Thursday, August 29, 2013

The daring bakers: Mawa cake

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious! :)

It's time for the daring bakers and this time it's an Indian cake. I think it's very special and relative unknown. At least in the Netherlands.
The most special part for me was boiling the milk until it was lumpy and had a caramel colour. I suspected something like condensed milk, but it didn't have the sweetness. You had to stay on top at the end of the process because it burned very fast.

I had to make the cake twice though. Not because I let the Mawa burn. Nope. The cake flour in Holland is quite different from the Indian one. It's got all kinds of additives, like baking powder (I didn't read the ingredients list, wrong, wrong, wrong). So I had a huge cake, and my oven was a mess. That one won't trick me in the future.
Lucky for me, both times it tasted very good, so that wasn't a problem.

And for the recipe:


For the Mawa:

  • 1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted Butter (soft at room temperature);
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) packed crumbled mawa;
  • 1-1/4 cups (300 ml) (10 oz) (280 gm) castor sugar;
  • 3 large eggs;
  • 5 to 6 cardamom pods, powdered, (about 1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom);
  • 2 cups (500ml) (9 oz) (260 gm) cake flour;
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder;
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt;
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk;
  • Cashew nuts (or blanched almonds) to decorate (about 18 to 20).
First make the “Mawa”. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.
The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.
Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.
Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake. It will harden in the fridge so let it come to room temperature before using it.
You should get about 3/4 to 1 cup of mawa from 1 litre (4 cups) of full-fat milk.
Now start preparations for the cake by pre-heating your oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a largish bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the milk and beat till mixed well.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended. If you cannot find cake flour, place 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in the
bottom of your 1-cup measure and then fill it with all-purpose (plain) flour to make up to 1 cup.
Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan. Pour the batter into this and lightly smooth the top. Place the cashew nuts (or blanched almonds) on top of the batter randomly. Do not press the nuts down into the batter. A Mawa Cake always has a rustic finished look rather than a decorated look.
Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 1 hour until the cake is a
golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Do
not over bake the cake or it will dry out. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminum foil hallway through the baking time.
Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 10 min in the tin. Release the cake, peel off the parchment from the base and let it cool completely.

4Pure: daring bakers Mawa Cake august 2013

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