October 27, 2011

Povitica/ Potica (Croatian Yeasted Walnut Bread) : Daring Bakers Challenge October 2011

have missed quite a few Daring Baker challenges recently including last month when they revisited the croissant. I couldn’t find the time to do that and plan to try it sometime next month and just managed to finish making this month’s challenge, the Povitica.
The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!
To explain further, Povitica (pronounced po-va-teet-za) is a popular festive strudel-like bread typically served at special occasions like birthdays and weddings. It is also known as Orehnjača in Croatia, Potica in Slovenia, Orechovnik in Slovakia and Štrudla in Serbia.

Yeasted somewhat sweet dough is rolled out, stretched and slathered with a sweet walnut-cinnamon filling and then rolled up, twisted and baked in a bread pan. This produces the typical rolled, layered whorl-like pattern when the bread is sliced. You should see this video to get an idea of how this bread is made on a large scale! If only I could roll my povitica like that…..
Traditionally the nut used in the filling for Povitica was walnuts and sometimes a poppy seed filling, but one can use any filling of choice including savoury fillings.
I’ll keep this post short mainly because I don’t have the time to go on if I have to meet the 27th of the month deadline and post this today!
The original recipe was for 4 loaves but I chose to make the quartered recipe. Walnuts are not a favourite with us and my daughter will not eat anything with them in it so I chose to use hazelnuts. You need to run the nuts in a mixer/ blender to get a coarse powder if you want a filling that will spread nicely. I also added chocolate chips to the filling and forgot to add the coffee to my butter-sugar glaze.

My bread looks far from perfect because I didn’t have the right sized loaf pan (I have 2 small ones!)You can see how beautifully the rolled pattern shows when one uses the right sized pan as many of my friends have done.
One really nice thing about this bread is that keeps. It keeps fresh for 1 week at room temperature, for 2 weeks if refrigerated and can be frozen for up to three months when wrapped a layer of wax paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil. (It is recommended to not freeze Povitica with cream cheese fillings as it doesn’t hold up to being thawed really well – it crumbles.)

Povitica/ Potica (Croatian Yeasted Walnut Bread)
(Adapted from Daring Bakers November 2011 Challenge)
Recipe for 1 loaf (1/2 kg/ 1 1/4 lbs


To activate the yeast:
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 tsp dry activated yeast

For the dough:
1/2 cup warm milk (very slightly warm to your finger)
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
25gm  unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

For the topping:
2 tbsp cold strong coffee
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
melted butter for brushing

For the filling:
1 3/4 cups ground hazelnuts (fine to slightly coarse)
1/4 cup milk
50gm butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla flavoured custard powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)


First activate the yeast. Stir together the sugar, flour, yeast and warm water in a small bowl and keep aside for about 5 minutes, till the mixture froths up.
You can do the kneading of the dough by hand but I used my food processor. Put the warm milk, sugar, salt and egg and pulse one or two times. Add the yeasted mixture and melted butter and pulse again. Now add about 1 3/4 cup of flour and knead till you have an elastic but tacky dough. Add just as much more flour as you need, a spoon at a time, till you get the desired elasticity of dough.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and roll it till it is coated. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour till double in volume.
In the meanwhile make the filling. Put the powdered hazelnuts, sugar, custard powder, cocoa and cinnamon powders in a bowl. Heat the milk and butter till boiling. Add this to the ingredients in the bowl, then the vanilla extract and mix together. Keep aside. If the filling is too thick, add a little milk and mix it to desired consistency (think enough to spread well on the dough.
Now to roll out the dough. Place a clean fine cotton sheet (or parchment paper) over your work surface. It would be a good idea to do this on a table/ large work surface. The sheet/ paper is important to roll the dough after spreading the filling over it.
Roll out the rough into a  rough rectangle as this as possible. When you have done this try stretching the rectangle by hand as much as you can without tearing the dough. This stretching is possible only of the dough has been kneaded really well.

Spread the filling evenly on the dough rectangle right upto the edges. Also sprinkle the chocolate chips, if using. Use the sheet/ parchment to fold, start rolling the dough (like you would for a jelly roll) from one of the longer sides.
Now gently lift and place the roll into a greased loaf pan, in a U shape such the “U” part is at one end of the pan and the two ends are hanging out of the other end. Fold back the ends to the middle, one after the other, so the whole roll is neatly tucked into the loaf pan (Please see the pictures with the original challenge recipe to get a better idea of how to do this). The roll should be coiled on itself to produce the beautiful whorled pattern when sliced.

