Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Best Chocolate Cake: Full Proof Chocolate Cake Recipe

Cake- I love cakes. Both baking and eating. Baking is a therapy and eating is pure indulgence. What’s the definition of a good cake? I asked this question to few of my friends and relatives. Cake should me beautiful, light, moist, fluffy, crumbly, not to eggy, rightly sweet and must make you forget your stress- were the answers. Honestly I don’t bake often and whatever I bake is with attention to detail. My cakes will taste good, they may not cater to all the characteristics mentioned above but the taste will always be fine.

Beautiful cake, I really don’t excel here. I can do simple icing and decorations but something too perfect and good looking is difficult for me to outcast. I have been baking Mr. Husband’s birthday cake for last 5 years and I love doing it for him. A home baked cake is so much better than those readymade ones. A home baked cake shows your love, passion and compassion. My cakes might lack that good looks but it will outshine any other beautiful looking cake in taste. I promise!!

For me, in this uncertain world, a good piece of cake is an undeniable pleasure. Period! My husband loves chocolate cake and that’s what I have been baking for him for all these years. Below are the cakes that I have made, also shows how my food photography has changed over years ;-)

A good chocolate cake. Now, everyone has the recipe that says this is the best chocolate cake-ever. I don’t want to brag that my cake is the best but what I want to explain is that everyone in this world should have one great recipe for chocolate cake that they can follow blindly. A simple recipe with handful of ingredients and this is my ‘that’ recipe.

A jaw-dropping chocolate cake- Moist sponge slabs layered with whipped cream and finally topped with coffee chocolate icing. If you are a serious chocolate lover then get ready for this ultimate chocolate cake recipe.

You can top it with any icing or just drizzle on some honey and enjoy. I made chocolate coffee ganache for this cake and it was super duper goooood (recipe coming soon). Serve the cake with tea, coffee or just enjoy whenever you want.

2 cups all-purpose flour/maida
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coffee
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup hot boiling water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven at 180C. Prepare 9 inch round pan. I used some butter to grease the pan.
In a bowl add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and coffee powder. Mix well. I used a electric beater and mixed these ingredients well.
Add milk, oil and vanilla to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Take one egg a time and mix/beat for 1 minute. Take another egg and beat well for 1 minute.
Mix water and beat the batter on high speed for 1 minute.
Pour the batter on the greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake. Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan and frost with your favourite icing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ape Snaks: Coconut Curls: Healthy Snacking

'Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.’ This quote has changed my life in many ways. A lot of motivation to take some important changes in life has now become a habit.  I have started taking baby steps toward good health and better living. Made some important changes in life- like drinking more water, not skipping breakfast, including one apple everyday in my diet and counting my steps.

It’s believed that little workout or exercise is very important for everyone. On weekends I would generally do yoga, lunges, squats and some jumping jacks but on weekdays I hardly get time. So I decided to count my steps; everyone in London who travels by tube walks a lot and if you count your steps you will be motivated to reach and walk more. 10,000 steps a day is my target and I am counting it through a device called Up by Jaw. It’s a small device that is paired with my phone and it tells me everything-my steps, my sleep and also my calorie count. I stay so motivated with this that some day when my steps are low, I would get up and start walking for some time-be it in office or home.

Another thing, please choose your food wisely. Choose salad and fruits over smoothie; choose hummus over ketchup; baked chips over fried ones-oh there are so many such examples. That’s why when Ape Snacks approached me for a review I said yes in one go. The brand was the brainchild of young entrepreneur, Zack Nathan, who is on a mission to make snacking better in the UK. He explains, “With the explosion of “healthy” snacks over the past few years, Brits are clearly hungry for something that they can genuinely feel good about eating; consumers are moving away, rightly so, from traditional fried snacks and are starting to appreciate the numerous health benefits of nature’s wonderful coconut. What we do is provide both these benefits in an easy-to- eat format that is perfect for on-the- go snacking. We know consumers will love our genuinely delicious, but actually healthy, snacks!”

This summer ditch the crisps and pass on the popcorn, as there’s a new deliciously healthy snack in town, coconut curls from ape. Not only are ape snacks completely natural, they contain just two products; 100% coconut and seasoning. Plus they are gluten free, count towards your 5 a day and have no more than 109 calories per packet, so you can munch happy! A great choice for health-conscious snackers, coconut lovers and picnic goers.

The curls are thinly sliced directly from the coconut before being slowly dried to retain their natural flavor and nutritional goodness. They are not fried, have no added sugars or chemicals - and they are even crunchier than chips.These coconut curls, my steps counting device, earphones and walk-just made my life complete. Other ways that I am going to try and use these snacks are on my porridge, salads, soups, rice and pasta. You can use it my following recipes:

-Add in kiwi yogurt dip to add crunch
-sprinkle curls on burnt garlic  pasta
-skip papadamos and serve along rice and curry
-Sprinkle on Strawberry Lassi
-Roll it put with wraps or use it in tacos.

Ape’s coconut curls are available in two flavours: Lightly Salted and Slightly Peppered, with a third variant set to be released in the near future. They are available from Co-Op; Ocado; Whole Foods; PlanetOrganic; As Nature Intended; Harvey Nichols and Revital.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Ape Snacks  for sending the packets for review.