Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea Cakes

Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea Cakes. These were delicious little babies. Light, warm, spicy, moist and just right for the season. This time around no chocolate. They were still divine; apt for holiday baking which should be in full swing now!Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea Cakes The folk from Asahi Kasei, a Japanese brand, sent me a selection of Cooking Sheet or silicon coated parchment paper, Premium Wrap {popularly known as Saran Wrap in the US} and Frying Pan Foil to use. The products are being marketed in India and it’s really nice to see how good the quality is.  Asahi Kasei Kitchen ProductsWhile the cooking sheet or parchment caught my eye, it was the frying pan foil that had me fascinated. Silicon coated on one side, it fries, or rather cooks, without oil, making food  a lot healthier especially for people who are diet conscious or need to avoid oil. Obviously the easiest way to experiment was to fry an egg. Felt like child’s play. The Frying Pan Foil required no oil, cooked the egg sunny side up to perfection, and it slid off like a charm. Magic! And guess what, no wash up as the pan stayed clean. Fried egg on Frying Pan Foil, Asahi Kasei Kitchen ProductsThe Premium Wrap is really good quality too. Essentially it is Saran Wrap, the most popular plastic wrap in the US, and the best selling one in Japan. I have tried different varieties of cling wrap here locally. This one was markedly different; has the same Saran Wrap mark of quality. Asian Veg Salad with Jaggery Tamarind DressingIt’s great to freeze food in, wrap half cut fruits etc in to refrigerate, as also to use in the microwave. In my kitchen it’s a wrap for bread or cookie dough, or for left over salad. Use it and experience the feel.  Screams quality.

Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea CakesThen came time for what I use the most, baking parchment or Cooking Sheet as it is called at Asahi Kasei. Really good quality parchment, silicon coated on both sides which prevents the food sticking to it. I had bookmarked these little tea cakes from Cookaroo. Instead of using Nordic ware mini bundt tins for the whole batch as initially planned, I used a combination of dessert rings and a bundt. The sheets turned out as good as can be. Nothing stuck, clean peel off – a JOY to use.

Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea CakesThe good thing about these cooking sheets is that they work really well in the microwave too. You can steam marinated fish with vegetables, maybe just vegetables in a light marinade,  or interestingly even cheese and sesame crackers! Like all Japanese products, the whole range is top on quality and easy to use. I love the bright cheerful packaging too.

Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea CakesBack to the bakes. I changed the recipe as I went along. Made it whole grain, added pie spice and the zest of an orange and everything came together really well. These are best served warm from the oven, though can be reheated before serving.  A drizzle of unsweetened single cream makes them more special. Next time, I might add walnuts to the recipe, maybe dried cranberries.

Recipe: Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea Cakes
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Summary: Light, warm, spicy, moist, delicious and just right for the season, these Ginger Jaggery Wholewheat Tea Cakes come together in next to no time. Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 135g jaggery granules {or jaggery, chopped fine}
  • 45ml honey
  • 30ml water
  • 1tsp dried ginger powder {saunt}
  • 1 tsp pie spice {or cinnamon or 1/2 tsp garam masala}
  • Zest of 1 orange {or 1/2 tsp orange extract}
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g wholewheat flour {aata}
  • Dried orange crystals or demerera sugar for sprinkling over


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly grease 5 mini cake molds, {or line one 6-7″round baking tin}
  2. Place the jaggery, butter, honey and water in a heatproof bowl. Heat in microwave for a minute, until the butter has melted. Whisk well with a balloon whisk until the jaggery and butter have combined.
  3. Add the ginger powder, pie spice, orange zest, vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well to mix.
  4. Whisk in the eggs one by one. Now fold in the whole-wheat flour gently.
  5. Ladle into prepared tins, sprinkle over dried orange crystals. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until risen and light golden brown {40-45 minutes for a larger cake}. Use tester to check if done.
  6. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then gently loosen sides to demold. Serve warm as is, or with a drizzle of unsweetened single {low fat} cream.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Celebrate what you want to see more of”
Thomas J. Peters

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} … wafts of sweet almond with citrusy notes of orange float through the kitchen, virtually transporting you to the Mediterranean. One bite and you will find it hard to believe that the cake is flourless with no added fat. It is delightfully moist and orange flavoured.  Almond meal adds interesting texture, and pairs beautifully with the choice of fruit.

