banana, buckwheat flour, cake, chocolate, gluten-free

Unsung Heroes & Gluten-free Buckwheat Flour Chocolate & Banana Cake

Bangalore, April 2012. We had just moved to a city we didn’t know anyone in. Mala Didi, 60+ years old came to our home, asked if I wanted help with cooking and since I hadn’t hired a cook before,  I was a bit uncertain. But I had also discovered that day that I was pregnant with my son and with a full-time job plus the complications, I will need help. I said Yes. She started coming. A few days of hesitant instruction-giving from my end about what we ate, followed. A few days of curt nods in response to those instructions, followed. Slowly, Didi started observing how I was trying to juggle my new-born baby, the full-time job and my nascent home baking venture. And without a word she would do small steps that made me save crucial time – she would ask me what I was baking that day. I’d say “Date & Walnut Cake” . And quietly she would break the walnuts, chop the dates and leave them near my oven. She would ask a general question about how many loaves I had to bake, and since she knew I had only 1 loaf tin going into that 18 litre MR, she would see to it that the used one was washed and greased just I wanted it. My “thank you” was met with a gruff “yes , yes ( in Bengali)” almost as though she was self-conscious of being thanked for it. Then came a day when Didi’s son was diagnosed with cancer of the foot for the first time,  and she had to go to Calcutta. She was distraught and yet, as a grandmother’s heart is – in the middle of her worries, she asked me if I could bake a chocolate and banana cake for her grandson. She carried it along and the little boy loved it.

Here is my tribute to that lady whose grit despite life’s odds has been unmatched. Her son has been diagnosed yet again with cancer on the other foot. But she stood by him quietly yet again and helped him fight it. Just has she had stood by a new mother who was constantly on the verge of abandoning her home baking venture. She made me realize through her gestures, that I must go on and make it work. In some ways her grit and determination rubbed onto me.

Final

The Gluten-free Buckwheat Chocolate Banana Cake (No maida/no refined white sugar)

1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

100 gms good quality dark chocolate ( at least 50% cocoa)

2 ripe bananas ( small)

2 small chopped fresh figs just for added flavour and texture

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

50 gms butter

1 cup milk

Method –

Mix the mashed bananas and egg together. Melt the butter and chocolate. Shift the flour and bp. Add the butter-chocolate mix to the banana-egg milk and ensure that all the ingredients are mixed well. Add the flour and milk alternately. Fold the chopped figs in.

Transfer to a loaf tin that has been greased and dusted. Bake at 170 degrees C for 30 minutes. Remove from tin and allow it to cool.

 

 

cake, chocolate, coconut sugar, healthy baking, jowar, millet, oats

Baked Jowar(Millet)-Oats Dark Chocolate Fudge Squares & How the Mind is more powerful…

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Chanced upon this place in the heart of Bangalore and what a serene place it was , with a sense of purpose. A plant nursery by the Association of People with Disabilities, and the memory I will have imprinted on my mind is of a young boy without legs, expertly guiding us through the rows of plants to help us choose what we were looking for. I did not want to embarrass him by taking a picture and so I strongly urge you to visit the place to meet him, and realize how knowledgeable he is.

Truly the mind is so much more powerful than the body will ever be.

And the icing on the cake was to see my son loving plant our plants into the pots 🙂

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What more could one ask for , to brighten up a weekend ? There is one more thing that could brighten it up a wee bit more 🙂 These yum and healthy fudge squares.

 

Baked Jowar – Oats Dark Chocolate Fudge Squares

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  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into cubes (I used Bournville, 50% Cocoa)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 125 gms butter
  • eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour mix ( half jowar, half powdered oats)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 160 C. Prepare a square tin or square sectional baking pan, since this is a traybake.
  2. Melt the chocolate, coconut sugar and butter in a pan. Keep stirring with the whisk and then when its well mixed, remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool off.
  3. Beat in the eggs,  flour mix and vanilla extract.
  4.  Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 25 mins or so.
  5. Cool in the tin and then cut into squares.

 

almond, baking, cake, coconut, coconut sugar, healthy baking, wholewheat

Gearing up to start 2018 and the Wholewheat Coconut Almond cake

Gearing up to start 2018 

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The cupboard can definitely be cleaner but that’s the best I can manage with a 5 year old and a 6 month old acquiring new personalities in 2018 – while one has discovered that she has a voice and she must use it at the highest pitch possible , the other has realized that he still prefers his sister’s rattles to his puzzles ( as is the case with all siblings !) .

