Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's Been a While! Pineapple Pudding Cake Recipe.

Assalamu alaikum!

My apologies for not posting in a few months, I had my second baby boy in September Alhamdulillah and its been a full time job (and then some) getting adjusted. I'm so grateful to my family for helping me into this transition of being a mom of two, now its time to get back to work :) insha'Allah...

Just a couple days ago we celebrated my first borns birthday, I baked a cake from scratch for the first time. It was a Pineapple Pudding Cake which was quite yummy! I am going to share the recipe here, there is an easier way to make this cake by using yellow cake mix and instant vanilla pudding (make sure it's halal). I did not take pictures as I went along (only of the final result) but will do so next time (yes there will be a next time for this delicious cake i'A!).

Yellow Cake Recipe

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup milk

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two nine inch round pans, or you can use a 10" x 13" disposable aluminum pan that is at least 2" deep (these are usually sold in 99cent stores).

Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, add the eggs and continue mixing lastly adding the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl mix the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Now alternate mixing the flour and the milk into the butter mixture and pour into cake pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes. I baked for 30 and kept checking every five minutes or so to make sure it didn't burn. Poke the center of cake with a toothpick, it should come out clean when done.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about ten minutes before taking it out and then letting it cool more (preferably on a wire rack).


Vanilla Pudding Recipe
I used the recipe from the site provided below, since this is going on the cake make sure its not too runny. I let it cool and then refrigerated the pudding for at least 2-3 hours before putting it on the cake. Also this recipe makes a decent amount of pudding so you may (or may not depending on how rich you want the cake) have some left after assembling the cake.


Ok, now on to the good stuff.......

Pineapple Pudding Cake

In addition to the actual cake and vanilla pudding you need:

*one 8oz container of Cool Whip
*8oz can of crushed pineapple.

I randomly poked holes (about the circumference of a pencil) all over the cake (I spaced them out some), then I poured some of the pineapple with its juice (not too much juice) over the holes and spread it evenly on the cake. Next spread the vanilla pudding over the pineapple. Lastly spread the cool whip over the vanilla pudding, voila!

Here's a picture of the cake I made....its not as refined as I'd like it to be but I did my best while juggling an infant and a toddler at the same time! Alhamdulillah!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Buttercream Burfi Recipe


I am in my third trimester of pregnancy (Alhamdulillah) and have been craving one of my own creations; Buttercream Burfi! Here's the recipe to this sweet treat...

Sooji Burfi (I used recipe for this, you may want to double the sooji from half a cup to one cup if you like thicker burfi's)

for the Buttercream....
1 TBSP cocoa
1 TBSP + 1tsp Milk
2TBSP butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioner sugar (I milled regular sugar to make it into a powder)
tip of the tsp vanilla powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

14 almonds soaked overnight and then peeled and chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes

I made the sooji as stated on the website provided (when you spread it out for making the burfi make sure its at least 1/2 an inch thick or more). I toasted the almonds and coconut separately for about 2-3 minutes watching carefully so they did not burn (I did this in a small toaster oven).

I then made the buttercream by whipping the butter and then adding the sugar, cocoa, vanilla powder. I added the milk in portions, you can add milk to your liking to make sure the frosting is not gritty. Then simply assemble and cut the burfi into diamond shapes :)

<3 Halal Homemaker

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Powder


Many people do not use pure vanilla extract because it contains alcohol (this can be for religious or other reasons). There are other options, vanilla powder being one of them (you can also try vanilla paste).

Making vanilla powder is pretty easy to do, you just need vanilla beans and time! I had 2 vanilla beans, I chose to oven dry one bean and air dry the other. The reason why I did this was to see if there was any difference in quality when drying by oven vs. air. I will keep you posted with the results for the air dried bean (this may take between 1-2 weeks) insha'Allah! Since the oven method was done today I am posting those results :)

Vanilla powder is strong, if a recipe asks for 1tsp of vanilla extract use 1/2 tsp of the vanilla powder as a substitute, also vanilla powder can be incorporated in sugar and so many other things so its really versatile in use.

Ok so here we go.....

Using a paring knife slice the vanilla bean length wise (do not go through both layers only the top layer), make sure you leave a little room at the tips of the bean by not cutting all the way. Carefully open the bean up a bit just to see the inside, vanilla beans are expensive so don't waste the seeds inside!

Oven Method
I placed the vanilla bean on parchment paper and placed that on a baking sheet. I preheated the oven to 175 degrees F. The whole process took about an hour. However, after about 45 minutes I checked in on it a time or two to make sure it was ok. I did see some recipes that said 175-200 degrees is ok but I played it safe at the lower temperature this time around.

Once dried, I removed the bean from the oven and allowed it to cool for about 30 minutes or more. I then was able to break it into a few pieces by hand and used a coffee grinder to make it into a powder. When transferring the powder to a small jar try doing it over a plate so that any powder that falls is caught, waste not want not!

