Homework #14 – Biscuit de Savoie

The biscuit de Savoie is a tasty, light and fluffy sponge cake. The cake originated in the French region of Savoy (the name translates literally to “Savoy biscuit”) in the 18th century. It is important to bear in mind that the recipe for this biscuit contains no leavening agents. This means that the batter must be thoroughly beaten in order to infuse the cake with air, creating the light and airy texture that defines this cake.


Biscuit de Savoie

Homework #14 - Biscuit de Savoie
  • Flour - 60 gms
  • Cornstarch - 60 gms
  • Caster Sugar - 150 gms
  • Eggs - 4 (separated)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius
  2. Butter and flour a large brioche mold
  3. Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Make a meringue in a separate bowl. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until stiff and glossy.
  5. Using your spatula, fold some of the meringue into the reserved egg yolks until incorporated. Fold this mixture into remaining meringue. Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue mixture.
  6. Fill the prepared brioche mold. Bake until the biscuit springs back when touched and the tip of a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  7. Remove the biscuit from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before gently unmolding onto a wire rack. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.



Homework #11 – Black Sesame Carrot Cake

I am obsessed with seeds of all kinds and while I love pumpkin and chia, there is something so exotic and oriental (oriental because I have plenty of memories of sesame encrusted sushi in Japan when I went there a decade ago and then some more from the stuff that Sadaharu Aoki a master Pattisier I encountered in Paris) about sesame seeds that I have been scooping for recipes to work with them. I recently came across something on one of the blogs I follow and I instantly knew that this is what I wanted my weekend baking to be.

So, here is a superb carrot cake recipe generously topped with sesame seeds. Also, carrots and sesame together are a bundle of health – sesame is super rich in antioxidants and vitamins and carrots are one of the biggest sources of Vitamin A. So let’s eat more cake!

Note: Be generous with the amount of sesame seeds you put on top of this loaf, the more the merrier. Let these tiny happy seeds fall all over the plate as u pull it out of the loaf tin and cut the cake; it’s great fun picking them off the plate later.

Black Sesame Carrot Cake
Recipe type: Bake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Half kg loaf
  • 100 gms flour
  • 2 large carrots grated (about 100 gms)
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml oil (use a good quality cooking oil please)
  • A fistful of chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds, plus more as needed
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 90 gms brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Brush the inside surfaces of your mould with butter and dust it with flour.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl take oil and brown sugar and beat them well. Add the eggs and beat until it's light, add vanilla.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture followed by carrots, and finally the oil.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. You want it to be completely covered in seeds.
  7. Bake for 45 mins or until the cake tester comes out clean.





Homework #10 – Cinnabons

It’s my birthday, yay! And I woke up not wanting to bake myself a cake. Any baker buddies listening? But it was such a crisp morning that I couldn’t help but go back into my studio. Somebody gifted me a whole heap of cinnamon from Srilanka which was lying around in the kitchen. The smell of cinnamon and the sound of Simon and Garfunkel filled my morning and my head started spinning with happiness. What a perfect way to start a birthday morning!

And that’s that. I instantly knew that I had to do something with cinnamon and there it was, a deep craving for Cinnabons. I had found my birthday purpose.

Cinnabons or Cinnamon Pull Aparts are so easy to make and so delicious to be had, pretty much as soon as they’re out of the oven, with a cup of coffee. However, what they need is a little patience, as it’s always needed with any kind of work with yeast.
A few hours of watching the dough rise gives me such a thrill.

So here’s what you need to spread some warmth 🙂

Recipe type: Bake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 Rolls
  • 200 gms warm whole milk
  • 400 gms all purpose flour
  • 50 gms sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60 ml cooking oil
  • 5 gms dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Some egg for the egg wash unless we are drizzling it with some cream cheese icing !
  • The filling
  • 50 gms butter
  • 1½ tbsp Cinnamon
  • 100 gms brown sugar
  1. Take yeast in a bowl and pour over warm milk. let is rest for 5-8 minutes . It may or may not froth. Don't panic. Just make sure your yeast if of good quality. I use Prime yeast.
  2. Take flour, sugar, salt, oil in another bowl and pour the yeast mix a little at a time. Keep mixing as you add the yeast. You don't need a blender just keep stirring with a spatula.
  3. If your mixing bowl is large enough you could knead in the bowl itself, else transfer all the ingredients onto a table top and knead for a few minutes. Grease a bowl, place the rolled up dough in it and cover with a damp cloth and keep aside. Be patient.
  4. In about 2 hours the dough should double up. Knead it once more and flour the table top to roll out the dough into a rectangle.
  5. Using a pastry brush spread the butter across the rolled dough. Sprinkle cinnamon and all the brown sugar leaving about half and inch towards one end . If you like raisins then black raisins are lovely with this and u could add them here.
  6. Roll the rectangle gently into a log making sure the the sugar and the raisins don't fall out. Add some egg wash to the end which is not sprinkled with sugar and stick it such that it holds the log together.
  7. Using a sharp knife cut the log into slices and place them in a buttered rectangle tin.
  8. Cover with cling film and keep aside for a little less than an hour.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes at 165 degree Celcius in a pre-heated oven.

