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Holy Sundays + Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Holy Sundays + Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

I recently did a Perugina chocolate making class at Eataly in NYC and it was a lot of fun!  I got to make my own bacis and also take away a really yummy chocolate olive oil cake that we frosted with cherry mascarpone frosting. I share some photos and recipes from that class here.

Also, I wanted to put forth an idea.. That of celebrating new beginnings each week and making every Sunday a holy one, in your own way...!

Curious? Read the rest of the post to find out more!

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I smile.

I laugh.

I cry.

I play.

I run.

I stop and look over.

I wink.

and, it begins again.


the process of being happy.

finding the little me. finding the big me. holding hands and skipping together.

letting go. letting in.

living life. being present.

always being in touch.

Hello life! look what i & I baked for you! :)


Banana Streusel Cakes

(makes 6 cupcakes)


for the cake:

1 overripe banana, mashed

2/3 cup spelt flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup raw sugar

4 T butter, room temperature

1 egg, whipped lightly

1/3 cup milk

for the streusel topping:

2 T rolled oats

2 T flour

2 T raw sugar

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1 T melted butter

Sift the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gently fold in the egg. Then add the banana and milk and make a smooth puree. To this add the dry ingredients in three parts until just incorporated. Divide the batter into six cup cake molds.

In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for the streusel topping. Divide equally on top of the cake batter.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 15-18 minutes until the top is crusted and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes and devour warm and with ice cream...!

Spiced Carrot Cake for celebrating Autumn


Here I am... In Italy, having foodgasms every day. No, I kid you not! The sensory overload has just been resoundingly stimulating!! Even though my current tryst with this beautiful country is still in full swing, I have already been colluding with Juls to plot my return sojourns for at least the next three years!!!

So, while I am in the middle of all this awe striking beauty, I wanted to do a quick stop and continue on the Autumn theme that was so dominant in the last post. The vibrance of Fall colors can bring a smile in the dourest of periods. I speak from experience :)

My Images

Dirty and Gnarled

And, as a foodie what better way to celebrate the season than to make something that envelops the spirit of the season. For additional motivation, Simone, whom I am so thrilled to meet finally this weekend, is hosting a wonderful Autumn themed food photography event.

The magic words were spoken :) and out of the oven came a warming Spiced Carrot Cake with a simple Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting that lets the cake be the star.. And, this I share with you as I look on to the gorgeous Umbrian countryside.


When I was in London, I was awestruck at the fat content of some yogurt there being as high as 20%!! That subscribes to the idea of replacing butter or oil in a recipe with yogurt. In US, the highest I can find is 8% Greek yogurt and that is what I used for this recipe and the cake comes out nicely moist. I also substituted regular flour with whole wheat flour, which, lends it a nuttier flavor apart from being a tad more healthy.

For another version of carrot cake made with puréed carrots, check out this recipe for my cupcakes.

Spiced Yogurt Carrot Cake
(based on the recipe from Smitten Kitchen)


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp fresh ground cardamom
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
1/2 cup full fat yogurt
2 T mild olive oil
3 T whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups grated sweet carrots
1/2 cup raisins plumped in brandy (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare an eight inch cake pan by lightly oiling and patting with flour. Dust away excess flour.

Sift together all the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whip the yogurt and milk with oil until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and turn to incorporate. In thirds add the dry mixture until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the carrots and raisins.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from pan and cool on rack until completely cooled before frosting.

You can frost the cake as is. I used a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut rounds and then sliced them to make layers.

I made the filling by just whipping cream cheese with a little milk, some powdered sugar and a touch of vanilla paste. Really, this is per your taste. I did not measure anything. I just made more if I needed more to fill or frost :)

The carrot tuiles are strips of carrot boiled in sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and once cool, rolled in sugar. They are pliable when slightly warm. You can roll them into any shape then..

It Begins....

Making a home is a Labor of Love.


For more than a month now, I have been laboring... Making sense of the space I am left with to convert it to a space that I belong in.. A place that will comfort me, envelop me in a warm, gooey bear hug... a nest where I can, once again, learn to fly out of and explore the world, knowing that the safety of it exists..

Living in a tiny, rented apartment in New York can be quite restricting in how much you can do to call it your own. Especially, on a miniscule budget! But, I have been fortunate to have a very understanding and lenient landlord and I have managed to make a huge difference with small changes in aesthetics, being creative with the usage of space... and, more importantly, bringing an open attitude! :)

Carrot cupcakes - cream cheese frosting

It started with a random conversation on colors. I am, inherently, a person who loves bold, big colors. Color is warmth and personality. Color is passion. It is also the element of life. I speak in Red, Orange and Blue. My apartment, however, has been bleached white for a long while. An empty canvas! Perfect for individual expression that I proceeded to exercise!

Phase 1 of the makeover was Painting. I am now surrounded with colors that are so very mine. My choices were from the gut and some long standing desires. I realised later that they also spoke the different Chakras! Who knew! I am thrilled by how much a splash of color can make a plain house into a home.

Cake & tea

Phase 2 is ongoing. A re-do of the physical space layout. Furniture, storage, look and feel. Creating a larger visual space by opening out the layout and lifting items off the ground. A levitating experience in many ways.

Diary Entry
September 2012:
I am home.

Carrot cupcakes

To celebrate, I did what I do best - Bake! Low Gluten Spiced Carrot Cupcakes with a Cream Cheese Frosting. I also lit the traditional lamp that my mother had gifted me, years ago, that I had never before unpacked...... Yes, that's another story... :)

Low Gluten Spiced Carrot Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

These cakes can be easily made to be vegan by substituting the small amount of butter with a fruity Olive Oil

2 cups spelt flour or all purpose flour (spelt is nuttier in flavor and I like using it for spiced cakes. It is also low in gluten and a very good source of fiber)

1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1-3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp fresh ground cardamom
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 T almond oil
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup pureed carrots (recipe included)
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup raisins soaked in rum (optional)

I always have some raisins soaking in rum/brandy that are great in cakes or as ice cream toppings. If you don't warm up golden raisins in a little bit of water, just enough to rehydrate them. Add enough alcohol to just cover the raisins and let them sit for about 45 minutes to soak the nectar! The longer they sit, the better the flavor, of course.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

To make the carrot puree, boil carrots until they are very tender and then process into a smooth puree with two tablespoons of coconut milk.

Sift all the dry ingredients together. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet to dry and fold until incorporated. Fold in the grated carrot and raisins (if using) with the soaking liquid. Spoon out the batter into cupcake molds filling them to 2/3 level.

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on rack to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup whipped cream cheese

3 T heavy cream
2 T whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Whip all ingredients into a smooth frosting and refrigerate until ready to use. When the cupcakes are cool enough, pipe or spread the frosting in desired forms.

Carrot cupcakes 2

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK