Chocolate Truffle Cake

Who doesn’t love a decadent chocolate cake with chocolate ganache! We thought we’ll share a quick and easy way of making it, especially because your favourite restaurants and bakeries are locked down and its a great time to explore your skills. We do have a quick fix method for that.

We have our own cake mix brand (The Daily Gourmet) which has been in the market for the last 6-7 years. Gauricka and I use the cake mix all the time for birthdays and anniversaries in the family. Being a baker, everyone expects a lot and sometimes it can be a challenge when you’re crunched for time. Thats the beauty of our cake mixes. They’re not ‘like’ homemade cakes, they are homemade cakes! We use ingredients exactly how you would from your pantry. Then we DONT go ahead and add preservatives, emulsifiers or dough conditioners. We just package it. The best part is we use all-organic flour for it. Which is why both of us use it all the time for our cakes… because we know what we put in it.

So here’s a recipe with the mix. You can use any other boxed mix of your choice or whichever is available to you. In that case make the cake with the respective method and then follow our ganache recipe and icing instructions.

All you need is the cake mix, 2 eggs, 100g butter and 200 ml water. Since I was making this for my daughter’s birthday cake, I used 2 boxes of the cake mix because I wanted four layers of cake with the ganache in between the layers. If you want to do that too, just take two boxes of the cake mix and double the quantity of eggs, butter and water. Make it together in the same manner.

Begin with preheating your oven at 175°C and line a cake tin with parchment or butter paper. Put the eggs, water and melted butter in a bowl and mix.

Empty the cake mix into the wet ingredients and beat with an electric beater for 2 mins on high speed.

If you don’t have one, you can beat with a whisk and mix well for 3-4 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer if you like. The batter will become smooth and glossy.

Transfer the batter to the lined cake tin.

Since I made two boxes, I’ve put the batter in 2 tins. If you’re making one box, then just put it in one cake tin. Each cake can be sliced in the centre horizontally for icing.

A cake that cracks, we call it a happy cake!

Slice the cake horizontally in the centre. You’ll get two layers. You can slice the dome on the top first if you want a flat top. Its your choice.

If you’re removing the risen dome then slice that first and then slice the remaining cake into two equal layers with a bread knife.

if you’re making 2 cakes with 2 boxes of the mix, then slice each cake into two layers. You will have 4 layers of cake.

Place you first layer on the base you will finally serve the cake on. Moisten it with vanilla water evenly.

To make vanilla water, take 1/2 cup water and add 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract. Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in it.

Now whip the chocolate ganache with a beater or whisk to add air into it and make it lighter.e. To make the ganache refer to our recipe for Chocolate Truffle/Ganache.

It will become slightly lighter in colour because of the added air. Just like how coffee changes colour when beaten.

Spread some ganache evenly on the moistened layer. Add the next layer of cake on it and repeat the vanilla water and ganache process.

Spread the ganache evenly on each layer after moistening. It is important that you spread it evenly and gently press the next layer in place. That way you wont get a leaning tower of Pisa 😀

Finally, put your last layer in place. I usually prefer to keep the base layer of the cake (that was in contact with the cake tin while baking) because its smooth and even. You top will come out more even.

Moisten this one too with vanilla water. Then spread the final layer of ganache. You can cover the sides if you want a finished look or leave it open and only spread it only on top for a naked cake look. That rustic effect looks beautiful too!

To finish it, I took a star nozzle and just piped these florets straight on top, keeping the piping bag perpendicular to the cake at 90° so that the nozzle has a bird eye view of the cake.

My daughter likes Oreo biscuits a lot and demanded that her cake should have some flavour of it, so I decided to crush them and throw them on the sides of the cake. It gave a mud pie look to the cake. You can choose to finish the cake whichever way you like.

Just look at that muddy wall of the cake… I want to dig in right away!

This cake would need time to ice and then chill in the fridge for several hours so that the layers can set well before cutting. Therefore, you should have some time in hand when you make this.

I added some cake toppers because my daughter was suddenly crazy about flamingos. You can add anything like this which matches your theme and create a pro level cake at home. No need to run to bakeries any longer 🙂

If you have any questions regarding the steps and the recipe, feel free to leave a message in the comments below and we’ll get back to you. Happy baking 🙂

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake

Ingredients:

1 Pack The Daily Gourmet Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
200ml water
2 eggs
100gm melted butter
1 recipe Chocolate Ganache (click here for recipe)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line an 8-inch round cake tin.
  2. In a bowl mix the water eggs and butter. Add the contents of the pack and beat.
  3. Pour the batter in the lined tin and bake in a preheated oven for 40-45mins or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the tin and cool completely before icing.
  5. Slice the cake into 2 horizontally. To moisten the cake mix a little sugar, vanilla extract and water and spoon over the first layer of cake.
  6. Using a hand beater beat the chocolate ganache for 4-5 minutes till it becomes lighter in colour and airy in texture.
  7. Spread some whipped ganache and put the other layer of cake. Moisten this layer with the vanilla water and spread some ganache over it. To finish cover the whole cake in ganache and using a piping bag create any design of your choice on top.
  8. Chill well in the refrigerator. Take it out 30 minutes before serving to bring back to room temperature so that it softens.

