Fruit and Nut Cake - Lowfat and Vegan

Only four days left and I couldn't wait any longer to eat some fruitcake. I do have a batch of fruits soaking in the fridge for a cake I plan to bake in a couple of days and ship to my brother. This cake I made just for us. What I love about this recipe is that there's no oil or butter and there's jaggery and whole wheat flour and tons of fruits and nuts and they don't really have to be soaked in advance. The only labor involved is the chopping of the nuts and fruits. The flavor of the cake gets better as it matures, but I had to take pictures so we cut the cake the same day, yet it was rich and moist. This cake is a wonderful guilt free treat!
Recipe from Jugalbandi.

Vegan Lowfat Fruit and Nut Cake

100 gms dark raisins
125 gms mixed dried fruit, chopped
225 gms mixed nuts, roasted and chopped 
1/2 cup rum
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce/ oil
1/2 cup grated jaggery
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 tsp nutmeg powder
1/3 tsp cinnamon powder
1/3 tsp cloves powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp orange/ lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Take the dried fruits, water, rum, applesauce, sugar, jaggery, spice powders, salt and orange zest in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Take off from heat and add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C and grease a 12 cup bundt pan.
Whisk the flour and baking soda together. As soon as the dried fruits mixture comes to room temperature, fold in the flour and nuts. 
Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 40 mins or till done in the center of the oven.
Cool in the pan for 10 mins and then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely. 
Brush the cake with some rum if desired and store covered in the fridge. The flavor of the cake improves after a couple of days.

1. Use dried fruits and nuts according to your taste. I used 50 gms currants and 25 gms each of dates, apricots and prunes. I also used a mixture of almonds and walnuts.
2. If whole wheat pastry flour is not available, use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour.
3. I used jaggery for better color and taste. You could also use all brown sugar.
4 For an alcohol free version skip the rum and use orange juice instead.

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Cake (Eggless)

We celebrated our 5th anniversary last month. 5 years sounds like such a long time and yet I remember all the details of our wedding like it were only yesterday. I guess we never forget our most special moments:). Manoj surprised me with the best gift ever, my first SLR!! God, I screamed so loud and it was midnight, I'm sure I scared some neighbours:). I can finally stop borrowing from my neighbor!!
 I had friends coming over in the evening, there was dinner to prepare and so much more to do, but all I wanted to do was play with my new toy :). Ironically I was so busy until the last moment, I couldn't click any pictures of the food. Thankfully the cake was made the previous night and the first thing I did in the morning was take pictures of it.
I have been thinking of making a mousse cake for such a long time now. It had to be eggless (a jain couple among friends). I wanted to go chocolate as usual, but another friend is not a fan of chocolate (I know, Incomprehensible!!!) and is always disappointed when it comes to desserts at our home. So I went with strawberry for her and to make me happy I added a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate mousse in the middle. For the cake base, I made a strawberry version of the custard powder snack cake I posted before this. I used strawberry custard powder, the cake had only a slight strawberry flavor, but yummy, and the color was what got me excited...such a beautiful pink!! Since the cake will be refrigerated, it has to be soaked really well with syrup. Some parts of my cake were not soaked that well, so was a little firm for a  mousse cake, so be really generous with the syrup! The end result was one fabulous and delicious dessert, all gone by the end of the evening, except for one slice I saved for a picture.

Eggless Strawberry Mousse Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup strawberry flavored custard powder
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150 gm butter (very soft)
1 cup milk

Strawberry Mousse:
16 oz strawberries, washed and hulled or use frozen
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tbs gelatin
2 cups heavy cream

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse:
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
3/4 cup cream
1/2 tsp gelatin
1 tbs water

Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Strawberries - washed, hulled and sliced for decoration
Some melted chocolate for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line a 9" round spring form pan.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the vanilla, milk and butter and mix until smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake till done, about 35-40 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 10 mins and then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.
It's best to bake the cake a few hours or even a day in advance. Wrap the cooled cake well in saran wrap and store in the fridge.

Simple Syrup:
Heat the sugar and water on medium heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool the syrup.