But then 2018 was never going to be about a cleaner baking cupboard  it is about more and more opportunities to dig into it and try out all that it contains !

 

One such opportunity arose when I had to think through a healthy ingredient, for my healthy baking community bakers on Facebook, Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community, to bake with, for the month of January. And guess what – its Coconut !

Here is my first take ( or rather bake!) – a lovely Wholewheat Coconut Almond cake with coconut sugar. The thick sauce on top is a mix of Coconut cream, coconut powder and some almonds.

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Recipe –

1 1/4 cup wholewheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 dessicated coconut

1/2 ground almonds

3 / 4 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

100 gms butter

1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven at 165 degrees C for 10 minutes. Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the eggs and mix, one at a time. Add the ground almonds and dessicated coconut, and mix well. Add the sifted flour and milk, alternately.

Transfer into an 8 inch round pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes and allow it to rest before removing from the pan.

For the topping, all I did was mix coconut cream and some coconut powder. I am fine with the mild sweetness that the cream lends. But if you want it sweeter, add a healthy sweetener of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

almond, butter-free, cake, gluten-free

Be Proud…Mace and Saffron flavoured Italian Rice cake – with Almonds (butterless, no all purpose flour , made with Arborio rice)

Mace & Saffron Infused Italian Rice Cake with AlmondsFestive season is approaching and so are the advertisements about what to gift, why this time of the year is special and very importantly – how you need to look your absolute best. Seriously?

Recently I saw an ad, in which a mother is talking about how her child loves to pull her cheeks and after using a certain product the child has been telling her how soft her cheeks have become. My son saw it and promptly asked me – “Do you want me to get that for you Mamma?” He is 4 1/2 years old. I looked at him and asked if he didn’t like my cheeks as is ! He looked amused and responded that they were already soft, but if I wanted them to become even softer, like the Aunty on TV.

Well, where am I going with this ? Here’s my take – we really need to stop such emphasis on physical appearance. And let us stop when we can. Let us draw lines. Let us define boundaries on this one. To not encourage our children when they feel the need to appreciate what we look like. Yes, I want to be well-dressed and looking my absolute best. But I would not want my child to focus on how I can “improve” my physical appearance.

At some base level, it is imperative that a child knows and understands that softer cheeks are good. Infact they are great. But only if one already has them 🙂 Shift the direction of their thoughts to being proud of what you look like already. That will promote a positive body image in them as well.

Bring the festivities on , on that note ! And bake away – a recipe that closely resembles elements of our traditional kheer / rice pudding !

Mace and Saffron flavoured Italian Rice cake – with Almonds ( butterless, no all purpose flour , made with Arborio rice)

600 ml milk

1 tsp zest of lemon

150 grams of risotto rice ( preferably Arborio)

100 gms chopped almonds ( you can use any other nuts that you prefer but those which will go well with this flavour are alnuts, pinenuts, pistachios as well)

3 eggs, separated

85 grams caster sugar

1 tsp finely powder Mace

1 tsp saffron threads ( soaked in 1 tsp milk)

Cook the rice in the milk and the lemon zest till it is cooked well and soft. This should take about 40 minutes and the mixture will be creamy and thick. While it cooks ensure that you stir it well so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Shift this mix into a bowl to cool off well. Prepare a 9 inch springform cake tin by greasing and lining it. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius. Toast the chopped almonds in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Beat the egg yolks one by one into the rice mixture using the whisk or wooden spoon.  Beat the caster sugar into this mix and add the chopped almonds, saffron threads soaked in milk and the powdered mace.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and gently fold them into the rice mixture. Put this final mixture into the prepared springform cake tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Unmould the cake and remove the lining when you want to serve it the next day and dust with icing sugar. Slice and serve.

KD2

baking, cake, healthy baking, semolina, wholewheat

Football Buddies and Semolina Orange/Kinu Cupcakes

There is a moment of calm at the point where a super tiring day ends and a sleepless night begins – that moment is this picture for me. Football buddies don’t need to have the same shoes or shoes at all. They don’t need to speak the same language. They don’t need to wear similar clothes. They don’t need to carry where they come from to the field – they need to simply carry who they are. They only need to have the same passion. They only need to discover the sense of rhythm, that works for them and their game. And that is the game that is in play, with a great sense of concentration between the two boys – the one of the right is my son, the one on the left is the little boy we met at Richmond Park, when we were playing there.

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On that note of carrying who they are from within, here is one fruit that carries its depth of flavours in all bakes – Orange.

I did a batch of Semolina/Sooji Cupcakes with Kinu, which is a variant of orange but more intense in flavour:)

Here is the recipe for you to try out.