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} It’s the peak of winters here, cold as cold can be. Day before was the coldest at 2.6C, the lowest temperature recorded in December in the past so many years. The statistics don’t leave you, neither does the deep chill. It gets into your very bones. This is North Indian winter for you. In the background the TV plays endlessly; CNN telling you about the latest aviation disaster. Dreadful news at the end of the year. I’m ready for a new year. Bye bye 2014!

Fresh & local produce, mood photographyIt’s easier to immerse yourself in what comforts you most. I click. Loads. Moody shots mainly. Sometimes you crave good news. Sometimes you wish you could turn the clock back to simple living. For times like this, I head for the kitchen, get embraced by the warmth, lose myself in the aromas that warm the cockles of your heart!Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} 5

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} Speaking to Cookaroo a couple of days ago, she mentioned she was off to make an Orange Almond Cake. Snapped me out of my somnambulent frozen state. I had an Orange Almond Cake sitting here in my drafts, one I had done for Travel & Leisure Asia a few months ago. I’ve remade it recently since oranges and back in season.

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} With the market flooded with ripe, orange juicy fruit, it’s a great time to bake this cake. I’ve baked this a couple of times, both with oranges and with kumquats too. Always good. Made a couple of trifles as well. Orange Almond Cake, whipped cream with Grand Marnier, and some almond praline made the layers. Divine!Orange Almond Cake Trifles {gluten free}The recipe is inspired from passover cakes that find root in cuisine of the Sephardic Jews who originate from the countries of the Middle East. The cake is ‘leavened wheat free’ which is the diet that defines the passover holiday. Interestingly, ancient Greeks also savoured the combination of fruit, nuts and honey. Sugar only appeared later during the Ottoman times. The recipe first appeared in Travel & Leisure, Asia May 2014.

Bidding adieu to 2014…
Have a warm and wonderful 2015. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Fit Foodie recipe

[print_this]Recipe: Orange Almond Cake {gluten free}
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Summary: The Orange Almond Cake also doubles up as a great gluten free dessert if topped with mascarpone, creme patisserie or lightly whipped cream. Serve seasonal fruit like a balsamic orange vanilla strawberry reduction spooned over the top, or on the side.

Serves 6-8
 Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

  • 2 whole oranges
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 25g castor sugar
  • 250g almond meal
  • 175g honey
  • 40g yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • Zest of 1 orange {or ½ tsp orange extract}


  1. Place the whole oranges in a pan, cover completely with water and simmer covered for 30-45 minutes until soft. Drain and cool. {You can do this a day before and bring to room temperature before using}. Halve the cooked oranges, remove the pits and puree skin and all. Reserve.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line the bottom and sides of a 7″ round baking tin with parchment.
  3. Place the egg whites and 25g castor sugar in a  large bowl and beat to stiff peaks. Reserve.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and beat until light and mousse like, about 5 minutes.
  5. Beat in whole orange puree and honey, followed by the vanilla bean powder, yogurt and baking soda until just mixed.
  6. Fold in the almond meal.
  7. Fold in 2 tbsp of the beaten egg whites to loosen the batter, then fold in half the remaining egg whites. Fold gently so that the beaten air is not released. {This will help give rise and volume to the cake}. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently, and transfer batter to prepared tin.
  8. Place tin on baking tray and bake for approx 1 hour 15 minutes / until a tester comes out clean. {Place the tin on a tray since honey tends to cook and get dark faster than sugar.}
  9. Cool in tin for 30 minutes, then cool on rack.
  10. Sift over with icing sugar and top with fresh orange wedges. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
  11. Another nice dessert idea is to use some for trifles layered with liqueur spiced low fat cream, crunchy almond praline and cubes of almond orange cake.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“I have more healthy cravings than my normal eating habits, like I crave fruit and cold things like smoothies.”
Kourtney Kardashian

