Monday, April 4, 2016

Cooking for Nerds : How to Bake a Cake


Mathematical Formula Recipe

 ¾ : 1 : 1 ½  

Hey, what’s that?

No  it is 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.
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All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

I developed this recipe for baking a cake 50 years ago in the 1960s and I have posted this recipe online in my blogs many times - this recipe also features in my foodie book APPETITE FOR A STROLL - here are some recent urls where I have posted this recipe :  and  and  and etc

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