Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Recipe: Austrian Coffee Cream Cake with Chocolate Coated Hazelnuts

 The first cake coming out of my kitchen this year had to be a special one! That's right. I didn't bake a single sweet treat since Christmas!So when I was offered two gorgeous appliances from Hamilton Beach India, I decided to bake something from the "Something Spectacular" section of my favorite dessert cookbook (Quick and Easy Dessert Recipes from Trident Press).

The fact that it was a more or less "healthy" cake helped! Of course, the rich coffee cream filling spoils the healthy tag somewhat, but I was more than happy to try a cake that didn't need butter or too much APF.I also had a huge stock of hazelnuts in my kitchen gifted to me by bestie Sonia. So perfect for this cake!

The original recipe uses alcohol - but I skipped the alcohol, and it still tasted great!

Here's the recipe
with Coffee Cream & Chocolate-coated Hazelnuts

                                       Printable Recipe

For the cake

4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
45 gr. ground almonds (or hazelnuts)
3 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved in 4 teaspoons boiling water, cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup flour

chocolate covered hazelnuts

Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick and creamy.Beat in nuts, coffee mixture and vanilla essence.

Place eggwhites in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Sift flour over egg yolk mixture and fold in with egg white mixture. Spoon batter into a greased and lined 8 inch tin. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degree C or until the cake is done.

Unmold and turn onto a wire rack to cool.

For the Coffee Cream

1 tablespoon caster sugar
3 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved in 4 teaspoons boiling water,
1 cup whipped cream

Mix sugar and coffee mixture into whipped cream.

For the hazelnut coated chocolates


Melt chocolate in a double boiler. When completely melted, dip hazelnuts into the chocolate and quickly arrange on butter paper. Cool in fridge until the chocolate has set. Reserve the flakes of chocolate that  you see on the butter paper.

Split cake horizontally and sandwich using coffee cream. Spread remaining coffee cream on top and sides of cake.Arrange the chocolate coated hazelnuts on the cake. Sprinkle with the extra chocolate flakes from the tray of chocolate coated hazelnuts.

The cake is not too sweet and tastes light, but it certainly is rich. If you are used to tea with sugar, then serve this cake alongside some pav buns with a light tomato basil pesto. Or you could simply have chutney sandwiches. That's all you need for a spectacular tea party, with this beautiful coffee cream cake!

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Product in Focus: Hamilton Beach OTG and Hand Mixer

It's amazing how technology can simplify lives and make families happier. A well-functioning piece of kitchen equipment is quite a boon! This week I have been busy with two new additions to my kitchen appliances - an OTG and a Classic Hand Mixer.

There was much excitement when the products arrived at my door step! When I unboxed it, I was delighted to find that they were both packed very professionally, and they reached me in perfect condition. I was apprehensive about creating a video because I have never done it before, but I guess there's always a first time :)

Here's the link to the video on YouTube!

I decided to make an Austrian Coffee Cream cake first because it would use both the Hand mixer and the OTG. I will upload a video soon and the recipe will follow. But I have to tell you that I was very impressed with both products. The hand-mixer is pretty heavy duty with 6 speeds, and even though I already own 2 hand mixers (a low-end stand mixer included), the Hamilton Classic Hand Mixer is soon becoming my hot favorite! Why? Because of its ease of use, and the fact that it beats batter very efficiently. You can tell the difference immediately after you start using it, because the batter mixes quite evenly and quickly. It is no doubt a heavy duty mixer which anyone would love to own!

Hamilton Beach OTG in use

Wait there is more! The mixer has a sophisticated chrome and black finish, and besides the usual paddle and hook attachments, this one has a milkshake attachment too.

The OTG which is meant for small families is quite a small wonder! I tried baking and toasting in it and both were successful, very successful! The instruction manual could have been better (or maybe I am particularly critical because I have written a lot of manuals myself). The timer is a bit tricky to use because the manual is not too clear, but once you start using it, you tend to get the hang of it. The manual says that the OTG can be used by 8 year-olds and above, so I got my 8- year-old to try it out, and she enjoyed making her own toasts. So yes, it is that easy to use.

 I already own  a large 40 litre oven, but it was always a challenge to bake small quantities with it. I am quite pleased that The Hamilton Beach OTG has come into my life now, because it lets me bake whenever I feel like it! I can even bake a couple of cupcakes if I feel like it, and that pleases me immensely!

Hamilton Beach Classic Hand Mixer in use
 The coffee cake turned out spectacular. I used the mixer again to whip my cream and mix my icing, and it did a splendid job on that as well!

The oven was put to the test once more when I made a quick and healthy batch of brownies. An unbelievably simple recipe, it is also healthy because it doesn't use flour or butter! The procedure as well as the recipe to do that will be up soon!

So its been 3 days since unboxing, and I have tried out that many recipes. That's a good start, we think!

Watch out for the two recipes mentioned here.  In the meanwhile, I do hope you too are inspired to #createfearlessly

This is a post in connection with my participation of the #createfearlessly activity in association with BlogAdda.com and Hamilton Beach India.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happiness is being outdoors: Summer Fun Ideas

Summer is around the corner. Here in Pune, it seems like spring is being bypassed as the temperatures soar barely a week after winter ends.

