Friday, December 14, 2012


Part 1

I have a friend. 
She is a young and pretty Techie (she does not like being called an IT Nerd). 
She wanted me to bake a cake for her. 
That I will do soon. 
But till then let me tell her how to bake a cake - and yes, here is the cake recipe for all of you foodies too, especially young IT Nerds and Techies. 


¾ : 1 : 1 ½  (0.75 : 1.00 : 1.50) 

 ¾ : 1 : 1 ½  

Hey, 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] Cup [vati  or katori ] of fresh butter.

Cream the butter till fluffy with your hand.

[Instead of butter you can use Margarine or Dalda (Hydrogenated Oil) if you prefer]

Add 1 (one) cup of sugar and whisk vigorously till the sugar and butter blend smoothly.

Whip three eggs till they fluff up into peaks.

Fold the well beaten eggs into the butter-sugar batter mixture carefully.

Beat the mixture with your hand till the batter emulsifies nicely.
Sieve 1 ½ [one and a half] cups [vaties or katories] of maida (flour) with a teaspoon of baking powder and keep ready in a plate [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 (flour) to the butter-sugar-egg emulsified batter.

Gently fold in and smooth the flour into the batter with your fingers.

At the same time, alternately, from time to time add a few “drops” by the teaspoonful of the full-bodied dark rum to the batter.

You must taste the batter by 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.

(For fruit cake, get some raisins, orange rind, dried fruit pieces and petha and soak these in a glass of rum for a few hours till the fruit soak in the rum and then gently blend in the rum soaked fruit to the batter. This will prevent the fruit from sinking and will also release aromatic flavorful rum vapour into the cake while it bakes and make the cake rise up well)

You must ensure a proper dropping consistency of the batter by appropriately balancing the liquid rum and solid flour.

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 in an oven at moderate temperature (180 Celsius) for around 30 to 40 minutes till done.

(Test with a clean dry knitting needle or small knife - poke the needle or knife into the cake and if the cake is done the needle or knife will come out dry).

The rum will guarantee that the cake does not flop and the hot spicy alcohol vapour escaping from the cake will perambulate 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 prefer to use stainless steel katories (vaties) but can use standard size cups if you want. 

Don’t be too finicky about precise proportions.

Sample the batter and taste at every step and maintain dropping consistency of the mixture.

And, of course, trust the rum to do the rest! 

If you prefer, 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.
Do remember to tell us how your cake turned out and how yummy it tasted.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like reading this article? 
I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in my recently published book of short stories COCKTAIL
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Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a large number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Fast Music slow traffic said...

I never give any recipe post a miss!!
yours was indeed a different one... a technical recipe!! Lemme see if I can ever bake a cake (never did till date though!) Thanks for sharing

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Aparna,
I am sure your cake will turn out real yummy. Don't forget to send me a piece.
Happy Baking and Happy Eating