Brush the top of the loaf with coffee (or melted butter as I did) and sprinkle the sugar over this. Let it rest for about 15 minutes and then bake it at 180C (350F) for about 15 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 160C (320F) and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes. If you tap the loaf on the top it will sound hollow (a “think” sound) when done.
Cool on a rack for at least half an hour. It is difficult to slice this bread when it is warm. To slice the bread, turn it upside down on your board and use a serrated knife. If you try slicing the bread from the top it will flake and you will not get a clean slice.

This is an interesting bread and really not all that difficult to make. What is really important is to knead the dough till really elastic and to a sticky/ tacky consistency. This will make it easy to roll and stretch it out.
It has a wonderful “Wow” appeal when sliced and is quite good on taste too. Since this bread keeps it is a great bread to gift. The original challenge recipe makes 4 loaves. This bread definitely tastes better the next day. One could experiment with different types of filling and make savoury versions which would be good to serve at lunch or brunch.
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October 22, 2011

Cardamom White Chocolate Mud Cake Pops For Diwali

’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer almost all my life it seems, doing things much later than I should perhaps have done them. Not that I’m complaining because I know that it might have “late” by general standards but it was usually “right” for me. Take for instance my food blog. I started writing my food blog only to discover that the average age of many of my fellow bloggers was probably the mid to late 20s which I had last seen a long time ago! I bought a camera and started serious photography when it seemed most dSLR owners I knew were in their 20s. This was fine with me as we couldn’t have afforded a dSLR back then, and I wouldn’t have had the spare time for photography either.
It’s been the same with certain food trends, and it isn’t because I don’t read. They just seemed to escape my personal radar. When cupcakes were taking over the food scene, I wasn’t aware of it. By the time I caught on cupcakes weren’t fashionable anymore.
Then came the craze for the French macaron. While the food world was going “Ooh la la” over them, I was under my own little rock. I managed to get in on the macaron making before all the excitement died down but was sadly disappointed in them. Sure there’s a thrill in waiting with one’s heart in one’s mouth, hoping desperately to see the little mounds of batter rise in the oven and develop “feet” but after that there’s not much to it than mouthful of cloyingly sweet egg whites+ sugar+ almonds that you cannot even taste!

And then came Angie Dudley’s (Bakerella) cake pops! This time I was right there when it was happening but they didn’t excite me much. Perhaps it was because I’m not much of a cake fan and also that I couldn’t find some of the basic stuff required like lollipop sticks and decorating material. It seemed a little too much work to bake a cake only to take it apart and then put it together again.
No connection here really, but I was just thinking that life would have been so much easier for Humpty Dumpty (yep, the guy who fell off a wall and came apart) if he had been a cake pop. We could have patched him up and had him almost as good as new for a more (or less) adventurous life!
Getting back to cake pops, I was finally persuaded to give them a chance. I have been seeing some very pretty looking cake pop all over food blogdom and then my good friend, Finla, bought Angie Dudley’s Cake Pop book and went cake popping with very lovely results. Finla and I were having one of our chats when we decided we would get together and make some cake pops for Diwali. We’re not celebrating anything here this year, but it seemed a nice idea to make something sweet to post on this blog for the festive season.
On a recent trip to Bangalore I picked up some lollipop sticks (and loads of other baking stuff), so that meant I had one more excuse to travel the cake pop road. Now cake pops are nothing but cakey truffles. Cake crumbs are mixed with buttercream which are shaped in to balls (or other shapes of choice), refrigerated, stuck onto lollipop sticks and then dipped in melted chocolate or candy melts. They can be further decorated depending on the end result desired.
Pretty easy stuff, huh? That’s what I thought, but I hadn’t taken my warm, humid tropical environment into consideration. I had started out wanting to make Diwali lamp/ diya shaped pops which would have been just right for the Diwali season. My lamp pop plans had to be shelved for the time being as I had to work with soft cake pop centres and chocolate coating that started showing signs of melting once agin, on their own! To cut a long and boring story short, let’s just say that I ended up making regular round cake pops!

