Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I have always been in love with winters. The cold breeze, the deep blue sky and sometimes the violet sky to admire comes along too if I am lucky. I am missing my Californian Winters this year. I look outside my window and I see bright sunlight or rains pouring. I am kind of a winter person, I think. I love winter food, winter clothes, winter birthdays, winter sky, winter festivals, and my list goes on and on. Also, I love citrus. Citrussy cakes are sometimes all I want. Today is the day to put a lot of citrus in my oven, and so I popped my oven with this beautiful lemon citrus cake with the side of turmeric latte. Isn’t this just awesome? Warm hugs from cake and a cuppa turmeric latte.

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Having a sweet tooth and trying to lose weight together just doesn’t seem to go hand in hand. But, I allow myself to relish a small piece of sugary delight sometimes. I try to bake at least once a week. It gives my soul a different kind of peace. For me, baking is more like meditation. If I bake, I have felt I have danced so hard to sweat it out, I have talked to myself just to clearly know what I want to do, it somehow gives me clarity and its beautiful. And so is the soothing smell of fresh bake from my oven. Today my kitchen is smelling great. It smells like citrus, dried rose and fresh bakes. I can’t tell how beautiful this feeling is.

But, let’s get back to the recipe. This is a very easy bake with simple ingredients, but it tastes great. So let’s dig in the recipe.

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Ingredients:

For Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Cake:

  • 1 1/2 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Cane Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs at Room Temperature
  • 2 Tsp Lemon Zest
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Lemon Extract (optional)

For White Icing : 

  • 1 Cup Icing Sugar
  • 1/4 Stick Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Milk

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven at 325° F. Butter a loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, sift and add flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a big bowl add butter and sugar. Start whisking them either with a hand mixer or stand mixer until fluffy.
  4. Now add eggs one after the another while whisking.
  5. Once you get a nice smooth batter. Now add lemon and vanilla extract
  6. It is time to add flour and milk alternately. Gather the batter from the sides and give it one good whisk.
  7. Now add lemon juice and lemon zest while whisking.
  8. Once the batter is ready, add poppy seeds and fold the batter evenly.
  9. Pour the batter in the loaf/cake pan and bake it in 325°F for 60 minutes.
  10. While the tea cake is baking, prepare the icing.
  11. In a bowl, place butter and icing sugar together. whisk until soft. Now add milk and whisk again.
  12. Once the cake is cooled down,  pour the icing on top. You can decorate the cake with slices of lemon and sprinkles of poppy seeds.

 

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Red Berries Custard Tart

October has started and the blogs are flooded with all the possible pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin curry, Pumpkin tart, Bundt Pumpkin Cake, and the list goes on and on. But, I had berries in my refrigerator and no pumpkin puree or a pumpkin altogether. Sunk in the thoughts of making a tart, and no pumpkin in October, I ask the husband if it is okay to keep the all-around season of berries alive and not the season favourite pumpkin? I cry to myself that I want to make a chocolate pumpkin tart, but I have no time to run to the grocery store. The guests are coming. The Red Berries Custard Tart it is, I decide. I tell myself I can bring the pumpkin season on my blog in the coming weeks.

Tarts in our family were quite like a tradition growing up. Rewinding back to being a kid, strolling around with a book and scratching something no one understands, I was well fed with different bakes. I am sure nobody remembers that phase of life… even I didn’t. My mom told me what I used to be/do as a kid. But, there is a thing I do remember, they are my Baa’s (Granny) Bakes. She used to make us her mini beautiful jam tarts all the time. Over the time, she has baked a lot of things for us but the mini tarts were my favourite. She used to make a shortbread pastry crust and fill them with homemade mixed fruit jams. I remember her telling me that I can fill these up with any filling I would like spicy or sweet anything and that will make me go gaga about the tarts. Probably that’s why my eyes still twinkle when I hear TARTS.

Back to my tart, I have had many different varieties of tarts but never baked one. This makes me super nervous. My skin feels the shiver of nervousness. I just want to get the tart right, because I want my granny to be proud of me. She is an exemplary cook and a baker. And I start my prep for the tarts, and as time goes I kept rolling with the art of making tarts engrossed checking one box after the other. Baking works like a therapy for me. It illuminates me with positivity, it fills me up with excitement and sheer joy. For me rolling the tart, folding it and placing it in the tart mould was the most difficult part. But, the most beautiful part of the story is when you place your part to bake.

