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May 2014 COTM - My Bombay Kitchen: Sweets and Desserts/Drinks

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews of the following:

Sweets and Desserts Pg. 241-268
Drinks Pg. 269 +

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  1. Cardamom Cake, p. 266

    This is such a lovely cake - very modest in appearance, yet richly infused with the warm, floral flavor of cardamom. It has a marvelous texture as well: a soft and airy crumb encased in a slightly flaky, slightly crunchy exterior, which is neither too light or too heavy... just right.

    Almost as wonderful as its flavor is the ease of its preparation - eggs and sugar are beaten for five minutes until tripled in volume (no leavening in this recipe; air beaten into the egg mixture provides the rise), flour and salt are folded in, followed by melted butter and crushed cardamom seeds. The batter is poured into a buttered & sugared 9" springform, and baked for 30 minutes. I took the recipe's suggestion of covering the bottom of the prepared pan with sliced almonds, which added another layer of crunch (and possibly helped avoid sticking?).

    I served the cake unadorned, but will try it with fresh peaches or nectarines next time. I think the note in the recipe is quite right when it mentions that there's nothing it won't compliment.

     
    20 Replies
    1. re: lesliej

      Second the recommendation for the Cardamon Cake

      I made this and reported on it during the nomination rounds, so I won't go in to detail here except fro saying it is wonderful. It is also a very forgiving recipe. When I made mine, I forgot to incorporate the melted butter until the end, and it still came out great.

      1. re: lesliej

        Cardamom Cake, p. 266

        Well, I didn't make the cake myself but suggest that a friend makes it for today's group lunch that I was hosting and others contributing, and she did, and it was fantastic! She is not a confident cook but I didn't get any panic calls in the morning :) She served it with fresh raspberries. It took 50min to bake but she was roasting squash in the same oven.... might be the reason. The cake looked exactly like lesliej's. It is going into my pepperplate as I am on the fence about buying the book.

        1. re: herby

          Wow, I love cardamom, and this looks great!

        2. re: lesliej

          So question about the cardamon seeds; I only have "in the pod"; seems like that would take a whole lot of pods to get 1 T?

          1. re: DGresh

            Yes - in fact I just cracked open one of my green cardamom pods that I bought in preparation for another MBK recipe and saw that there are maybe 6-8 seeds? So, I would say you might be better off buying the seeds. Too labor intensive to crack open that many pods, anyway!

            1. re: lesliej

              If you have a mortar and pestle, you can make fairly quick work of opening the pods to get 1 T of seeds. Just tap lightly so the pod breaks apart without pulverizing the seeds.
              I think cardamom in the pod is generally more fragrant than what you can buy already seeded.

              1. re: rabaja

                So true - didn't think of either of those points. I'm also a little spoiled in that just down the road is a shop that sells bulk spices so it's always been easy for me to pop in and buy a little of this and a little of that.

                1. re: lesliej

                  I lucked out after having asked about this on the master thread. I was assuming I'd just break open the pods, but when I took Lulu to voice lessons the other day I had a BINGO moment - there was a Greek store there, and I took a look there and sure enough they had the seeds. The same little strip mall has a great Asian store. Wonderfully convenient while she's in her session.

                2. re: rabaja

                  Or crack open using the same technique as in peeling garlic or seeding olives - put the flat side of the knife on the pod and gently bang with your fist.

                  1. re: rabaja

                    I have a feeling it would use up my entire jar of pods and more given the itsy bitsy number of seeds in one pod!

              2. re: lesliej

                Cardamom Cake, p. 266

                I'll add my voice to the chorus: this is indeed a lovely cake. I especially liked the crisp exterior and crunchy topping (and was very happy with the addition of sliced almonds).

                Since it is the equivalent of a 9-inch pan, I used my heart-shaped springform pan and went ahead and lined it with parchment. With the convection feature on my oven, my cake took 45 minutes.

                It's the end of strawberry season here, beginning of blueberry, so I served the cake with both of those and a dollop of crème fraîche.

                 
                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  Beautiful .. now I wish I had your pan!! Gotta control myself.

                  I made this cake for a friend .. she has a husband and 4 kids .. she told me it was all gone within one hour.

                  I and others like this cake a lot .. I can't put my finger on why .. the cardamom flavor maybe?

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        I made this again yesterday for a friend's birthday, and this time I used my 10-inch springform, which I thought was the perfect size. The cake was not the least flat or thin. I baked it just under 40 minutes, the last 15 using convection. (I'd meant to bake it in convection mode the whole time, but forgot until I was almost 25 minutes in.)
                        Delicious w/berries and whipped cream!