Most people seem to use box mixes to make the cake for cake pops. I don’t blame them as dipping the pops is work enough. We do get boxed cake mixes here these days, but they’re mostly imported and quite expensive. And I’m for some reason biased against boxed mixes so I decided to make my cake from scratch.
I’m one of those people who is not overly fond of buttercream so I thought if I could find a reasonably moist cake then I would need to use much buttercream and make a sweet cake even sweeter. My daughter suggested trying a “white” cake so I settled on a White Chocolate Mud Cake which is a reasonably moist cake. It’s a great cake if you like white chocolate, and tastes even better if you add lemon zest to it. You can bake this cake and cover it with white chocolate ganache (I think dark/ milk chocolate ganache would be good too) or even whipped cream.
I added cardamom to the cake as I felt it did something for the “blandness” of white chocolate and if you’ve not tried it before, white chocolate and cardamom really go well together. I adapted the original recipe a bit and halved it for making pops. If you want to make a cake then double the quantity of the ingredients and use a 9” round cake tin. Also increase the baking time to between an hour and an hour and a half depending on when the cake is done.
Cardamom White Chocolate Mud Cake 
(Adapted from Exclusively Food)


3/4 cup chopped white chocolate
100gm butter
½ cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
4 to 6 pods cardamom, powdered
1 tsp lemon zest


Place the chopped chocolate, butter, milk and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat and stir frequently until the butter and chocolate have melted. Take the pan off the heat and stir the mixture till smooth. Let it cool to room temperature. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix well. 
Stir together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and the lemon zest and add to the chocolate mixture in two batches, stirring well after each addition.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured 7” round cake tin and bake at 165C (325F) for about 45 minutes to an hour or till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely. If not using the cake for making pops immediately, wrap the cake in cling wrap and refrigerate for upto 3 days.
Now that we have the cake, the first step to making cake pops is to crumble it. It seems funny to go all the way and make a cake only to take it apart, but hey for cake pops, that’s the way the cake crumbles!

Most people who make cake pops seem to use buttercream to bind the cake crumbs and I’ve seen a couple of people using ganache with chocolate cake. For reasons already mentioned, buttercream wasn’t the binder of my choice. It also helped that I ran out of butter, and so had the shop nearest to me. What I did have was cream (25% fat), so I used that. This worked well as it meant my cake pops weren’t going to be tooth tingling sweet.
I had some great plans of shaping as well as using some other coating but that met with failure. As I don’t get candy melts here, melted chocolate was my choice of coating.  Oh and if you should want to make cake pops, but cannot find lollipop sticks just place the coated cake balls in paper cases. Same taste, different look.
And if you want to make those colourful and different shaped cake pops and you live in India, beg or threaten your family or friends who live abroad to bring you candy melts and edible food pens and stuff when they visit you next, because that's what I'm going to do. They might just end up deciding not to visit you at all, but that's a risk one has to live with!
Before you go further you might want to check out Angie Dudley’s cake pop tutorials on her blog and her cake pops video, and this cupcake pops making video by Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen).
Making The Cake Pops  


Cake from above
200ml cream (25% fat)
Chocolate moulds, if moulding pops into shapes
Dark or milk chocolate for coating cake balls
Lollipop sticks/ paper cases
Sprinkles to coat the cake pops
Styrofoam blocks or something similar to hold cake pops 

Crumble the cake into fine crumbs in a big bowl. Add the cream, first half the amount and then as much as needed. Stir with a spoon, adding just as much cream is needed until the crumbs will hold their shape when shaped into balls.
Shape this mixture into 1 1/2" balls or shapes of choice. If using the chocolate moulds, lightly grease the moulds and press the cake mixture into them. Place these in the freezer for about 20 minutes to half an hour at least. You can keep them overnight, but keep them at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes before coating. Unmould the shapes before dipping.

In the meanwhile, melt the chocolate over warm water (or in the microwave). Use a deep container for this so the balls can be dipped easily. First dip the tip of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert it onto a cake ball, about 1/3rd deep. Repeat with all the cake balls/ shapes. 

