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Classic Pound Cake

There are plenty of fancy cakes out there but nothing beats a simple classic Pound Cake. Whether you have it by itself or couple it with some whipped cream and fresh berries it is always a treat for the taste buds.  I particularly enjoy it with my evening tea.

The original recipe called for a pound of Butter, Sugar, flour and eggs Thus the Name “POUND CAKE”. But at this time and age i don’t think we can handle such a rich treat so we tend to lighten it up.The recipe has gone through a lot of changes, but the fact is that the star ingredient remains the same the “BUTTER”. So, it is very important to use the best quality of butter that you can find.

Now there are a few pointers to make the best Pound Cake.

  • The eggs, Butter and Milk Should be at Room Temperature.
  • I Cant Stress enough on this point: Use the best quality Butter you can find ( as Mentioned earlier)
  • Take your time to mix the ingredients. Don’t rush,as the Structure of the Cake depends on the amount of air incorporated into the batter while mixing.

This is an incredible recipe to try out :-)

Pre heat Oven to 350 F or 180 C

Ingredients: 

3 large Eggs (At room Temperature)

13 Table spoon Butter (185 grams) At room Temperature

3 Tablespoon Milk at room Temperature

1 1/2 Cup Flour (Sift it to get rid of all the lumps and to in corporate air)

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Cup Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:

In a small bowl Mix eggs, Milk and Vanilla Extract together just to combine. Set a side.

In a mixing bowl Add all the dry ingredients ( Flour, Baking Powder, Sugar and Salt) and mix it until well blended.

Now add in the butter and Half of the egg mixture and mix it together until fluffy (about 2 mins). Mix it on medium speed for about 5 mins to build up the structure of the cake. Take your time, Don’t rush. Now add in half of the remaining egg mixture and mix for another 1 min and now add the rest of the egg mixture and mix.

Pour the Batter into a prepared 9 Inch loaf Pan and bake for 50 to 55 min or until the a skewer if inserted comes out clean. Let it Cool on in the pan for 10 mins and then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Don’t be alarmed it you get a cracked top, this is the way a pound cake should be.

Serving Options:

  • Serve with Whipped cream and seasonal Berries
  • Serve with Ice cream
  • Serve with Custard and seasonal fruit (I love it with Banana)
  • It is just lovely on its own too.

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

If you are a Fan of Indian Cuisine Butter Chicken is a MUST-TRY. Butter chicken is basically chicken cooked in the creamiest and silkiest tomato and cream based curry  flavored with spices. This recipe was originated from the kitchen of the famous Moti Mahal Restaurant in Delhi (North of India).

Me and My husband love Butter Chicken and this evening I decided to attempted making my own butter chicken at home. It turned out to be the yummiest chicken I ever cooked. It is just amazing how such basic ingredients come to gather into this finger licking Curry.

Original Recipe Calls for 1 cup of cream but i lightened it up by substituting Cream with Half and Half (or 1/2 Cup Cream and 1/2 Cup Milk). If you like Southern Indian Cuisine you can also Substitute Yogurt with Coconut Milk to add more flavor.  You can also adjust the hotness of the curry according to your taste by using more or less chilli powder.

Ingredients:  

1 Pound Boneless Chicken (Cut into bite size pieces)

1 Small Onion Finely Chopped

2 Tablespoon Oil

2 Tablespoon Butter

1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste

2 Table spoon Lime/lemon Juice

1 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala

1 Teaspoon Red Chilli

1 Teaspoon Cumin (Zeera)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Cup Tomato Puree

1 Cup Half and Half

1/4 Cup Yogurt

2 Table spoon Cornflour Mixed in 1/4 Cup Water.

Directions:

Heat up oil and saute the chopped onions until translucent. Add in Butter, Ginger Garlic Paste, Lime/Lemon Juice, 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala and Chilli Powder. Saute for a 2 min.

Add in the tomato Puree and Cook for 3 to 4 min stirring occasionally. Once Tomato looks cooked Add in  Half and Half and yogurt. Cover and let the sauce simmer fro 10 to 15 mins and set aside.

In another pan take 1 Tablespoon Oil and Put in the chicken and cook for 6 to 8 mins until little tender and brown. Season the chicken with 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala, Chilli Powder and just a pinch of salt. Saute for another 2 mins. Now take a couple of spoonful of the curry and put in into the chicken and cook it until all the water dries up and oil separates.

Now return the curry of medium flame and Add the cooked chicken into it. Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook for 1 min. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with Nan, Parathas or steamed rice.