Rolled Dough

Rolled Dough

Sliced Log

Sliced Log



While it’s cooling, make some coffee, put on your favourite music and find your comfortable spot. Eat on! Happy birthday to me.


Homework #9 – Coconut, Ginger and Banana Loaf

For as long as I could remember, I have not liked coconut in anything sweet. The only chocolate I never enjoyed was Bounty. How sad that it took me so long to discover how delicious and healthy this most easily available nut is. I started consuming EV coconut oil in things once the whole world started proclaiming its many advantages. And well, it grew on me.

I experimented with coconut in my baking and now I simply love it. I can create a whole new menu with things made from coconut. Tried coconut sugar ? It’s beautiful!

This is a beautiful cake and makes for a perfect tea time treat.


Coconut, Ginger and Banana Loaf
Recipe type: Bake
Cuisine: Cakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 gms coconut sugar
  • 100 gms plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75 gms melted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger or as per taste
  • 1 pod of vanilla
  • 1 coconut, cut in half and shredded (150 g)
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
  2. In a bowl beat the eggs and the coconut sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla pod.
  3. Fold in flour and baking powder.
  4. Add the melted butter.
  5. Mash the bananas with a fork and fold them into the cake batter together with coconut and ginger.
  6. Pour the batter into a cake loaf tin lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius for about 50 minutes. Use a cake tester to see if done .
  7. Tip - Taste the cake batter and if u think the ginger isn't strong enough, you could add half a tsp of dried ginger powder.



Homework #7 – Fennel and Orange Mini Cakes

It started with me finding fresh fennel at the market I go to, to shop for vegetables and fresh herbs. I made some rosemary and fennel chicken and the aroma filled up the house leaving everyone pretty happy. This made me want to use fennel in my bakes so there I was trying to make my baking studio smell of fennel. I searched around and came across this recipe, tweaked it just a bit and here it goes. The recipe called for dried fennel seeds so I stuck to that, add as much as you want for flavour. Gods were by my side and I had some fantastic organic aniseed extract which I also added to the mini cakes. It’s gluten free, butter free and if u skip the icing (please don’t) it’s sugar free too. Enjoy!


Fennel and Orange Mini Cakes
Recipe type: Bake
Cuisine: Cake
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tbsp fennel seeds
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice from one large orange
  • Zest from one orange
  • For the orange glaze
  • zest from one orange
  • Juice from one orange
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Small splash of milk (probably a tsp)
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Butter/flour a mini bundt pan or any fun molds u may have. I found star shaped silicon molds lying around that I wanted to use.
  3. Toast the fennel seeds in the oven until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Crush with a mortar and pestle or leave whole.
  4. Combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda and toasted fennel seeds in a bowl.
  5. Mix the eggs, yogurt, honey, vanilla, orange juice and zest in a different bowl.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until incorporated but don't over-mix.
  7. Pour cake mixture into molds filling them ¾. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then let cakes cool on a wire rack before glazing.
  9. For the glaze
  10. Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze and spoon on top of the cakes, letting the glaze run down the edges of the cakes.
  11. Serve with herbal tea, black coffee, or your favorite herbal cocktail.



Homework #6 – Classic Financiers

The financier (pronounced fee-nahn-see-AY) often shows up on petit four plates all over France. There are many stories about how the financier got its name so I’m sharing just one of many. The financier was created by a baker named Lasne, whose bakery on the Rue St. Denis was near the Bourse, the financial center of Paris. Presumably, the rich little cake was named for the rich financiers who frequented his bakery. The cake was baked in rectangular molds, the shape of gold bars. I like this story!

It’s deceptively simple, but perhaps like all things French, so damn refined! It’s a staple at almost all the fine pastry shops across France and now they seem to be pretty popular almost across all the fine pastry shops in the world. It seems like an ordinary little tea cake but that’s why I said it’s so deceptive; it’s so different from a cake.

For one it appears in all kinds of shapes – round in some places and rectangular in the others (see the molds I found on my trip to France).


Second it’s so damn versatile – you can make them all so entirely different; drop pistachios in some, pecans or strawberries in others, dark chocolate nibs in some or mix and match in some…

Refined as it may seem it is relatively easy to make. A few tricks to keep in mind and you are home.

What you need is a whisk, a bowl, a pan and some French wine and some Jazz. The last two ingredients are not for the financier but for your soul.

A few steps make or break the cake. The first, browning the butter is what defines its flavour and adds depth to whatever the base nut you are using (almonds are the most traditional but hazelnuts or even cashews work just as well). You need to heat the butter over medium low heat until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Undercooking it is equally damaging for it will lack the necessary aroma.

The second trick is to mix the batter as little as possible. It should be stirred until just blended. If you stir too much, the gluten in the flour will get overworked and the cake will be tough.

The third trick they say is to rest the batter before baking. A few hours in the refrigerator and the flavours will harmonize. I have never been able to wait.

And one last bit; you have to eat them fresh. Now that’s not much of a problem, is it?


