This is response to a very pleasant mail I recieved from Reena from Bombay who writes:
"I've been avid reader of your blog--have read it for the sheer pleasure
of its simplicity, clarity and colour--not to mention the homely feel
I've been looking for some simple cake recipes. I've come across any
number of websites giving these recipes, but somehow, I don't feel
comfortable enough to make a start (I've never baked a cake before).
I would be grateful if you shared a few cake recipes, with some
invaluable tips thrown in."
Well- complimentary emails are always a shot in the arm and the effect of this one has been almost immediate.
Here is one recipe Reena and more will be added later .The tips are at the beginning, BEFORE you start, to help you turn out that perfectly baked cake!
1.Use a pan of the size recommended in the recipe.Grease it well with butter or oil and add a light dusting of flour.Use a teaspoon of oil or afinger digit full of butter. The pan should be greased evnly without drops of oil around the place.remove any extra with a paper towel or tissue.The flour the pan.The way this is to take a tablespoon of flour and put it in the greased pan then roll the pan around till the flour coats all sides and then tip the extra out giving a tap or two to the upturned pan at the end.
2.Keep all your ingredients ready at room temperature. You need to remember this for the eggs, the butter and the milk if you are using any..Use fresh flour always. Old flour tastes dingy and wormy very quickly in India.So buy a half kilo just before baking from a reliable source.I refrigerate my flour to keep it worm free.
3.Sieve the flour twice over a big piece of paper. This will make it light and airy.
4. Grind the sugar into a powder in a coffee grinder.
5.Heat your oven well in time.I find it takes at least 20 minutes for my (large) oven to reach the recommended temperature.Dont worry if you dont own an oven thermometer. Just heat it blind for at least 15 minutes on the mark required.( It does take a while to get used to each oven as they are all a bit different.)
6.When a recipe calls for creaming the butter and sugar together take your time to do this well. Use softened butter..not straight from the fridge.Add the powdered sugar and keep beating till the colour changes to a pale pale yellow and the mixture is like whipped cream. I find a hand mixie almost invaluable when baking but you CAN do this with a wooden spoon as well. You will just need some muscle power.
Very Basic All Equal Cake recipe.
This is a no fail recipe which calls for equal amounts of everything.You could use your own measures of all the ingredients.
Use a shallow tin. A Standard size 14" x 10" will do. Follow instructions above on how to prepare your tin.If you dont have a baking tin you can use two of the pans from a 5 litre size pressure cooker and divide the batter in half. You can then sandwich the cake together later tutorial in next cake post)
250 gms butter
250 gms sugar
250 gms flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 level tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence about 5 drops will do.
250 gms flour
Heat up the oven to 175 degrees C as you begin.
Sieve the flour and the baking powder together and add the salt.Beat the butter and sugar as described in # 6 above. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture lightly. Now add the vanilla essence.
Spoon into prepared cake tin. Bake for 25-40 minutes till risen and golden yellow in colour. The exact time will depend on your oven size and heat. Check after 25 minutes by inserting a fork into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean your cake is ready. If it comes out with wet bits of dough you know it will take at least 15 minutes more. If there are a few crumbs on the fork you might need 5-8 minutes more.
Remove the tin from the oven and let it cool. Run a knife along the sides of the tin to loosen the cake . Put a cooling rack over the tin and invert with the help of some oven gloves or a cloth. Tap till the cakes falls out neatly onto the rack. If it sticks to the pan you know that you havent greased and floured the pan well....so next time lucky.
To this basic recipe you can add:
The grated rind of 1 lemon and mix it in at the vanilla essence stage. Voila: Lemon cake.
1 " piece of grated ginger
1/2 cup of broken nuts. Walnuts, peanuts, almonds...anything you like.
2 tablespoons of cocao to the flour after sieving.You will get a chocolate cake.
Keep covered or wrapped in plastic or foil for up to three days and then keep in the fridge.
Enjoy your cake baking!