Lemon Crunch Cake (Lemon Drizzle Traybake)

I am a little obsessed with this idea of a crunchy/contrasting topping on cakes. I am also a little obsessed with all things lemon – desserts like this Lemon Mousse-y creation or a generous squeeze at the end of Pakistani dishes like fish biryani. When I saw a recipe for a Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, a thoughtful gift from one of my three favourite brothers and his wife, I knew it had to be. The lemon crunch cake is easy to put together – you literally just dump all the ingredients in the bowl and mix till smooth. The fabulous crunch topping is as simple as lemon juice + sugar and it totally works

lemon crunch cake

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Cake Rusks + Eid Eats Invite!

cake rusks

I get a little confused when I do these ‘double’ posts – I mean do I talk about the cake rusks first or the Eid ‘potluck’? It’s a tough choice – excuse me while I use some sophisticated eeny-meeny-miney-mo to decide.

Okay, Eid Eats! it is. Readers of my blog (I love you) will remember that we have done this before, twice before to be precise. This year, just like last year, it is hosted by Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies and Henna at My Ninja Naan and the premise, as always, is simple. It is a ‘potluck’ where we ask our blogging friends to ‘bring’ any recipe that they would make for Eid. Sweet, savory, traditional, or entirely new – it is always so much fun and some of my favorite eats have come from this foodie get together!

Eid-Eats-2016

The rules if you will are these:

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid, write a post and have it ready for the 3rd of July 2016, you are also welcome to add your links until the 6th of July. Please submit only ‘new’ recipes!

2.) Our posts will also be live July 3rd 2016. You can link back to our blogs i.e. My Ninja Naan, Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies  through a link party  we will set up and use the button above in all of your posts 

3.) Remember to check out and leave comments on participating blogs!

4.) Please use the hashtag #EidEats2016 on your social media posts so we can follow along there too!

Cake RUsk

Now with the business of partying out of the way (lol) let’s talk about cake rusks shall we? This recipe is adapted from Henna at My Ninja Naan. I know all of you know her by now so introductions are unnecessary, but since she is one of my blogging besties I have to just throw out there that I love her to bits and am so happy to have her (and her blog) in my life.

Ode to Henna done, let’s go back to the Cake Rusks. These are a classic Pakistani tea time treat. Where Italians make biscotti we essentially twice bake our cake. The first time will render you a delicious vanilla cake which is so good that I will probably make it just like that this summer and top it with some jam. The second baking turns that sweet vanilla cake into a crispy crunchy less sweet classic cake rusk which is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.  I halved the original recipe and used a 8*8 square pan to bake the cake. It did lead to some less pretty looking pieces, but fortunately those somehow magically disappeared. 

cake-rusks-1

In all other respects I went with the original recipe and it has that classic bakery taste. Big plus of making your own? That you don’t have 50 humongous ones staring at you for months on end. Another plus? You can have some fun with it. In the future I think a simple substitution like using a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract would take it to the next level! You could also go the biscotti route with lots of add ins – would love to hear what you come up with!

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I am not a big tea drinker; I don’t like admitting it, feeling that that sullies my South Asian-ness so to speak. But I love the idea of tea time. Not only is there a big culture of tea drinking there is also a big culture of ‘tea visiting’ so to speak. People will drop in at each others houses ‘for tea’, go visiting ‘for tea’. This usually means tea (duh), a savory pastry or samosa an everyday cake. When I go ‘for tea’ to other peoples houses I unabashedly chug the tea and thoroughly enjoy all that comes with it. 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This Cream Cheese Pound cake reminds me of that tradition. It sweet, flavourful with an underlying tanginess, and gets even better the next day. When I am feeling extra indulgent I sprinkle it with some coarse sugar, but it is excellent as is. I suspect – that like other cakes of its ilk – it too freezes well, but I have never had the resolve to find out. 

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Sweet and Moist Northern-Style Cornbread with Honey Butter

When my brother graduated from college in upstate New York my husband and I drove down to help him pack up and move out. My brother – a fellow foodie – took me to one of his favorite cafes and there I got a cornbread muffin unlike any I had before. Now I went to school in the South (y’know if you y’all consider Virginia to be the South) and I have had many a cornbread, the tender lightly sweetened kind that you would have with something savory like a pot of chilli. But this sweet little thing, now this was a revelation.

Sweet and Moist Northern Style Cornbread

I have made many many many cornmeal based baked goods since, one in particular, i.e Dorie Greenspan’s corniest corn muffins were my personal favorite until a fellow blogger pointed me towards this Serious Eats recipe. I made it once and then I knew, this, this was it. 

Sweet and Moist Northern Style Cornbread

So without further ado, here you go, a sweet moist skillet cornbread that is made even more delicious with a slathering of honey butter with a small dash of sea salt. Bliss.

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Orange Cake

I know, I know, it’s Spring. Citrus was so last season. I shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of such blasphemous behavior, but you know what guys, this cake is easy and delicious all year round. There is something about beautiful sunny days that makes me want to eat things that feel bright and sunny and this cake does.

