Category Archives: Dessert

Strawberry Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Hmm and finally the last month of the calendar has already rolled in. The month holds a special place and lot of happenings are lined up which makes it a more exciting time of the year. The month brings with it the best weather one could ask for in this desert country, the winter vacation of the kids, lots of baking lined up that fills the home with heavenly aroma and leaves blissful memories, upcoming home bound trip for a wedding in the family and the list continues.

I want to start my blog post for this beautiful month with my most favorite cooking post and that no doubt has to be a baking one. I made these fruity delish bites on the morning of 5th  of this month, and they were already finished by the 6th morning. Two boxes of Strawberries were purchased and one box had lot of sour ones, and these I used to make the sauce that I have used in these cupcakes. The oven temperature dries up the top sauce and makes it more chewy, hence I added the sauce on the batter before inserting the tray for baking.

The ingredients are the usual ones that are required for any cakes, the flavor is from fresh strawberries, and I just added two types of sugar- the dark brown and white granulated sugar. One could add whichever sugar is used in the house. When one bakes frequently as I do, then all the baking essentials are stocked in the house and hence can be used anytime. The overall making of this cupcake process is quick and if all ingredients are assembled then it becomes quite a zhatpat (easy-to-make) recipe.


Sugar: 75 gm (white)  + 25 gm (Dark brown) (or 100 gm White sugar)

Refined Flour: 150 gm

Egg: 1

Butter: 75 gm (unsalted)

Milk: 50 ml

Baking Powder: 3/4 Tsp

Baking Soda: A small pinch (1/4 tsp)

Strawberry Essence: 1 Tsp


Strawberries: 1 Box (250 gm)

Sugar: 2 Tbsp


Assemble all the ingredients together. Note that all the ingredients used are at room temperature. Mix/sieve the baking powder and baking soda with the refined flour and keep ready to use. Preheat the oven to 170 deg C. Line the muffin tray with paper cases, I have used 12 small cases.

Wash and dry the strawberries and cut them into halves. Heat a pan on the gas stove and add the halved strawberries to it. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp white sugar over it and cook with occasional stirring. Cook till we get a thick sauce consistency, and then switch off the flame and remove the contents from pan and keep it in a bowl.

I used a mixer pot to beat the wet ingredients and then poured it in a bowl and folded in the flour. Beat sugar and butter together till soft and fluffy. Add the egg and beat. Add the milk and the strawberry essence. Beat for a minute and then remove the contents in a bowl.

Taking a spoonful of the flour at a time, fold it into the wet batter. While making cake, folding the flour in wet batter is the step of mixing of flour using rubber spatula, moving hand in one direction, cut and fold, until flour disappears. Take care not to burst or make the air bubbles disappear from the batter, hence do not over mix.

Take the lined cupcake tray, and add a spoonful of strawberry sauce in the center of the empty paper cupcake case. Then add a tablespoon of the cake batter and again put a spoonful of strawberry sauce on top in the center. Insert the tray into the preheated oven and bake at 170 deg C for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

muffin batter with strawberry sauce
muffin batter with strawberry sauce
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

The fresh, warm Strawberry cupcakes are ready to be enjoyed. I made and kept them ready on the dining table for the kids to enjoy as soon as they entered the house.  It is the best form of expressing love, so go ahead and try them out in your kitchen and feel the joy.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes from ashuskitchen
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes from ashuskitchen

December could not start on a more happier note than this. Love and happiness to all. More baking is lined up, so do visit for more cake recipes. Check out my other cupcake recipes here.




Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf

    Slices of Cranberry & Blueberry LoafSlices of Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf

By now, you all are aware of my fondness for home-baked cakes. Every couple of days and I have the urge to bake cake, this time I wanted to use the dried cranberries and blueberries that I had purchased with thoughts of adding them to make a loaf cake. Also, couple days back, my niece had requested me to share my recipe for a simple cake , which I already gave. I had promised her that I will put a cake post for her, this is an easy and delish recipe baked especially for my dear niece. All my nephews and nieces love eating cakes, a few of them are good at baking too. I feel they are part of my chain that spreads the happiness through the cakes they bake.

