Sunday, September 20, 2009

Orange Garam Masala Bundt cake and Moscow parks

I think I deserve applause: I have survived my first week of school! After three month of doing nothing (reading doesn’t count as work for me), I assure you that it was not easy. This week has been very different from my usual summer weeks:  very little cooking, very little Internet (and no TV, but I don’t watch it in summer either. Does anybody else think that TV is unnecessary when you have a computer?), no photographing, no running or cycling. Hat kind of life is that?

Instead, I have spend half of my time  in front of the laptop, writing my research project about Russia and the Soviet Union — and I only wrote less than ten pages — and the other half at school lessons (many of which are tedious, boring and endless). I like studying (well, I like studying some things), but I am fed up with studying the varieties of the Spanish for four years in a row. I want to go to the university. Now.

Somo shots from the museum-park-sanatorium. More photos of Moscow parks at the end of the post.

 Luckily, this morning I went running. Otherwise I would have gone mad. I have the feeling that I have a creative crisis. Those of you who are bloggers: which is your everyday inspiration that helps you to go on with your project? The other day I was reading Lara Ferroni’s post, who said that sometimes she must remind herself why she is doing that, why exactly is she blogging. That sometimes she just doesn’t find that spark she needs to sit down and write. And I felt much identified.

I have had a lack of creativity lately. Like a mental block. I want to write, but every time I try to begin with a new post, the words don’t flow. I write, delete, write and delete again. And then I ask myself if what I am writing will interest someone. I am talking enough about food? Or maybe too much?  An excessive amount of photos?   

At the beginning, I didn’t think about posting this recipe. I thought it was something too common for the blog. But when I tried it, I immediately knew that I had to share this. And the praises of my family confirmed it.  I use bananas in my baked goods as a blinder quiet often. A part from blinding them, bananas give them extra flavor and moistness. But it also makes them heavier and denser. This bund cake is moist and spongy and light at the same time.

I loved the cake, but I am not sure about the icing. The original recipe called for cashews, but I didn’t have so I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  It was OK, but I think that cashews would have worked better. You can try with an easy orange icing  instead.

As regards the original recipe, I changed a few things. First of all, this was a Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake, and it used lemon zest and juice.  I have also used a combination of sunflower and olive oil, and substituted the agave with honey and sugar. And of course, the spicy touch of the garam masala** (see below).

By the way, I must thank Renae for her fantastic present: a box full of spices and some other yummy things (the espresso beans have already disappeared, he he). You are a darling! The garam masala spices mix I used in this recipe is the one you sent me. 

Orange Garam Masala Bundt cake

Inspired by this recipe from Bitter Sweet.

1 cup soymilk
Zest of one orange
½ cup orange juice
½ cup honey (or agave if you don’t eat it)
¾ cups sugar
¼ cup sunflower oil
¼ cup olive oil
3 ½ cups wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp flaxseeds
2 tsp garam masala

1 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (I used a mix)
1/4 cup honey
¼ cup soymilk (begin with less, and add as needed)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven at 175ºC (or 350ºF)

Mix the soymilk, the zest and the juice and leave it to stand for five minutes. Add the honey (or agave), the oil and mix.

Now combine the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and garam masala. Grind the flaxseeds and add them too.

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Combine it well, but do not over mix it.

Pour the dough in your bund cake pan. Bake for about one hour. Let it cool.

For the icing, just combine all the ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Blend it during several minutes if needed. Pour it over the cooled cake.

** From Wikipedia:  “Garam masala, from Hindi garam, "Hot" and masala "mixture", is a basic blend of ground spices common in Indian and other South Asian cuisines.[1] It is used alone or with other seasonings.[..] The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with wide variety across India. Some common ingredients are black & white peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, long pepper (also known as pippali), black cumin (known as shahi jeera), cumin seeds, cinnamon; black, brown, & green cardamom, nutmeg, mace, star anise and coriander seeds

As I promised, here is more photos from Russia. This time, the theme is Moscow parks. It there is something I like about Russia is its parks. Some of them are as big as forests, with tall trees and lots of vegetation. And the best is that some of them are almost in the center of the city, so you always have a park not very far away from home. I’d give my right arm to have one of those parks near home here, in Spain. While I was in Moscow, I went running a couple of times to the closest park (called “Neskuchniy sad”, or “non-boring garden”) and it really like running in a forest. A  forest in the middle of the city. There are also parks outside the city or in the outskirts, which are at the same time museum, like Tsaritsino park or the Arkhangelsk museum-park-sanatorium.


Sooto said...

вай, какие мама с папой получились милые ))

Ksenia said...

They are my aunt and uncle =) I went to Russia alone (my parent's vacations were too short)
I like very much that photo too ^^

Sooto said...

ксеня, это я!
это мои папа и мама ))

Ksenia said...

Eto i za togo shto nik u tebia takoi xD

renae said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the spices; I'd never have thought to put garam masala in a cake but it's a wonderful idea. It looks delicious. As always, the pictures from Russia are gorgeous: I also like that squirrel!