                         
                      2. re: lesliej

                        Cardamom Cake, p. 266

                        It took me until June 1 to get to this, but I'm awfully glad I did get to it, and I'm also glad I spent the effort cracking the cardamom pods and harvesting the seeds fresh. Their aroma was intoxicating as I did that and remained so as the cake baked and cooled, and the flavor and crumb was just as lovely as previous reports suggest. I made one deviation from the written recipe, which was to reduce the sugar to 1 cup from 1 1/3. I'm glad I did so, as with the sugar crust, it was perfectly sweet, and I wouldn't want it any sweeter.

                        Served with strawberries, blueberries, and apricots from the farmers' market (yay, late spring!).

                         
                         
                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          I made 2 of these to take to a picnic get together; even tho I had cardamom seeds on hand, I pounded pods to get the 2 Tbl I needed for the two cakes .. took me forever! I liked the aroma but I couldn't tell the difference in the cooked cakes. For me, the 1 1/3 cup of sugar is just right; this not a sweet cake.

                          Mine takes an hour to cook at 350° .. what about yours?

                          Such an easy cake; everyone wants the recipe.

                          1. re: walker

                            It's true that harvesting the seeds takes a while. I sat and read on my computer while I did it, and also did it the day before I baked the cake.

                            I'd forgotten about the discussion of long baking times for this cake. My small electric convection oven bakes most things faster than usual, and at 350, my cake was done in 25 minutes.

                            The 1 cup of sugar (plus the 3 T for the crust) is perfect for me, and I think I'd find it oversweet as written, but I prefer very restrained sweetness in my desserts, and often hold back some of the sugar to good effect for my tastes.

                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Oh good, glad you liked it. When I made the cake I thought I could do with just a bit less sugar, next time I will follow your lead and use just a cup.

                          3. re: lesliej

                            Sadly, I'm not a fan of the Cardamom Cake, which I finally baked today -- cooler 65 degree temps out allowed me to have the oven on guilt free. I love the Cardamom Biscotti I make for Christmas gifting, and looked forward to finding a new favorite made with cardamom. But the texture of this cake was too dry, cutting it evenly was complicated by the almonds, and the overall flavor was too sweet for my preferences. I was glad others had mentioned the longer baking time, so I didn't fret too much when mine was still liquid-moist in the center after 40 minutes of baking. At 50 minutes, a toothpick was clean and the cake was starting to pull away from sides of the pan.

                            I beat the eggs/sugar 5 minutes, my butter was not overly warm when added, and the baked cake was a gratifying 1.5 inches - looked great.

                            I had not used parchment, and was disappointed that the sugar/almonds stuck to the base of the springform pan. However, it was easy to replace them on the flipped cake.

                             
                          4. As I mentioned before, the Cardamom Cake is a big hit and so easy. The recipe calls for2 - 3 Tbl sugar sprinkled on the buttered pan, then sprinkled with sliced almonds. The first time I made it I used 2 Tbl.

                            The other day I made 2 of these in one morning and this time I upped the sprinkled sugar to 3 Tbl since the cake isn't very sweet and this made the outside a bit crunchier.

                            Again, in my gas oven this cake needs an hour, not the 30-35 minutes listed. I have an oven thermometer in my oven and it stays on 350. Anyone know why?

                            I grind my cardamom seeds a little in my coffee grinder.

                             
                            1. Question for all of you who have made the Cardamom Cake. I have a 10 inch spring form pan, and I have many 9 inch regular pans. I do not want to have to buy a new pan for just this cake. Which way should I go? Any advice gratefully accepted.

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: LulusMom

                                I would think the 10 inch springform is fine, just keep checking it because it should be done sooner.

                                The pan I used is the "cheaper one" rec by CI. It's only $12 on Amazon. The more expensive one they like is about $50. I'm very happy with it.

                                http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

                                Also it is kind of tall so might be too tall for a regular 9 inch cake pan.

                                I think the cake is great, as is, but maybe sliced fresh strawberries with a bit of sugar would be nice with it.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I agree with walker - use your springform. The crust is rather fragile and I would hate for it to crumble away if you tried to turn it out of a regular cake pan. In fact, you may still need to run a knife around the sides of the springform (as the recipe says) to release the ring.

                                  1. re: lesliej

                                    Did yours get done in only 35 minutes? Any idea why mine (all 3 times) took an hour?

                                    1. re: walker

                                      Mine took longer than it called for .. can't remember, but it was 45 minutes or longer before center was cooked.

                                      1. re: walker

                                        Mine was done in about 30-35 minutes (I have a convection oven, but these much longer baking times being posted are puzzling).