Baking is a joy, you will not know of until you try and bake your own first cake.

For those who know how to bake a cake it is not a big task. But for all the new beginners who wish to try out baking their first homemade cake it sure becomes an anxious time until the baked good is out of the oven. I would like to point out here to all the new/first time bakers to go ahead, it is not something that cannot be done, even the first attempt at baking would make it clear to you how pleasurably simple baking a cake is.

Go ahead and give yourself these happy moments.


  • Please note to use all ingredients at room temperature.
  • Weighing the ingredient quantity is the most important step to follow to get the perfectly baked goods.
  • Use good quality ingredients and check for the expiry of the baking powder or baking soda used.
  • Line the baking tin with butter paper or grease the tin with butter and dust with flour and shake off the excess flour. In this way keep the cake tin ready for use.
  • The oven should be preheated to the set temperature before inserting the cake tin for baking.


Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf
Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf


Refined Flour: 250 gm

Sugar: 200 gm

Unsalted Butter: 170 gm

Milk: 50 ml

Orange: 1/2 (I used the Valencia variety)

Eggs: 3

Orange Essence: 1 Tsp

Baking Powder: 1 Tsp

Baking Soda: 1/4 Tsp

Dried Cranberries & Blueberries: 150 gm (More can also be added)


  1. Prepare the cake tin as explained above in Note paragraph. Preheat the fan-assisted oven to 150 deg C. Mix the bake powder and baking soda with refined flour and sieve the flour. This allows even mix of the ingredients.
  2. Beat the unsalted butter until soft and light. Add the powdered sugar and beat, then add the milk and beat mixture till light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat till the mixture is smooth. Add the essence and juice of half orange and mix well.
  4. Taking a spoonful of the flour at a time, fold it into the cake batter. Folding the flour in cake is mixing flour using rubber spatula, moving hand in one direction, cut and fold, until flour disappears. Take care not to burst or make the air bubbles disappear from the batter, hence do not over mix.
  5. Finally add the dried berries into the cake batter and mix gently.  Pour the batter immediately into the prepared loaf tin and put it into the preheated oven to bake at 150 deg C for 45 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Finally mix the dried berries into the cake batter.

    Finally mix the dried berries into the cake batter.

Adding of the milk and orange juice makes it a slightly thin batter, so the loaf slice is light and fluffy. I have used a mixer pot to beat and mix the wet ingredients to make the batter, and folded the dried ingredients into this batter.

TIP: For a more orangey flavor, one can add 1-2 tsp of orange zest.  (Scrap out the orange outer cover to get the zest).

Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf
Dried Cranberry & Blueberry Loaf

With the winter almost upon us, warm tea or coffee mugs with a delicious cake slice would make a perfect start of the day. One could also make this cake and give as home-baked gifts during this season of sharing, adding a personal touch to gifting. You would also help me by becoming the part of my chain and spread happiness through your baked cakes. 

Wishing you all Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the day with family and friends.










Amrakhand/Mango Shrikhand or Dessert

Summer months bring with them this yellow/ green fruit- Mango, also called as the king of all fruits in my homeland, India. Ripened mangoes are delicious, wonderfully sweet in taste, delight in each bite. There are a lot of varieties available in the market depending upon the region where it is grown. Childhood memories are filled with scenes of the vegetable markets that sold bullock-cart loads of the local variety of small mangoes, they had lot of fibrous pulp, we would drink the juice from the fruit, some very sour while some very sweet in taste. During the mango season basket-full of these would be bought and we kids had quite a joyful time eating more than one at one go. Mom would always warn of the boils that one would end up getting after eating lot of mangoes. Today, upon reflecting back, those were the best times that I enjoyed eating this fruit.  Now, I see the same love for the fruit in my kiddos at home. Shifting residence from one place to another resulted in new mango varieties being sought after, usually the ones that are available in the market is bought, and thus they are more fond of the  Hapus or Alphonso variety. The Ratnagiri and Konkan belt is famous for the Alphonso mangoes, a saffron-colored, very sweet and delicious variety. But having lived in Gujarat, my personal favorite now is the Junagadh Kesar variety that is grown in the Junagadh region of the state.

