I purposely left some cherries to make Cherry Cake while making Cherry Preserve. I had never baked a cherry cake before. I was excited and so were the kids. In fact, whenever a cake is baked at home, my kids get thrilled. They don’t leave the kitchen and show their complete involvement in their own way. Daughter loves to eat powdered sugar so; I have to leave some in the grinder. The little one loves to lick the butter sugar mix. There is always a fight to lick the batter from the pan. Finally when the cake manages to reach the oven, my son pulls a chair, perches on it and keeps flashing torch inside the oven while the cake is baking. Sometimes even raising a false alarm that it is over browning and burning.   
These are the happy family moments to cherish forever!
Super soft crumb dotted with cherries
A slice of heaven!
I have adapted the Cherry Cake recipe from here. I have used ground peanuts in place of almonds. The cake turned out to be extremely soft. Given below is the recipe that I followed to make Cherry Cake.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cherries
1 stick butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup lightly roasted and ground peanuts
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Pre heat the oven at 200 degrees C. Grease and line an 8 inch cake tin.
Wash the cherries, stem and pit them.
Cut 12 cherries into half. Place them into the kitchen towel with cut side down.
Cut the remaining cherries into quarters.
Melt the butter in a pan. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, ground peanuts, baking powder and salt.
Beat eggs and sugar for 5 minutes till thick and light coloured. Add melted butter, vanilla extract and milk. Mix till the ingredients are well blended.
Add flour and mix until just moistened. Fold in quartered cherries.
Pour the batter in the cake tin. Bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and arrange the halved cherries with the cut side down on the top of the cake.
Bake further for another 15 to 20 minutes till the top turns a nice golden or a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Slide in a foil if the top is over browning.
Remove from the cake tin and transfer to the rack to cool.

Sending to the food event - cooking with seeds (Priya's versatile recipes)

Cinnamon is a lovely spice. The warmth and sweetness of cinnamon perks up the bakes enhancing the taste and imparting a heavenly aroma. I use it a lot in cakes and cookies. Straw berry whole wheat bread, Zucchini orange marmalade tea cake, Whole wheat carrot egg less cake, Buttermilk spice whole wheat cake and Raagi biscuits are some of my bakes where cinnamon  did the magic.
Cinnamon swirl loaf was in my wish list since long. I have made cinnamon swirl loaf three times before posting this recipe. And as expected, we loved it every time. We relished the slices plain, savoured with honey and even toasted and enjoyed with butter.
Toasted and buttered slices were just divine.
All this while I was using the recipe with butter and eggs. You can find these recipes here, here and here.
One stick of butter in a loaf?……ummmm…..well…. I was not too convinced with butter and eggs in my loaf. I wanted to make the same loaf leaving out butter and eggs and of course, without compromising on taste. I worked on my generic recipe for breads. The result was outstanding. A beautiful soft loaf with fantastic swirls and delightful aroma of cinnamon. I never got the swirls so perfect before. Yes, it was an exhilarating experience slicing the loaf as every slice revealed the lovely patterns inside!
Cinnamon swirl loaves baked

My verdict- Cinnamon swirl raisin loaf is buttery sweet yeasty and addictive. Cinnamon swirl loaf is soft, sweet, and yeasty and guilt free. Both the versions are worth giving a try!

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Loaf With Butter And Eggs


  • 4 cups all-purpose  flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup warm water.


  1. Wash raisins. Transfer them to a deep bowl. Pour hot water enough to cover the raisins. Drain the water after 5 minutes. Keep the raisins aside.
  2. Sift together all purpose flour (reserve some flour for dusting on the surface while kneading). Add 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Add salt and instant yeast.
  3. Heat milk till warm. Add ¾ the stick of butter.
  4. Pour the milk butter mix to the flour mix. Add egg and some water. Knead the dough mixing the ingredients evenly. Add more water if needed to get smooth and a little sticky dough.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll into a ball.
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and keep for 30 minutes.
  7. Knead again on a floured surface. Add raisins. Divide the dough into two parts.
  8. Grease two loaf tins.
  9. With the help of a rolling pin, roll out each part into a rectangle about 18 inches long, no wider than the loaf pan you are using. Smear with a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix ground cinnamon and powdered sugar. Sprinkle this mix evenly over the butter smeared roll.
  10. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal. Place the roll in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down. Cover and keep it to rise for 1 ½ hours.
  11. Repeat with the other portion of dough.
  12. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes or till the loaves turn golden brown and sound hollow when tapped at the bottom.
  13. Remove from the oven. Remove from the loaf tins after 5 minutes. Place on the rack and brush the top with butter.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf (Without Butter and Eggs)

Roll smeared with oil and dusted with cinnamon sugar mix
Ready to be baked
Cinnamon swirl loaf
Slices with lovely swirls

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf (Without Butter and Eggs)


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water (quantity of water may vary according to need while kneading)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • ½ and a pinch teaspoon salt

