Drain syrup and dice and chop the peaches and layer them
  • Sprinkle some water
  • Spread 1 cup brown sugar on top
  • Cut butter in small pieces and pat on top as the final layer spreading evenly on the dish.
  • Bake for 45 mins or till top is brown. Sprinkle some additional warm water at this point if you think the cake powder still feels powdery in texture
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream.

Christmas Fruit Cake

Christmas always reminds me of the fruit cake that my city's (Kolkata) then renowned bakery (Naoums) always made. Loads of fruits soaked in rum for months made into a cake. One word for it was YUM. This year I just decided to finally make it since in U.S.A. I have hardly come across that traditional fruit cake for christmas.

So here is to memories of Naoums my tribute to you:

  • Fruits (plums, raisins, apricots, crystalized ginger, apple, cherries, walnuts – optional)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • Real Plum Rum / Drak Rum / Rum artificial Flavor
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs


  • Chop to bite size pieces and soak fruits in ½ cup orange juice / dark rum / plum rum at least overnight or longer (for rum I would prefer soaking for almost a month)
  • Preheat to oven to 350F and grease a baking pan and set aside
  • Sift together flours , baking powder
  • Blend together butter and sugar till soft and fluffy
  • Add ½ cup oranje juice, eggs (rum additional if you making it with rum) and mix well. For virgin add artificial rum flavor if required.
  • While letting the mixer run start adding flour slowly by a spoon and keep mixing till everything is mixed well and letting enough air to get in
  • Stop the mixer and now with a spatula add the soaked fruits and mix well till all in incorporated
  • Pour the mixture in a baking pan and bake for 2 hours or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Serve warm or stored.

Additional Steps for Rum Cakes:

  •  Once out of oven poke some holes on the cake and brush some rum and molasses all over.
  • Wrap is with a cheese cloth and then with a parchment paper and keep it for a day before serving.