Baking | Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake … wholesome and delicious #wholegrain #cake #chocolate

“Always keep a smile on your, a rainbow in your heart, and some dark chocolate on hand!”

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake … seems like a load of dark chocolate and wholegrain happening on PAB of late. That’s where my heart lies. Whether it’s brownies, cookies or biscotti or then cake, wholegrain is the preferred choice, and often dark chocolate the perfect partner in crime!

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake I must confess that I begin with ‘no chocolate‘ in my intentions, but somewhere along the way cocoa and chocolate find their way into the mix or batter. It’s happened umpteen times, and now I wonder if I function on ‘auto chocolate’?

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake So this Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake is inspired by the Muscavado Sugar Cake in a brilliant book ‘Good To The Grain‘. I bought the book a few years ago, and it continues to hold pride o f place on my book shelf. I might not bake out of it often, but its a constant source of inspiration alright. Just leafing through the pages gets my creativity going!'food-o-graphy' by Deeba Rajpal. A Food Styling workshop at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014Talk about inspiration. So while I was making the cake, unsure of course whether it would work out fine or not, I thought I’d experiment with the styling.  I sometimes find chocolate challenging to shoot so figured I would experiment a little. You see I am headed off to the IFBM in Bangalore to host a food styling workshop. With just a clutch of days to go, the butterflies in my stomach flutter non stop.

Food Styling @ PABIt’s just an hours workshop and my first dedicated food styling one. I am super excited and want to cram everything I know into that one precious hour. That’s not going to happen of course, but I am trying. Food styling is so personal, it reflects a bit of you, yet it is so infinite.

food photographyThat’s the thing about food photography. Just keep experimenting with different, styles, different porps, changing light… it’s this practice that helps you grow. The possibilities are infinite. Much like the pleasure you get from seeing the results! So while the recipe is to feed the blog, the few different snapshots head off to the IFBM!

Wholegrain baking I enjoy using wholegrains in my recipes, and this one is a hearty and delicious one. Getting amaranth in there made it even better. You can experiment with different combinations, even skip the cocoa like in the original recipe from the book. Oh yes, and try and use unrefined mineral sugars. Make it a habit. I have!

 

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Baking | Peaches & Cream Cake … light summer cake. Trifles too. #stonefruitlove #dessert # cake #summer

“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C.

Peaches & Cream CakeIt was a Peaches & Cream Cake for my father’s birthday last week. Everything was going according to plan,and I toyed around with summer cake ideas in my head. Summer is for stone fruit, and the cake would most certainly have some! Peaches! I had a kilo of them in the fridge. Cream? Yes of course; there’s always some on hand. Time for peaches and cream!!

Peaches & Cream Cake Despite knowing that whipping cream in miserable summer heat is sure to fail, I marched ahead. At 43C, life was never going to be a cake walk in the record breaking heat and humidity we have had this summer. That the rains failed added to my misery. 75% humidity and everything looks like it’s condensing! Not the best weather to work with cream cakes in …… Peaches & Cream Cake 4…and then it was time for a power breakdown. It had been assembled but a cake needs chilling you know. I stuck the cake into the fridge and we finally left for dinner. The cake survived as power was back when we returned. I thanked my lucky stars that it held together until we cut it, well almost. It was YUM! Oh, did I tell you I never got to my kilo of peaches? Peaches & Cream Cake 3Yes that happened too. With all the unnecessary drama of no power, I just reached out for a tin of canned peaches; probably my best idea that day. Another good idea was the  Crème patisserie I made for the frosting … finger licking good.

Dell Venue 8 Pro TabletI also forgot to charge the camera battery. So there I was, ready with the cake waiting to be shot… and a dead battery! I could have wept. Some luck though came by way of this magical Dell Venue 8 Pro Tablet that Dell sent me to review. It had been delivered a few hours before! The first thing I did was grab the sleek piece of technology and take a few pictures with it’s fab 5.0 mega pixel camera.

Peaches & Cream Cake It’s a thing of beauty, the Dell Venue 8 Pro Tablet. Light, well designed and FAST, it’s got a crystal clear touch screen, and a dual {front and back} camera. I’ve got as far as using the camera, and then editing the pictures with the in-built basic editing tools. The editor is quite snappy and fun, and delivers a good end result. The 5MP front camera did the job that moment in time … and I hurriedly updated the recipe into the tablet too. The processor is FAST, actually an ultrafast Intel® Atom™ processor Z3740 (up to 1.8GHz Quad-Core).Peaches & Cream Trifles A great battery life, easy to use with Windows 8.1, and very light, you are going to read more about this piece of art in the near future. Oh did I tell you about the peace of mind it gave me while I was working in the kitchen. Dell’s optional Accidental Damage Service ensures your tablet stays protected. Rest easy. They promise to repair or replace your device in case of accidents, like spills, drops, falls or electrical surges.

