Tea is a huge affair at my abode! My Father-in-law is a self confessed tea connoisseur, and when he visits, every day we brew at least 4 different types of tea at various hours during the full day! It’s fun for me as he actually does the heating boiling and brewing on his own. No disturbance for the daughter in law, who just gets a perfectly brewed steaming cuppa in her hands without moving an inch!
This time, we tried a Kangra Valley green tea and Radhika’s white leaf tea. The brew received mixed reactions but this cake that we served along with the tea got thumbs up from all, even from the little 1 year old food critic I am raising. This is possibly the first ever all Indian cake you would have seen, made using ingredients found in Indian kitchens all over.
A cake is a difficult thing to develop a recipe for. The measurements are key; they say! But for me, more than the measurements, it’s the texture which stands key. You should always believe your intuitions when trying a new recipe for a cake. The key words to look for and understand are things like- ‘spoon dropping consistency,’ ‘hard peaks’, ‘soft peaks’ etc. If you need a teaspoon more water to get to the spoon dropping consistency, do so! If you need to whip a minute longer to get to the hard peaks, do so! These parameters are important and these are not to be missed.
A little tip that I have used extensively to make egg free cakes, is the inclusion of sugar in dry ingredient, rather than it being a part of the wet brigade. What this does is it gives the cake little pockets of fluff while baking. Once the sugar dissolves, the hot air somehow creates a very soft and fluffy cake!
The combination of hot water with vinegar reacts to create moistness in the cake. It’s a well thought out recipe that isn’t oily, nor does it use ingredients like cream and condensed milk. It’s a simple, ready to mix in 5 minutes kind of a cake, which will lead up to satisfied family members surely! The egg is a difficult thing to replace, but this recipe takes into account lots of experience to create the perfect eggless cake, which an egg loving person would like and make repeatedly!
Another interesting and an essentially Indian aspect of this cake is the topping-cum-filling. I have used enough masala to entice the taste buds properly. It’s not a very sweet cake, but in case you want to up the sugar content further, just add another ¼ cup.
1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour ( ¼ cups less than 2 full cups)
¾ cups Sugar
1 ½ tsp Eno Fruit Salts
½ tsp Salt
1 cup Hot Water
1 tbsp Vinegar
½ tbsp Vanilla Extract
¼ cup Oil
For the all interesting topping and filling:
1 tbsp softened Butter
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Walnuts and Cashew nuts chopped
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp cardamom powder
¼ tsp red chilli powder
The first and foremost thing to do would be to pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C, so that it stays nice and hot by the time we finish mixing the batter.
Now, in a shallow dish, combine butter, brown sugar, nuts and the different Masalas together. With a fork mix till it is crumbly. Mix a couple of tbsp of APF (from the cake batter) to this mix and set it aside for later.
For the cake- mix all the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, salt and Eno.
In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients – hot water, vinegar, vanilla extract and oil; and whisk well.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine. Incorporate together well. I have noticed that sometimes I do need to add a bit more water to the batter, till it reaches a spoon dropping consistency. Add cautiously, a tbsp at a time!
In a silicon mould, or a well oiled aluminium pan, pour half the prepared batter. Sprinkle on half the filling mixture evenly. Add the other half of the batter and sprinkle the remaining of the topping/filling mixture.
Put it to bake for 40-45 minutes, till a dry toothpick comes out clean. Cool, slice and enjoy with a hot cuppa!