peach and vanilla cake with spiced almond milk

peach and vanilla cake with spiced almond milk| A Brown Table

A few things I've picked up on, now that I spend all my time in San Francisco;

  • You can never predict whether it will be warm, hot or chilly. Windy days aren't too bad but they happen often.
  • When it comes to food options, it's rare that you can go wrong. The city has so many tasty options for different price points and for different diets. 
  • It's a dog-friendly city. 
  • My life involves food, a lot of it. But I find it interesting that this city and the people here, are hugely, food centric. It comes up in a lot of conversations and rightly so.
  • Food trends are innovative from both a culinary perspective and a technological one.

Since, I've been traveling a bit for the past few weeks (house hunting, work stuff, etc) and also avoiding the heat wave that's hitting this side of the world, I've been focussing on easier and less time consuming items to cook at home. This desserts falls right into that category of easy-to-make, less time consuming and incorporates seasonal goodness in the form of ripe and sweet yellow peaches. I start by infusing Califia's unsweetened almond milk with two types of cardamom, black and green along with crystallized ginger and a few threads of saffron. Once the infused almond milk is completely cooled and chilled, you can either drink it directly or you could make this super easy peach and cake trifle type dessert.

Peaches are one of the best gifts of summer and with a light vanilla flavored cake such as angel food cake or a pound cake, you will have the easiest and fruitiest dessert to serve your friends and family and one that requires very little effort!

peach and vanilla cake with spiced almond milk| A Brown Table
peach and vanilla cake with spiced almond milk| A Brown Table
peach and vanilla cake with spiced almond milk| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this trifle that you might find useful,

  • If you use the sweetened almond milk from Califia make sure you adjust your sweetener levels accordingly when preparing the milk. I suggest using sugar or honey but feel free to use your favorite sweetener.
  • The amount of saffron I use to flavor the milk is a very tiny pinch and you will get a very tiny tinge of yellow color. Adding too much saffron can make this milk taste unpleasant. 
  • I love yellow peaches because they are sweet and when ripe their texture is soft. You could use something firm like a white peach but I find that doesn’t play well with the texture against the cake.
  • The cake: Here you can play around a little. I like angel food cake and vanilla pound cake to keep it simple. This way the spiced milk and peach flavors don’t get mellowed out by whatever might be in the cake. To kick things up a notch, you can also grill the pound cake or toast it a little before adding it to the dessert. 
  • I like to leave the ginger behind in the milk when I serve the dessert but if that’s too intense then you can remove it.
peach and vanilla cake with spiced almond milk| A Brown Table

peach and cake spiced almond milk trifle

yields: 4 servings


3 cups Califia unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey

12 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

a pinch of saffron threads

4 yellow peaches, ripe

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh

3 cups vanilla pound cake/angel food cake, torn into bits or cubed

  1. Place all the ingredients from the almond milk to the saffron in a thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from stove, transfer the milk with the spices into a container, cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until chilled.
  2. Peel the peaches and slice in half to remove the pit in the center of the fruit. Quarter the peach and then cut each quarter into half. Drizzle the lemon juice over the peach segments and allow to sit for 2 minutes at room temperature. 
  3. When ready to serve, toss the peaches with the cake pieces carefully in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Divide this equally between 4 glasses or serving bowls. 
  4. Remove the cardamom pods from the chilled almond milk and discard the pods. Shake the milk and pour over the cake and peach mixture in each glass. Add the leftover ginger bits from the milk on top of the cake. Serve chilled and immediately. 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia and all opinions stated here are purely my own.

Baath Cake

baath cake for @Saveur | A Brown Table

Guys, I wrote my first article for Saveur! I baked my favorite Goan coconut cake and you can get the recipe on there. I've done a couple of other versions here on the blog but this one is much more traditional and as "coco-nutty" as I could get it while keeping the recipe as close as possible to the one I grew up with. Bake, eat and enjoy!

As most of you know, I've also been sharing more traditional Indian recipes over at my column Food52. I delve more into the basics that I've grown up with, I've spoken about stocking up your pantry for Indian cooking, making staples such as Garam masala, aloo gobi sweet and savory lassis and making your own homemade ghee. Head over there to get the recipes.