Chocolate Mousse:
Take 1 tbs water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Keep aside to soften. Heat 1/4 cup of cream till it just begins to boil. Pour over the chocolate. Mix well, if the chocolate has not melted completely heat for a few seconds in the microwave. Mix well till smooth and lump free.
Heat the bowl of gelatin over a double boiler till the mixture is transparent and the gelatin has completely dissolved. Add it to the chocolate mixture and stir well. Keep aside and let it come to room temperature. Do not let it set.
Whip the remaining cream till it just begins to hold soft peaks. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cooled chocolate and whisk gently to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Strawberry Mousse:
Wash and hull the strawberries. Heat the strawberries and sugar in a pan, until the fruit has broken down and the sugar has dissolved. Strain the mixture to remove the seeds and pulp and return to a clean sauce pan. Add the gelatin to the strawberry sauce and heat until the gelatin has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Whip the cream till it just begins to hold soft peaks (do not over whip). Fold in the cooled strawberry mixture gently into the whipped cream.

Assembling the cake:
Level the top of the cake. Spray the cake with syrup or spoon the syrup on the cake until it is moist, but it should bot fall apart. The cake should feel very moist. Place the cake inside the spring form pan that it was baked in.
Keep the strawberry slices along the sides of the pan. Spoon the chocolate mousse over the cake and spread it to form an even layer. Cover the pan with a saran wrap and refrigerate while you make the strawberry mousse.
Spoon the strawberry mousse evenly over the chocolate layer. Drizzle some melted chocolate over the mousse. Again wrap the pan with the plastic wrap and refrigerate till set, about 4-5 hours. Carefully run a paring knife along the sides of the pan to remove the cake. Enjoy your fabulous dessert. The cake can be stored covered in the fridge for upto 2 days.

Entries to Foodography Photo Contest

Sending in my entires pictures to Foodography Photo Contest at Beloved Star. Head over to the wonderful blog to participate.

Eggless Custard Powder Snack Cake

I am always excited to try an eggless cake, but very often the results are disappointing. The first ever cake I tried was with condensed milk and I found it too sweet and dense and it just didn't appeal to my taste, the chocolate version wasn't so bad though.

There are several other egg substitutes that I have yet to bake with, especially want to try something with vinegar. This custard powder cake though is another story. I had seen it at Aparna's blog and have it bookmarked since ages and I don't know why I waited so long to try it.

The cake looked so good out of the oven we couldn't resist cutting into it immediately. Only after a couple of slices did I remember that I had to take pictures. This is definitely one of the best sponge cakes, it was so light you wouldn't think it was eggless!! I loved the taste (am a vanilla custard lover), the texture and just about everything. I baked it in a bundt and drizzled some chocolate sauce over it for some added yummmm!!

Eggless Custard Powder Snack Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup vanilla flavored custard powder (I used Brown and Polson)
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150 gm butter (very soft)
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and flour an 8" round pan or a small bundt pan.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the vanilla, milk and butter and mix well until smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake till done. My bundt took about 35 minutes. It will take longer in a round pan, so check at about 35 mins.
Cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.

Sending this to Cakes for Christmas, Let's Cook-Baked Goodies, Christmas NewYear's Eve 2011, Global Food Festival, Bake Fest, Snacks Mela, Only Cookies and Cakes, Serve it Baked Sweet     

Whole Wheat Honey Pancakes

I have a big bottle of honey in my pantry, that's just begging to be used. Any suggestions??? I've been trying out a few dishes and these pancakes are my favorite so far. Pancakes are one of the easiest dishes to prepare, and we just love them. Even Anushka, who is other wise a very picky eater, doesn't turn her face we have pancakes almost every weekend, or atleast she does!
I tried this recipe from Simplebites for the first time last month. The pancakes are fluffy, moist and just plain delicious. There's only a little butter and I think buttermilk does the trick. I doubled the amount of honey and yet they are not really sweet. So feel free to dunk them with your favorite syrup...I always use pure maple syrup, you can also checkout some great syrup recipes out here.

Whole Wheat Honey Pancakes

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tbs butter, melted
4 tbs honey

Whisk all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.
Whisk all the wet ingredients in another bowl until well combined.
Add the wet to the dry and whisk only until just combined, lumps are okay, do not over mix.
Heat a griddle over medium heat and grease lightly with oil or butter.
Spoon batter about 1/3 cup at a time. Cook till the edges are set and you see lots of bubbles on the surface, 3-4 mins. Flip and cook until golden brown, about two minutes.
Serve warm with your favorite syrup.