Soft As A Cloud- Banana Cake

 

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Soft as a cloud 

Now that I’m working from home, I find myself wandering around the kitchen, looking to stuff my face, more frequently than usual…a bit like Yogi Bear, minus the pic-a-nic basket- but with the bearlike appetite.

 Prudently, I’ve taken to yoga & replacing all snacks to fruits! While this military behaviour works well for the 1st couple of days, the charm begins to wear off & given the general lack of interest in eating healthy, my kitchen is soon laden with slightly overripe fruit. Not a great situation, no.

So, after a good amount of research, I’ve come across a few great bakes that require ripened banana. And it’s a complete win, this situation, as A- The banana is the quickest & easiest form of energy intake & B- My kitchen is no longer a ripe old forest of mushy bananas! Yay!

 Now, banana cakes always make me happy- the aroma, moistness & the fact that they are simply the easiest to bake! All this month, I’ve been experimenting with this new recipe & every time I bake it; the cake just seems too be getting lighter, fluffier & tastier! It’s almost like a friend that never, EVER, lets you down (God, I have to get out of the house more often)!

The steps to this recipe are ridiculously simple & it would be a crime to keep it to myself. What I like most about this bake is that every ingredient is so easily available at home.

 You need..

2-3 large over ripe & speckled bananas

½ Cup castor sugar

1/3 Cup canola oil

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 ¼ Cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp soda bicarbonate

1 tsp cardamom powder

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

A handful chopped walnuts, dried figs & I also added dried rosemary. for a healthier option, use a handful of mixed seeds- such as flax, sunflower & pumpkin.

All you do is:

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

  • Line an 8×8 inch baking tin with baking paper. Tricky but fun, once you get the hang of it.

  • Sift flour, baking powder, soda bicarb & cardamom – add the nutmeg & keep aside.

  • Using a food processor (the easiest way) whiz together the bananas, oil, vanilla & eggs till completely mixed; about 3 spins.

  • Evenly spoon over the flour mix onto the wet mix, in the processor & whiz only about twice- do not dump in the flour as it tends to make the batter lumpy. Do not over mix as this would lead to a tough & heavy cake.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin, scatter the nuts or seeds & bake for about 25 minutes.

  • The cake when done should be a lovely golden brown & pass the skewer test- or should come out dry when skewer inserted.

  • Take the cake out of the oven & let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes before you cool it on a wire rack.

  • I love to cut up this pillowy soft cake into chunky squares & pile ‘em high to serve. You could also dust the slices with icing sugar or wrap the slices in baking paper & twine.

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Wrap slices in baking paper with twine.

 

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Pile ’em high!

See how easy & healthy this cake is?

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Golden banana cake with walnut, fig & rosemary

This is when I say “Enjoy”..

Bombay Style Mawa Cake

Having lived & worked away at Gurgaon, all of last year, I’ve missed everything about my city; the noise, bad roads, terrible weather & most of all- the food! My demanding job left me no time at all to do the one thing I really love- to bake. Now that I’m back home, there’s no stopping the madness that has taken over-not a day goes by when I’m not obsessing over what to bake next.

Have decided, in all fairness, that my homecoming post should be a dedication to my favourite city- and so, here’s the Bombay Style Mawa Cake!

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Golden & Delicious

If you’ve ever stopped by an Irani Cafe in Old Bombay, surely you’ve come across these delicate little beauties. Stacked neatly, in golden rows & under glass cases- perfectly warm, buttery & delicious the Mawa cake is best enjoyed with a hot cup of milky tea. Standing out with it’s distinct cardamom aroma,the Mawa cake commands full attention amidst the warm & freshly baked goodness that is a given at any good Irani cafe.

For those wondering, Mava or Khoya is a soft and granulated paste that’s made by continuous boiling and stirring milk. It is a commonly used ingredient in most Indian sweets & is easily available at any dairy shop, across the city.

I just love the aroma that fills my kitchen & home while these bake & with a recipe that’s so very easy, I find myself baking these cakes quite often. Here’s a super simple & very very effective little recipe for the perfect & moist Mawa Cake..enjoy!

To make about 16-18 cupcake size;

1 1/4 cup All purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

120 grams soft or room temperature mawa or khoya

100 grams soft or room temperature butter

1 cup castor sugar

2 eggs

6 Tbs milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almonds or pistachio, halved or slivered

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift the flour, baking & cardamom powder into a bowl & set aside for later.
  3. Mix the vanilla with the milk & set aside.
  4. Using a hand mixer, beat the mava, butter & sugar, on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until light, pale & fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat at low speed – be sure to scrape the bowl down frequently so that all ingredients mix well.
  5. Once the eggs are mixed, add the flour mix & the milk in 3 lots , starting with flour & ending with milk. Ensure that you do not over beat the batter by keeping the speed at minimum.
  6. Using a standard ice cream scoop, add a heaped scoop of batter into the lined cupcake tins, till about 3/4 full & scatter the nuts on top. I’m a sucker for anything old school so I kinda centrally place a nut per cupcake- but that’s just me. Bake for 20-22 mins. I prefer using the central rack of the oven.
  7. The cakes should be baked till golden & , when pricked with a skewer, should come out clean & dry. By now your home should be bursting with the most delicious aroma!
  8. Once out of the oven, let the cakes cool in the tin for 8-10 mins. Pop out of the tins & let cool on a rack before your store them. When I bake these, there’s never the need to store as they’re polished off almost as soon as they’re out of the oven, however they can be stored for 3 days in the ‘fridge, in an airtight box.

Warm Mawa cakes,  deliciously golden on the outside & buttery yellow, light & fluffy on the inside, make great accompaniments to a hot cup of milky tea or coffee. Let me know how yours turns out!