Eggless Saffron cake with pistachio crust

This cake is simply the most sensational butter cake I have created. Everytime anyone gets a taste its an instant hit. The richness of the Pistachios coupled with the delicate saffron just melts in your mouth. I added a few gratings of freshly grated nutmeg to up the flavor ante, as a result…just trying being around while the cake bakes,the aroma will leave you salivating. The crust is made up of ground pistachio nuts and a little sugar,while caramelizes while baking making a great,crunchy crust.To me,this cake is perfect without any extra gilding,but feel free to decorate at will…maybe a little powdered sugar? your call.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 cup Buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

good pinch saffron( I use Spanish saffron)

1 stick (1/2 cup ) unsalted butter,at room temperature

1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp table salt

a few gratings fresh nutmeg

3/4 cup superfine sugar plus 2 tablespoons for topping

1/3 cup raw unsalted pistachio nuts ground

Grease a 9 inch cake pan.

Preheat oven to 350*F

Combine the ground pistachios with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle in the greased baking pan,swirl pan to coat evenly,set aside.

Remove 2 tablespoons of buttermilk from the 1 cup buttermilk. Place the 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave to warm. Stir in the saffron. Set aside.

To the rest of the buttermilk,stir in the vinegar and both extracts. Set aside.

Combine the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar till light and fluffy.Alternate beating in the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture.Just until combined. Stir in the saffron buttermilk mixture.

Scrape the bowl well to ensure everything is well mixed.

Pour into the prepared pistachio lined pan. Place in oven to bake between 25 to 30 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before unmoulding and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.


Buttermilk Scones

These scones from John Baricelli’s wife , Veronica have the perfect balance of sweet and savory . They are light and flakey , so ideal for tea time or a sandwich . Luckily for me , they do not contain eggs , and I have not tested them substituting butter for something like Earth Balance , so I am not sure if they would be suitable for vegans . Once the dough is prepared , they are easy to freeze just before baking . Place them on a baking tray , well covered with plasic wrap into the freezer , once frozen the scones maybe stacken in a resealable freezer bag and frozen up to 1 month . Follow the baking instructions when ready to bake , do not thaw please !

John Barricelli

Makes 12

2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 TBS sugar

1 TBS baking powder

1 tsp coarse salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 Tbs ( 3/4 stick ) cold unsalted butter , cut into small pieces

3/4 cup buttermilk

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper ;set aside

In a large bowl , whisk together the flour , sugar , baking powder , salt and baking soda.

Work butter into dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs . Add  1/2 cup of buttermilk and fold with a rubber scraper or your hands until the buttermilk has been absorbed . Then continue adding buttermilk , 1 tbs at a time , just until the dough comes together and there are no dry patches .

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface . Divide the dough into 2 balls and pat each ball into a 7 inch disk , 3/4 to 1 inch thick . Use a bench scraper or a sharp knife , cut each disk into 6 equal wedges . Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and chill for 1 hour .

Set the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 *F.

Bake , rotating the baking sheet about  2/3   of the way through , until the scones are puffed and golden brown and the bottoms are lightly browned , 16 to 20 minutes .

Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes . Using a metal spatula , transfer to a rack to cool.

Microwave Eggless Chocolate Cake

Thanks to this recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor , I can have my cake and eat it in a few short minutes . Sometimes the craving for chocolate cake hits when I just do not have much time to preheat the oven and wait for the cake to bake . I love to serve this cake warm with a cold glass of milk and , if I feel indulgent a little whipped cream.

4  oz dark chocolate , grated ( I love lindt’s 90% chocolate for this )

1  1/3 cup All purpose flour

8  oz ( 2 sticks ) chilled butter , cubed , plus more for greasing

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup + 2 tbs powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk ( please use whole milk )

1/2 cup walnuts , chopped

grease an 8 inch round microwave safe dish.

Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl . Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl for one minute on high . Stir well to mix .

Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix well ; Fold in the flour . Correct the consistency by adding milk . Add walnuts and mix gently .

Transfer the mixture to the greased dish . Cook for 7 minutes on High . Leave the cake to stand for 5 minutes .

Cool , slice and serve .

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies and Cream

This grown up version of the popular children’s cookies and cream is , in a word , sublime . It tastes more like a chilled airy mousse with tangy undertones from the creme fraiche and fresh lemon juice . The recipe suggests using all heavy cream if you do not have creme fraiche , and that’s fine , but the creme fraiche really lends a distinct quality . I have also switched the chocolate wafer cookies to Oreos , just for the kid in me.

Yield 2   1/2 cups cream and 3/4 cup sauce


3 cups frozen raspberries ( about 12 oz ) , thawed

5 tbs granulated sugar , more if needed

Few drops fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt

2/3  cup heavy cream

1/3 cup creme fraiche

21 Famous Chocolate wafers or Oreos

6 cute mint sprigs

Put 1 cup of the raspberries in a small bowl , sprinkle with 2 tbs of the sugar , mash with a fork , and let sit for a few minutes .

Meanwhile put the remaining 2 cups of berries and another 2 tbs sugar in a food processor and process until the berries form a puree . Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl pressing with a rubber spatula to get the seeds out  . squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice and a tiny pinch of salt .Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice as needed. The sauce should be thin enough to drizzle .If it seems too thick thin with a few drops of water . Cover and refridgerate.

