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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!



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Friday, March 9, 2012

Rustic Apple Ginger & Cashew cake - a comeback, a celebration and catching up!

Hello, all my dear friends – I am back!

 I know I have been quite clumsy with things. Given that I now have the privilege of having many lovely blogger friends who are kind enough to care and think about me, I should have let you all know of my short break before slinking off wordlessly! My ardent apologies!
As some of my dear friends already know, it all started with a weird virus attack on my laptop the evening I wrote my last post. It was snowing that day and I wanted to post some photos of the lovely white landscape around here in my post the next day. I was reaching a lot of milestones too – my 100th post, my 2nd Blog anniversary – and to celebrate it all I had baked a lovely Apple Ginger and Cashew cake the day before. The photos had all been downloaded, decked up and ooh aahed and everything was on track. When suddenly my laptop went ‘Pffuft!’ and lay cold and dead. My attempts to restart were met with chilly stares and then the inevitable blue screen shrieked out at me from the monitor – something had gone desperately wrong! After incessant calls to the service centers and trial and tribulations by helpful friends who proffered their kind help, we concluded that the only way out was a re-imaging - which would wash out all my data! I limply hung on to the last straw of hope that things could be revived keeping my things intact – but I was just hoping against hope. I lost all my precious photos – the ones that I had been saving up to share with my friends. Not that I can’t make them again, but the efforts just went to a waste and I felt so stupid and guilty that I had not even thought of taking a back-up! Guess I trusted my laptop too much – but a machine is after all a machine.
Anyway, I have started picking up the threads from where I had left off. It will be sometime before I can build back everything again, but a couple of important lessons that I learnt from this. Firstly, I would never have realized how attached I have become to my blog in the course of time, if this had not happened. The morning after, it felt like an abysmal void, when I could not write another  of my blog posts or hop onto my friends’ places to see what they were cooking or baking that day! I could not read what my friends had to say about any of my recipes or I could not welcome any new friend eager to join me on my journey. It all felt like a gaping hole. In my two years of blogging, my blog had filled in for me very loyally many a times – on days when I was hurt and sad, I sat down with my blog. When worries incessantly plagued my mind, my blog helped me channel my senses to something productive and substantial. At time when I felt unworthy and useless, my blog gave me lovely friends who showered me with gifts and showed their appreciation for my worth. My blog had become my friend in need and deed. It had become my identity.
Secondly, it was an utterly humbling experience to realize that I had some lovely friends who cared to keep me in their thoughts - even when I was out of sight! I don’t mean to say that they would not, but I know how weighed down everyone is with the travails of daily life in this fast and pushing world. And to hand me some lovely awards and care to drop in a note to know how I was doing was so overwhelming!  Thanks my dears AmeliaMarsha, Suchi, Ambreen and Faseela!:) Your thoughtful notes meant the world to me! I will blog about the awards in my next post very soon – please do forgive my sinful procrastination, but I hope to make amends and catch up with your lovely blogs pretty soon!
My blog completed a happy two years on Feb 24. I re-baked the rustic Apple Ginger and Cashew cake which I had originally baked to post on that day. Only this time, I baked in the brand new Springform pan that a very dear friend gifted to me as a belated wedding anniversary gift! Actually it is a set of three Springform pans in three different sizes – an 8”, a 9” and a 10 “pan all packed together in one and I started off with using the 8” pan to bake my cake just to keep it small and cozy. The pans are such a good quality that I genuinely believe baking in that pan added a super smooth edge to my cake – and I’m not exaggerating here, cause it sure did! So here’s celebrating my 100th post and my blog’s 2nd Birthday with this delicious cake - do give this a try and please keep your thoughts flowing in. Hearing from you all has always been a delight!

Rustic Apple Ginger and Cashew nut cake
You will need:
All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
Soft Muscovado sugar – 1 and ¼ th cups
2 large eggs
Warm milk – Half a cup
Butter – 1 stick, softened
Baking soda - 1 and ½ teaspoon
1 large Apple, diced into small squares (I used McIntosh. Any sweet variety would work well)
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Ginger – About 2 inches, finely minced
Instant coffee – 1 teaspoon
Vanilla extract – 2 and ½ teaspoons
Unsalted Cashewnuts – ½ a cup

How I made it:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a Springform pan or baking tin with parchment paper. You may butter the bottom and sides if you prefer doing that too.

2. In a large bowl, add the cored apples, minced ginger, cashew nuts, lemon zest and juice of half a lemon. Mix everything together and then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Leave aside for 10 mins and allow all the flavors to come together.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and beat the egg whites with a whisk or an electric beater till it becomes stiff and glossy. In a separate bowl, take the softened butter and egg yolks and beat well till it becomes a faint yellow, light and fluffy. At this point, add in the softened butter and beat again. The color will turn a tad darker from faint yellow to beige, due to the golden color of the Muscovado sugar.

4. Next add in the milk and the instant coffee and beat everything together well. Next add in the stiffened egg white to this wet batter and slowly and gently fold everything together with a wooden spatula. The stiffened egg whites have air captured in them which adds lightness to the cake batter leading to a soft texture.

5. In another bowl, take the flour and baking soda and mix well. Take 2 tablespoons from this flour mixture and add to the diced apple, ginger and nuts mixture. Mix with a spoon so that the flour coats the apples and ginger.

6. To the wet mixture, start adding the flour and baking soda mixture in small batches and keep folding in every batch gently till all of the flour mixture is incorporated. Once done, add the apple mixture doused with flour in the same way and keep folding everything together gently.

