Wednesday, September 29, 2010




¾ : 1 : 1 ½– what’s that?

No, it’s not what you think – it’s not a secret code or some mathematical formula.

This mathematical ratio exemplifies the recipe for a simple cake – probably the first thing I learnt to cook.
It’s simple. Take ¾ [three-fourth] vati [ katori or cup] of fresh butter, cream it till fluffy with your hand, add 1 [one] vati of sugar and whisk vigorously till the sugar and butter blend smoothly, whip three eggs till they fluff up into peaks, fold into the butter-sugar mixture carefully, and beat with your hand till the batter emulsifies nicely.
Sieve 1 ½ [one and a half] vaties [katories] of maida [flour] with a teaspoon of baking powder and keep ready in a thali.
In a glass pour a generous “tot” of full-bodied dark rum – the darker and mellower the rum the better it is – as it will have more caramel which will impart an inimitable heavenly bitter-sweet flavour blended with the richly aromatic enveloping tang of molasses.
Now start adding, by the tablespoonful, the sieved maida to the butter-sugar-egg emulsified batter, gently folding in and smoothing in with your fingers, and alternately, from time to time add a few “drops” by the teaspoonful of the full-bodied dark rum, licking your fingers from time to time, rolling on your tongue, sampling and tasting at every step, till you get the right creamy consistency and taste.

I love to mix in a wee bit of powdered spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg or cloves – innovate as per your mood and taste, and add a few drops of vanilla essence to remove what remains of that eggy taste.

Cream the batter with your hands till super smooth.
Now bake your cake.

The rum will guarantee that the cake does not flop and the hot spicy alcohol vapour escaping from the cake and perambulating within the oven will impart a tantalizing aroma and enticing fragrance to the cake.
This cake tastes best when eaten hot – as the blissful fresh spicy hot sensuous vapours overwhelm your olfactory and gustatory senses with their zesty fragrance and rich full-bodied flavour.
This is the first recipe I learnt from my mother when I was a small boy.

The “rum” innovation came a bit later.

I used stainless steel vaties, if you don’t have them use cups.

Don’t be too finicky about precise proportions, sample and taste at every step; and, of course, trust the rum to do the rest!

Try using brandy instead of rum for a different flavour.
I bake the cake in half an hour and it tastes heavenly.

Baking a cake is so simple, isn’t it?  

Just remember the simple formula - ¾ : 1 : 1 ½ ”  -  for larger cakes just use multiples of this breathtakingly simple formula. 

Happy Baking

Dear Reader and Fellow Foodie: For more such appetizing dishes do read APPETITE FOR A STROLL, a treatise on The Art of Eating, Easy to Cook Recipes and Foodie Adventures in Pune and Mumbai.

Click the links below to know more about this delicious book: 

Happy Eating
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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