In a medium bowl combine the cream , the creme fraiche , and the remaining 1 tbs sugar and whip with a hand mixer until the mixture forms firm , thick peaks . Stir the mashed berries and sugar and lightly fold into the cream mixture with a rubber spatula , leaving streaks .

Reserve 6 of the cookies for decoration and crunch up the rest into uneven pieces -not too small . Fold the cookies into the cream . Cover with plastic wrap , pressing the wrap into the surface of the cream, and chill until the cookie pieces are throughly softened , at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

To serve , use an ice cream scoop to scoop out a moundinto a small bowl or plate. Drizzle a ribbon of raspberry sauce around the plate , tuck a cookie into the cream , and decorate with a sprig of mint .

Ginger -mascarpone icebox cake

This delicious no bake dessert is a creamy tiramisu  like dessert with an Asian that comes from the addition of ginger . The best part of this dessert is that it must be made a day ahead. I love to serve this eggless dessert with a side of exotic fruit such as mangoes or lychees but fresh berries work very well too.

Heather Ho , Fine Cooking

Serves 12

12 oz gingersnap crumbs or about 40 Nabisco brand gingersnaps

5 Tbs unsalted butter , melted

8 oz cream cheese  , softened

1/2 plain low fat yogurt

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger

1 lb Marscapone cheese

1/3 cup heavy cream

Spray a 9 inch springform pan with non stick cooking spray. Dust the pan with a little sugar and shake out the excess. In a medium bowl , combine the gingersnap crumbs and butter , rubbing them togetherwith your fingertips to combine throughly . Sprinkle half of the crumbs over the bottom of the pan and pat down evenly; reserve the rest.

In a large bowl , with an electric mixer , whip together the cream cheese , yogurt , sugar , vanilla and ginger until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add Marscapone and cream and whip until combined and just holds peaks . Do not overmix or the mixture will seperate.

Gently spoon half of the Marscapone mixture over the crust, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle half of the remaining crumbs over the marscapone mixture in the pan. Top with the remaining marscapone mixture and finish with the crumbs. Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate overnight. Serve cold.

Corn and spinach croquettes

This recipe was inspired by Tarla Dalal , one of the highest rated Indian food writers. I have played with the recipe to my taste and am delighted to say , O YUM!!!

Serves 12

2 cups cooked rice

1 cup cooked kernel corn

3 tbs finely chopped , squeezed dry , spinach

2 tbs chopped cilantro

3 chopped serrano chilis

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste

Oil for deep frying


1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk ( no lowfat)

1/4 cup all  purpose flour

4 tbs butter


1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup cold water

Panko Bread crumbs


Melt the butter , add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and stir till sauce thickens. Remove from heat.


Mix flour and water to form a smooth batter.


Preheat oil for deep frying to 350*F

Add rice , corn ,spinach ,cilantro ,green chilis , cheese , salt and black pepper. Shape into round balls.

Drop into batter , then roll in panko bread crumbs . Drop gently into hot oil and fry till golden brown.


Shirley’s Not -so -Sconey Scones

These moist , light , scones are really more like southern style biscuits. I love the addition of white chocolate chips and raspberries. It is a super addition to an elegant breakfast or high tea. It is important you use a low protein  self -rising flour like White Lily for a tender scone. You may choose to frost the scone once baked but that is optional.

Non stick cooking spray

2 cups  (9 oz) spooned and leveled self -rising flour

1/3 cup sugar (2.3 0z)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup buttermilk , or enough for dough to resemble cottage cheese.


1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbs orange zest

1 1/2 cups (9 oz ) white chips

2 small flats  of fresh raspberries , as firm as as you can find (about 1 cup)

1 cup ( 4.4 oz ) plain all purpose flour , for shaping

3 tbs (1.5 oz ) unsalted butter , melted

Preheat oven to 425 *F and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven,spray an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan with non stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl , stir together the flour , sugar and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers , until there are no large lumps. Gently stir in the cream  , then some of the buttermilk and the vanilla. Continue stirring in buttermilk until  THE DOUGH RESEMBLES SLIGHTLY THICK COTTAGE CHEESE. It should have a wettexture like thick cottage cheese but not the least bit soupy.

Stir in the orange zest and white chocolate chips. Very carefully fold in the raspberries.

Spread the plain flour out on a plate. With a medium ice cream scoop or spoon , place 3 scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkloe flour over each. Flour your hands. Turn a dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place the scones in the prepared pan . Place each shaped scone SCRUNCHED UP AGAINST ITS NEIGHBOUR so that the scones rise up and do not spread out. Continue scooping and shaping until all the dough is used.

Place the pan in the oven on the arranged shelf. Bake until lightly browned , about 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter . Invert onto one plate , then back onto another. With a knife or spatula , cut quickly between scones to make them easy to remove. Drizzle with icing , if desired.


1 cup (4 oz ) confectioners’ sugar

1 to 2 tbs Heavy cream

1 tsp Vanilla

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup with a spout , stir together sugar , cream and vanilla. You want the consistency think because it will melt slightly when it hits the hot scone. Drizzle icing on solid to cover the top with drools that ru7n down the side.