                                        1. re: lesliej

                                          I just baked it (haven't tasted yet) and I also had a longer baking time. I did it in a 10 inch springform (instead of 9) so started checking at 20 minutes. I think it took 45 or 50 when all said and done. My oven is relatively new, and while it's a convection, I don't use that feature for cakes (only cookies).

                                          No trouble at all getting the bottom off of the cake (I did use almonds). I was worried when I saw the direction about using parchment *after* I'd already sugared and almond'd thep an.

                                          1. re: DGresh

                                            I've made 3 of these so far, all take an hour. I never used parchment even tho I have some. Used a good amt of soft butter, sliced almonds, (found I prefer 3 T of sugar).

                                            It's definitely going into the Favorites folder.

                                            1. re: walker

                                              Still pondering the difference in baking times - the only other thing I can think of that *might* make a difference is the step of beating the eggs & sugar...I beat mine for at least 5 minutes (probably more like 7) with a stand mixer. In addition, my springform pan is somewhat dark in color. Oh well, in the end I do agree that it earns the designation of Favorite!

                                              1. re: lesliej

                                                My pan is dark. I beat longer than 5 minutes and worried that beating too long might deflate it.

                                                I think the recipe should say to let the butter cool a bit after you melt it.

                                                I put mine on a half sheet pan while baking; do you think I should or should not do this?

                                                1. re: walker

                                                  I don't think putting your springform on a sheet pan would make much of a difference (?). And now that I think about it, I do remember checking the butter to make sure it was room temp before I added it (you're right - it wouldn't have been a bad idea for the recipe to address that). Oh well, maybe it's just my oven, as I seem to be the only one who experienced a shorter baking time.

                                                  1. re: lesliej

                                                    I remember reading that others had their cakes take longer.

                                                    Let's see how long it takes LulusMom.

                                                    (Next time I make it, I'm going to crack the cardamom pods to get the 1 Tbl .. I'm going to time how long this task takes .. and use that for the cake and see if there's a taste difference from the cardamom seeds I buy already shelled.)

                                                    1. re: walker

                                                      I did buy them shelled; not cheap, about $7 for a smallish bag. But given that my small jar in the pod is probably roughly the same cost.....

                                            2. re: DGresh

                                              Thanks very much for the info on using a 10 inch springform (and the non-parchment).

                                          2. re: walker

                                            When I made the cake, it took almost an hour, definitely more than 45 minutes. My oven keeps accurate temperature but is very slow in general, I think because it is a vintage range (1949 Chambers) and there is less air circulation than in a modern oven.

                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                              Mine is a recent model, gas, and the oven thermometer stays in oven at 350° the whole time. Recipe says skewer needs to come out clean. How did you like the cake? My daughter keeps wanting me to make it again.

                                              1. re: walker

                                                Oh we loved the cake. Wonderful cardamom flavor. I made it for Christmas Eve and it was perfect for the occasion. I had a couple of ideas for tweaks that I haven't tried and I don't know if they would offer an improvement or not. (I don't bake very often.) But anyhow I thought I might try reducing the sugar just a bit, browning the butter, and possibly adding lemon zest. That said, this is a great cake as written, and very easy to make.

                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                  Another plus is that it's easy to transport and keeps well. I like it better than pound cake.

                                      2. I made this ages ago--definitely time to re-visit it. I made an orange sauce as a side for it...love cardamom and orange, but didn't want to pour the sauce over the cake, so we dipped our forks in the sauce, then stabbed a bite of cake! Peasants, we are.

                                        1. Crisp Cashew (Almond) Wafers, p. 260

                                          The head note here states that almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans can be subbed for cashews. I had the first three in the house, and went with almonds. These are a snap to make, as everything - nuts, sugar, flour, an egg, bruised cardamom seeds, and a few drops of vanilla - is simply dropped into the food processor and buzzed until it makes a stiffish dough, then scooped onto baking sheets with a measuring teaspoon dipped in water.

                                          These have a lovely flavor, nutty and sweet and just made by the freshly cracked cardamom. But, wafers they are not. Or at least in my case, the little mounds of dough did not spread or change shape at all as they baked. They did become nicely, well, perhaps crunchy is a better descriptor than crisp.

                                          I can absolutely see myself making these again because they are fast, use pantry ingredients, and are the perfect little thing for having a few with a cup of tea. That said, next time I'd make two changes: cut the sugar a bit maybe to 2/3 cup rather than 3/4 (I found them just a tad sweet); and knowing now that they don't spread, I'd flatten them somewhat after putting them on the pan.

                                          Oh, a bonus is that they only take 2 T of flour, and NIK says you can leave it out if you want thinner cookies - so it can be easily made gluten free. I might try making them without next time just to see how the texture differs (and whether they spread).