Hamantaschen Cookies

When we think about any festival the first thing that pops into our heads (at least mine as i am a big time foodie :-D) is food. It is very interesting to know that every festival has a particular food associated with it. Like for Muslims Eid is incomplete with out Sheer Khorma (Vermicelli Pudding) or Thanksgiving without Turkey. These food becomes a part of the traditions and celebrations. While reading about festivals and food associated with it i came across these flavorful Hamantaschen Cookies.

Hamantaschen Cookies are triangular jam filled cookies and are a part of a Jewish festival of Purim. What i love about these cookies are that the dough itself has a very distinct orange flavor which is achieved by adding orange zest and fresh orange juice. The traditional recipe calls for a poppy seed filling but i used Apricot and Grape preserves. I feel the Orange fruity flavor go very well with the Apricot and grape preserve or for that matter any fruit preserves.

These cookies not only tastes good but they look absolutely amazing.  The shape is achieved by folding a circular dough from three sides forming a triangular pocket that contains the Jam. The vibrant colors of the Jam against the golden brown dough makes them hard to resist (Pick your own color combo i went with yellowish golden Apricot and Deep purple Grape)

These cookies are best when baked fresh but it does not mean that we can not prepare these for our guests before hand …. you can make the cookies and freeze them and when ever you have guest come over just put them into the oven and let them bake for 15 minutes.

This recipe is so simple and tasty that it can easily become part of your festivities or family traditions. Enjoy …!!!

Pre heat oven at 375 F or 190 C

Ingredients:

2 Cups All purpose Flour

2 Tea spoon Banking powder

1/8 Tea spoon Salt

1/2 Cup Shortening or butter (at room Temperature)

1 Cup Sugar

1 Large Egg

2 Tea spoon Packed Orange Zest

1 Table spoon Fresh Orange Juice

( if you prefer lemony flavor over orange Try Lemon zest and Lemon Juice instead of orange)

Jam of your choice for filling.

Directions:

Shift the flour Salt and Baking powder together in a bowl to make sure that they are fully incorporated and there are no lumps.

Now in a separate bowl cream the butter/Shortening, egg and sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes. Add in the the orange zest and the orange juice and mix until combine.

Now start adding the flour mixture to the butter mixture little by little and mix just until combined after each addition to form a dough.

Form a ball of the dough and cover it in plastic and refrigerate for 3 hours (or if you are in a rush pop it in the freezer for 1 hour).

Once the dough is chilled take out and cut it in half. Putting one half back in the fridge and work with the other half.The reason is that if is easier to work with a chilled dough so use the dough little by little keeping the unused dough in the fridge to keep chill.

Roll the dough to a quarter of an inch thickness and with a 3 inch cookies cutter (I used a glass)  cut it into circles. Take a little less than a tea spoon Jam and place it in the center of each circle and fold over three sides of the dough forming a triange with the jam in the center. Pinch the sides of the cookies real good to seal the seams.

Bake it in a per heated oven (375 F or 190 C) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Note:  If you want to store them it is suggested to freeze the unbaked cookies. They tastes better to freeze and bake than bake and freeze.

Berry Crumble Dessert

Summer is a wonderful Time here in California. The moment you walk into any grocery stores your eye catches the endless stacks of fresh Berries …….. Strawberries, Raspberries, Blue and Black Berries  and one cannot resist putting their hands on them.

Berry Crumble Dessert is the best way to put bring the freshness of these berries to your kitchen. It is a perfect dessert for a Summer Afternoon with Friends. It is made of a medley of berries of your choice topped with a crunchy buttery streusel with Almond flakes.

I like this dessert because I can prep the streusel and berry mixture before hand …. so you don’t have to worry and stress yourself for a yummy desert … All you have to do is to layer the berry mixture in a baking dish and top it off with the streusel …. and pop it into the oven for 30 minutes. Here is the recipe … Enjoy the goodness of the fresh berries !!!!!

Pre heat the oven at 375 F or 190 C

Ingredients:

6 Cups of Berries ( you can use 1 or a combination of berries depends on your choice, I used combination of Strawberries, Black Berries and Blue berries)

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 tea spoon grated lemon zest

2 table spoon Cornflour

Just combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and give it a stir.

Ingredients for Streusel:

1  1/4 Cup Flour

1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup White granulated Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon Powder

1/4 Tea spoon Salt

1/2 Cup (one stick) Cold butter (chopped into small cubes)

3/4 cup Almond Flakes

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and give it a stir. Now add in Cold butter and with your hands rub the butter into the mixture to form crumbs. once you feel all the butter is mixed add in the Almond flakes and give it a stir.

Now in a 9 inch deep pie plate or a baking dish pour in the berry mixture and spread evenly. Now top the berries with the Streusel making sure that the berries are completely covered. Put it into the pre-heated oven and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes or just when the juices of the berries are bubbling from the side of the dish and the top is golden brown.