Indian Spices (Jaggery) for @Food52| A Brown Table
Homemade Garam Masala for @Food52| A Brown Table
Homemade Ghee for @Food52 | A Brown Table
Homemade Ghee for @Food52| A Brown Table
Lassi for @Food52| A Brown Table
Aloo Gobi for @Food52| A Brown Table

It's the last few weeks of summer and these are some of my favorite links that have been on my mind:

I'm in a mood to bake myself a big summer pie and Michelle's blueberry, peach and lavender pie might just happen tonight along with some vanilla ice cream.

Cynthia has written a lovely recipe for Mul Naengmyeon (Korean cold noodles).

I made these chocolate surprise cookies for a party and they were delicious!

Roasting a whole chicken is tricky but these tips make it easy.

Pretty Instagram styling tips from Bon Appétit

Creamy peach and honey popsicles to stay cool with.



fig and bourbon summer smash

fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table

Last Sunday, we attended the San Francisco street food festival. Ever since we moved, I've been wanting to attend the festival and taste all the delicious things that people are cooking up because that is what makes this city such an amazing food destination. And to be honest, we weren't disappointed. We tried empanadas, tacos, bahn mis, ice creams etc. Every thing had some sort of innovative flavor or idea combined into a traditional dish. 

fried pork cake sandwich, thai iced tea at San Francisco Food Festival | A Brown Table
Lobster salad at San Francisco Street Food Festival | A Brown Table
Watermelon Agua Fresca + Beef and Chicken Empanadas at San Francisco Street Food Festival |A Brown Table

When Renée and Sherrie asked me to join their blogger summer drink special, I wasn’t sure if I should. You see, I have never, ever in the past four years created a cocktail for this blog. It made me nervous and after I said yes to the girls, I kept telling myself, “Why the heck did you say yes?” Since I rarely make my own cocktails at home, I wasn't sure how this would pan out. But now, after going through this fun experience, I’m glad I said yes and my blog is no longer a cocktail virgin (though my dear friend Meg shared a cranberry moscow mule with you in December when I went to India). 

fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table

Fig and bourbon are meant to be together. In an ideal world, every fig tree should produce a bottle of bourbon with every fig it grows. Maybe those travel size alcohol minis would work? And so I've combined my love for figs and bourbon in a glass or two for this drink recipe roundup.

It's been terribly hot for the past few weeks (the mercury hit the triple digits) and fortunately, the cocktail experimentation in the kitchen turned out to be the perfect remedy to battle the weather. An ice cold glass of this fruity bourbon drink that's lightly sweetened with honey and infused with fresh mint and lime. And of course if you like it a little more sweet or a little more boozy, adjust accordingly. 

fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table
fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table
fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table
fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table
fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this drink;

  • Use dark figs such as black mission figs or brown turkey figs. Their flavor is stronger and more robust and will work really well in this cocktail.
  • Instead of water, you can also make the drink a little fizzier by replacing it with sparkling water.
  • The more overripe your figs, the sweeter and stronger the flavor. Fresh limes and mint leaves make a huge difference in the drink.
  • I like to make the fig-bourbon mix ahead of time but just a word of caution, the longer you keep it in the alcohol (don't go over more than 2 days) the boozier the fruit pulp. 
fig and bourbon summer smash | A Brown Table

fig and bourbon summer smash

yields: around 6 servings


6 to 8 overripe fresh figs, stalks trimmed

500mL bourbon

1/2 cup honey

1 1/2 cups chilled water

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

12 fresh mint leaves, julienned

ice cubes

1. Place the figs in a 1 liter mason jar or a jar wide enough to allow the figs to be smashed. Pour the bourbon over the figs and smash the fruit using a muddler. Pour honey into the jar and seal airtight with a lid. Shake aggressively and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 

2. Just before serving, shake the jar. Remove 1/4 cup of the fig mixture add 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 mint leaves. Muddle the mint leaves in the glass using a muddler, taste and adjust sweetness if necessary and then add a few ice cubes. Serve ice cold and immediately. 

Note: If you like this drink stronger, you can add a little more bourbon to it before adding the ice cubes.