So how about some summer fun?

Here are some ideas in pictures :) completely unedited :D
Does it give you some inspiration to make plans for the summer?

Location: A private home in Mangalore
Models: Daniel Colaco, Anna D and Mark D
Products: Portico's Happiness range of soft furnishings and bags
For more creative ideas check out http://porticoindia.com/fashio…/happiness-isyour-creativity/
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Tutorial: Home-made heart print gift wrap

When doing the laundry the other day, I discovered quite by accident that craft paper transfers its color when ironed. So I thought I would try transferring shapes onto butter paper, and I am quite pleased with the results.

For Valentine's Day, I decided to try out heart shapes. It's also an amazing solution for those 11th hour hunts for birthday gift wrap.

Here's a quick tutorial
Draw and cut out heart shapes on ordinary craft paper

Place these shapes in between 2 sheets of butter paper placed on layers of soft material.

 Run a medium hot iron on top of each heart. Make sure you "trace" the entire heart with the iron.
Then separate the papers. You will find that the heart shape has stuck to the trace paper.
Peel it off gently to reveal a beautiful colored heart shape.

It's as simple as that! If you are not into hearts, try other shapes, alphabets or patterns. 

Happy Valentine's Day!
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Store Feature: Natural Style Living by Olie

Quaint seaside towns have often been a source of inspiration for artists and creative people. Amrita Nambiar was sitting by the sea one evening in beautiful Pondicherry with its cobbled streets and French influence, when the idea of Olie was born. She wondered if she could transpose the tranquility and beauty of small seaside towns to busy, harried, urban lives. Olie is just that! The pretty hand-printed motifs on soft natural fibers give you a happy feel, and liven up city homes. How lovely to come back to a home that looks happy!

I leave you with stunning images of their product shoots, that beautifully bring out the happy-styling blend that Olie pr


olie cushions

olie outdoor photoshoot

olie flowers table

Olie is the Tamil word for 'light'.

hand block print process
Olie is also about employment for gifted village artisans, and supporting their livelihood. 
product labelscushion ocvers on a push cart

Amrita at Olie
Olie retails in several cities, and you can also buy online from Amazon.

For more information
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Home Tour:Arif & Inderjit's Mumbai apartment

How do you imagine a home housing 2 artists with complementary tastes will look? Well, the pic above is giving it away somewhat, but if you answered arty, colorful and well-designed, you got it right!

I am taking you through a tour of  a tiny Mumbai apartment, home to Arif and his partner Inderjit.

Inderjit (left) and Arif

Both artists, they are always on the lookout for "finds" when they are out travelling, and they travel a lot! They love going to little dots on the map that not many people know of and while there, they always look for unique artifacts to bring back home.

Their home houses items from the old furniture market in Udaipur, the Jew Street of Kochi, the narrow old lanes of Hyderabad and even from the heritage Galle Fort of Srilanka. Also, the creative souls they are, they keep re-arranging every three months or so!

Says Arif, "Considering the lack of space in Mumbai we both managed to keep minimum furniture along with frames with my art works or something we bought from our travel."

When I asked them who has contributed more to the house, Arif said,

"I specially love lots of white and space and Inderjit likes slash of colours, hence you will find beautiful togetherness of off-white walls and curtains to complete the sombre look and the added colour palette via our cushion covers and assorted art works. We prefer natural looking furniture in dark brown."

Everything you see in this bedroom is from Fabindia

 Vintage frame with Arif's art work, a calligraphy piece from Istanbul and the ceiling lamp from Fab India.

This is a wall of the living room -  two huge blue drawers bought by the duo from Chorbazaar and the Arabic letters spell FUNN (something Arif commissioned a carpenter to create).

 All wooden utensils were bought in Kerala

 Do they feel limited by the fact that it is a rented place? " Yes", admits Arif. "Since it is a rented apartment  nothing much can be done in terms of windows but we are fortunate that the house has enough natural light coming in from the windows thus making it look bright and cheerful for most of the day. But yes there is lot of scope to remould this place."

And finally, this 'cover pic' of my feature is an 80 year old divan from Mumbai's chorbazaar. It has assorted Hyderabad kitsch range of cushion covers designed by Inderjit and Arif!

Did you like their home? They would love to know what you think of their decorating skills. And if you show them enough comment love, they are open to sharing pics of their gorgeous studio space as well, in another post! So go on, you know what you have to do now!

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About Me

Hi ! I'm Sharon.

I am so glad you are here visiting. The Keybunch is primarily a decor blog, but it's lovingly peppered with lifestyle and food posts.

I am most inspired by simple spaces that have evolved, or speak of their owner's creativity. I also adore old homes and antiques, possibly because I am from Mangalore, and my decor sensibilities are highly influenced by the colonial style of architecture that I was exposed to, growing up.

Do spend some time reading my posts. I have a search feature right at the top, that lets you search within this blog. I have also made separate drop down lists of my home tours, book reviews and the carnivals that we have hosted here.

I would love to hear from you. Email me your home pics, or DIY ideas to thekeybunch@gmail.com

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