Herbed Bread Loaf

An ‘easy to bake’ bread with hidden flavours. Simply follow the recipe, bake your own herbed bread and slice it to admire the piece of art that you baked. Serve it with a topping, or simply toast and butter it… will taste good any way!

We have already taught you a regular whole wheat bread, now its time to up your game with bread-making. We make this exactly how we made our whole wheat bread earlier. The process remains same but we’re making a white loaf and putting a layer of basil pesto inside. You can refer to our recipes for basil pesto – Basil Pesto & Vegan Basil Pesto.

First we’ll make a regular bread dough. So, we need flour, water, milk butter, yeast and sugar.

Add the sugar to the flour and keep aside.

Dissolve the yeast in very warm water. It should not be hot or boiling but not lukewarm either. You should be able to put your finger in it and feel its hot but not want to take it out. It will turn smooth once the yeast has dissolved.

Add the butter and milk and let it dissolve in the warm mixture. You can also melt it beforehand and then add.

Knead the dough well. Let it rest in a warm place till almost doubled. Then punch it down. Thats the most fun part! You’ll see that it will have a web like formation. That is great. It suggests your yeast was well incorporated everywhere and is actively working.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Make depressions with your fingers and brush olive oil on it. Spread basil pesto on it. Leave the top part empty so the once we roll the bread can seal well. The oil may prevent it from holding its shape and the rolled loaf could split open.

You can see we’ve left the top part without oil or pesto, so that the loaf can seal well.

Put it seam side down on the baking tray. Make sure you put it on the tray you will eventually be baking it in. Meanwhile, preheat your oven. After proving, the bread will puff up and take its shape. Then it’s ready to bake. Bake it at 200˚ C / 400 degrees F.

Once baked, it will be a golden brown colour. Knock on the base of the bread and if you hear a hollow sound then its baked through. You can also check with a bread thermometer. But since most people don’t use one, knocking is the best alternate.

Slice it with a bread knife only when its completely cooled. Otherwise the bread will be sticky and crumbly.

It will already be very fragrant and flavourful because of the pesto. You can eat it just by itself or the best way is to toast it very lightly and spread a little olive oil or butter and eat it warm or toasted.

So, here’s a fresh herbed loaf that will surely brighten up your breakfast table and maybe even your day. You can make this to impress or simply enjoy a quite wholesome breakfast at home. For the pesto recipe click here.

You can make this healthy by using our wholewheat bread recipe and then continue the herbed loaf recipe process after first proofing.

Recipe: Herbed Loaf Bread

Ingredients:

4-5 tbsp basil pesto / vegan basil pesto
350 gm flour
2 ¼ tsp dried yeast
1 ½ tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
180 ml warm water
50 ml milk
1 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. In a bowl take half the flour. Add sugar and salt to it.
  2. In another bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water, add milk and butter. Add this liquid mixture to flour mixture and mix.
  3. Gradually add in more flour and knead for 8-10 mins to get a soft dough.
  4. Place in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 30-60 mins or until double.
  5. Roll it into approx. an 8 x 11-inch rectangle. Keep the shorter end towards your side and spread the basil pesto evenly.
  6. Leave a ½ -inch border on 3 sides facing away from you. Start rolling from the side towards you. Roll it up tightly like a swiss roll or pinwheel.
  7. Seal the edges and the seam. Place it seam side down onto the baking tray, on which you will bake it later
  8. Cover and leave in a warm place for 30-60 mins or until double.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  10. After your bread has risen, make cuts on top of the bread and bake for 25-30 mins.

Fresh Ricotta

Ricotta is a fresh and soft Italian cheese… and truly delicious! It has a soft grain and light texture. Traditionally, ricotta was made with milk and whey left after making other cheeses. Thats how it got its name “ricotta” which literally translates to re-cooked. However, ricotta is now very sought after because of its slightly sweet taste and its ability to hold its consistency. Thus, its widely used in desserts and Italian cuisine. Its best use is to add it to the filling for lasagne, ravioli, cannelloni and conchiglie.

You literally need just two ingredients to make fresh ricotta at home. Milk and lemons, thats all!

You can use any milk for this, but the result could vary a bit. We have used regular whole milk. You can use skimmed milk too but you might end up with a lesser quantity of ricotta (which is fine). So, using whole or full fat milk would be better, but even others work well.

Put the milk to heat in a pan. We want hot milk but DO NOT BOIL THE MILK. Now, this is very important. You want to heat it only till you start seeing the bubbles on the edge of the pan. As soon as that happens, turn off the flame. Keep your lemon juice ready and after you have turned off the flame, add it to the milk. Stir very delicately to make sure its mixed.

Let it stand for 10-20 minutes and the soft cheese will start to curdle and separate from the whey. Whey is that thin watery liquid that separates from milk while making cheese or curd. If the milk has still not curdled, be patient. If it still doesn’t, add 1 tbsp lemon juice and it should curdle.