Living in this part of the world now so I get to see Mango varieties from all over the world, but I still prefer the fruit coming from my homeland. Fortnight back, during my vegetable market visit, I found my favorite Kesar variety in the shop, and was able to use this mango for preparation of this Shrikhand.  Although this homemade Amrakhand is made using hung yogurt and pulp of the Kesar mangoes, but one could use pulp of any mango variety  depending on  the choice or availability . If one wants a more creamier taste than cream can be added. One could also use tinned Alphonso mango pulp for making this. I buy yogurt and hang it in a thin cloth so that all the water drips away. Usually I hang the Yogurt overnight so I can make Amrakhand for lunch time.


Yogurt: 1 Kg

Sugar: 100 gm ( or more, as per the preferred sweetness)

Ripe Mangoes: 1/2 kg (Alphonso or Junaghad Kesar)

Cardamon: 2 nu.(Powdered)

Note: The sugar quantity varies depending upon the sweetness of the mango used. I normally choose the sweetest variety so as to avoid adding additional sugar or add very little quantity.


Empty the yogurt tub into the Muslin cloth, tie it, and hang this some place high so that all the water in the yogurt drips away.

Hung Yogurt and Mango pulp.
Hung Yogurt and Mango pulp.

Beat the hung yogurt to make it a smooth consistency, pass it through sieve or use a hand mixer for this.  Then add the mango pulp and powdered sugar and beat with the hand mixer so all ingredients get evenly mixed, we should get a smooth consistency.

Add powdered cardamom to the Amrakhand.

Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand
Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand

SERVING TIP: Serve it cold as a dessert after meal or as sweet dish of a vegetarian meal along with steaming hot puris.

One could use ready-made hung yogurt, if available, but freshly made one gives this dish a more delicious taste. We love eating this sweet dish, do give it a try and find out if you too like it as much as us.  Do leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on my homemade yummy preparation.

Wishing you all a good day. Happy cooking homemade meals.







Upside-down Apple and Almond Cake

Greeting’s dear friends. Pleasant weather round this time of the year in this part of the world with brightly coloured seasonal flowers blooming all over, around the pavements and gardens, bring out the best of the moods and lift the soul.  We already are in the second month of the year, the month of celebrating Valentine’s day, showering love and affection, of caring  and it also happens to be the birthday month of my dearest hubby.  To celebrate his birthday I baked a warm, comforting, delicious apple cake with cinnamon and nutmeg flavouring, my first time try of using apples in a cake. I had seen and purchased a cute apple-shaped cake tin in one of my shopping spree that was waiting for the day to dawn when I could use it. Today’s post is my 50th blog post and therefore it had to be something to do with baking and I decided to post this recipe of an Upside-down Apple and Almond cake. The aroma that engulfs the house when a cake is baked is always heavenly, this time round the fruit and cinnamon flavour was divine. From the oven it went to the cake stand and was cut as a midnight birthday celebration.

I have used the Royal Gala apple variety from USA. The markets here have so many varieties from different countries, but I prefer to use these for the sweet dishes that I make. The apple slices were tossed in caramelized brown sugar to give it the sweet and chocolaty taste and almond slices were used to provide the nutty taste, I prefer to use sliced or crushed nuts in most of my cakes. To give more of a chocolate taste to the apples, the bottom layer of the cake was of batter containing chocolate and top was kept plain that added the cinnamon taste to each bite.

