February 2016 - Sugar N Spice

Monday, February 22, 2016

11:21 PM

Mango Ricotta Cheese Cake

Mango Ricotta Cheese Cake


Ingredients
  • 225g Ricotta Cheese
  • 250g Cream Cheese
  • 15g Cornstarch
  • 100g Sugar
  • ½ cup Mango Pulp or Passion fruit Pulp
  • 1 tsp Cardamom
  • 1 Lemon zest and juice
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 eggs
For Crust:
  • 8-9 Digestive Biscuits
  • 5 tbsp melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
Lemon Curd:
  • 2 Lemon juice and Zest
  • 50g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Cardamom


Use Caramelized Pine nuts for Topping


Recipe
  1. Preheat oven at 155 degrees (fan setting).
  2. Crush biscuits, add butter and cinnamon. Press it in the cake mold (you can use cupcake molds or a big round cake mold).Baking time will vary with the choice of the cake mold.  Optional, you can chopp pine nuts and add it to the crust.
  3. In a bowl mix Ricotta cheese, cream cheese until smooth. Now add all the other ingredients except eggs.Mix until the batter is smooth.
  4. Add one egg at a time, mix evenly. Pour in the cake mold and bake for 15-20 minutes.


Baker's Tips
  • To check if cakes are done or not. Check if it is wobbly in the middle. That’s the time you will take it out.
  • If mango pulp is not available then you can use passion fruit pulp without seeds.
Lemon Curd
  1. In a pan on medium heat add lemon juice, zest, sugar and egg, egg yolk. Keep stirring until it starts to thicken. Take off the heat and add butter. Cool it down in refrigerator.
Baker's Tips
  • If the curd forms a layer on the back of the spoon, it’s done. And I prefer to use wooden spoon.
  • Remember to keep heat low, otherwise egg white will start to crumble. And do not forget to stir continuously .


Final Touch
Cover the top of the cake with lemon curd, caramelized pine nuts and some chocolate topping :-)
Baker's Tips
  • I wanted to make this cake in the weekend and Ricotta cheese was vital. My husband searched in many stores over the weekend and everywhere it was out of stock. Then I decided to make Ricotta at home. It was my first time and the result was fabulous. And now onwords I will always make Ricotta at home :)
My cake turned out very creamy and better than I prepared with Ricotta from market.


Have fun …….. & Enjoy your Mango Ricotta Cheese Cake!!

Do let me know about your experience ...
Gleder meg til å høre fra dere :) 

Friday, February 19, 2016

1:19 AM

Week's Finale is here!!!

Week's Finale is here!!!
I am pinching myself, I am in week’s finale!!!! I didn’t imagined myself standing here. But yes I am here :-)

We all were nervous this morning and was bit tired after loooong week. The dressing room was much quieter today. I was feeling so lucky that I had my husband beside me and could lean on him and close my eyes for few moments.

Today’s challenge was to make Ricotta Cheese cake with Lemon and chocolate garnish. Ricotta cheese is used in Italian cooking. If I can compare it is quite close to cottage cheese but with much softer texture. It is a very interesting challenge and tricky too. Ricotta cheese can bring heavy texture in the cake. So, it was important to balance the flavors.

I planned to make Mango Ricotta Cream Cheese cake with Lemon curd and caramelized pine nuts for topping. For the crust I used Digestive biscuit, cinnamon and pine nuts for crunch. And of course I used cinnamon in cake and lemon curd :-)

I learned from yesterday’s incident, so this time I was planning to make mini cakes instead of big cake. Mini cake takes lesser time to bake and lesser time to cool down in the fridge.

Judges were emphasizing on the importance of chocolate garnish. They wanted to see our technique of tempering chocolate. I wanted to make chocolate basket.

Yesterday, as per Judges my Lemon curd was bit too strong for them. Today I had to make sure that Lemon curd doesn’t overpowers the rest of the cake. I had to strike a balance between heavy cheese texture and tangy flavor from lemon curd. Pine nuts are very special to me, I use them a lot in Italian dishes. Ricotta cheese and pine nuts is a very good combination. Caramelized pine nuts are absolutely delicious and would give crunchy texture against creamy and soft texture of cream. Fridtjof was surprised that I was using pine-nuts in a cake.

Discussing about Pine-Nuts

In between I could hear the judges were discussing about the flavors I am using in the cake. Like Mango, cardamom, lemon curd etc. They were very fascinated by the concept of using Indian Mango pulp in a cheese cake. As per them it has never happened in the history of Kakekrigen and they were looking forward to taste my cake :-)

Some laughs with Judges


Today I didn’t had the time to look around (as usual ;-)) and see what others were baking.

Things were going as per plan........

