Monday, November 22, 2010
Yet another bake, so where’s the diversity that supposed to be in my virtual kitchen, I can see some of you thinking. I was planning to post something else but this particular cake has been pleading to see the light of day as a blog post. It has been a while since I first baked this cake and I have baked it any number of times since. One reason for not posting this cake was that I never managed to take pictures of it and we all know how one cannot blog food if, a) one does not have a picture of it; and b) if that picture is not passably good enough to show everyone!
A lot of ingredients one takes for granted in countries where baking is a tradition, are not easily available in India. Yet one ingredient, where one is spoilt for choice when it comes to the flavours available in India, is custard powder. I have seen flavours from plain vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, pineapple, mango to the more exotic saffron-pistachio.
For those of us who do not eat eggs or prefer to avoid eggs, custard powder is the answer when it comes to making eggless custard. An eggless custard does taste different from one made with eggs, but it works quite well for me in crème anglaise, pastry cream and ice-cream.
Sometime back, I was clearing out my kitchen stores/ pantry before making my monthly grocery shopping list and realized I had a rather largish stock of custard powder. I didn’t want to make the usual fruit salad with custard sauce or a caramelized pudding (I still have to perfect something as simple as this one!).
I had already made these really good Yo-yo biscuits and wanted to try something else but didn’t quite know what. One other country I’ve found, other than India (and I’m not counting the UK here), that puts custard powder to really good use is Australia. A search of some sites I knew would yield good results led me to this recipe for cake using custard powder.
I adapted the recipe to make it eggless. If you cannot find custard powder where you live, use the same amount of cornstarch instead. If you use custard powder, your cake will be a golden yellow in colour, but cornstarch will give you a white cake. So if you’re looking for a white eggless cake, then use cornstarch.
This cake is soft and moist and really good as a snack cake at teatime (or any time you choose to snack). It takes about 15 minutes to mix up and it is yet another cake that requires just a mixing bowl, a spoon and a cake tin to make!
I left my cake plain. You could double the recipe and bake the batter as two cakes (in 9” cake tins for flatter cakes) and sandwich them together with cream/ frosting/ jam.
You could top the cake with fruits of the season and serve it with cream. The possibilities are endless if you would like to dress up this simple cake a bit.
You might have noticed that the top of my cake has a "cracked" appearance. Some of the earlier cakes I baked had smotth tops while some looked like this. If yours has this uneven appearance like mine does, you can always claim that you were aiming for a rustic look!
Eggless Custard Powder Snack Cake
(Adapted from Best Recipes)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup vanilla flavoured custard powder (or cornstarch)
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (if using cornstarch)
150 gm butter, at room temperature
1 cup milk
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon and mix well. Add the milk and the butter and beat with the spoon until you get a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured cake tin (or two smaller tins) and bake at 180C (350F) for about 45 minutes to an hour or till the cake is done and a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean. Sometimes, depending upon your cake tin and the oven, this cake might take upto an hour to cook especially in the middle.
Cool on a rack and serve.
This recipe makes one 8” cake or 8 to 10 servings. You can make this cake in a 9” cake tin but you’ll have a rather squat looking cake.
As mentioned in my last post, I am giving away two books and the giveaway is open till the 25th of November, 2010. If you would like to take a chance at trying your luck, please leave a comment at that post.