Now dip the cake pop into the melted chocolate, using a spoon to pour the chocolate over it to coat it well. Lightly tap the pop against the side to remove excess chocolate. Place it in a holder (Styrofoam block) and let the chocolate set a bit before covering with sprinkles. Repeat with all the cake pops.
The cake pops can be served in stands or by placing them in glasses filled with sugar or sprinkles. Keep the pops refrigerated till needed if you live in a warm tropical country like I do! 

If you’re planning to serve the cake pops in paper cases, then use a fork to dip the cake balls in melted chocolate, let the excess drip off and then just gently let them slip off the tinesof the fork into the paper cases. Let the chocolate set slightly then decorate with sprinkles or chocolate buttons.

Some of my tips for almost failure-proof cake pops!

1.       Make sure you add only enough binding (buttercream or cream) as needed to the cake crumbs. Even if your recipe specifies a certain amount, add it in batches till you get the right consistency or your pops will not stay on the lollipop sticks and slide off.
2.      If your mixture is too moist and this does happen, just add more cake crumbs (if you have any, that is) and adjust to required consistency. A better idea would be to be judicious with the binder.
3.      Keeping the shaped cake balls in the freezer makes them easy to work with. If they’re too cold, the chocolate coating will not be smooth but lumpy. So keep them at room temperature for about 15 minutes before coating them.
4.       If they’re outside too long , the cake balls will turn soft and become difficult to coat. Put them back in the freezer for a little while and then dip.
5.      Make sure your melted chocolate isn’t too warm or the coating the cake balls will be difficult. Remember to place the ball in the chocolate and spoon more chocolate on it. Swirling the cake pops in the melted chocolate might cause them to end up in the chocolate leaving the lollipop stick in your fingers!
6.      Wait till the chocolate sets a little after dipping the cake balls before you add the sprinkles, or everything will come of the cake balls in big blobs! This is experience talking.

Check these links for more tips-FAQs/ troubleshooting cake pops. And do see these really pretty cake pop ladies that Finla made (and how cake pops should look when they’re made well).
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October 18, 2011

Remembering Jayasree………………

ike almost everybody else, some part of my day follows a regular routine. I’m not much of an early morning person but I’m up by 5:30 am on school days. Actually, I’m up at that time on most days as my husband is an early riser and our 7 month old pup, Fudge, enjoys his morning walk better if he gets it before it gets warm outside.
The 12th of October was a school day and started out pretty much the same as always. I had sent Akshaya off to school with her lunch and should have been checking my e-mail, logging into Facebook and such stuff, before breakfast like I usually do. As there was some other work I needed to get done before breakfast that morning, I decided to postpone checking my mail.
That’s when I got a call from Harini that pretty much shook me up. She had just got to know Jayasree had passed away early that morning, and not believing what she had heard, had called me to know if I knew about this. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing as I knew she was doing just fine a few days before this. It seems she was suddenly taken ill with pneumonia and the doctors couldn’t save her.

(Image source: Lata Raja)
For all of you who didn’t know Jayasree, she blogged about vegetarian food at Experiments In Kailas Kitchen (Kailas is the name of their home at Palakkad in Kerala). I first came across her blog a couple of years ago when I was searching for food blogs that posted my traditional Palakkad Iyer cuisine. I wrote to her and we exchanged e-mails. I also met her and family on one of our trips to Palakkad to visit family and my parents who then lived there. Turns out that would be our only meeting, though we had since been in touch on and off till recently.
I am finding it difficult to write about her in the past tense. I am also not very good with words, even more so in a situation like this……..
She was a very warm, much talented and generous person. What I most remember most about her is her smile and that’s the memory of her I will always carry with me. It doesn’t seem right that she is no longer with us, but we have little control over destiny and can do no more than accept that which we cannot change. It is said that God loves more those who die young, and may it be so.
Lata, Harini (who both knew her well) and I wanted to do something to honour her memory. Given that we are separated by distance, it seemed nothing could be a greater tribute to Jayasree than celebrating her love for food and blogging. As we were discussing the best way to go about this, we also got responses from others in the blogging community saying they wanted to join us in remembering Jayasree.

So this is what we thought was the best thing to do and we are appealing to all of you in the food blogging community (in India and the rest of the world) to join us in this effort.
We’re also calling non-bloggers who either followed her blog or knew her in some way to please join us in this tribute to Jayasree.
We’re hoping as many of you as possible will join us all in showing our support for her and her family when they need it the most.
1.       Please visit Jayasree’s blog, Experiments In Kailas Kitchen, and go through it.