General Tips: Before starting  to bake anything it is very essential to weigh the ingredients correctly, use room temperature ingredients, and assemble the ingredients so that one is not rushing around to get them. When everything is kept handy you would notice that baking cakes at home is not a big effort at all . Sieve the baking powder in the flour mix and keep ready for use. Grease the cake tin with butter and dust flour on it.

Upside-Down Apple and Almond Cake:


Apples: 2 no. (Ripe and firm)IMG_5377

Almonds: 50 gm (sliced or crushed)

Unsalted butter: 200 gm

Sugar: 200gm

Dark Brown Sugar: 3 Tbsp

Milk: 180 ml

Eggs: 3

Refined Flour: 200 gm

Baking Powder: 1 Tsp

Baking Soda: 1 Pinch

Cocoa Powder: 2 Tbsp

Cinnamon & Nutmeg: 1Tsp (Use powder or grate it directly)


Preheat oven to 180 deg C, fan-assisted. Grease the cake tin that is to be used for baking with butter. I used an apple-shaped tin, but a square or round tin would also be fine.

Peel, core, and slice the apples with the  help of an apple cutter, and make thin slices.  Heat a pan on the stove, add 1 Tsp butter and the brown sugar, stirring it and taking care not to burn the sugar. As the sugar caramelises add the apple slices and toss so that all the slices get coated with the sugar. Remove from pan and keep aside. Do not discard the leftover sugar syrup, if any.


In a bowl take the butter and  beat it soft.  Use a hand blender or spatula. Then add the powdered sugar or castor sugar and mix so that the mixture becomes soft, light and fluffy.

Add the eggs to the mix, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Grate the cinnamon stick and nutmeg  directly over the mixture or make powder and add 1 Tsp of the powder to the mixture. If one does not want to use these flavours then add Vanilla essence 1 Tsp.

IMG_5374Stir in the refined flour and milk in two batches to the egg and sugar mixture. The batter should be mixed so that the mixture is smooth and folds. Divide the batter into two equal portions.

In a small bowl take the leftover caramelised sugar syrup and mix 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder in it, add milk if required. Add this cocoa mixture to one portion of the batter.

Line the bottom of the cake tin with the caramelised apple slices. Sprinkle dark brown sugar and almond slices over the apples. Then pour over the chocolate batter over it. Next pour over the other cake batter portion.


IMG_5369Insert the cake tin into the preheated oven, bake at 180 deg C for 50 min or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

IMG_5368Let the cake cool in the tin for sometime and then as the sides loosen up transfer it or invert it upside- down on a cake stand, with the apple layer on top.


The sugar content added to the cake is as per my taste. If you like a more sweeter cake, then increase the sugar content to 250gm instead of 200 gm.

Serving Options: The cake can be served as a warm dessert with more chocolate sauce poured over each slice if you prefer a chocolaty taste. It can be cooled then cut into slices and served with cups of hot tea or coffee. For a cake lover it would hardly matter how it is served, I always love to have cake at home so that every time I walk past the cake I can stop and grab a slice or a bite of it.

Note for new or first time bakers: In case their is no brown sugar at home then the normal white sugar can also used for caramelizing the apples. It is always a joy to cook or bake in the kitchen, experience it for yourself by trying out different recipes.




Marble Cake

I have always loved baking this cake, as I get to become an artist to create my own unique design in the cake every time I bake it. To make the design two batters are used and mixed with a spoon or knife to give a marbling effect to the cake.


Last year on my holiday to Jordan, I visited Petra. The pattern on some of the huge rocks of Petra transported me back to my kitchen and made me think of this marble cake. Friends, seeing the vivid designs in the rocks in Petra left me awestruck. To create this kind of magical design in my very own kitchen makes the experience of baking this cake a very satisfying one. The taste too is delicious that one keeps raiding the kitchen for more, hence the bigger the tin the more cake to eat.