That 1 vanilla bean gave me 2 teaspoons worth of vanilla powder.


I hope you enjoy making vanilla powder. I'll be sure to add some ideas about how to use it in a few different recipes soon i'A!

<3 Halal Homemaker

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Homemade Gel Air Freshener (using Agar Agar)


Recently I learned how to make gel air fresheners. What's cool about these is that you control how strong or how light you want it and its pretty simple to make too!

Since I don't carry gelatin I used agar agar instead and it worked wonderfully. These were good for about 1 week, I used the small jars in closets since they were less strong in scent.

What you'll need:

1 Tablespoon of agar agar powder for every 1 cup of water (so depending on how big your jars are measure accordingly)
Essential oils of your choice
Glass jars (I used old baby food and jam jars)
Aluminum foil
Food Coloring

I brought the water to a boil, added the essential oil and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes, I then added the agar agar and made sure it dissolved before CAREFULLY transferring to the jars (you can add the food coloring as soon as you pour the liquid into the jars if you are using different colors for different jars, otherwise you can use the one color you like while the water's in the pot boiling).

Agar agar becomes gel like as it reaches room temperature. Once it has cooled you can make the covers by cutting aluminum foil using the jar rim as a guide. Then poke holes to let the scent out!


Hope you have as much fun making these as I did.

<3Halal Homemamker

Friday, May 17, 2013

Waffle Recipe


I made waffles for breakfast the other day and froze the extras for this weekend. They were yummy! Here's the recipe I used and tips for freezing and reheating waffles. Enjoy!

Makes 8-10 waffles (it might depend on the size of your waffle iron).


1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (substitute can be made using 1 1/4 TBSP vinegar or lemon + regular milk, let sit for 5 minutes before using in recipe)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until its well mixed and then let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
Heat a waffle iron, lightly and safely coat it with butter or cooking spray. Make sure not to overfill it with batter. Cook till crisp and golden.

You can top your waffles with goodies like powdered sugar, butter, and maple syrup as shown here. You can also use fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries etc.


Let the waffles cool down completely. You can use parchment paper to separate the layers of waffles so they don't freeze all together and become difficult to take a part. Use a freezer safe container and date it. I usually use mine within one week.

For waffles, if they fit into your toaster you can reheat them that way or you can pop them into a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until done.

-Halal Homemaker <3

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My (no caramel) Caramel Custard Recipe


This is my (simple) recipe for caramel custard also known as flan. I consider this simple because I don't make the caramel, I use honey instead and it tastes just as good. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6


-4 eggs
-2 cups milk (I like to use whole milk)
-1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar (I use 1/2 cup but if you dont want it too sweet 1/3 cup is fine)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-(optional) tip of the teaspoon orange extract. I use clean orange peel that I have dried and then processed as orange extract.

Your choice of honey, agave, or maple syrup to lightly coat the bottom of a ROUND glass casserole dish. (I use a little less than 1/4 cups worth).

Baking pan filled with water to place the casserole dish in (make sure not to over fill it with water so that when you place the casserole dish in it it doesn't overflow and pour out). This technique is known as the Bain-Marie method (French) and/or the Water bath method.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the eggs and sugar. Slowly add the milk, vanilla extract (and orange extract if using).
Coat the bottom of your casserole dish with honey (or whatever you choose as a syrup). Now pour the custard mix over the coating and place in middle of water filled baking pan.

Carefully walk it over to oven and bake for 30-40 min. You will know it is done when it appears puffed up, also if you gently pat the middle of it it feels firm.

Take out of oven and let cool. You can place it in the fridge once cooled for 2+ hours. When serving gently separate the edges from the dish with the back of a spoon and carefully flip the caramel custard onto your serving dish.


(No caramel) Caramel Custard!

-Halal Homemaker <3

Organizing Shan Masala


For my first blog post I would like to start with how I have chosen to organize my Shan Masala (spice mixes). When I first started cooking Pakistani dishes I used Shan more often but with practice and growing familiarity with the different spices that frequent South Asian cuisine I have become less dependent on it. However, there are some dishes that just taste better with a Tablespoon or so of Shan!

Shan Masala organized

When my family and I visit Pakistan we usually stock up on different varieties of Shan. Upon returning home I'm left with the taunting task of organizing it all in my cupboards. This time around I decided to use office supplies and its working just great, check out the pics :)

1. Open the box along the edge, if using the accompanying recipe make sure you cut around the instructions. Sometimes the recipe is on the opposite side of the box, just cut it the same size as the front label and staple them together.

 2. I used small binder clips to clip the spices with their specific label. Even if you've used some of the spice mix you can easily clip the remaining portion.

3. Next, depending on how many Shan's you have you can use an appropriate sized Tupperware (or not) to sit the spices in....and you're done!

This really works well with the family sized packs too.


-Halal Homemaker <3