For dusting on the roll

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil


  1. Heat the milk. Add sugar and stir.
  2. Mix flour, salt and instant yeast. Add oil and mix well.
  3. Pour warm milk sugar mix on the flour mix. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes. Add warm water and knead soft smooth dough.
  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover. Keep it for 30 minutes.
  5. (For shaping the roll, follow the method from above)

My husband is a frugivore. He loves fruits and can survive on fruits. My kids have also (luckily) inherited this trait. We never have problems when we go out on long journeys. Because we are never intimidated by the quality of food available in the highways or even in the good eateries in the cities. We can survive happily on fruits.
My husband is a very well known and a welcome face in the fruit mart for the amount and variety of fruits he buys. Whenever the new fruit of the season arrives, the mart owner promptly informs him.  Last week, during one of his visits to fruit mart, my husband called up to ask me if I was interested in buying fresh Cherries. Cherries?  Yes we get fresh and sweet Cherries here at this time of the year from Himachal.

My answer was in affirmative and I instantly thought of making Cherry Preserve. And yes! The fate of the cherries was sealed. Even before the cute little carton reached home, it was decided that I would make Cherry Preserve and Cherry Cake.

Pitted and stemmed cherries
Cherry preserve on  a slice of home made bread.

My kids were thoroughly involved in jam making. The Cherries were sweet and a lot of them disappeared while being stemmed and pitted by my little ones!
Here is the recipe of the preserve made from the left out cherries-
Whole Cherries
Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
(Quantity of sugar and lemon juice depends on quantity of cherries)
You will also need
A steel plate kept in the freezer
Bottles to store the preserve
Wash the cherries.
Stem and pit the cherries (this task is pretty laborious but enjoyable)
Measure the cherries at this stage. For every cup of cherries, add ¾ cup of sugar and juice of half a lime.
If the cherries are tart, measure 1 cup of sugar for every cup of stemmed and pitted cherries.
Mash half the cherries and leave the other half whole.
Take a thick bottomed non aluminum vessel. Transfer cherries and add sugar.
Mix and leave for 2 hours. The cherries will release juice and sugar will dissolve.
Add lime juice.
Cook over medium flame.  Keep stirring.
When the jam reduces in quantity and attains a thick consistency, lower the flame. Stir continuously.
To test doneness, drop some jam on the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate... if it doesn't try to run back together, it is done. If it is runny, it needs to be cooked for some more time.
When the jam is ready, turn off the heat
While the jam cools, sterilize the bottles. Place the washed and dried bottles with the lids in the oven. Set the temperature to 100 degrees and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the bottles and their lids from the oven. Ladle hot jam into the jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Secure the lids tightly.
The jam is chewy and delicious!

My baking mania is on. After baking Cranberry Cashew Loaf. I was left with half a pack of dried Cranberries. Kids have been popping them every time they open the cabinet. Before the cranberries disappeared completely, I decided to use them in baking. My recipe hunt led me here. I got the basic idea of baking cranberry almond apple stuffed clusters from here
I knew that my kids would love this bake, but still, I wanted to give it an interesting shape. I decided to bake the clusters in the shape of a flower. Kids loved the look as well as the taste.
Super soft, wispy, yeasty sweet crumb!
The treasure inside!

My daughter called it a “treasure hunt”. First bite into the super soft, delicate, wispy melt in the mouth sweet crumb and then reach the chewy filling!
This recipe is worth giving a try. The sticky dough does give jitters in the beginning but gets manageable when shaped with floured hands.
Dough (You can see the recipe of the dough here. I have halved the recipe)
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
½ cup sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
¾ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon baking powder (heaped)
½ teaspoon baking soda (scant)
In a large, deep and thick bottom vessel mix milk and sugar. Add canola oil. Turn on the heat. When the mixture just begins to boil, turn off the heat. Leave it to cool.
Sprinkle yeast on the mixture when it becomes lukewarm. Mix and cover the vessel. Leave it for 5 minutes.
Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Mix well till the flour is well blended into the mixture. Cover and let it rise for one hour.
Add the remaining ½ cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix well. The dough seems quite unmanageable at this point as it begins to rise   and overflow. Keep punching down the dough. The dough is very sticky. To make it manageable you can keep it in the fridge for an hour. It hardens a bit and is easier to work with. (You can even keep it in the fridge overnight or even for a day or two)
2 medium size apples
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Peel the apples. Chop them into small pieces.
Add chopped almonds, brown sugar, cranberries and lime juice. Toss. Add cinnamon powder.
Method to make clusters
The dough is very very sticky. Use a lot of flour while shaping the clusters. Pull out a small ball of the dough. Flatten the ball in the center of your palm. Put a teaspoon of the mixture in the center of the dough. Pinch the edges to seal the ball.
Grease an 8 inch round cake tin. Place the first ball with the sealed side down in the center and arrange other balls around it.  
Grease another 8 inch round cake tin and arrange the balls with filling in the similar way (for the second round, I used a 9x5 inch rectangular loaf pan)
Cover the tin and leave it to rise for an hour or till doubled. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or till the clusters turn golden brown. Slide in a foil and cover the clusters if they begin to become brown from top.
Remove from the oven; remove from the tin after 5 minutes. Transfer to the rack.
Brush the tops of the clusters with some butter.

