Baking Dilemmas

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Baking is a past time for most of us.  We enjoy it because it is usually easy, and the aroma while it bakes in the oven is heavenly, and when we taste it, it’s divine. “Usually” is the key word.  These days, with gas shortages, it is taking much longer for things to bake. I usually bake in the evenings now when I know we will have somewhat normal flow of gas for the oven to heat up and cook properly. It is taking much longer though.  And the anticipation of the finished baked good makes us all antsy. 

 When I say baking is “usually easy,” I am referring only to those recipes that don’t make me convert their measurements. It’s frustrating when the app on my phone doesn’t allow me to easily convert the measurements from grams to cups, or from ounces to tablespoons. My kids love to help me, and sometimes it’s fine. But sometimes, the added persons in my small kitchen makes me even more frustrated when I am trying to figure out the exact quantity to use and the kids are screaming to let them help me. Being kids, no one wants to wait the extra minute or so to let me do the conversion in peace. 

Hence,  I did some research last night wanting to make brownies and cakes but without having to measure butter. I haven’t bought a kitchen scale yet. In the U.S, all the recipes we used were measured in cups and tablespoons/teaspoons. So it was easy to follow recipe. Since we don’t have access to every ingredient used these days, I have to find other options on the Internet to substitute particular ingredients. It takes a toll sometimes on my over loaded brain, and half the time I give up for the day.

I thought I’d share my findings with you all.  Some recipes said to use canola oil instead of butter in baking, and others referred to olive oil.  There is this new cupcake recipe I tried, which I will share soon, and the person was discussing how she loved boxed cakes only because they were soft and raised when baked. She tried oil instead of butter because all boxed cake mixes used oil, so she made the same recipe but with oil and she showed pictures of her cupcakes using different ingredients. They looked so pretty. 

Here is a small conversion table I thought was handy. I will be printing it out and keeping it in my recipe book.  Hope it helps you out too.

Butter/Margarine

Olive oil

 

1tsp

¾ tsp

1 tbls

2 ¼ tsp

¼ cup

3 tbls

1/3 cup

¼ cup

½ cup

¼ cup + 2 tbls

2/3 cup

½ c up

¾ cup

½ cup + 1 tbls

1 cup

¾ cup

For further guidance you can click here and check out this amazing table for equivalent amounts of olive oil to be used in the place of margarine/butter if ever the need arises. Makes things so much easier for me!

Keep in mind that when you are beating butter and sugar, the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Beating oil and sugar gives it a wet, heavy look. The reason for this is that butter holds tiny air bubbles and oil does not. I can’t guarantee that your cake or cookies will turn out the same if you substitute.  Do try it and share your results. It will be helpful to everyone.  I guess as always, it’s trial and error. But I hope I have made on step easy for you by sharing these tables. 

By Maasi Saba

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Some of My Favourite Swiss Roll Recipes

By Maasi Maryam

Don’t we all want to get a little creative in our kitchens? Well, most of you already are but today I want to show you that being creative and original can be very basic and rewarding. Playing around an old favorite is never easy, but with a little dedication and some hard work, (yes the love of food can make its way into the busiest of schedules, trust me) we can come up with things that would take a lifetime to forget!

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It’s all about a few creative twists and turns to the humble sponge. A good sponge cake sheet can be the basis for a variety of delicious desserts. Let’s start with some tips for a perfect sponge every time. The cake batter is always baked in a large shallow Swiss roll tin to make sheets of sponge.

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To prevent it from sticking to the pan and breaking when you take it out, butter the tin, line it with greaseproof paper and then butter again. Once the cake has cooled down, you can then start filling it with fruit mousses (any soft fruit mango berries peaches), chocolate ganache or cream patisserie. You can get as versatile with the fillings and toppings as you please…how about a layer of homemade jelly or walnuts and cream? It all depends on your mood and what flavours amuse you the most.
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Today I want to share with you all some combinations for filling and toppings I adore. So that basically means that I’ll be sharing some recipes from one of my favourite cookbooks, “The Creative Kitchen”. The recipes include peach fruit mousse, chocolate ganache and walnuts and cream topping.

Let’s get working mommies !

Peach fruit mousse

Gelatin 15 g
Peach fruit juice 1/2 litre
Sugar 200 g
Water 3 1/2 fl oz
Egg whites beaten until stiff  3
Heavy whipping cream whipped to soft peaks 3/4th litre

IMG_0965Start with pouring some tropical juice in the gelatin to soften it, mix until smooth. Melt the sugar in the water over a low flame, while stirring gently. Gradually increase the heat and boil the syrup. Then take it off heat and immediately dip the base of pan in cold water to stop the cooking process. Put this hot syrup on the beaten egg whites in a thin stream, whisking without break and continue beating until all the syrup is incorporated and the meringue is cool.

IMG_0971NOTE: what you ‘re making here is a meringue. The finished meringue should be very shiny and white and form a stiff peak on the end of your whisk. Now melt the smooth gelatin and peach juice mixture over a low heat and add the rest of the peach juice as well. Carefully fold the gelatin and juice into the meringue, and then fold in the whipped cream as well.

Chocolate Ganache

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Hard semisweet chocolate chopped 250g
Whipping cream (not whipped) 1/4 litre

Put the chocolate and cream in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat and stir until all chocolate has melted. Continue mixing over heat for about 10 more minutes, but do not bring to a boil. The chocolate cream mixture should be smooth and thick by now. Now pour the mixture into a large bowl and refrigerate at least an hour.

When you take the bowl out of the fridge whisk the chocolate mixture with an electric beater for 10 minutes or until it doubles in volume, very light in texture and a pale brown.

Walnuts and Cream

Ground walnuts 1/2 cup
Heavy whipping cream (whipped and chilled)  2 cups
Sugar 4 tablespoons (less if you like)
Vanilla essence 1/2 tsp
Salt a pinch

Mix together all of the above and chill overnight.

Serving suggestions

All these fillings can be used to fill layers of sponge that have been moistened by spraying with sugar water syrup. (1 part sugar to 2 parts water mixed and poured in a spray bottle)IMG_0970

Use the Swiss roll tin to pour over some jelly into, let chill and set completely, top with the fruit mousse and finish with the sponge cake sheet, trimmed to fit the top of the tin. Take the finished layers out by placing the tin upside down so you see the jelly layer on top.

Or simply spread the walnut whipped cream onto the cake sheet and roll it to make a lovely Swiss roll.

Believe it or not, working with different tones and textures brings out the best chef in you. Happy cooking mommies 🙂