Peaches & Cream TriflesI saved some cream and peaches; enough to make a few trifles. Layered the same way as the cake, they were fun to assemble … and eat of course! The goblets are one of my favourites from Urban Dazzle. I use them often for different stuff like Dark Chocolate Mousse, Peach Lime Coolers & Stone Fruit Salads.

Peaches & Cream Trifles

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Baking | Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake …. delicious mouthful!

“Some of us come on earth seeing.
Some of us come on earth seeing color.”
Louise Nevelson

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake … a bake that ended my bout of lack of inspiration. The heat and humidity is killing. Back from Leh, an exhausting trip that was messed up by the travel agent, didn’t seem to make life better. It was a trip I had waited for forever … then came the mail a few hours before we were due to leave about an error in bookings their end! Try that at 11000ft, tired teens, rarefied oxygen levels …. just didn’t work!

Leh, Kashmir 2015The past few months have seen my nose to the grinding stone, trying to make up for lost time. A project to be completed, the daughter to be packed off to uni, loads of emails in the things to do, a few small things in the pipeline … and then the everyday meals, laundry, grocery, dog etc. Of course hungry teens at home for summer vacation didn’t seem to make life easier.

PlumsThis was a few days before she left. They were hungry yet again. There is this time in the afternoon between 3 and 4 that some hunger goblins visit our home. I wish I could turn invisible at 3 o clock! Really do. Those goblins have surfaced without fail for the past month. I decided to beat them to it.

resh plums, summer stone fruitI had plums in the fridge… and thoughts of a whole wheat fresh plum cake I had made last year! It was time to work on those lines. A last minute thought made me save some whipped egg whites for the top; wanted to make a visually fun cake. Little did I know that when it would bake, it would endlessly remind me of our trip to Leh.Leh, Kashmir, IndiaWhy? Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw when we landed in Leh. To our mind, we were going into the mountains, at 11000 feet, the majestic Himalayas which would be GREEN and snow topped. 11000ft to me meant more snow that would exceed any we had seen when we visited Srinagar, Kashmir in March. Leh, Kashmir 2014Boy were we gobsmacked. I think we didn’t realise that Leh is a cold dessert. I could’ve never imagined those endless mountains of mud, rock and BROWN! Very National Geographic, very awe inspiring, very unlike what we expected.Leh, Kashmir 2015 That’s not to say the view wasn’t stunning. It certainly was. Still this cake reminded me so much of the vast rocky terrain. Mountains higher than one can imagine, and all made of mud, rocks, actually HUGE boulders, and in many places not a spot of vegetation…

Leh, Kashmir 2015… until we reached where we were booked to stay. On the way to the beautiful Nimmu House, which we eventually got to after the travel agent messed up our bookings, we even saw something like a Grand Canyon. Nature never fails to astound!

Leh, Kashmir 2015 Such a vast terrain, never ending mountains, beautiful wooden gates, doors I could pack and run away with, windows too.Leh, Kashmir 2015 Rustic outdoors that left you wanting for more, more than the eyes could capture. Fresh mountain air as clean and crisp as could be. The landscape was unreal at times, took my breath away …. yet left me with ‘brown’ stamped in my mind.

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake And then the tray bake happened, just on the go. One look at it and it was an uncanny feeling. It reminded me of the Leh landscape in so many ways. Unexpected, rustically beautiful {in my eyes}, with unusual tones the brown sugar meringue picked up with the dark chocolate melting into it.

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake One bite later and it was pure joy. Moist, deeply chocolaty, delightful plum undertones, what a fun bake this tuned out to be. Must have been the plums that created some berry like magic in there.

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake There’s still some summer left here in the plains you are enamoured by stone fruit like me. Go grab some plums and begin experimenting. You never know how yummy life might get! Plums, peaches and cherries will soon be gone, and I will sadly miss them. We are looking at a long extended hot season though…sadly, the rains have failed to show up!

Dark Chocolate Fresh Plum Wholewheat Meringue Tray Bake Have you ever made a cake inspired by landscape or a vacation? Would love to hear about it!

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