SmooothiesSmoothies … you gotta love them. As the years pass by, the head wins over the heart. You know that it’s easier to gulp down a smoothie than chew through a buncha green leaves! And you also know that however good or bad it tastes, a well balanced, seasonal smoothie is going to do you a load of good. Headed for SmoothiesIt’s pointless waiting for the new year to come and make resolutions, so I just got the ball rolling and made them before! Post the Jaipur trip, what with all the over the top indulgence and pampering, I had but one thing on my mind, get FIT!OatsI have begun taking tiny steps. I’m eating healthier, I’m not eating out a lot, fewer food reviews, some form of exercise … and of course smoothies. I’ve also been invited to join the Fit Foodie panel on Saffola, which just gives me more reason to work towards my goal! I’ve put together a small graphic to make things easier. Play around with these three groups {not an exhaustive list} , add some yogurt, milk, buttermilk, almond milk, fruit juice or maybe water as required. I also throw in  spoon or two of oats at times.Food groups for smoothiesDo you smoothie? Here’s a bunch of recipes to set you off if you want to join in. You can find some here too. I basically go through the fridge to find what I can use and pair. Smoothies I made three versions yesterday, and surprisingly enough the persimmon one was the best. The spinach, cuke and tender coconut water was nice too. The banana smoothie we have everyday, so that was quite normal, but normal good. Such fun. The processor is such a magic machine!

Persimmon smoothieThe processor is a blessing in disguise for soups too, though the immersion blender works really well in most cases. A while ago however someone asked me what the difference was between a food processor and blender. I have both in the kitchen, and it set me thinking. Thought I’d try and answer the query here just in case you had similar questions. Hope it helps…

Food processors and blenders, what are the differences between them?

If you only have a small kitchen then you may be wondering if you really need both a blender and a food processor. The fact is that although both gadgets have blades, and a reputation for dicing and slicing, they actually have quite different uses.
If you are going to be able to do all of the jobs you need to in a kitchen the chances are you are going to want to use a blender and a food processor at some point; especially if you regularly make smoothies or soups.
When does a blender come into its own?
The shape and blades of a blender are designed to cater for soft fruit and liquids. The name really says it all; these gadgets are excellent for blending ingredients into such delights as tasty smoothies. Depending on what fittings your blender has it may be able to cope with slicing ice for use in the smoothies; this can make them into an extra special treat on a hot summer day.
These tasty additions to any menu are a great way of getting fruit into a child’s diet. You can use the pulp produced when you are juicing to create imaginative and colorful smoothies that most children will love. The shape of a blender is slender and designed to accommodate soft and liquid products, and not usually more solid produce.
What about a food processor?
If you are using liquids then it’s a good idea to stick to using your blender, but for anything more solid you should switch to a food processor. Food processors have blades that are designed for chopping and slicing.
They also have a bowl that is larger and can accommodate more solid produce. If you have vegetables that you want to reduce in to small pieces to use in a soup then a food processor is the perfect gadget to use. It can cope with all sorts of vegetables and nuts, and in no time you will have all of the ingredients you need to make as much delicious soup as you want.
Which is the best to have, a blender or a food processor?
The answer to this question is really going to depend on what you need to do most. Is it more important to you to be able to blend together liquids, making drinks and smoothies; or is it more important to you to be able to slice vegetables for soups or stews?
It may be that you need to do both. There are blenders that have blades which provide a certain amount of chopping capacity, and food processors can deal with a very small amount of liquid, but generally if you want to be able to blend and chop you are going to have to make room in your kitchen for both a blender and a food processor.

Headed for smoothiesSo I guess it’s time to SMOOTHIE! Come join me. Grab a bunch of fresh seasonal produce, pair it with a medium you like, throw in some nuts, seeds, herbs and get going. Once you’re done, what’s next? Soup maybe?

[print_this]Recipe: Fruit & Vegetable Smoothies
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Summary: Time for SMOOTHIES! Come join me. Grab a bunch of fresh seasonal produce, pair it with a medium you like, throw in some nuts, seeds, herbs and get going. 3 recipes to get you going …

Persimmon Orange Strawberry Smoothie
Flesh of 2 fully ripe persimmons
5 strawberries {approx 50g}
Juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup water
Pinch rock salt
Place in jar of Thermomix, processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add extra juice or water if desired.

Cucumber Spinach tender Coconut Water Smoothie
1 small English cucumber, with skin {approx 100g}
Small bunch fresh spinach leaves{approx 35g}
200ml tender coconut water
Pinch rock salt
Place in jar of Thermomix, processor or blender. Blend until smooth

Banana Chocolate Oats Smoothie
2 bananas {chopped, frozen in summer, normal in winter}
300ml low fat milk, soy milk, almond milk
1 tsp brown sugar{optional}
1 tbsp oats {or almonds}
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
Place in jar of Thermomix, processor or blender. Blend until smooth.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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