Monthly Archives: December 2014

Quadruple Layered Chocolate Mousse Cake

I’d run into this recipe in one of the cookbooks long time ago and have been waiting for an occasion ever since.
Christmas and my brother-in-law’s birthday…a double bonanza occasion for baking 🙂
Delicious, satiny, finger-licking mousse sandwiched between four layers of soft chocolatey sponge…this cake’s truely a work of art 🙂

Layered Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

For Cake:
100 g butter, plus extra for greasing
8 eggs
300 g caster sugar
200 g plain flour
75 g cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

For Mousse:
275 g dark chocolate
6 eggs (Yolks and whites separated)
175 g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

For the Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter the sides of two 22cm cake tins with 6cm sides and dust with flour, then line the base of each tin with a disc of baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter and set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool until tepid. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk for 6-8 minutes or until the mixture is light and thick.

3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and fold in gently but thoroughly, then pour in the vanilla extract and the melted butter and fold in again.

4. Quickly divide the batter between the prepared cake tins before it has a chance to lose any volume, then bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture springs back when lightly pressed with a finger and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then loosen around the edges of each tin using a small, sharp knife and carefully remove the cake before transferring to a wire rack to cool down completely.

For the Mousse:
1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave just until melted, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the butter and vanilla extract and keep beating until smooth.

2. Set aside to cool while you whisk the egg whites. In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold in a quarter of the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the rest just until mixed. Set aside and leave to cool at room temperature – not in the fridge, otherwise the mousse will harden and become difficult to spread.

3. To assemble the cake, first use a bread knife to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of one of the cakes, cut side up, on a plate or cake stand. Spread over some of the mousse in a thick layer, then sandwich with the other half of the cake, placing it cut side down.

4. Spread over more of the mousse, just as thickly, then sandwich with the bottom half of the second cake, cut side up. Repeat for the next layer until you have four layers of cake sandwiched together with three layers of mousse. Cover the top and sides of the assembled cake with the remaining mousse, smoothing it over with a palette knife.

Compliments of the season…and happy baking 🙂

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Raj Resorts, Bogmalo Beach, Goa

“Here the welcome is warmer than the weather”…well, it indeed is! This is the tagline engraved at the entrance of Raj Resorts. For us it was a home away from home, a countryside place we city-rats crave for.
Gate

Situated at a distance of only 15 minutes walk from the crowd-spared Bogmalo beach, 10 minutes drive from Dabolim Airport and around 20 minutes drive from Panjim, Goa’s capital city, Raj Resorts offers you the perfect peace and tranquility amidst nature.
Exterior
Reception: You are guaranteed a warmest welcome here. Its this place where you leave all your worries and queries behind…thanks to Mr. Vivek Gupta, the owner and the manager of this property.

Reception
Accommodation: Room categories include the Superior, Premium, Terrace and the Studio Apartments.
We’d booked the Premium Room for 2 nights. The room is basic but quiet spacious, ample of natural light and comes with a balcony facing the road. Elaborately furnished and has facilities like AC, Telephone, Tea/Coffee maker, Refrigerator, Wi Fi, Wardrobe and an Electronic Safe.

Room 1
The pint-sized old-age TV sitting atop the fridge cabinet specially caught my attention…reminiscent of my childhood Bush TV days 🙂
Room2
Toilet: Spacious but dimly lit. Hot/cold water is available throughout the day.

Toilet2All the bath products like shampoo, soap, etc. are provided.
Toilet1
View From The Room:

Room view
Dining: the resort has a multi-cuisine restaurant cum bar overlooking the swimming pool. We had most of our meals outside except a light dinner of Veg Hakka Noodles and Potato Cutlets, which were delectable.
Restaurant

Breakfast menu is limited. We had a choice of ordering the breakfast in our room, so we did. We specially loved the local made guava jam.

Amenities: Swimming pool, steam and sauna, restaurant with bar, room service, laundry, indoor games, 24 hours hot/cold water, generator backup, doctor on call, Wi-Fi availability, money changing, car/scooter arrangement and sight-seeing arrangement.