Remember your aim is to give the Streusel a nice golden color and the berries release its juices. The berries should not loose its shape and become mushy.

Let the Dessert come to a room temperature before serving. You can enjoy this dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream …. or just on its own …!!!

Chocolate Moist Cake

My idea of a perfect Chocolate Cake is the one which is extra moist … The “melts in your mouth”  kind of moist with just the right amount of sweetness. When it comes to Chocolates i always prefer Dark chocolate over Milk Chocolate … i feel it has more flavor. I feel A chocolate cake is after all a chocolate cake so never shy away in using a handsome amount of chocolate of cocoa powder.

I baked the Best tasting Chocolate cake for my Husband’s Birthday …… I am sharing the recipe …. it is a MUST TRY … for all the chocoholics and the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is so easy to make that even if you are not into baking you can still impress you friends and family. They will just go Woooo over this one trust me … !!!!

 

Ingredients for cake:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa Powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl ..

now combine wet ingredients into the dry and mix just untill they r well incorporated.

Stir in boiling water don’t be alarmed the batter will be thin …. this will keep your cake moist. :-)

Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

after the cake is completely cooled … cut both the cake in half horizontally .. now frost the cake with the filling between each layer …. n top n sides of the cake …!!

Ingredients for the frosting:

Butter 1/2 cup
Cocoa Powder 2/3 cup
Vanilla extract 1 Tea Spoon
Confectionery Sugar 3 cups
Milk 1/3 Cup

Cream the butter with a hand mixer n add in cocco powder and milk …. blend in well …. add the vanilla extract … keep adding sugar little by little and keep mixing till you get the desired spreadable consistency.

Red Velvet Cake

25th December 2010: Our first wedding anniversary and a home made Red velvet cake … it cant get better than that. It was just perfect for the Occasion with Us celebrating our first year of wonderful Marriage and all the merriment of the holiday season around us.

This is an elegant dessert with a very mysterious origin. Some say that the recipe originated from the south and some say  that it was created in the kitchen of Woldorf-Astoria Hotel in The big Apple-New york City. Regardless of its origin I am in Love with this recipe. It is appealing to the eye and tastes amazing with its bright red moist and airy cake with a yummy white Cream Cheese frosting.

So, Here is the recipe and i hope that you enjoy baking it as much as I did. Enjoy!!!

Ingredients:

2  1/2 Cup Cake flour (Sifted)

1/2 tea spoon Salt

2 Table Spoon regular or Dutch processed Cocoa Powder

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

1  1/2 Cup granulated white sugar

2 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla extract

1 cup Butter Milk

2 Table spoon liquid red food coloring

1 teas spoon white distilled vinegar

1 tea spoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 Oz  Cream cheese at room temperature

8 Oz Mascarpone Cheese

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Essence

1 Cup confectionery sugar (icing powder)

1 Cup Cold heavy Whipping Cream

Garnish: Coconut flakes (optional)

Pre-heat oven at 350 F or 180 C and butter two round 9 inch cake pans.

Shift together all the dry ingredients (cake flour, salt and cocoa powder) together and set a side.

In another bowl beat the butter until soft then add in the Sugar. Cream them together for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well. Add in Vanilla essence and mix just until combined.

In a cup with the butter milk in it Add in the red food color.

Now add the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the butter mixture Alternately starting and ending with the flour  mixture (Flour will be added in three additions and butter milk in two) Mix until just combined after each addition.

Now in a small bowl mix in the vinegar and baking soda and fold it into the cake batter. The fizz of the vinegar mixture will help the cake rise so it is important to work quickly to male sure we dont loose that fizz.

Working quickly pour in the cake batter into the baking pans and put it in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until if tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Take out the cakes from the cake pans after baking and allow it to cool.

Frosting: in a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and the mascarpone  cheese together until smooth. Add in the vanilla essence and mix. Then Add in the sugar and mix well. Now gradually keep on adding in the cold heavy cream and whip until the frosting is stiff enough to spread easily.

Assembly: Cut each cake into two layers horizontally (you now have four layers) now start frosting the cake. Spread the frosting between each layer and then cover the cake with frosting completely.

If you like coconut sprinkle the coconut flakes between the layers and on the top of the cake.

Tips/Extra Pointers: If you toss in the cake into the freezer for Half hour before starting to frost it. It makes the job much easier.Using ingredients (eggs, butter, Cream Cheese and Mascarpone Cheese)  at room temperature makes a huge difference. it makes the cake moist and soft and velvety.  If you have difficulty finding the Mascarpone cheese you can use 16 oz cream cheese.

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