Classic Financiers
Recipe type: Bake
Cuisine: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel
  • 120 gms icing sugar
  • 40 gms flour
  • 60 gms almond meal
  • 100 gms egg whites (egg whites from about 3 large eggs)
  • 100 gms unsalted butter (browned)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Butter 12 financier molds or a mini-muffin tin. Refrigerate buttered tin.
  3. Sift together sugar, flour and almond meal into a medium bowl.
  4. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in previously beaten egg whites; whisk together by hand until ingredients have been combined.
  5. To brown the butter, melt butter in a sauce pan over low to medium heat until bits begin browning. Continue whisking slowly to prevent browned bits from settling. Strain melted butter through a cheesecloth.
  6. While still hot, slowly pour browned butter into batter, simultaneously whisking the batter until combined.
  7. Evenly distribute batter among molds or mini-muffin tin wells, leaving about ⅛" of space from the rim.
  8. Lower oven temperature to 170 degrees, and bake on the center rack for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool unmolded financiers on a wire rack.



Homework #4 – Cranberries and Mixed Nut Scones

A scone can be described as a single serving cake or a quick bread. It’s a traditional English tea time treat; I like them for breakfast though. You can call it a kind of pastry since they are made with the same ingredients as short crust albeit with different proportions.

But really scones are so versatile. You can add your favourite ingredients to them. Most dried fruits pair well and so does chocolate. But, when I started figuring out the best way to make them I came across at least 15 different versions – add buttermilk, no butter milk, add egg, no egg, self raising flour, regular flour… it’s really endless. I tried a few variations myself and settled for this.

I didn’t have clotted cream at home so I just ate them up with butter – a generous dollop of it – and some jam.

Scones ready to go in the oven

Scones ready to go in the oven

Cranberries and Mixed Nut Scones
Recipe type: Bake
Cuisine: English
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 450 gms plain flour
  • 200 gms castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 175 gms chilled butter
  • 200 gms fresh cream
  • 150 gms mixed nuts
  • 100 gms cranberries
  • Lime zest
  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Rub lime zest with sugar (don't forget this step, it makes all the difference)
  4. Rub in the butter in the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Work quickly with your fingertips, you don't want the butter to melt.
  5. Add mixed nuts and cranberries.
  6. Add cream and work the dough until it comes together. It's okay if it isn't very cohesive - just as long as it holds together. Add more cream if necessary
  7. Divide the dough into two. Gather to make a ball
  8. Roll out to a thickness of 2.5-3 cms. Using a pastry cutter, cut into rounds or into triangles – like cutting a pizza.
  9. Brush with milk wash or egg wash
  10. Bake for 45 mins until golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
  11. Serve with clotted cream or butter and jam.






Homework #3 – Apple Rosemary Buttermilk Bread

If you want something warm, not too sweet, and made from scratch this is the recipe. The classic combination of apple and rosemary marries in a buttermilk and olive oil batter lightly flavoured with a hint of warm spices. Don’t want a loaf? You can bake it in muffin tins for muffins or, dollop it in a hot pan coated with oil and make pancakes. This batter will work for all three. I highly suggest trying it as pancakes.

Apple Rosemary Buttermilk Bread

Apple Rosemary Buttermilk Bread

Apple Rosemary Buttermilk Bread
Recipe type: Bake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 Loaf
  • 125 gms all-purpose flour
  • 50 gms granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 125 gms buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 63 gms olive oil
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 115 gms diced apple (1 small honey crisp, peeled and cored)
  1. Heat oven to 170 degrees
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the first six ingredients to thoroughly and evenly combine.
  3. In another mixing bowl combine buttermilk, egg, olive oil and vanilla extract and whisk them together lightly with a fork.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently to just combine so that there is no dry left. Don't t worry about lumps, and be careful to not over mix.
  5. Gently fold in the apples.
  6. Lightly grease your loaf pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  7. Best served warm with a pat of good, lightly salted butter.

Homework #1 – Sables

Fabulously buttery, tender, sandy textured cookies that are so right with tea or coffee!


Sables – French Cookies

In France, these cookies are known as Sables; in Scotland they are called Shortbread. Be soft and gentle while working on this flour, don’t over beat. Remember ‘sandy’ texture is what you need to aim for. I Can never forget this recipe as it was my first at Le Cordon Bleu – the chef who demonstrate this was ooo la la…Chef Patrick, cuisine chef who came in just to teach us this.

Sables - French Cookies

Sables – French Cookies

Recipe type: Tea-time Cookies
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
  • 300 gms Flour
  • 150 gms Powdered Sugar
  • 200 gms Butter (cold and chopped pieces)
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla (powdered).
  • Rind of orange
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degree
  2. Zest ¼ of an orange and keep aside
  3. Sift together flour, sugar, vanilla and throw it on the worktable.
  4. Add the cooled and cut pieces of butter to this and start blending this in.
  5. Add the zest.
  6. Mix it well till u get a sandy texture.
  7. Roll it up in a ball and then a log and cut into 4 pieces.
  8. Chill the 4 logs for 30 mins..
  9. Egg wash/milk wash the logs and roll it in the caster sugar.
  10. Slice it and bake for 15 minutes .