2.      Try one or more recipes from her blog and please post your photograph of it with the link to her original recipe on Jayasree’s Facebook  page dedicated to her blog. To post on her Facebook page, all you have to do is to click on the “like” button first.

3.       If you have a blog and would like to post about this please feel free to do so. This would help spread the word among your readers who might not know of this otherwise.

4.      In your post please link ONLY to Jayasree’s recipe that you chose. Do not link to any of us. Also, please DO NOT reproduce or discuss her recipe in this particular post. Do feel free to share something about Jayasree if you wish, as that would be really nice.

5.      It would be especially nice if we could all do this before the 12th of November, 2011 as this would be the first month anniversary of her demise.

Hoping to see your wholehearted support for Jayasree and her family. Thank you.
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October 16, 2011

Cardamom Flavoured Cinnamon Rolls

really enjoy baking and for me, nothing comes quite close to the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. And if that aroma is enriched with the flavours of cardamom and cinnamon, then almost nothing can beat that!
As someone who used to bake bread if not twice but at least once a week and regularly post about it, I haven’t baked bread in some time as you might have noticed. I haven’t even participated in Bread Baking Day, one of my favourite events, in ages and almost missed the annual World Bread Day (WBD) this year!
I was reminded about this year’s WBD just 5 days back and decided I would use it as an excuse to clear the cobwebs, dust my bread tins and get back to baking bread more frequently. I usually use such food blogging events to try out new and unusual (to me) breads, but this time I thought I would make something that I have wanted to make for a long time – Cinnamon Rolls!

Cinnamon rolls are very easy to make and I’m sure just about everyone has a recipe for it but for some reason I’ve never made any. Since I was doing this as a sort of last minute thing (just made them this morning!), so I could meet the event deadline and also provide the family with a Sunday evening coffee/ tea time treat, I went looking for an easy recipe.
I found this recipe at The Fresh Loaf, one of my all-time favourite bread baking sites. My cinnamon rolls were just so good, I ate one straight out of the oven just about managing not to damage my tongue! They were slightly sticky, so soft, light and just beginning to form a crust. I haven’t tried any other recipe so cannot compare this one with any others, but I know I’m not going looking for another one, or going to try another recipe for Cinnamon Rolls unless it comes so highly recommended. These are that good.

I added some cardamom to my dough. The rolls are predominantly cinnamon with slight cardamom undertones, without a clash of the spices. Lightly toasting the nuts in the filling does improve the taste of the filling. My daughter dislikes walnuts and picks them out so I tend to avoid using them much. If you want an alternative for walnuts, try cashewnuts.
Oh, and I left my Cinnamon Rolls unglazed because I prefer them that way but do glaze yours if you would like them so.
These cinnamon rolls are being YeastSpotted!

Cardamom Flavoured  Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from The Fresh Loaf)


For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm milk (maybe a little more or less)
2 tsp instant yeast
30gm melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 to 5 cardamom pods, powdered
1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
60gm melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts/ cashewnuts, lightly toasted
1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins (according to preference)

Sugar glaze or melted chocolate to drizzle (optional)


Combine all the ingredients for the dough, pouring as much milk as is necessary, and knead into a smooth elastic dough which is just short of sticky. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it and allow the dough rise until it has doubled in size (should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to form a uniformly thick, rough rectangular shape that is about 15” on the long side.
Put all the ingredients, except the nuts and the raisins in a small bowl and mix till smooth. Spread this paste all over the dough rectangle and sprinkle the nuts and raisins evenly over this.

Carefully roll the dough from the longer side close to you, not too tight or not too loose, making sure the filling stays inside. Carefully the seal the edge well. Now cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces (about 1 1/4" thick each) using a sharp knife, using a gentle sawing motion.
Place the pieces on a greased baking tray (I used a 11” by 9” tray), leaving some space (about 1/2 to 3/4”) between slices. Cover them loosely with a kitchen towel and leave them to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour (close to almost double in size).