Sending to the food event - YEASTSPOTTING

Chhena Poda is a sweet dish from Odisha. It is offered to Lord Jagannath. Chhena Poda is made from home made cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is mixed with semolina and kneaded. It is flavoured with cardamom and some dry fruits are added. It is baked in a container coated with caramelized sugar. The dish is simply divine!
When I first saw this simple and easy to make sweet in a blog, I was fascinated by it and I got down making it that very day.  I followed the recipe meticulously. Chhena poda rose well, baked beautiful brown and when the oven timer went off, it sank. So did my heart. Some ingredient was not in right proportion. I felt that the quantity of semolina had to be more. My first Chhena Poda was crumbly. It just fell out from the container. However, the taste was just out of the world.
I had to get the proportions right. I went through a lot of chhena poda recipes and found each a little different from the other. I deduced that semolina binds the dough and has to be a little more in quantity than I had used the last time. Also, the dough should be made to rest for sometime. During this time semolina absorbs water from mashed cottage cheese and swells up. This mixture kneads well and Chhena Poda is also softer.
I made Chhena Poda twice with this recipe.

(You can find Chhena Poda recipes here,  here,  here and here )
1 Cup home made cottage cheese (paneer)
3 tablespoons semolina
½ Cup Powdered Sugar 
½ teaspoon baking powder
5-6 cardamoms powdered
2 tablespoons raisins
5-6 cashew nuts chopped
5-6 pistachios sliced
2 tablespoons sugar for making caramel
Method for preparing cottage cheese
3 liters full cream milk
¼ cup lemon juice
Boil the milk. Reduce the heat.
Add lemon juice to the boiled milk. Stir. The milk will curdle. Boil for a minute. Turn off the heat.
Put the curdled milk in a muslin cloth. Drain out the water.
Place the muslin bag with cottage cheese under the running tap.
This will remove the sour whey. Squeeze out the water. Hang the muslin cloth for 15 minutes.
Method for preparing Chhena Poda
Transfer the cottage cheese to a plate. Mash well with hands till smooth. Add powdered sugar. Mix well. If the mixture feels too dry, add a teaspoon of milk.
Add semolina. Mix well. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.
In the mean time, take two tablespoons sugar in the baking tin, hold it over the flame. Turn off the heat when the sugar just begins to caramelize. Tilt the pan so that it spreads all over the base and sides evenly. Leave it to cool.
Knead the cottage cheese mixture again. Add powdered cardamom, raisins and cashews. Add baking powder. Mix well.
Put the mixture in the baking pan. Level the top.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 55 minutes or till the top turns brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Run a knife through the sides and invert it on the rack immediately. If delayed, the sugar in the base of the pan becomes hard and chhena poda sticks to the bottom.
Refrigerate when cold.

Fourth time I made Chhena Poda again. This time I made cottage cheese our way. I used curd to curdle milk. This yields softer and greater quantity of cottage cheese. I added two tablespoons of semolina per cup of cottage cheese. The result was soft flavourful caramelized chhena Poda which all of us enjoyed!

CHHENA PODA (improvised)
2 cups cottage cheese
4 tablespoons semolina
¾ cup powdered sugar (adjust sugar according to taste)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom
5-6 cashew nuts chopped
5-6 pistachios sliced
2 tablespoons sugar for making caramel
Ingredients for preparing soft cottage cheese
3 liters full cream milk
¾ cup curd (1 used the standard 240 ml cup)
Boil the milk. Reduce the heat.
Add curd and stir till the milk curdles and green whey separates.
Turn off the heat after two minutes.
Put the curdled milk in the muslin cloth and squeeze out excess water. Hang the muslin bag for fifteen minutes. The cottage cheese is ready for use.
Method for making chhena poda same as above.

Yesterday I baked a batch of Milk and Honey rolls. They tasted super good. It is really helpful to have such baked goodies at home. Kids love it.  Nice accompaniment to a cup of tea as well.    

I have used equivalent quantity of all purpose flour and the whole wheat flour. Honey imparts a beautiful flavour along with the sweetness. The dough feels a little hard while kneading so keep adding a little warm milk till you get the dough with the desired smoothness and suppleness.
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ cups warm milk
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
2 tablespoons honey (you can add another tablespoon if you like your rolls sweeter)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
Mix the flours, salt and yeast.
Add canola oil. Mix well
Add honey to warm milk.
Add honey milk mixture to the flour mixture and knead for 6 to 8 minutes.
The dough feels hard while kneading. Add warm milk and knead for another five minutes. The dough should become soft, smooth and pliant.
Cover and let it rest for twenty minutes.
Knead again for five minutes. Shape the rolls and scour them with a sharp knife.
Place them in the greased baking tray or a large cake tin. Cover and let it rise for 1 ½ hours or till doubled in size.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 C degrees for 20 minutes.
Cool in the rack.

Sending to the food event YEASTSPOTTING

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