Friday, January 20, 2012

Blueberry Walnut Cake

It's been very difficult to find blueberries here, in India, and so I asked an aunt to look out for some dried blueberries abroad. And lucky me, she brought me a pack of dried blueberries. I was so excited to bake this blueberry walnut cake. I did miss the plumpness of fresh, juicy blueberries as the dried berries had the texture and feel of raisins.They tasted very much like fresh blueberries though. So now, for all I care, I have blueberries in my pantry all year round and don't have to go hunting places for them.

It was a neat bake and and I was pretty happy with the result. A fairly easy recipe.
A moist cake with crisp walnut and chewy blueberries. This can be served plain or with fresh fruit.

  • Butter( at room temperature) - 1 stick( 115 gms)
  • Sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Eggs(large) - 3
  • Pure vanilla extract - 1 tspn
  • All purpose flour - 1-1/4 cup
  • Baking powder - 1 tspn
  • Baking soda - 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - 1/8 tspn(optional)
  • Milk - 1/3 cup
  • Walnuts - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Dried blueberries - 1/4 cup

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F( 177 C)
  • When the oven is preheating, put walnuts on a baking sheet into the oven. This will toast the walnuts. Remove after 3-4 mins. Set aside to cool. Once cool, give walnuts a rough chop.
  • Butter an 8" round cake pan or line it with parchment paper. Set aside
  • Seperate the eggs. Put egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside. Put the egg whites in a large, clean, dry bowl and beat the to stiff peaks and set aside.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolks one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Now add the flour mixture and mix. Stir in the milk until batter is smooth. (Do not over beat the cake batter as it will result in a hard cake).
  • Add the walnuts and the blueberries. Mix.
  • Fold in the egg whites gently into the cake.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test to see if the cake is done.(See note below).
  • If the cake is not done, reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F(135 C) and bake for 8-10 more mins.Repeat tooth pick test.
  • When the cake is done, let it rest in the cake pan for 10 mins.Then remove the cake from the cake pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: Take a tooth pick or a knife or a bamboo skewer and poke it till the bottom of the cake.If it comes out clean the cake is ready.If it comes out with wet cake batter, it needs additional time to bake.

Luv 'n' luc'

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Today, I am reposting my pannacotta recipe.

This is easily the simplest recipe for a pudding.You can totally astonish anyone with it. PANNA COTTA means cooked cream and COULIS is just a fruit puree. Panna cotta is an Italian cold dessert and as always........anything Italian never fails to make me go gaga... :) To me, panna cotta is a very versatile dessert.It can be made in various flavors and can be paired with any sweet sauce.With that said, today I am making one with pure vanilla extract which I think is a universally appealing flavor. Anyone who does not like vanilla(which I think is rare) can substitute it with a pinch of cardamom powder. For those of you who are not strawberry fans , you can try chocolate sauce, or any other fruit as per your taste(like mango, rasberry,mixed berry, orange etc) .Or even can have the panna cotta just the way it is.

WARNING : Once you see the beauty you have created, you may not have the heart to serve it to your family or guests. Just console yourself with the thought that this is such and easy recipe that you can make it, any time, in a jiffy. So go ahead and dive right in :)
INGREDIENTS :(serves 3-4)

  • Unflavored gelatin 1 (o.25 ounce) envelope -which equals to about 1 tbspn
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh strawberries - 2 cups (substitute with strawberry jam or preserve)
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbspn
  • Pudhina( mint) leaves - to garnish

DIRECTIONS(for panna cotta)

  • Pour warm milk into a small bowl and stir in the gelatin powder. Stir and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, pour heavy cream and stir in the sugar and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil, watching carefully, as the cream will quickly rise and overflow.
  • Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into six individual ramekins( small cups) or tea cups or one big bowl.( I have used a ramekin).
  • Cool the ramekins or the bowl uncovered at room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate(do not freeze) for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. To serve, see directions below.
DIRECTIONS (for the strawberry coulis)
  • Cut the strawberrys in halves and place them in a saucepan.Add sugar and stir on medium heat till the strawberry starts letting out its juices.If you are using fresh strawberries , you may have to add 3-4 tbspns of water to get the process started.
  • Stir gently, because you do not want he strawberry peices to break up and get mushy.We need a chunky sauce.Cook for a total of 5-6 mins till all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and cool well.Once it is cooled add the lemon juice.
There are 2 ways to serve panna cotta.

1) you can serve the pudding in the individual ramekins itself topped with the strawberry coulis. No need to unmould.


2) Unmould and serve.

Directions to unmould:

  • Dip the ramekins in hot water for 3 secs.
  • Run a knife gently around the sides of the pannacotta.
  • Take a large dessert serving plate and hold the plate with the palm of one hand and the bowl with the other and with a swift motion turn the pudding bowl upside down. Now, remove the bowl and u will see this beautiful, appealing, creamy-white panna cotta on your plate.
Wait , wait..........Don't pounce on it just as yet. One more step to go .Take your strawberry coulis and spoon it on top of the panna cotta. Garnish with some pudhina( mint) leaves.

It's ready now .

Luv 'n' luc



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