This time I baked it using a round cake tin, instead of the usual rectangular loaf tins that I love to use for this cake. It was baked for my daughter’s birthday and hence I wanted a big round cake. I made it with two equally divided batters, one was vanilla and the other was chocolate. We can make use of strawberry too to get a pink layer instead of the brown when chocolate is used.

While baking and making the design pattern a stray thought came to this mothers mind that made me compare this marble cake with the student life. The daughter does not like the Vanilla flavored cakes, but loves the chocolate ones, but mixing both batters in this recipe results in a unique mix of flavors, the cake that she has loved every time I made. The student life too is a mix of moments, some which are cherished and some which are not, moments that teach one endurance and some that highlight our strengths. On the whole each of these experiences enrich the student life and makes it one of the most memorable time of our life.

Friends, here is another of the delicious treat that you would never resist after taking a bite of the cake slice. Happy baking!

Some tips to keep in mind before baking anything- all ingredients should be at room temperature. Assemble all the ingredients together and then start the baking. Weigh the ingredients as per needed in the recipe to get the perfect baked products. The baking powder should be leveled teaspoon and not heaped, use a knife to level this.


Ingredients: Butter: (Unsalted) 250 g IMG_2429

Sugar: 275 gm

Refined Flour: 350 gm

Eggs: 4-Small

Cocoa Powder: 2 Tbsp

Milk: 200 ml

Baking Powder: 2 Tsp

Vanilla Essence: 1 Tsp


Preheat the fan assisted oven to 180 deg C. Grease a round baking tin or a Bundt tin.

Sift the baking powder and the refined flour together so that it gets mixed well in the flour.

Take softened butter in a bowl and beat well with an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla essence and mix with electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy.


Beat eggs one at a time into the mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the sifted refined flour and milk. Mix all the ingredients and then divide it into two equal portions.



Mix the cocoa powder with 2 tbsp of milk. Add this to one portion of the batter. Mix well to get a smooth chocolate batter.


Drop alternate spoonful of batter mixtures into the greased baking tin. When all the batter is put into the tin, gently pull a knife or skewer forward and backward through the cake mixture.



Bake the cake for an hour or until a needle inserted into it comes out clean. Stand the cake for few minutes in the tin before removing to cool on a wire rack.


IMG_2418Frost it with desired frosting or simply cut into slices that reveal the beautiful marble design and relish with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Enjoy the delicious treat!

Dragon Fruit



This is another of the exotic fruits that one should not miss the opportunity to taste. Here it is easily found on the fruit shelves of the supermarkets. I first tasted this exotic fruit at a lavish hotel buffet where the dessert spread served it in a big fruit bowl mixed with cuts of other fruits. I instantly liked it the first time I tasted it, and from then onwards I purchase it on a regular basis.

 This brightly coloured fruit is wonderful to look on the outside, the pink colour attracting us to put it in the shopping cart.  Cutting open the fruit shows the juicy white part which is soft and mildly sweet and the black seeds that give the crunch to the bite. The texture is like the Kiwi fruit, but it is not at all sour or tangy in taste like the kiwi.


Mixing this fruit along with the other brightly coloured fruits would make any ice-cream or custard dish extremely appealing to the eye. Go ahead and try out this mildly sweetish temptation next time you lay your eyes on it in the market.


ashu 🙂 

Coconut Barfi


Sometimes we plan something and it does not happen, well this is what happened with this post. This post was due last week and it so happened that it got unnecessarily delayed, but better late than never.

Once on my grocery shopping spree I randomly put a tin of Nestle’s sweetened condensed milk into my shopping cart, thinking I will use it to make something sweet. The tin was placed on the first rack of the fridge and was completely forgotten. Last week one of my kids suddenly asked me to make coconut barfi, listening to this remark was definitely music to my ear, never has this kind of demand come up and that too for the barfi, it’s something they never wanted to eat and hence I stopped making it altogether. So when this demand came, I had to make it soon before some other demand cropped up. I got the grated coconut and finally the condensed milk tin saw the daylight, was removed from the fridge to use in the recipe.

