Bloggers Table | Cooking a tale with Aditya Bal … and a Pineapple Mascarpone Birthday Cake!

“When we eat together, when we set out to do so deliberately, life is better, no matter what your circumstances.”
Thomas Keller

Aditya Bal Meet, VedaThe Bloggers Table recently took us to Veda to meet cookbook author Aditya Bal over his new cookbook on Indian cuisine, Chakhle India Cookbook. As expected, Aditya turned out to be a warm, friendly guy, quite the gentleman, eager to hear from the bunch of us and looked ready for bouquets and brickbats.  And as expected again, we had LOTS to say!Aditya Bal @ Veda

Photo courtesy Sid Khullar

It was nice to see him there on time, something a bit of a rarity in Delhi. Veda is a high end fine dining restaurant owned by celebrity Indian fashion designer Rohit Bal,  who happens to be the authors uncle. Aditya Bal Meet, VedaWe held ‘court’ at a large table in the centre of the rather opulent restaurant which is done up in red and black, lots of it, quite Gothic. Loads of bling too! The lighting and ambiance too dark, the interiors overpowering and ‘busy’, almost garish. Didn’t do much for my sense of aesthetics if you know what I mean. What did I like about the place? The tables … stunning with exquisite black and white inlay work. Aditya Bal Meet, VedaExchanging notes, we learned that quite a few recipes were off the mark with ingredient measures. Not good news for beginners in the kitchen. I  realised that while cooking from the book, I had made an error. In my own space, somewhere along the way I eyeballed the spice  measures  or used my “andaaz“.  Aditya took the feedback positively, though most flack was passed to the publishing house and TV channel who were seemingly in a hurry to get the book into print!Aditya Bal Meet, VedaNothing much to write about the food that night. Didn’t do too much for the tastebuds, other than the cawliflower manchurian and palak ke patte ki chaat {crisp flash fried spinach leaves served in Indian street food style}. The rest of the food was meh, pretty standard everyday fare and disappointingly mediocre. Don’t even get me started off on the dessert! It was kulfi, or rather half a kulfi, with a pasty-ish end taste? How much can you get wrong in a kulfi???

What brought the evening together was the incessant banter from the food bloggers …and their better halves. As always, we enjoyed each others company. Aditya patiently heard us out, took notes, talked about this book, his future plans, his love for Goa, his passion with cuisine, French food  … his pretty Russian wife escaped the boisterous group soon!Pineapple Mascarpone Cake The evening ended with a cake! It was Sangeeta’s birthday the next evening and I proposed earlier that we surprise her with a cake.  Smart Sid took it further and proposed ‘WE’ bake her one; so yours truly baked her a Pineapple Mascarpone Cake. It’s been ages since I made one, so I did a dry run first. For the frosting and filling I used homemade mascarpone which I made to ‘test the recipe sans a candy thermometer’ for Sneha, a reader of my blog. Came out GREAT!Homemade mascaponeThe cake was nice {if I may say so myself}. We exchanged plants, seeds, herbs, sourdough starters, sang happy birthday while Sangeeta did the honours at Veda…  and tripped out quite a happy bunch! Aditya was sporting enough to dig into the cake before he bade us adieu! Good luck to him for his next book ‘Kachche Raste‘!Pineapple Mascarpone Cake

When Sid suggested a pineapple cake, which is Sangeeta’s flavour of choice, I bought a tin of Del Monte pineapple slices. The mascarpone was because of Sneha, a reader of PAB. Coincidentally, Indiblogger is holding a contest with Del Monte, so this post is off to them. This cake wouldn’t have been here had it not been for blogging!! It celebrates food, blogging, friends, the Bloggers Table … all good things in life!

 [print_this]Recipe: Pineapple Mascarpone Birthday Cake your picture

Summary: Light and fresh, a pineapple mascarpone cake is a nice make ahead birthday cake. Cut it into slices and it’s a welcome addition to the tea table.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours {plus cooling/chilling time}
Ingredients:

  • Sponge
  • 5 eggs {250g}
  • 125g powdered sugar {half the weight of eggs}
  • 125g plain flour {half the weight of eggs}
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 5ml/1tsp pineapple essence
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Filling/Topping
  • 400ml cream {low fat 25% fat}, chilled
  • 300g mascarpone
  • 3-4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1tsp pineapple essence
  • 1 tin Del Monte pineapple slices

Method:

  1. For the sponge
  2. Preheat oven to 190C {reduce to 180C 10 mins after putting the cake in}. Line a 8″ cake tin with parchment paper, base and sides.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
  4. Beat the eggs and powdered sugar well an electric beater till mousse like {7-10minutes on high}
  5. Add pineapple essence and vanilla extract and beat for another minute.
    Gently fold in the sifted flour mix, in 3-4 goes, folding lightly so that air doesn’t escape.
  6. Turn gently into tin and bake for about 30 mins till done/ until a tester comes out dry.{Don’t overbake else sponge will not be moist}
  7. Cool on rack for 5-7 minutes, gently remove from tin, cool completely and cut into 3 horizontal layers..
  8. Filling/Topping
  9. Chop the pineapple bits into tiny pieces,and reserve some bigger bits for the topping {or use a tin of Del Monte bits}
  10. Whip 400ml whipping cream with icing sugar and pineapple essence until thick and holds peaks.
  11. Lightly whisk the mascarpone to loosen it, and beat/whisk into the whipped cream. Taste and adjust sugar if required.
  12. Reserve half for icing the top.
  13. Fold in the chopped pineapple bits into the other half and sandwich the cake layers  with it.
  14. Spread the remaining pineapple cream over the top and sides of the cake and garnish as desired with confetti and reserved pineapple pieces.
  15. Chill well before serving.

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The rest of us on the table that evening were…
Sid Khullar
Rekha Kakkar
Parul Shirazi The Shirazine: Of Poster Boys and Food!
Tanya Khanna
Sangeeta Khanna
Ruchira Hoon
Charis Bhagianathan Of Cookbooks & Company
Sushmita Sarkar

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