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  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind/orange rind
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups semolina
  • 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • add a little vanilla extract
  • For the Kinu syrup (check the sugar in the syrup to ensure that when combined with the cupcakes it does not become excessively sweet) 1/4-1/2 cup caster sugar Almost 1/2 cup lemon or kinu juice, strained

Procedure –

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line cupcake tray with liners.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, orange rind and sugar on high speed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating between each addition.
  3. Stir in semolina, ww flour and milk.
  4. Spread mixture into cupcake liners. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Meanwhile, make the kinu syrup: Place sugar, kinu juice and a little cold water in a saucepan over low heat.
  6. Pour half the syrup over cupcakes by make tiny insertions to allow it to get absorbed. Let it stand for about 15 minutes and then serve.

 

 

 

almond, apple, baking, cake, coconut, coconut sugar, healthy baking, wholewheat

Healthy baking exists….and a delicious Wholewheat Apple-Coconut cake ( with coconut sugar)

IMG_6000I had started this post on a separate note. Then something prompted me to re-write it. So here goes…

About evolving times but stagnating taste buds. About oscillating between wellness and rules. Some of the views that I hear as a healthy baker are – healthy baking is a fad or what we consume through our traditional bakes is not harmful or even better, there is nothing called healthy baking.

And in my mind – all I am thinking is, even the best of us can sometimes get trapped in the confines of our own minds, get tricked by our own taste buds, get slowed down by our own lack of courage.

Yes, healthy bakes are an acquired taste, it does not happen overnight, it comes to us slowly. But it only comes to those who approach it with an open mind. Have you given yourself enough opportunities to open your mind? Forget a big change, just try this to start with – instead of beginning with a thought that it can’t taste delicious, tell yourself that it will taste different.  Possible?

Let’s just try and remember that when the world evolves at the pace that it is now, everything has a disruption which leads to the next phase of growth- The same is happening with rule-based baking. We owe it to our family and friends to bake with healthier ingredients, because our lifestyles and the quality of what we are consuming has changed. Rules are good, but work with rules in a way that you put your wellness first and rules second. Not the other way round

So what’s YOUR next step ?

Start with this simple healthy cake – take it one step at a time 🙂

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Wholewheat Apple-Coconut Cake ( with coconut sugar)

1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2-3 tbsp honey

1 tsp grated cinnamon powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 large apple peeled, cored, grated

1/2 cup grated coconut

3 eggs

100 gms butter

Chopped almonds

Method

Preheat the oven at 170 C. Grease and dust a 7 X 7 inches square pan. Beat the butter, coconut sugar and honey well till it becomes creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift the flour, bp and cinnamon together. Add it slowly to the batter while beating at low speed.

Fold in the apple, coconut and almonds gently. No beating is needed at this stage. Pour it into the tin. Bake at the same temperature for 45 minutes or till it becomes golden brown.

Remove from the oven, let it cool off entirely before de-moulding.

 

almond, baking, butter-free, cake, cane sugar, chocolate, eggless, healthy baking, wholewheat

Uncharted adventures, not milestones..and a Wholewheat Eggless, Butter-free Chocolate Almond Cake

This is not a regular Mother’s Day post – I am using this post to simply share my thoughts again – thoughts that I shared when my son ( and I !) turned 6 months old.
More than anything else – what is exactly the same as I re-read this piece from May 2013, is that my little boy is still an adventurer and his mother is still discovering the little joys of uncharted adventures, not milestones !
KD2
From May 2013
“We both turned 6 months old recently, my son…and it surely has been an adventure – from that night of 18th November when you decided to give us indications of your arrival up until now at 11.30 PM when I am sitting and writing this, as you suddenly discover that you want to play with the rattle into the midnight!  Right from that moment I should have known that my baby was an adventurer at heart !

As a mother, let me share with you that it has been a very crazy yet happy half-year: filled with many worried nights, many days of undiluted joy, lots of second guessing myself as a mother and frustrations, of trying to weigh mother’s instinct against experience and expertise, of trying to wonder how does one need to behave when one becomes a mother..but most definitely a half-year with not a single dull moment in it.

But you know what – Thank you for being patient and waiting for me to grow into my role as your Mom…sometimes

I look at you and it seems to me that you understand what I say, you understand when I say I have two other babies –Gunna Masi and Elsu, and smile back. You understand when I say I won’t pamper you silly, but that doesn’t make me love you any less.