                                          17 Replies
                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            This morning (mother's day) I woke up to read Caitlin's review. The part about these being a snap to make caught my attention immediately, because I knew that Lulu wanted to make something for me today on her own. So I pointed this recipe out to her. She made these and they came out of the oven about 15 minutes ago. We're all loving them. Lulu would like to type her review, so here she is, in her inaugural post, Lulu!

                                            Lulu:

                                            This is delicious! I did use 1 tablespoon of flour, and they flattened out really nicely. I was going to use some cake icing to put a letter on each cookie. I was going to do it like this: M o m R o c k s ! ! ! ! ! ! !. Mom said that I could decorate half, and that her and dad would have the 15 undecorated cookies, and that I could have the decorated cookies all to myself:)! My mom and me go to the grocery store all the time, and I have seen people use these things all the time on you tube. I think it looks really easy. ( by the way my mom and dad just said to tell you that they both think these cookies are amazing)So I have seen these things in the grocery store, and today I thought this was a really good opportunity to use them. So I bought some of it in pink.( if you wanted to get it is called Betty Crocker's Cake Icing)The problem was we had to make two trips because we were in Whole Foods and they do not have it there.( also if you are looking for it, it is a spray sort of thing) So we had to got to Harris Teeter to get it. Luckily we found it and we went home. When we got home dad had to make a few things first for dinner.( my dad made Indian things just to match with the cookies) I went up to watch TV with my mom to pass the time. Then my dad called me downstairs to make the cookies etc* . Later when the cookies were baking my mom tried to teach me how to spray the icing onto the cookies. She used my hand as a cookie! She tried to make a fancy L, but i turned out to be a swirly mess. We ended up not using the icing.
                                            *The master helper baker(lulu) does not have time to tell the recipe and the other AWESOME things that are going on in her life. "See you later Lulu fans! Bye!''

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  I apologize for the Betty Crocker Cake icing everyone. Not my cup of tea, but Lulu was/is very excited by it.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Please thank Lulu for her review - now that I know they flattened out nicely for her, I'll definitely have to make them again and see what happens! Also, no need to apologize for Lulu's interest in the Betty Crocker stuff. I mean, wasn't the real point of the tale that Mom Rocks ! ! ! ! ! ! !

                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                      Um, I think the real point in Lulu's mind was that she was finally becoming one of the "ladies" of chowhound. And thank goodness she didnt' go through with the icing.

                                                      I should point out that she used cashews, and that it was true that using only 1 tablespoon of flour really did seem to make a difference in how these flattened (at least compared to your post). And they are amazing.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        Well, I have several decades on Lulu (understatement!), and I know a thesis statement when I see one. [grin] Really, though, I think we all understand how excited kids get about these random things, sometimes even or especially when they're stuff parents don't usually let in the house (or want to eat).

                                                        I did take note of the lesser amount of flour she used, and definitely will reduce or eliminate it next time and see what happens.

                                                    1. re: walker

                                                      I can't tell you how excited she was to have her first Chowhound post - thanks everyone for not being too aggravated.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        Not aggravating at all! It's a pleasure to read about her excitement and success. Anyway, we get it - many of us have kids, and all of us were (are?) kids.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I can't imagine why anyone would be aggravated at Lulu. She's clearly enjoying baking and isn't that something that most of us at Chowhound would understand?

                                                          Please continue to encourage Lulu in her baking/cooking adventures and her posting here. :)

                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                        Thank you for sharing Lulu. Doing pretty decorations on cookies is hard work, isn't it?. I think I will make these cookies using some almonds I have in the freezer.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Well done, Miss LuLu. Your first Chowhound post was a success and exciting to read. To me it sounds as if your family and you had a wonderful day together. Brava!

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            Lulu!

                                                            What a wonderful surprise having you post here! The cookies seem like a perfect touch for the Mother's Day you and your Dad planned.

                                                            Watching a pro demonstrate something makes it look easy. Then when we try it we realize it is a bit tricky! But each time we do it we get better.

                                                            I think I need this recipe - your description sounds delicious!

                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                              So easy! Preheat oven to 375F. Put 1 cup nuts (cashews*, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans), 3/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, 2 T AP flour (optional), 1/2 tsp bruised cardamom seeds, 1/4 tsp vanilla, pinch salt in processor and pulse till nuts are finely ground and all is a stiffish dough. Scoop 1/2-1 tsp. mounds onto parchment-lined sheets, 2 in. apart, using a spoon/scoop dipped in water. Bake one pan at time 12-15 min., until a "pale toasty beige." They'll firm up as they cool. (I did 350F in my convection oven.)