Saturday, January 21, 2012

Simple Chocolate Sponge for the Lunch Box

Are you a mother with toddlers - one or two? Do you sometimes go half way through the day wondering where the day has gone? Or that it's already time to prepare dinner and your kid wants a snack?

Have you had those day when your child has kept you up at night, you're not wide awake but breakfast has to be made, the hubby is almost leaving for work, the child is clinging in your lap and bawling (he has to be dressed and sent to playschool), you haven't even brushed but you're dying to pop something into your mouth to jump start your day - maybe a scone or double chocolate chip cookie or waffle!

This is the kind of cake that is super comforting and can be totally eaten for breakfast to give you a bit of caffeine kick. This is a kid friendly version I made for my son's friend's Birthday...

But I usually add some ground almonds for health, a little bit of buckwheat flour for depth, olive oil for moisture and a little coffee for a caffeine kick....

It's a great cake to share with girlfriends on a gloomy day sipping on a latte, or while catching up on a book and waiting for the baby to wake up from the nap, great energy booster after a fight with the spouse... ALL in ALL a great way to LIFT SPIRITS in the Winter.

So promise me that you will bake this up your way and enjoy it before this dreary winter ends...

The version I made was

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda


Beat the oil and sugar till creamy. Add eggs and vanilla essence and beat till mousse like. Now add all the dry ingredients in 3 parts.

Put into a parchment lined 8 inch baking tin for 25 minutes at 170C.

I used some chocolate chips 7 oil melted in the microwave to stick on the M&M's onto the cake as frosting is not allowed in their playschool.

I am sending this as an entry to Srav's Culinary Concepts for a Chocolate Fest that she is hosting. She has some great recipes and a blog totally worth checking out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Dearest Readers,

I have not posted in ages! The good news is that I am going to try and post something every other day to make up for my absence...

Last year, I lost 4 very special people in my family and they will be missed, remembered and cherished - especially my Nani (grandmom) - who I miss terribly! Though the year ended on a high note with my brother tying the knot with his long term girlfriend... and my son and I had a month full of fun. I know all the 4 people who aren't alongside us today would have blessed the couple and wouldn't have wanted the celebration to be postponed.

My son and I took full advantage of the wedding and moved to Mumbai for a month and celebrated with amongst friends and family a big fat Indian wedding - full of food, laughter, fun and dancing!

Just before leaving, I baked my husband a happy birthday and belated anniversary cake 'coz we were going to spend our first anniversary apart!!!!

The cake is a simple chocolate sponge and the filling is mascarpone, icing sugar, whipped cream and strawberry puree. My hubby loved the cake but did feel that we should have used only whipped cream for the outside frosting as the cake was heavy.. so we had to eat small pieces at a time :)!

Ingredients for the chocolate sponge (taken from Nieglla's Buttermilk Sponge) :

I made 2 of these sponges

11/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
75 grams butter / 30ml canola oil
100ml buttermilk (milk + curd / vinegar / lime juice)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 vanilla bean

I have started adding a bit of oil to all my cakes and brownies as it makes them more fudgy and moist.


Beat the butter, oil and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time and beat further till the mixture becomes mousse like. Add the vanilla bean.

Now mix all the dry ingredients together. And alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3-4 times.

Spread into an 8 inch parchment lined baking tin. I tap the tin a couple of times to get an even cake and it's easier to frost.


For the icing I had to use strawberry crush as there weren't any fresh strawberries and mixed it with 250grams mascarpone cheese and about 1/2 cup icing sugar and low fat (Amul) cream. Had to use a bit of gelatine as a stabilizer - I whipped them all together and left them in the fridge to chill for a bit.

I doused the cake with a bit of a chocolate ganache and then let it cool. Then added part of the frosting and sandwiched the two cakes together.

Frosted the top and decorated with swirls of chocolate ganache.

Also, please email me at if any of you know how to add borders in Picasa 3... it has me a bit stumped!

Hope this year brings you all a lot of joy, laughter and happiness! Also, do try and do a good deed a week... so you can spread the joy that you are getting to other people too :) - that is my New Year resolution! What's yours????