Most importantly you understand that seeing how you do on well-defined milestones is not for your mother, for they seem like a checklist to tick on….it is the uncharted adventures that are for me…

Like our first flight together alone means more than when you first rolled over, or our first road trip, our first visit to the children’s home, how you and Elsa started growing comfortable with each other’s presence or even our daily debates about why sleeping in the night takes precedence over playing away!

So here’s not to more milestones…but to more ADVENTURES, my son ! The adventurous journey that started when I became a mother..”

 

Sharing a recipe that marks the first break that I am taking from baking on order, as the Chief Baker of Ovenderful, ever since it started in November 2013.

Wholewheat Butter-free Egg-Free Chocolate Almond Cake 

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Ingredients

1 cup wholewheat flour

3/4 cup cane sugar

½ cup curd

½ cup milk

½ cup boiling water

¼ cup any flavourless oil that is safe for baking

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( use great quality cocoa powder, it makes a world of difference)

¾ teaspoon baking powder

4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds and some additional for topping the cake with

Method

Grease and dust an 7/8 inch round cake tin. I used a springform one, but it is not necessary to use only that one. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Sift together the wholewheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder .

Beat the curd, cane sugar, oil and milk. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ones and mix well.

Slowly add boiling water and mix well ( just use a whisk, no need to beat it) to get a smooth batter. Add the chopped almonds and dark chocolate chunks, fold them into the batter gently. Pour in the baking tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let it cool off entirely before you remove it from the tin.

baking, butter-free, cake, flourless, gluten-free

Memories of a Walk and Gluten-free Butter-free 100% Almond Flour Cake with Raisins

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When my son started going to a school that was close to home, I was very happy. That would mean a short travel time for him as well as me and the back and forth from school could be done quickly.

At that stage, little did I realize that the same back-and-forth that I was keen for us to do quickly, was exactly what I started enjoying. As days went by I would linger on while walking to his school slowly, taking in whatever caught my attention.

There is a comfort that comes from being in a routine – for me routine is not about a fixed time schedule. It is the same set of trees to pass each day, the same set of sleeping dogs by the road side, the same set of cleaning ladies cheerfully gathering the fallen leaves, the same security guards across small buildings, the same old scooter parked in the corner, dusty as can be and the exact same smile full of anticipation on my son’s face as I stand outside the school gate, when he sees me there.

There is a comfort that comes from following that pattern of holding hands, chatting about the school or friends or fights, and reaching home.  It is as though within those 10 minutes of walking to his school alone I find the time I look for, for myself and my thoughts. And as soon as his small hand is in mine, the 10 minutes of walking back home can get transformed into finding the time I look for, again. But this time with him – something that belongs to him and me; for him to have childhood memories to smile over and for me to have his childhood memories to find peace and warmth in, on cold winter nights.

So on that note of warmth in cold winters, here is a lovely recipe of a cake – the flavours and colours are warm and inviting. You will love the way the different elements come together into one single bake – and to add to that, its Gluten-Free and Butter-Free !

Gluten-free Butter-free 100% Almond Flour Cake with Raisins, lightly glazed with Honey-Butter Syrup

  • 2 cups finely ground almond flour
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Raisins as per your requirement

Method –

Beat the egg yolks well until they become frothy and slowly add half the sugar. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Then add the flour mixture to the beaten egg yolks and beat well. Add the vanilla extract.

Beat the egg whites into peaks and add the remaining sugar to it while beating. Dust the raisins with a bit of the almond flour and keep them aside.

Slowly add the beaten egg whites to the almond mixture and fold well . Remember to be gentle and not over-mix. Add the raisins and fold them through the mix.

Gently add the batter into a the prepared baking tin and place in the oven. Bake at 170°C for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it cool off before de-moulding it. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top with a mix of honey and melted better and serve.

 

baking, cake, cane sugar, healthy baking, strawberry, wholewheat

Scaling up a venture & Wholewheat Chocolate Strawberry-Apricot Cake

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How did you start your “venture” ? If you are a little bit like me, which means someone who takes it slow and steady ( and focuses on the l0w-investment channels !)  then its likely you might have followed the arduous route of trying whatever little you understood of social media marketing. That would mean – the FB page and groups to start with. Perhaps some more channels like Twitter, Instagram and so on.

In my case, because of healthy baking being a new concept, many people came to try out things because of dietary constraints or food preferences, but a lot of them came out of curiosity. How can you possibly bake a cake with atta ( wholewheat!) – it has got to taste like chapatti 🙂 graduated to “But isn’t white sugar essential at least for the growing children”?” and shifted to the incredulous “Your cake doesn’t contain butter, how can it taste delicious?”

