The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes in Dhaka!

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Red Velvet the name itself gives off an air of mystery.While the red color catches your eye, its the cream cheese frosting that is the hero of this creation.Whether as a cake or a cupcake, this dessert usually tastes as amazing as it looks. A lot of places in Dhaka now have Red Velvet cake or cupcake in their menu and after tasting a variety of them and carrying out some informal surveys, here are the top places in Dhaka where you can get your Red Velvet fix. Continue reading

Vanilla Cake with Mango filling- Celebrating a birthday and a summer fruit

If I ask any Bengali, what’s the best thing about summer, I’m sure the majority would say “Mangoes.” or as we lovingly call them….”Aam”  This fruit, so delicious, so sweet and perfect! I feel bad for those people in this world who will never get to know the wonderful-ness that is an Aam, who don’t have such easy access to Aam every summer as we Bangladeshis do. So as the lucky ones I feel it is our duty to showcase and celebrate this fruit in every way possible!

As for my part, last summer I made a mango salad on my birthday which went down very well and when this summer came around, I was looking forward to another occasion where I could use mangoes in a different way. That occasion came on my brother’s birthday which was on the 16th of June and I decided to make a cake incorporating mangoes in it. Continue reading

Disaster Diary- When a cake plops, turn it into cake pops

Most people who love to bake will tell you that there is considerable joy in baking but what they don’t tell you is that from time to time there’s considerable frustration as well. As for me, I attach myself to the process so much that when I see a cake sink in the middle after taking it out of the oven, same happens to my heart.

This is the story of one such incident… Continue reading

The Banana Bread – surprisingly simple and good!

Looking at the weather today, I thought it’s a pretty fine day to write about….bananas! Why not?

Woke up to my alarm this morning to see that it still dark outside and it’s pouring rain. I reached for my phone, thinking that it was probably 4 am and I still have hours before I have to wake up for office.To my surprise and disappointment it was 8 am so I had no other option then to part with my lovely bed on such a cozy morning. Unlike this morning, this banana bread that I’m talking about was a pleasant surprise!

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I was skeptical about it for I assumed it tasted like our deshi banana pitha (“kola’r” pitha) which I don’t like at all because it smells so strongly of banana. It was this unpleasant experience with kolar pitha which held me back from trying out the banana bread despite seeing bloggers and vloggers rave about how tasty and easy it was to make.

Then one day my Dadu, fed-up of how she has to still nag everyone to eat fruits at home placed a basket of over-ripe bananas in front of me and said, ‘Use them up, make a custard or something, everybody likes that.” That’s when inspiration struck and I said to myself nope, not making an easy-peasy custard, today is the day I find out how these overripe and unattractive bananas are transformed into this talked about banana cake.

I was already impressed when I saw how easy it is to make; you literally need 2 bowls, a spatula and a fork.Place your dry ingredients in a large bowl, in a smaller bowl mix your wet ingredients which are eggs, melted butter,vanilla and mashed bananas and pour them into your dry ingredients, give it a good stir with the spatula and you’re good to go. After 40mins in the oven, I took out the banana bread, perfectly golden brown and smelling glorious. I cut a piece and took a bite right after I turned it out of the pan and boy it was love at first bite. I knew right away that this is going into my list of staple sweet items. It’s called bread but I’d say it’s somewhere in between a bread and a cake. It is one of those baked items which you can whip up and enjoy anytime at home or even take to someone’s place instead of just a pound cake. It looks better than a pound cake but requires half the effort. Win-win!

What I’m trying to say is don’t misunderstand banana breads because they contain bananas, they don’t smell strongly of banana at all, rather they are so hearty and wholesome you’ll feel good eating it. So next time you have over-ripe bananas in the house, don’t give up on them, use them to make a banana bread or if you can’t wait get some over ripe bananas from the store and make them today. Your life, your choices!

This is the recipe I used: http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/BananaBread.html

I just replaced white sugar with brown sugar.Keep in mind, baking times may vary.

They taste best when they are warmed or toasted I’d say.

Random takeaway: There’s something oddly satisfying about mashing bananas, you should try it.

-Z

A Cake, a Course and Colours!

The course Entrepreneurship at IBA is quite legendary, made so because of the final presentation which pushes the boundary of creativity of all groups. The myths and urban folklores a fresher at IBA hears about this particular presentation comes to life in the third year and for us that was January 2014.

You might be thinking where and how does a RAINBOW CAKE fit into a business presentation? It does. Especially when your course instructor loves colours!

Needless to say a six layered cake for a person who had never attempted to make more than a 2 layered cake, was quite an ambitious task. On top of that that there were some key constraints, I had one 9 inch round baking pan, an oven that could only fit one cake at a time and due to the political turmoil at that time there was a shortage of butter in the market. So I knew I had no scope to fool around, I needed to plan this out to the T.

Wasting no time, I sat down with the recipe and with the concentration of a student giving a math exam, did all the calculations I had to do in order to make optimum use of my resources. Moreover, I had to substitute butter with oil which required more research.
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I halved the recipe so I’d have to bake 3 layers at a time. I divided the batter into three bowls, measuring them on the way to make sure they are fairly equal and then mixed in the colours. I started baking with the lightest colour because you don’t want to start with a darker colour and get your lighter coloured batters stained.  And I have no shame in admitting that I took help from my aunt about which colours to mix to make yellow and violet. Arts and crafts aren’t my thing. By this point it really did feel like I was conducting a science experiment more than baking a cake.

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As annoying as it was to wash the pans and baking utensils in between baking each layer, it was all forgotten when I ended up with six wonderfully colourful layers of cake.

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I wrapped them babies up in clingfilm and called it a night. Next day, I made the ever so lovely Swiss Meringue Buttercream and applied a stingy layer of crumb coat. Stingy because if this ran out there would be no more buttercream as I used up all the butter I had and there was none to be found in the market .For the final coating of buttercream I thought of giving a  pastel swirl effect using yellow at the bottom, white in the middle and green on top. The finishing wasn’t too smooth but it’s what’s inside that counts right? In this case quite literally.

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Finally, came the moment of truth, I was so nervous about how the layers would look. I dipped the knife in hot water and went for it (knife dipped in hot water=cleaner cake slices).There it was…..a beautiful six layered rainbow cake which I could not believe I made. It truly was a proud moment for me.

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I took it to IBA on the day of our presentation, shout out to my brother who made a nice box to cover the tall cake. Equipped with a short drama, 3 parody songs and wearing parrot green sarees and shirts, for 15mins of our lives we put aside our dignities and performed…the most ridiculous but fun show of our IBA lives, ending it with the unveiling of the Rainbow Cake. Although I had to spend the next 30mins after our presentation cutting and distributing the mighty cake,seeing my batchmates fighting for seconds of my cake and hearing the great compliments from them, I’d do it all over again. (but then don’t take my word for it….:p )

-Z