Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge#3 - Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Its my third Daring bakers Challenge. I was feeling pretty confident after the last two challenges. And that was till I read this month's challenge.

This month's challenge is hosted by Chris at Mele Cotte . She chose Filbert Gateau with Praline ButterCream from Great Cakes by Carol Walter. The recipe was 6 pages long and had many steps. But the picture of the cake was just mouthwatering. I usually finish my challenge early. But this time I waited till the end to do it because of two birthday parties.
The only change I made to the cake was I used Cashew nuts(my fav nut) instead of hazelnut. I also skipped whipped cream since my family despises it. Seriously, they do :)

I did have some challenges though. The recipe called for a food processor. My friends would tell you that I DO NOT break rules. This helped me a lot when it comes to baking :) . So, I was ready to run to Walmart to get a food processor. But since I was not ready spend money for a food processor which I would probably not use after making the cake, I ditched the Walmart idea.

So, I just toasted the cashews and ground it like I did for the Opera Cake and mixed it with the cake flour and corn starch. Phew! one challenge down. The recipe also tells you pour the cake batter slowly and not to dump the clarified butter(ghee) into the cake batter. This would stop the cake from rising. And of course, in my haste to get the cake to the oven, I did exactly that. Needless to say, my cake did not rise well. I was so tempted to forgo dividing the cake into three lakes. Amazingly enough, I was actually able to cut the cake into three layers.

Now for the saga with pralines paste, I made the pralines as per the recipe. Then I realised that the recipe called for just 1/3 cup of it. So, I started making the pralines paste in small batches. Once I had the required 1/3 cup, I was 'generous' enough to distribute the 'Cashew Brittle' to my friends. I know, I'm a good friend :)

But even with all the mistakes and flops, the cake was just pure heaven.

You can find the full recipe here.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rajma Chapathi

After I found a really cool way to add protein to my chapatis, I have been trying out different types of beans and lentils. So, this time the experiment was on Rajma - Red Kidney beans. I had a vision of nice red chapatis. But the end result was not exactly the bright red I expected :) . But it tasted real good. Here is how I made it.

Rajma Chapati


Durum Atta - 1 cup
Cooked Rajma - 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
Oil/Ghee - 2 tsp
water - as needed


  1. Mix salt and atta together in a bowl

  2. Add oil and mix well

  3. Grind rajma to make a paste

  4. Add the paste to the atta mixture and mix well

  5. Add water if needed to make soft and pliable chapathi dough

  6. Coat it with oil, wrap it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 mins

  7. Take a lemon sized ball of dough and roll out the dough into a thick chapathi

  8. Heat tawa. You can apply oil or ghee if you want to.Place the chapathi on the hot tawa.

  9. Turn it over once you start seeing the bubbles form.

  10. Take it out once its cooked on both sides.

I served it with Chicken curry. It was a big hit with my family.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First Birthday

My baby girl turned one last weekend. She was not into any characters like Winnie the pooh or Einstein or anything like that. I usually buy some character themed cake for birthdays since I have never been confident in making good looking and good tasting cakes. I have to confess even though I bought the cakes, I was never thrilled about the taste. Since joining the Daring Bakers, my confidence has grown a lot. I was not going to buy a cake for my daughter when I can make one.
DH comes up with good ideas for cakes even though he doesn't know one end of the oven from another. But I balked when my DH suggested a 3D cake. 3D cake!! Was he kidding? Anyway, he got his way and I bought the Stand-up Teddy bear pan at our local Michaels. I was very apprehensive about the whole thing. The instruction sheet suggested I use box cake mix. I made my own pound cake batter which I have already blogged here. My heart was pounding the whole time the cake was baking. When the pan was cool enough to open, I made DH to open it :) . There was a teeny weeny hole near the Bear's neck. Other than that, the cake looked good.
Then came the task of decorating the cake. While I have worked with fondant, I have never worked with the different decoration tips and buttercream icing to actually decorate the cake. It took me around 4 hrs to decorate the whole cake. But it was time well spent. The cake looked awesome!!! By the time, I finished decorating the cake, the teeny weeny hole has disappeared :)) .
I also made a Mango Opera cake for the grown-ups. Both the cakes were a great hit with both the kids and adults alike.
Both the cakes were