Well, eventually came the slow acceptance of the use of healthy alternatives in baking. Ovenderful started becoming popular – which resulted in the next dreaded step….how does one scale up?

Don’t get me wrong – I am fairly ambitious and result-oriented, perhaps more so than most individuals. But drawing up a roadmap for a client, was far easier when I was in a consulting role, than for my own social enterprise.

But it was a challenge I was ready for and so after 3 years of turning Ovenderful into a venture, thanks to a friend’s  persistence and thought process, I am happy to share the website that you can use should you like to order any of the standardized healthy bakes. For customized orders, you can email as always to ovenderful@gmail.com !

Website for orders – http://ovenderful.in/

And to thank him, I made this super yum and simple Wholewheat Chocolate Strawberry-Apricot Cake 🙂

  • 4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 cups Wholewheat Flour
  • 100 gms butter or 1/2 cup of Oil
  • 2 cups Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Strawberries chopped as much as you want
  • Dried apricots sliced into small pieces

Method –

Melt the butter in a pan and add cocoa. Then add the boiling water and mix well. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar. Slowly add the butter-cocoa mix, and then fold in the extract.

Mix the eggs and buttermilk well. Add this to the above mix and fold in well. Do not over-beat. Add the chopped strawberries and apricots to the mix, pour into the greased baking tins and bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes until its baked through.

 

 

 

 

 

baking, cake, chocolate, jowar, Uncategorized, vegan, vegan baking

Vegan Diwali Treat? Yes, Please! (Published first on Pyjama People)

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There are hardly any Vegan Indian sweets to speak of, or to taste. While many Indians are vegan, gluten, dairy products, and sugar are pretty much the main ingredients to all our sweets. So what’s a vegan to do on Diwali?

First, remember, history’s got your back. There are a few gluten-free Indian sweets you can gorge on.

Boondi Laddoo are made made entirely with gram flour or besan entirely, plus who doesn’t love this classic, right? Similarly, Coconut Barfi or Laddoo with its grated coconut base makes it fully gluten-free!There are also other usual suspects such as Besan Laddoo, which is made with gram flour, and Til Laddo, which is made with sesame.

But, these ain’t no Jalebi, I know. You could try and fry yours in a vegan-friendly oil… but I can’t guarantee that how that’ll turn out.
Instead, why not try my Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake instead?
You know what they say? If you can’t join the treat time, beat them with your own-made deliciousness!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Jowar flour,
  • 1/2 cup Ragi flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Cane Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Oil

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, grease a round baking pan and keep aside.
  2. Sieve together the flours,baking powder, cocoa and keep aside.
  3. Whisk together the applesauce,oil and sugar, beat together until the sugar gets dissolves.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet one. Dont over beat.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes till the toothpick comes clean at the center.
  6. ENJOY!

Article Link :

http://pyjamapeople.in/index.php/2016/10/29/vegan-diwali-treat-yes-please/

almond, cake, gluten-free, Uncategorized

Gluten Free Amaranth Flour Cake

amaranth-cake_759

Amaranth flour – exotic as it sounds, its actually very indigenous and local to India. This is the first plant-based flour I actually tried baking with. I am not exactly certain of why or what made me explore this flour except that I was bored of doing bakes with wholewheat and more wholewheat !

I had moved onto the millet based flour bakes but Amaranth flour opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. The reason for that was – its high protein and less starchy, it is gluten-free and it also works beautifully in vegan bakes as well.

The purist in me wanted to work with flours that are truly or rather naturally gluten-free rather than the packaged “gluten-free” versions of flour.

So when The Indian Express newspaper wanted me to share a unique recipe particularly one that gives insights into how baking can actually be totally healthy, albeit different from what people defined baking as, I knew that I wanted to share this recipe.  So give it a shot and do share how your Amaranth flour cake turns out !

Recipe Ingredients

1 cup – Amaranth flour

1/2 cup – Almond flour

1 cup – Organic jaggery powder

1/2 cup – Oil

2 – Eggs

1 tbsp – Baking powder Continue reading “Gluten Free Amaranth Flour Cake”

cake, cane sugar, caramel, coconut sugar, liquid jaggery, wholewheat

The Caramel Cake with bold flavours of 3 natural sweeteners !

 

Just like you have Triple chocolate cakes or brownies or cookies, is there a way to have different natural sweeteners in one single cake? Tempted to pick a chocolate cake for this experiment just so that the chocolate masks the flavour if something was to go wrong? Continue reading “The Caramel Cake with bold flavours of 3 natural sweeteners !”