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Let’s start baking this beautiful Red Berries Custard Tart…

Ingredients:

Tart Base / French Short Bread Pastry Dough:

  • All-Purpose Flour- 1 1/4 cup
  • Almond Flour – 1/2 cup
  • Unsalted Butter- 1 stick (110gm) at Room Temperature
  • Eggs – 1
  • Confectioner/ Icing Sugar 1/4th cup
  • Salt- 1/4 Tsp
  • Milk- 1 Tbsp

Eazy Peezy Custard:

  • Cream Cheese- 4 oz (115 gms) at Room Temperature
  • Granulated Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Eggs- 2 at Room Temperature
  • Half an Half/ Heavy Whipping Cream – 2/3 rd cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract- 1/2 Tsp
  • Granulated lemon or orange zest  – 1 Tsp
  • Strawberries and Raspberries/ any fruit of your choice- 6 oz washed and patted dry

 

For the French Shortbread Pastry Crust:

  • Take a mixing a bowl
  • Add the unsalted butter stick, sugar and start whisking with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy
  • Add the egg and milk. Whisk again
  • In a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, almond flour and salt. Mix well.
  • Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  • Fold the flour in the wet ingredients and make a crumbly dough
  • Take a clingfilm (plastic wrap) and put the dough in it and wrap it.
  • Chill the pastry dough for one hour.

(In the meantime, you can wash the berries or fruit of your choice and pat it dry)

  • After an hour lay a baking paper on the kitchen counter.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on the baking paper.
  • Start rolling the pastry dough in the shape of your mould
  • Once done put the mould on top of the pastry to get an estimate if the rolled dough will be sufficient to fit the mould.
  • Once that is done, start by wrapping the dough lightly onto the rolling pin. Gently lift and place it in the mould
  • Now start pressing the dough lightly in the mould from the bottom of the sides in an upward position
  • Roll the rolling pin on top of the mould to remove the extra pastry dough

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The pastry before the bake should look like this. Now place the mould to chill for half an hour.

  • Preheat the oven at 400 F for 15 mins

For the Custard:

  • In a food processor, (you can also use your hand mixer or beater) add the cream cheese. I have used 8 oz cream cheese because I wanted to make fruit custard bowls too.
  • Start mixing it until the cream cheese is fluffy.
  • Now add the eggs one by one and mix them.
  • In goes the sugar and mix.
  • Add vanilla essence, lemon or orange zest and mix well
  • Once this is nice and fluffy add the cream.
  • I am using half an half, but you can use anything cream you want, It depends how rich and creamy you want your custard to be
  • Mix everything well.

 

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Now my fruits and custard are ready. The oven is preheated at 400 F. And the pastry is chilled for half an hour.

It’s time to put the pastry in for the bake. Bake the Pastry at 400 F for 10 to 15 mins until golden brown.

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The pastry should look like this.

  • Let the tart cool down.
  • Once it reaches room temperature, add the custard in the tart. I like to put my tart mould in a baking tray so it is easy to take the tart and place it in the oven without making a mess.
  • Now top the tart with the berries.

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In goes the Red Berries Custard Tart on 400 F for 25 mins. This will bake the pastry and set the custard.

After 25 mins lightly shake the tray to see if the custard shakes. If the custard doesn’t shake that means it is set and done right.

Let the tart cool down, serve as you prefer, warm, cool or chilled. All of them taste delicious.

Quickly, if you have more custard take the ramekins. and pour the custard in it. Let it set for 425 F for 25 mins.

The custard will set and top them with fruits of your choice and eat it as a custard bowl. or invert the ramekins and take the custard out. Top it with caramel and there you go… you can treat yourself with a beautiful custard flan.

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Healthy Dates Ladoos with Almonds and Pistachio Fillings

This is a major throwback. The ladoos we make for Ganesh Chaturthi (Indian Festival) are a fun filled pack of sugar/ jaggery delight as I may say. These dates ladoos are very common and I assume this recipe is quite well known. The good thing about them is that they are very filling and give you a lot of energy. These ladoos are our family fav and our go to if we have sweet cravings and if you haven’t tried these well you should.

For these yummy delights, I chose almonds and pistachios for the fillings tossed in ghee. The ingredients of these dates ladoos make them very healthy, easy and hassle-free cooking. It takes about 10 mins to get them ready if we have all the ingredients ready.