Orange Cake

So maybe you make it now and then again in the winter? You know, just to balance things out 😉

apr 19 15 344

I am not sure whose recipe this is, but all of the women in my family have it in their go to recipe book, the one that is a ‘best of’ of sorts. Also there? My super easy Lemon Velvet. I know, I know, I gots citrus on my mind.

Back to this cake then, I used to make it with a hand mixer and then it occurred to me that since it is made with oil not butter creaming is a little unnecessary so I just let my whisk and arm do a little bit of work and call it a day. The orange zest is my addition, but it goes a long way towards enhancing the orange flavor so please don’t skip it. I do skip making the glaze sometimes and instead warm and pour over some lovely sticky orange marmalade to good effect.

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Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

It’s miserable out here.  On days like this I want to stay inside and eat my body weight in pizza. And this beautiful cinnamon roll cake. Sigh. I miss this cake already.

What’s nice about this cake is that it’s really easy to assemble. My little one woke up right after I cut the dough into strips to roll up and I had to coil them up with one hand while holding her in the other. It seemed tricky at the time (translation: it felt like the beginning of a hot mess). However, the cream cheese frosting (which I kept thick on purpose) covered it up nicely 😉

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake w Cream  Cheese  Frosting

Also, as you can imagine, it smelled absolutely heavenly.

The recipe for the cake is from the fabulous Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a slight change in that I subbed out the glaze she uses for a more cinnabon like cream cheese glaze. I did have a little left over, but I find no one really complains about extra frosting on the side 😉

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake w Cream  Cheese  Frosting

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Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

A few days back a dear friend and avid blog reader asked me to make these hazelnut sticks for her. I happily obliged and then a little too happily ate more than my fair share. Oops.

Anyway, eating those delicious crunchy hazelnutty treats made me realize how much I love the unadulterated flavor of hazelnuts and I wanted to capture that flavor in something quicker: muffins. Now I really like muffins, even the bottoms which is usually what I wind up with since my husband and daughter are unabashed muffin top fiends.

Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

I did some thinking and came up with this recipe, fully prepared for this to be round one of many, but lady luck was on my side and these muffins are sheer perfection. The soft flavor of the hazelnuts is beautifully complimented by that of the maple syrup. I know it seems like a lot of syrup, but as it bakes the flavor mellows. Also, as tempting as they are fresh from the oven you must let them cool completely before trying one. They are well worth the wait.

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Coffee (Flavored) Cake with Coffee Buttercream

Coffee Flavored Cake w Coffee Buttercream

Coffee and I we go way back, the kind of way back that makes it clear that I was my parents’ third child and not their first 😉 Baking and I also go way back. A successful combination of the two brings me infinite joy. And several extra pounds, but let’s focus on the positives here.

My sister in law recently made this coffee flavoured cake and brought it over for me to try (so good) and insisted I make it as well and am I glad I did. She found the recipe here, but it was originally posted here. I tweaked it slightly to enhance the coffee flavor, but otherwise it is as posted. The result is a cake that is moist and full bodied and just perfect with the creamy sweetness of the buttercream.

Unlike most cake recipes this makes a smaller amount of cake and frosting which is nice because let’s face it: If it made the twice the amount I would still finish it equally fast.

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Strawberry Summer Cake

strawberry summer cake

I think it says a lot about this cake that my two year old now feels very comfortable telling people that she made it. The first time she actually said “mama helped me” and then next thing you know she apparently made it “all by myself”. Fact is that we have made it THAT many times that she feels like she knows what she is doing and it is so delicious that who wouldn’t want to take all the credit! Seriously though, I may have gotten her to mix, add ingredients, wash the strawberries, place the strawberries and sprinkle the sugar on top. I am sure I did something…

The original recipe is from Martha Stewart, but I actually came across it on Smitten Kitchen a while ago. It should go without saying that this tastes best when strawberries are in season, but it is still surprisingly good when they aren’t quite there. I have tried making it with less sugar and found that it really impacted the texture of the cake. It was still good, just not great.

Try this cake. It is so perfectly summer and so easy that even a 2 year old can make it (almost).

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Nutella Pound Cake

This is probably not entirely normal behavior – by which I mean I know I am about to sound a little wacko – but, I sometimes hide treats from myself. That is why I can’t actually find the more than half jar of Nutella that I know is somewhere in my compact kitchen. I really looked, but apparently I was much more motivated when I was hiding it than looking for it. Perhaps this is one of those acts of divine mercy or something because if I were to find that jar it would not be half full for very long.

I recently made this Nutella pound cake for the dozenth time to take to a friends house except this time I reduced the sugar by a quarter cup and more than halved the Nutella. I definitely would not reduce the sugar again as it impacted the texture of the cake. This previous attempt I used less Nutella, but I can’t say I have ever been able to use an entire jar. My happy spot is somewhere between half and three quarter. The cake is definitely a little on the sweet side which is why you should not have it for breakfast like I did yesterday. Learn from my mistakes people!

The cake tastes best when I remove it from the pan, wrap it thoroughly in foil and let it be for a few hours. If you plan to serve it to guests then make sure it is stored out of reach of your husband and two year old both of whom are equally capable to tearing off random chunks. I take it as a compliment 🙂

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