Swimming Pool: Its a small, clean, cutesy pool that looks up to the Mango tree standing close by.
Pool
Commuting: The resort can arrange for scooter/car, even sight-seeing and fishing trips…and at a reasonable cost. One day rent of a scooter is Rs. 350/-. Cost of petrol is to be borne by you. Rent of a car with driver- Rs. 1500/-. Self-driven car – Rs. 1200/-.

Our purpose for this visit was to attend the Goa River Marathon which was to start at 6.30 am from Baina beach in Vasco. We were pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Vivek (2 days before our check-in) stating that the resort had arranged a bus for the marathoners till the venue which would leave at 5.15 am… so well before time.

Service: Raj Resorts pampers you with a personal touch…and a professional too. Ring a 9 and you are attended to within no time. Mr. Mahesh Goyal, the care-taker is immensely helpful and on his toes all day.
I liked the way the resort guidelines/rules were mentioned on the last page of the in-room menu. Makes life so much easier for everyone 🙂

Special thanks to Mr. Vivek Gupta:
After hectic 15 hours in the bus and being completely exhausted, it was Vivek who bailed us out. He ensured that we were ensconced to our room first, leaving the check-in formalities for later. Although it was quiet past the lunch time, he arranged to feed our famished guts.
The man is immensely resourceful, a thorough professional with an experience of over 27 years behind him. This baby called “Raj Resorts” is his heart and soul. Festooned with lighting bulbs and lanterns, he has made the resort stand out and pour life into the otherwise hushed surroundings.
Lighting
How To Get There:
By Air –  
Dabolim Airport is less than 10 minutes drive from the resort. The resort provides complementary airport pickup and drop.
By Train –
Madgaon Railway Station is around 25 kms from the resort. Hail a cab and reach within 30 minutes.
By Bus – Get down at Panjim and hail a cab.Its a 25 minutes drive to the resort. Frequent public transport is also available.

My Say: Rooms, Amenities, Entertainment, Service…all fabulous. But its the hospitality here that’s laudable. No wonder its has its loyalists in India and abroad coming back for the past 15 years…or even more.

It was a pleasure staying here and being pampered. Absolute tranquility is just a weekend away.

Thank you Vivek, for all the pleasant memories we brought back home 🙂

 

Sbarro, R-City Mall, Ghatkopar West

Sbarro was just another pizzta (that’s my version of pizza+pasta) haunt for me, until I got a peek of it in one of the daily sitcoms. Intrigued and a bit of RnD later, I learnt that it’s a franchise of the quick-service Italian food joint Sbarro, NYC.

Here, in Mumbai, Sbarro is one of the crowded joints on the third floor of R-City Mall, Ghatkopar West. Malad and Chembur are some of the other places they are branched out.
Reception2
Ambience –
Brightly lit space, vintage photographs adorning the wall and pleasant staff provide for the perfect peppy ambience.

Reception
Seating – Although tucked away inside the mall and space being a constraint, seating is quiet well-managed. Four tables and long wall-to-wall sofa-table seats can easily accommodate 25 to 30 people . I’ve mostly visited this place on weekends, so having had to wait dint come as a surprise. May be its different on the week days when the mall is less crowded.
Seat 2

Food – An array of eclectic Pizzas, creamy delectable Pastas, lip-smacking sidies like Cheese Sticks and Baked Chicken Wings, small range of salads and beverages all deck up the menu. Mouthwatering desserts like Chocolate Mousse, Blueberry Cheesecake, etc. sum up the course.

We’d ordered the Chicken Pepperoni Pizza, Garlic Breadsticks, Chocolate Mousse, Cheesy Dip, Cold Coffee and Ice Tea. The pizza portion was enough for the two of us, although it didn’t quiet satiate me. The base was soggy, a total turnoff for a pizza-gastronome. I absolutely loved the crunchy Garlic Breadsticks and Chocolate Mousse.
Food
Service – is super-quick. Make the payment at the payment counter and get your order at the display counter… in a jiffy.

My Verdict – I am pizzta-obsessed. So whenever its R-City Mall for me, it has to be Sbarro…well…almost 🙂