Judges watching my creativity

I was happy with my mini cakes, lemon curd was fine but I was bit stressed out about the Chocolate Garnish. My chocolate basket didn’t turned out the way I wanted it to be. Luckily I had a backup and used the mold to create chocolate spirals. As count down started I gave final touches to my cake with some berries and chocolate on the plate.

End Result
Then I turned around and looked at other cakes. Everybody finished on time and their cake were also looking nice.

Till now I didn’t thought about if I am going to win or lose. But now my heart was beating fast and I felt the urge to win. Every passing second felt like ages, just like a slow motion movie :-).

Moment of Truth .......

Judges began with tasting and my cake was the first one. They were happy with the appearance of the cake, could taste mango, liked the crunch from pine nuts and lemon curd was refreshing. Overall they liked the cake. I was super happy and relieved.

Finally, we were standing facing judges and they began by praising each of our strength. Till now, it was not sure who will win.

And then Fridtjof announced………………… winner of the week is ............ Pallavi.

I couldn’t believe it. Everything stopped for a moment and I was in shock. Is it really happening, have I heard right, did he said my name......Yes yes yes, its me :-)

It was not over yet, all the cameras were rolling and Fridtjof was asking about my experience. Then I composed myself and said that I learned a lot during this process and very thankful. Same time I am very proud of my background and where I come from.

So,  yes I won today and moved to semi- final……. 

hurrahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....


Shirish was standing in the corner waiting for the director to say CUT. We both ran and hugged each other,  after all it was his victory too.

Full House...........Party Time with Friends




It was full party mood at my place today. All my friends gathered at my place and cheered for me. Love you all and thanks for making my day :-)


Shhhhh!!!!! We are watching ....
Girls Power!!



Selfie Time 

Mango Ricotta Cheese Cake (Mini Version)


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

10:30 PM

Day Three in Kakekrigen

Day Three in Kakekrigen
Now Competition is getting tougher & tougher…………

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It is getting serious. Till now, I was taking one day at a time but now as the week final is getting closer I am feeling the heat. I have to gear up and bring the best game forward. I am aiming for the Yellow apron and feeling very confident.

Today's theme was Cake based on Caribbean Flavors. Judges also wanted us to use spices in cake. I felt like I have hit the JACKPOT. This is my strength ,I very well understand the use of spices and how to balance the flavors. Same time, I felt the pressure of giving my best performance as the Judges have high expectations from me.
  
The first thing comes to our mind when we talk about Caribbean, is sun and coconut. So, I planned to make Key Lime Coconut Cake with Lemon Curd, Chocolate Ganache and Chantilly Cream. This is a heavenly combination. I used cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon to spice up the flavors. Judges were excited and looking forward to taste my cake. Today I was getting lot of attention :-).

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Sharing my mother’s secret tip with judges
In the beginning itself, I knew I have taken up a huge risk. At home the same cake would take 4 to 5 hours. As this cake is composed of different elements and each needed some cooling time in the refrigerator. I didn’t had that privilege today. But I had to step up and take the risk.

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Everything was going as per plan. It was bit stressful at the end but I managed to finish the cake. I would have preferred better finishing but was happy with the result.

Here comes the Drama.........

We all were standing on our station and were waiting for Fridtjof to start with his lines. Fridtjof looked at me... and he knew something was wrong. He asked me ‘whats happening’ and I said ‘my cake is falling apart’. All of a sudden cake start to break from middle. And the same moment all the cameras in the studio focused on me and my cake. They wanted to capture my reaction, they might be thinking that I will cry. But I quickly composed myself although my heart was sinking. There was not much I could do. I took a deep breath and the shooting began.

When the Judges came to my station and I had to present my cake, I presented it as the ‘’Explosion of Flavors’’. And in a sense it was true. The cake was full of spicy, tangy, coconutty flavor.We all laughed on it :-). I suspect the reason behind the explosion was the way I pricked flowers in the cake.

We all were holding hands while judges were tasting our cake. It was very comforting and helped me to calm down my nerves.That’s why I say, I couldn’t have asked for a better group. Thanks to all my co-participants.




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I called it Explosion of Flavors :-)
Although the cake exploded but I knew all the flavors were in place. And was 100% sure that it’s going to taste marvelous.

It was supposed to look like this. I made this cake for one of my friend’s birthday :-)

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

10:59 PM

Day Two in Kakekrigen

Day Two in Kakekrigen
Still having hangover of Day One :-)

But looking forward for another big day. We are getting ready for photo shot.

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Selfie Time !!
I was amazed by the talent around me, it’s a tough competition. Yesterday I survived and today again was nervous about the challenge ahead. Today is the overraskelse day (surprise day). We will be given a recipe from judge Knut Harald Sørdal. This is a difficult challenge for me, as I do not tend to follow the recipes, I always make some changes in the recipe.


