Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

Almond Pear Teacake

In Breakfast/Brunch, Cakes, Dessert on September 23, 2014 at 11:08 am

An entire tea party could be planned around this gorgeous cake which is gluten free with no added fats. I stumbled upon this recipe as we were out of butter in our home ( shame on me!) but my little laia wanted to bake.

And I am so glad I tried it out with a few modifications. It’s a truly glorious recipe and next time I will cut down the sugar even more as it was a rich sweet for me ( but oh so perfect with a hot, hot cup of chai!).




I halved the recipe and below are the measurements I used to make a 8x 2.5 inch cake.


2 ripe pears (such as bosc pears)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 and 1/8 cups finely ground blanched almond meal
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
½ cup sliced almonds


Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare a 8 x 3 inch springform pan by lining with butter and parchment paper.

Peel and core both the pears, slicing one into thin slices as this will go on top of the cake, and chopping the other pear. On the stovestop, cook the chopped pear with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar until it is soft and mushy which may take 7-10 minutes. Coarsely mash it with a fork and put it aside to cool. Once cool, add the eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla extract and beat together.

Add the almond flour and sugar to a food processor and give it a few long pulses( 4 years olds love to help with this). Add the egg and pear mixture to the food processor and pulse again till well combined.

Heat sugar or honey in a saucepan till slightly bubbly and carefully fold in the thinly sliced pears.

Pour the batter in the prepared pan, decorate the top of the cake with the sliced pears and top with sliced almonds (or coarsely chopped). Bake for 30-40 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Wait for all who taste to applaud!

Peanut butter Icebox cake

In Cakes, Dessert, Favorite Recipes on August 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

It’s the end of summer in Phoenix, which means temps are well just cooling off.  This dessert is perfect for those days when turning on the oven is not an option. While I almost never bake with boxed mixes, this dessert is an exception. I used a box pudding mix for the very first time and am I the only one who thinks that instant pudding is creepy.. I mean stir and stir and stir and you have chocolate pudding. None the less the recipe called for it, and while the chocolate pudding has nothing over a from scratch stovetop chocolate pudding (recipe comin up!), it is great for this icebox cake.








For the Crust:
1 (14.3-ounce) package Oreo Cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Peanut Butter Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
6 snack size peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

For the Pudding Layer:
1 (5.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk

For the Topping:
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
6 snack size peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped


Crust: Place the cookies in a food processor blender and process until they are broken down into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to ensure that all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crumbs out into a 9×13-inch pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while the peanut butter layer is prepared.

Peanut Butter Layer: Using an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Fold in the Cool Whip. Spread in an even layer over the crust and sprinkle with the chopped peanut butter cups. Refrigerate while the pudding layer is prepared.

Pudding Layer: In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow it to set. Use an offset spatula to spread the pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the remaining 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped peanut butter cups. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

French Apple Cake

In Cakes, Dessert, Favorite Recipes on October 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

We’ve been having some gorgeous fall weather in Phoenix lately. I’d bookmarked this recipe for weeks now, but it was just too hot to bake earlier. I didn’t change the recipe at all.

Chocolate cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

In Cakes, Dessert on June 7, 2011 at 4:34 am



Chocolate cupcakes (inspired by Ina Gartens Chocolate Cake)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers.
2. Place sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and sift in flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla extract. With the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
4. Scoop into liners about half to three quarters full. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
5. Let cool completely before frosting.

Espresso Buttercream: (adapted from
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, mixed in 2 tablespoons water


Beat butter on medium high, for 3 minutes. Slowly add in 2 cups powdered sugar, about a half a cup at a time. Once it is fully incorporated, carefully add the vanilla extract and espresso powder/water mixture.

At this point check the consistency of the buttercream. You should be able to lift the beaters and have the buttercream hold its shape. If it is too loose, add more powdered sugar, again 1/2 cup at a time(I needed 2 cups more).


Tres Leches Cake

In Cakes, Dessert on May 4, 2011 at 3:02 am

Recipe: Tres Leches Cake (from

Prep Time: 45 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 12

1 cup All-purpose Flour
1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
5 whole Eggs
1 cup Sugar, Divided
1 teaspoon Vanilla
⅓ cups Milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
¼ cups Heavy Cream
1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
3 Tablespoons Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high-speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high-speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.