Strawberries are here! yeyeye! There was a time (read: before marriage) when I hated strawberries, well I still do in any form other than fresh. You got confused, I know! I can’t stand strawberry ice-cream, strawberry jam, etc etc, to me they all taste very sweet, very artificial & always leave a very weird, sort of bitter taste in my mouth. But V loves them, so he introduced me to the fresh fruit, I was quite skeptical, ready to hate them. BUT I liked them. Can’t say I love them but ya now I like & enjoy them in the season.
Here in Maharashtra, strawberry plantation is a big industry for both local & export market. Strawberries are available by truck load everywhere, you just cant deny buying yourself a box. 🙂 In Mahabaleshwar & Panchgani, it is a common sight for commoners & tourists to indulge in strawberry picking during the harvest season. I’ve tried doing that too once, but that time season was almost over & we didn’t get the best ones to pick. 😦
I decided to put these strawberries to a new use (at least for us) – yes a CAKE! Thankfully for our growing waistline, I baked this for a dear friend & not for us. When I came across this recipe & read the reviews, I just knew I had to bake this one. I replaced blueberries with strawberries, silken tofu with equal amount of home-made ricotta cheese & cake flour with APF & cornstarch. I reduced the quantity by half & baked it in a loaf pan.
To give a twist I roasted strawberries in honey, olive oil, salt & balsamic vinegar (again home made). It is very frustrating to google recipes and realize that you can’t make most due to lack of ‘fancy’ ingredients. I slowly have started overcoming this by making them (corn syrup, mascarpone, etc) at home as much as possible. This time I conquered Balsamic Vinegar in the best option (cheap & readily available). I increased the quantity of fresh strawberries as they will reduce on roasting. So I took 2 Cups fresh strawberries which gave me about 1 Cup roasted strawberries.
The ricotta cheese was different than our usual paneer, I believe due to the addition of cream – it was creamy in texture & taste. It sure is a perfect substitution for silken tofu.
The roasted strawberry was an out of this world experience. I am going to make them quite often & going to use varied fruits. The color, the smell, the taste was just awesome.
The cake rose well & my kitchen filled with wonderful smell of roasted strawberries & baking. Though upon removing from the cake, it did sink little in the center, I’m not sure why. The cake smelled heavenly & delicious. The crumbs tasted absolutely wonderful. I strongly recommend serving the cake with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. V sulked for not being able to gorge on either the roasted strawberries or the cake. 🙂
I would have loved to use some port here to roast strawberries, but my friend is a complete teetotaler & saatvic to the core. 🙂 She is an Ayurvedic Doctor, practicing with an Ayurvedic Retreat near Pune. She became my role model for practicing Yoga during both my pregnancies. She stood by me in my times of need, she became a friend to me in this still ‘alien’ city and have even fought on my behalf with others. Lately we had a small misunderstanding and I’m glad we overcame our egos and made up. I would hate to loose a special friend like her. Thank you for being my friend, Dr. Roli. This cake is for you. Guys I did not send or dedicate this virtually, I personally delivered it to her on the D-day!
Eggless Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Bread –
Recipe Source – loosely adapted from Eggless Cooking
- 1/4 Cup – Butter, softened
- 3/4 Cup – Sugar
- 1/4 Cup – Ricotta Cheese, pureed
- 1/4 Cup – Curd
- 1/8 Cup – Milk
- 2 tsps – Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/4 Cups – Cake Flour (see my notes)
- 1 tsp – Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp – Baking Soda
- a pinch – Salt
- 1 Cup – Roasted Strawberries (2 Cups fresh Strawberries would give you 1 Cup)
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Grease & line a 8 X 6 X 2 loaf pan.
- In a small bowl, blend cheese & yogurt well. Add milk & vanilla, mix well.
- Sift together, flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat sugar & butter till light & fluffy, this will take about 5 minutes. To this add liquid ingredients in 3 batches, beat well after each addition.
- Now add dry ingredients and blend well.
- Add in the roasted strawberries. You can lightly dust them in flour to avoid sinking to the bottom of the pan. Fold them very gently into the batter to avoid further breakdown.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 – 50 mins or till toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool on wire rack for 10 mins, then de-mold on a wire rack and cool completely before serving.
Roasted Strawberries –
Recipe Source – adapted from Joy the Baker
- 2 Cups – Fresh Strawberries
- 2 Tbsps – Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp – Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsps – Honey
- a pinch – Salt
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Grease & line a rimmed baking sheet.
- Hull & slice the strawberries into half or quarter depending on size.
- In a small bowl, mix olive oil, salt & honey together.
- Place strawberries in a large bowl. Pour the above mixture on it. Toss gently till all the berries are covered.
- Spread coated berries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Keep checking the berries in between as each may vary. It helps to slightly move around the berries a bit for even roasting. Remove from oven before the juices start burning.
- Remove the berries & juices from the sheet while still warm and place them in a bowl. Add balsamic vinegar & toss. Set aside and allow it to cool.
Balsamic Vinegar –
Recipe Source – adapted from About.com
- 2 Tbsps – Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp – Sugar
- Mix vinegar & sugar to combine.
- Use in place of 2 Tbsps of Balsamic Vinegar.
Cake Flour – Place 2 Tbsps of corn flour in a cup, fill the remaining cup with APF – yields 1 cup Cake flour
Ricotta Cheese – I quartered the recipe as I didn’t want to end up with so much ricotta cheese on hand since I regularly make paneer. Makes 1 Cup of Cheese.
Recipe Source – adapted from Chef in You
- 500 ml – Whole Milk
- 1/4 Cup – Heavy Cream, I used Amul
- 2 tsp – White Vinegar
- a pinch – Salt
- In a heavy saucepan, combine milk & cream.
- Warm on moderately high heat, till the mixture starts to foam & bubbly. Do not allow to boil.
- Remove the pan from heat. Add vinegar & stir gently for 30 secs.
- The mixture will curdle almost immediately.
- Add salt & stir for another 30 secs.
- Cover the pan with wet towel. Allow to stand at room temp for 2 hours.
- Line a large colander with several layers of cheesecloth or muslin, allowing several inches of overhang.
- Place the colander on a large bowl. Pour the curdled mixture over the colander.
- Let the water drain. After few minutes, gather the corners of the cheesecloth & tie it with a rubber-band. Allow to stand in colander for another 30 minutes. Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to drain the whey.
- Open the cheesecloth – use ricotta cheese. I use whey as stock for my soups or gravy.
Linking this to –
- Merry Christmas Celebrations by Cook, Cook & Cook
- Cookies & Cakes for Xmas by My Easy to Cook Recipes
- Spot light: Healthy Baking by Recipe Junction
- Lets Cook Edible Gifts for Christmas by Simply Food
- Bake Fest #14 by Cooks Joy
- CookEatDelicious : Desserts – Cake hosted this month by Spicy Food
- Celebrate Series – Christmas – hosted by Divya for Dec
- 60 Days to Christmas – co-hosted by Priya & Divya Pramil
- Christmas Cook-off Contest by Kavi