Be sure, not to stir it too much or too vigorously, otherwise you will turn it into cottage cheese. There is a very fine line between ricotta and cottage cheese!. On stirring too much, it will become firmer, and we’re looking for a soft cheese.

When you stir very gently, the cheese will start to show… almost as if emerging from the milk-whey liquid.

It will finally look something like this. Such a beauty!

Keep a pot ready with a big sieve on top. Place a cheesecloth or a muslin cloth on top of the sieve. Make sure there’s enough distance between the sieve and the base of the pot, so that when we leave it to strain, the cheese is not touching the strained liquid whey.

This is what it will look like. At this stage, leave it to drain the excess liquid. The draining time is directly proportional to the firmness of cheese. If you let it stand longer and let more liquid drain out then you will get a firmer ricotta. Alternately, if you don’t leave it for very long so that it retains some moisture, then you will get a softer cheese.

This really depends on the purpose of use.
Soft Ricotta: for, cakes, tarts, cannoli, puddings, mousse and other desserts
Firm Ricotta: for ravioli, cannelloni, conchiglie, lasagne, tortellini and the likes.
Ricotta doesn’t melt on baking and thats why its the first choice for the filling of stuffed pastas.

Its ready to use when cooled. You can store it in the refrigerator for upto a week.

Recipe: Fresh Ricotta

Ingredients

1 litre milk
2 lemons

Method

  1. Take milk in a sauce pan and heat it to just before it comes to a boil. You will start seeing a few bubbles on the edge of the pan.
  2. Meanwhile juice 2 lemons and keep aside.
  3. Line a soup strainer with muslin cloth or cheesecloth and place the strainer over a big pot.
  4. As soon as you see bubble on the edge of the milk turn off the flame and add the lemon juice. Stir it delicately to ensure the lemon juice is mixed well with the milk.
  5. Let it stand for 10-20 minutes. You will see that the soft cheese would curdle and separate leaving behind the whey.
  6. If the milk doesn’t not curdle completely just add an additional 1 tbsp of lemon Juice. Over stirring will make the cheese harder so stir less to get a soft cheese.
  7. Drain the cheese over the cheesecloth and let it stand from anywhere between 20-50 minutes. For a fresh and  light ricotta, drain it for a short time and for a more dense ricotta drain it for a longer period.
  8. This amount of milk will yield ricotta between 260-220gm depending on the amount of drainage time. Use fresh or store in the refrigerator for 6-8 days.

Mushroom Buns

Mushroom buns are fairly easy to make, wholesome on their own, and can be used for breakfast, packed for your office lunch, served as an evening snack or dinner accompaniment. These are simply yumm!

Ingredients for the dough

Here we’ve taken, flour, sugar, salt, warm water, butter, milk and yeast. You can use any yeast you’re comfortable using (fresh or dried, for fresh just double the amount of yeast in the recipe. We’ve used Fleischmann’s here. They also have 7g sachets which are very convenient to use, as most bread/dough recipes usually call for a standard amount of 7g yeast. If you have the bottle you can just measure 2 ¼ tsp dried yeast.

You also have something called rapid rise yeast. We usually let the bread dough proof twice. Once we let the dough rise right after kneading it and the second time after shaping it. After the second prooving we bake straight away. When you’re using the rapid rise yeast, just skip the first prooving step and jump to the second prooving.

You can either knead it in a stand mixer with the dough blade or simply by hand. It’s fun to knead manually and is a BIG stress-buster!!

Leave it in a warm place to rise. In winters you can put it in the sun, but in summers it can be too hot. So choose the space carefully.

The recipe for the mushroom filling is given below. You can make that in advance and keep, and use it when the dough is ready.

Roll it up tightly, while supporting it as you go. The dough will be very soft at this point.

Divide it equally and cut with a dough cutter. Place evenly in a greased tin. Brush with melted butter on top.

Cover, and let it rise in a warm place. At this point, remember to switch on your oven and preheat it at the temperature you will bake. Once the rolls rise again, they’ll be ready for the oven. Just uncover and put it in the oven.

Remove from the oven when golden brown.

Brush generously with butter before serving!

Pull them apart and serve warm with mustard or any other accompaniment of your choice. You can also enjoy it with your evening tea/coffee or soup.

Recipe

Ingredients

For Dough:

  • 350 gm flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp dried yeast (7 gms)
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 180 ml warm water
  • 50 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp butter

For Mushroom Filling:

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 400 gm mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter for brushing

Method

For the bread dough:

  1. In a bowl take half the flour. Add sugar and salt to it.
  2. In another bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water, add milk and butter. Add this liquid mixture to flour mixture and mix.
  3. Gradually add in more flour and knead for 8-10 mins to get a soft dough.
  4. Place in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 30-60 mins or until double.

For the mushroom buns:

  1. In a pan take butter on medium flame.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 30 secs, add the mushrooms and cook till all liquid evaporates.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Remove from flame and leave to cool.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle.  Brush with butter and spread the mushroom mixture.
  5. Roll it up tightly. Cut into 2 inch pieces and place in a greased baking dish.
  6. Cover and leave for 20-30 mins.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  8. Bake for 15-20 mins.