Sweet Tooth

Bake a Cake

 

Tea Cake
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 and genuineness.
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)

Ingredients:

250 gms butter

250 gms sugar

250 gms flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 level tsps baking powder

4 eggs

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.

or

1 " piece of grated ginger

or

1/2 cup of broken nuts. Walnuts, peanuts, almonds...anything you like.

or

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!


Rice and Khus /Poppy seed cake

As promised another rice flour recipe. This one is simple and delicious.

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup mawa

1/2 cup grated coconut

1/2 cup khus-khus / poppy seed

1/2 cup ghee
2 cups sugar
Saffron / cardomom/ nuts (optional)

Roast the flour in a tablespoon of  ghee. Mix in the mawa and set aside. Heat the sugar and cook till it becomes a syrup  and gets a string like consistency.
Grind the coconut and poppy seed into a fine paste in a blender or a coffee grinder. Add the rice flour mixture and the coconut and khus paste to the sugar syrup. Add the rest of the ghee.  Keep cooking on a low flame till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Spread on a greased plate or cake tin and garnish with nuts.
When cool cut and serve.


Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberriy_seller_js_2

There is a glut of strawberries on the market this week and vendors with their colourful produce, neatly arranged in circular mounds are to be seen everywhere. Strawberries in baskets behind cycles, on the pavement, balanced on the head, in the malls...unbelievable. I can recall a time when strawberries were to be found only in the wild, in the hills ,and then, only by the hardworking or the obsessed.You can guess under which heading my friends and I could be classified.
With such abundance one can be irreverant. The strawberries can be mashed and moulded into  a dessert , a delicate pink concoction...a pretty and fluffy ending to a good meal.

Airy_strawberry_2

Ingredients

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
12 gms / I tbsp unsweetened gelatine
30 gms/ 1/4 cup honey
350 gms/ 2 cups strawberries, mashed in a blender till smooth
(25 gms/ two tbsps double cream)

Beat the egg whites with salt (and a pinch of cream of tartar if available ),  till fluffy and in the soft peak stage.Dissolve gelatine in  warmed honey. Add the gelatine and honey mix to the strawberries. Mix well.Slowly add the mash to the egg whites while continuing to beat, adding as much air to the mixture as possible..When it becomes a light pink and holds it shape, spoon into bowls and chill till set. Top with a dollop of cream and /or a slice of strawberry.Serve straight from the refrigerator.