We all were dying to know about the recipe. And during the break we were making guesses that we might have to make macarons, choux pastry, roulade cake etc. The time we entered in the studio, we started picking up the hints from the arrangements but it was difficult to figure out. It just felt like the moments before the exams during the school days :-)

I couldn’t have asked for a better group. We were holding hands and supporting each other in nervous moments. In each break, we were exchanging tips. Although we were there to compete but we were not competing against each other instead we were empowering each other.
What a wonderful Group!!


The process was just the same as Day One. Again we lined up and were waiting for Fridtjof to break the silence and put us out of our misery. Finally Fridtjof tolds us about the recipe, it was “Toscaterte”. I was relieved, as I have made tarts many times but was not sure about “Tosca”.

We get a chance to discuss with Knut Harald (Judge) about his recipe. At this stage, Fridtjof was concerned if I have understood everything. Later on he checked with me…….so sweet of him :-))

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As Fridtjof announced to start to bake, the first thing we all did was to check the recipe. At first everything was blurry to me. But then quickly, I composed myself. It was  a very well structured recipe with simple steps to follow. Of Course, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking to give my personal touch to it.

And the good thing was, judges also expected from us to give personal twist to the recipe…...Perfect :-) My twist was to use Cardamom and Mango Pulp in the marzipan mixture. Marzipan paste is made of almonds.

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Tart was too hot………...Action time.

I was very happy with the end result, everything went as per plan.

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Hanging out with Knut Harald...







Monday, February 15, 2016

10:30 PM

Day One in Kakekrigen

Day One in Kakekrigen
Today was the first day. I was sick to my stomach. I have never been in front of camera in my life. I was confident about my baking but the rest of the process was bit nerve breaking. Luckily I had my husband beside me, it was a big relief for me. And other than that the staff was very helping and caring.
We were picked up from hotel early in the morning around 6:30. There I met all the other participants. The fabulous 5, I couldn’t have asked for a better group.
I didn’t had much appetite for breakfast and we left with Frida for Studio. Frida was our logistic manager. She was very nice and showed us around the studio. It was fascinating to see the grand studio of Kakekrigen. And then we were asked to take our turns for makeup and getting dressed up. Beside our makeup room, I get a glance of one of the Judges Monica Csango. It was very exciting.
Then came Fridtjof like a breeze of fresh air. He was smiling and warmly introduced himself to all of us. All the lights in the studio were on and we were lined up for professional photo shot. I admit it was so difficult to smile with all the stress and anticipation. Microphone was attached to our aprons. By the way I was bit skeptical about the gray apron but it was not too bad.
The director was giving directions, Producer Tina was all smiling and making us comfortable with the process. Helga (kitchen manager) was arranging the kitchen, getting it ready for the shoot.
Then finally we rehearsed our entry.
We all were lined up and waiting for the call. One by one we were out and now it’s for real. We are standing facing the judges (Monica Csango and Knut Harald Sørdal) and Fridtjof. For this week they have a guest judge instead of Lars Lian. We were trying to cover the nervous feeling on our face with smile. The studio was full of people but there was pin drop silence in the room.
Fridtjof begins to speak, first he introduced the guest judge and then told us about the theme. Bursdag Kake (Birthday cake ) was the theme. We could choose to make cake for any age. I choose to make a Barbie cake for a 5 year old girl’s birthday. By the time I could collect my thoughts, Fridtjof announced ‘’your time starts now’’, we all ran frantically to our stations.
I planned to make Nutella Chocolate cake with Raspberries and Nutella cream filling. Kids like simple taste and same time very complex looking cakes. All kids like chocolate cake and Nutella…..yum :-)

The time I was on my station and started baking, all the cameras and nervous nerves vanished. I was in my comfort zone but still I could feel the pressure of time. When I bake at home same cake could take 4 to 5 hours but there we had to complete it in 90 minutes. In between Fridtjof checked on us about the whole process and type of cake we decided to make.

I was getting nervous when Judges came to snick a pick on what we were doing. I was explaining about the different flavors and spices I used in the cake.

It is one thing to bake at home then to bake in a competition. The time was flying by and my hands were shaking while giving the final touch to the cake. But somehow, I managed to finish the cake. It was the most intense 90 minutes, I have ever experienced in my life. I was happy that I finished on time and was also amazed to see all other cakes.

My cake was neither best (yellow apron) nor at the bottom (Tidsstraff). I was glad that judges liked the taste and look of the cake.


House Full for Kakekrigen Premier  -

All my dear friends and darling kids (my fans :-)) gathered at my place to cheer for me. It was wonderful to have them around to share this amazing experience with them. I wish my family would have been here with me but my friends filled that gap for me. Thanks to all of you………….