I have to share, I have never used condensed milk ever to make coconut barfi/laddu. I always followed method using milk, sugar and it was a lengthy one. I am pleased with the way this recipe turned out, hassle free, and so fast. So this is yet another one of the Zhatpat dishes, a homemade Indian dessert. Go ahead and try making this sweet, delicious, and effortless recipe.



Fresh Coconut-1 1/2 (grated)

Ghee-2 tbsp

Sweetened condensed milk-1 tin (I used 3/4th tin)

Green Cardamom (ground)-1 tsp

For Garnish– Nuts of choice-Pistachios/Almonds/Cashew nuts.


  1. Heat a thick bottom pot/kadai on medium heat and then add ghee. Once the ghee melts then add the grated coconut and cook for 10 minutes or so, using spatula to continuously stir, till the raw taste of the coconut is gone. This prevents the coconut from getting burnt and gives an even color.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk to the coconut and mix it well. Adjust adding the milk according to your preferred sweetness.
  3. Cook it on medium/slow flame till the coconut and milk mixture is sticky enough to form barfi.
  4. Add the ground cardamom powder and coarsely crushed or chopped nuts of choice and mix well.
  5. Grease a square brownie tin or a round plate and spread the coconut mixture evenly on it and let it cool and get set.
  6. Cut the set mixture into small even-sized squares/barfi shape and serve.

This can be served as dessert/mithai after a meal or along with snacks. I found making this to be extremely easy and less time consuming. As the tinned condensed milk was sweetened, so  add quantity as per sweetness preferred. I did not use the whole tin, 2-3 spoonful milk was still left at the bottom of the tin. The Barfi was prepared within 30 minutes, and almost half of it was consumed within minutes of making it, a fast disappearing item if one is fond of sweets!


ashu 🙂

Chocolate covered Strawberries, a quick dessert.

Strawberry is a highly nutritious and versatile fruit, a delight to the eyes packed with lots of health benefits.  It is delicious to eat and is a rich source of Vitamin C, Potassium, Folic acid, fibre, packed with antioxidants, which makes it a must-have. Almost all kids love them, they taste great on their own or mixed with other fruits and vegetables. The colour, flavour, and taste of strawberries make the salads, desserts delightfully appealing and colourful. Making a dessert out of them is one dish that no one will refuse to eat. Covering the strawberries in melted chocolate is the easiest dessert to make, one that turned out beloved by my kids. I had never eaten this or tried this dish, but had seen pictures that made my taste buds tingle. When I saw fresh strawberries of the perfect shape in the supermarket, I knew it was time for me to try it out. The kids loved them so much, all of them got finished in no time. My junior, while finishing his last bite of the strawberry, told me he would not mind eating a box full of strawberries coated with chocolate. So friends, lets getting making this healthy tempting dessert.

Chocolate Strawberries:



Fresh strawberries-1 box

Chocolate Bar of choice.


Wash the strawberries under running tap water, taking care that all the dirt gets washed away. They should be completely dry before dipping them in chocolate.

IMG_6995Take a bar of chocolate of choice, I like the Lindt milk bar and even dark chocolate would also be best to use, and break into pieces in a microwave bowl. Melting the chocolate in microwave is the quickest method of melting it, but care should be taken while doing this. The chocolate should be melted not more than 30 sec at a time. Then it should be stirred with teaspoon and again microwaved for 30 sec. It needs to be just warmed enough to melt it.

IMG_6994Dip the strawberries into the chocolate and swirl it so that all side are evenly coated. Let it stand on a rack to get  the perfect shaped chocolate strawberries.


Allow the chocolate coated strawberry to cool at room temperature.  As I like the chocolate cold, I put it in the refrigerator after it was set. Enjoy them as dessert or pop them into the mouth as soon as the chocolate gets set.