7. Now pour the cake batter gently onto your baking tin and level the top roughly with the spatula. It needs to have a rustic feel to it and hence doesn’t need to be too smooth. Sprinkle the top lightly with a little Muscovado sugar for a golden, glistening top.
8. Cover the top with an aluminum foil, leaving a small gap to allow the cooking steam to vent out, lest it scorches the top. Bake the cake for 45-50 mins or till a toothpick comes out clean. Remember to remove the foil cover for the last 15 mins of the bake. Enjoy the citrusy aroma of baking apples infused with a lemony zing, and savor it wafting through your kitchen! Happy baking till next time!

21 thoughtful musings left behind...:

faseela said...

wow yummy cake........luvd all the flavors added in it....Glad 2 c u and hear from you dear....

As u said blog is really a stress relief....

Kanan said...

welcome back. your cake looks wonderful. lovely recipe.

Hema said...

Welcome back Sudha, love the ginger flavor in the cake and congrats on completing 2 yrs of blogging..

Aarthi said...

wow..awesome recipe


Swati Sapna said...

Hey Sudha! First of all happy 2nd blogoversary! You know this Feb 23rd was my blog's 2nd anniversary too :) To think that we started our blogs just a day apart! Wow!! :)
Am so glad you are back from the sabbatical and have got over the loss of data... thats always a really distressing thing to deal with!
looking forward to more posts from you soon...

maha said...

Yummy Yummy........iam sure this cake tastes simply superb....Going 2 try this soon......

Amina Khaleel said...

glad that you are back.. happy anniversaries... cake looks fantastic... will try your recipe soon...

Patsy said...

Glad you are back, sweet friend! The mix of flavors in this cake sound divine! Apples, cashews, ginger...all things that I love. I have to try this one! Hugs, Patsy

Elpiniki said...

Sounds really good! Well done!!

Kavi said...

That texture is beyond perfect Sudha!! I can surely visualize and almost taste that wonderful taste the ginger leaves behind! Superb cake!

By the way, I didn't know your email ID so just posting here. I would love to have you do a post for my Cooking With Kin Series. DO have a look at my series and let me know if you can or cannot do so that I can draw up a schedule. It doesn't need to be something too difficult. Any simple recipe would do too. Just let me know.
Edible Entertainment

kitty said...

Sudha, I'm so sorry to hear of all your troubles!! However, happy 2nd anniversary of your blog (my birthday!!). Your cake looks amazing. It's good to have you back. Hugs sent to you.

Amalia said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your laptop broke down, especially since it was your 100th post AND your 2nd blog anniversary?? Wow, congratulations that's huge! I'm sorry you couldn't share your wonderful photo and recipes with us sooner, but at least you can now :) And I would just like to say, you're one of the nicest bloggers I've met...well not met, but interacted with over the internet :) You're always leaving the nicest comments and you actually CARE about people and their blogs. I love reading your blog posts and your comments you leave on my blog. And for that, we all missed you very much :) Thanks again and happy anniversary!

Deeps @ Naughty Curry said...

first of all, welcome back & a happy 2nd anniversary! was wondering about ur absence & missing ur wonderful posts, really sad what happened with the laptop i guess its a lesson for all of us to keep backup. anyways, im just happy ur laptop is up & running now, pics can be taken again anytime so hope ur not worrying too much about it :) the cake looks fabulous, moist & delecious. belated wedding anniversary to u

Sobha Shyam said...

Happy blog anniversary and welcome back dear..very flavourful and delicious cake..Great going n wishing u many more years of happy blogging :)Its so true that blogging is inseperable and can realize how u must have felt with data loss n break..!!

Join the Just "4" Fun event :)

Suchi said...

Hi Sudha, welcome back :-) Congratulations on your milestones...here's wishing to many more...it must have been such a set back to loose all pics...but am sure you family must have loved eating this awesome looking cake twice in a row :-)

Blackswan said...

Sorry about your laptop, dear! Glad it all went well after that. Congrats on your blog anniversary & Happy Blogging! This is such a lovely dessert :)

Sudha, I've been nominated for this Int'l Women's Day. Appreciate if you could support this event & click on "Like" @ Support International Women's Day! Thks, dear!

Amelia's De-ssert said...

Hi Sudha, Good to see you back in action. Sorry to hear about your laptop problem, hope everything goes well and in tip top condition.

Like you cake, look extremely good with a nice cup of coffee.

Happy blog anniversary and hope to see more wonderful posting from you. Glad to meet you and like all your wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures. I have yet to try out your recipes as my to do list is getting longer than toilet rolls. LOL

Thanks for the mention of the awards, you're welcome and you truly deserved the awards, my dear.

BTW, I'm in Malaysia, the snow greetings in my blog is a surprise greeting from a friend in Canada.

Have a nice day and take care.

The Better Baker said...

WELCOME BACK SUDHA! What a journey you've had Dearie! After reading about your misfortune of losing your photos, I went to mine and copied them to my flash drive...I try to do that, but had fallen sadly behind, but thanks to you - I have a backup plan. AAHHHH!!! Sometimes we have to learn the hard way huh? I'm right there with you! Congrats on your blogaversary too. So thankful you're back with us in Blogland. The recipe looks amazing!

faseela said...

Sudha, you can do the same procedure in making the ice cream with strawberry too, i feel it would give good texture if you could add 2tbsp heavy cream or can use 1/2 tin condense milk too, as the avacados have the thick creamy texture i avoided adding the heavy cream and the avcado ice cream came out more than i expected.

Amy said...

Happy 2nd blog annivasary!!I just passed 1st recently...I came here just to see you are active in the blog or not coz I didnt see you for a time...Now I know the reason...I am bit busy with an exam in 2 weeks,but just post simple recipes as it gives me some relax...:)
This cake looks perfect!!I am sure it tastes too...

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