You guys can also add other nuts like walnuts, hazelnut, macadamia nut, pecans, etc anything you want. Cut them into small pieces and use these in the fillings. For the base, you can use a combination of figs and dates if you want to mix it up a little. After all, we want them to taste delicious and make them in a way what we like the most.

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Ingredients

  • Seedless Dates- 10 oz
  • Almonds – 1/2 cup
  • Pistachios- 1/2 cup
  • Ghee- 5 Tbsp
  • White Roasted Poopy Seeds – For Topping

Let’s start making the Dates Ladoos.

We grind the dates first. Make sure they are seedless or remove the seeds first. I ground the dates using my food processor. Keep them aside. Get the almonds and pistachios chopped into small chunks for the filling ready.  In a pan heat 2 and 1/2 Tbsp ghee on a low flame. Once the ghee heats up, add the almonds and pistachios. Toss them for 2 mins. Keep them aside. In the same pan, again add 2 and 1/2 Tbsp ghee, add the ground dates now. Toss them in Ghee for about three minutes until it all comes together. Add the fillings mixture to the dates and start rolling it. Once everything is mixed properly, set it aside. Once it cools down from hot to warm, start rolling them in rounds or the shape you like, and then top them with white roasted poppy seeds. You can also choose what to top them with, perhaps you can use the ground mixture of the nuts used for the fillings too.

Let’s eat…


Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s amazing how the weekend brings a big glittery smile on everyone’s face, and when the weekend comes to an end it brings with it a big drop of that glittery smile. I believe in ending the weekends well. That’s why it calls for CAKE….. This weekend it calls for my favourite lemon cake. I usually used to bake my cakes in the traditional way. But then, I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance, aka polycystic ovary syndrome. It was my nightmare which came true and I asked myself “why me?”. There was no reason to sit and cry. Instead, I decided to fight it. I know it’s going to be there with me for the lifetime, there is no way it’s going away. I also knew I can’t stop eating cakes.

I have made this lemon cake using almond flour and I replaced the sweetener (white sugar) with honey and coconut palm sugar. I know I know, by using honey and coconut palm sugar I am not totally avoiding the sugar. But these have those tiny nutrients like magnesium, zinc and antioxidants. Don’t worry, I have just used a little bit of it. I just to add stevia if your case is very severe, or if you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.

Lets Bake…The beautiful and moist lemon cake.

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Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

  • Almond Flour – 1 cup + 3/4th cup
  • Coconut Palm Sugar-little  2 Tbsp
  • Lemon Zest- 2 Tbsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/4th Tsp
  • Pinch of Salt

Wet Ingredients

  • Lemon Juice- 1/4th cup
  • Honey- 1/3rd cup
  • Egg Whites- 2
  • Olive Oil- 1/4th cup
  • Vanilla essence- 1 tsp

Frosting

  • Cream Cheese – 8 oz
  • Unsalted Butter- 2 cubes
  • Sweetener of your choice- I added stevia almost 1 and 1/2 Tbsp (I don’t like my frostings very sweet)

Let’s start baking now…

Take two bowls. Add the dry ingredients in a bowl- almond flour, sweetener of your choice(here I have used coconut palm sugar, I have added just a little because my main sweetener is organic, natural honey which I will be adding with wet ingredients), lemon zest, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Mix all the dry ingredients well.

In another bowl, add lemon juice and egg whites. Whisk it till fluffy. Add honey, olive oil and vanilla essence. Whisk all the wet ingredients very well. Let the honey mix well.

Add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and fold the mixture well. But don’t fold it a lot of times, the cake might lose its moisture. Ohh, you can also add blueberries and fold them in the mixture at this point. They bring out a lovely flavour in the cake. Quick tip, rinse the blueberries well and marinate them with some flour. This will help your blueberries not sink in the bottom of the cake.

Preheat your oven at 350F for 10 minutes. In a cake mould of your choice, place the baking paper and add the cake batter in it. Set it equally by tapping the sides.

Once, the oven is pre-heated and ready, get your cake in to bake at 350F for 30 mins.

Let’s prepare the frosting in the meantime.

In a bowl, take 8oz of creme cheese. Mash the cream cheese bar using a spoon or a fork. Start adding the butter cubes one by one and mixing them with a hand mixer. mix it until nice a fluffy. Add the frosting in the piping bag and chill for some time.

Our lemon cake is out of the oven now, and its time for it to cool down.

Once the cake is cool, you can start icing the cake.

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