Bake them at 190C (375F) for about 20 to 25 minutes till they’re nice and golden in colour. Let them cool and then glaze them with a sugar glaze or melted chocolate. I personally prefer them without the glaze.
These rolls are best served slightly warm. This recipe makes 12 cinnamon rolls.
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October 13, 2011

Gluten-free Pear Cake

aking gluten-free is not something I have done very much though most of my everyday cooking is mostly free of gluten since our diet is largely consists of rice, lentils and legumes, vegetables, fruit and occasionally eggs.
In fact, the only other time I have baked gluten-free was when I made some cookies which were pretty good. I had always considered all-purpose flour (or whole wheat) an intrinsic part of baking so when I discovered there were a lot of people baking without them, I was intrigued.

When I first took to baking seriously, many recipes were a challenge because a lot of ingredients beyond the basic ones were not available in the stores where I live. So the challenge of adapting recipes and substituting for ingredients to produce something close to the original became the norm for me.
I now quite like the idea of challenging myself to try newer ways of cooking/ baking and trying gluten-free baking has always been on my list of things to do. However some of the ingredients usually used by gluten-free bakers have been my stumbling block, so to say. I however decided to go ahead and explore gluten-free baking, this time with my baking buddies Arundati, Arundhati, Arundathi and Nandita.
After doing some reading, I discovered that many gluten-free flours like arrowroot amaranth flour (rajgira atta/ flour), sorghum flour (jowar atta/ flour), millet flour (bajri ki atta/ bajra flour), buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta), white and brown rice flours, soy flour, etc., have long been used in India and are available in most places.

Some ingredients like chia seeds, potato starch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum are not available here. I decided to bake without the chia seeds, substitute potato/ tapioca starch with corn starch (corn flour as we know it in India) and had my sister bring me some xanthan gum on her last visit to India. Xanthan gum is used in gluten-free baking to reproduce the texture that is provided by gluten in wheat based bakes.
I understand that guar gum (which should be available in in India, since it is the largest producer of it in the world!) and gum Arabic (known as “gond”) are reasonably good substitutes for xanthan gum though I’ve never tried using them in gluten-free baking so far.

I had bookmarked this gluten-free Peach Coffee Cake a couple of months back, when peaches were in season here. While I used the peaches to make a few things including some granita, by the time I got around to making this cake, the peaches were all gone! So I made the cake with pears instead which I thought didn’t matter much as the cake was good.

The verdict in our home was unanimous about how good this cake was. I got requests for second helpings and there wasn’t enough left for thirds! The cake has a slightly dense texture reminiscent of a fruit cake, yet is still light enough. If I hadn’t made the cake, I wouldn’t have even suspected it wasn’t a “regular” cake made with all-purpose/ whole wheat flour.
Serve the cake slightly warm for the best taste. Serve it with ice-cream for an even nicer experience.

Please note that the original recipe for this gluten-free cake is also egg-free and diary-free, but I made my cake with both eggs and dairy products.

Gluten-free Pear Cake
(Adapted from the Gluten-free Goddess)


For the cake:

1 cup sorghum flour (jowar atta)
1/2 cup millet flour (bajre ki atta)
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
120gm butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup Demerara sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 medium sized pears, peeled and sliced 

For the crumb topping:

4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp sorghum flour (jowar atta)
25 gm butter
1 tsp cinnamon 


Whisk all the dry ingredients for the cake in a large bowl to mix well. Put all the wet ingredients , except the eggs and the sliced pears, into another bowl and whisk together till Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient mix. Add the beaten eggs and using an electric mixer, beat the batter for 2 minutes.  
As Katrina says, “Gluten-free vegan batters do not behave like wheat batters. They are often stiffer at first, then they get rather sticky and stretchy as the xanthan gum and egg replacer do their vegan g-free thing.”
I used eggs but the batter was still pretty stretchy and sticky and kept climbing up my beater attachments. Katrina advises moving one’s hand held mixer to a slower speed, slightly lifting the beaters to encourage the batter to move down into the bowl, and then moving the mixer around the bowl in figure eights at a slight angle. 

Scrape the batter out into a lightly greased and dusted 9” pan (dust with sorghum flour). Spread it evenly and arrange the pear slices on top, in a pattern.
Rub together the ingredients for the crumb topping and sprinkle it over the peach slices. Bake the cake at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until the cake is firm and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool the cake slightly on a rack. Serve warm as it is with coffee or tea, or as a light dessert with vanilla or butterscotch ice-cream.
Serves 8 to 10.
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