Needless to say, Aparna’s recipe still remains one of the easiest and most special cakes for me. But somehow I’ve never been able to ‘bake’ cakes too well. Same is the cake with cookies. They taste wonderful, but turn out ‘chewy’. I guess I’ll do good business if I move to the US! It seems chewy cookies are the hottest selling items there, unlike in India, where crisp ones do better (info courtesy Cookie Man India head).
These days, I usually ‘microwave’ my cakes i.e. cook them using the microwave function, instead of convection. While some turn out reasonably well, the others are not so palatable, till I turn them into cake puddings with the addition of chopped fruit and nuts, syrups and preserves and/or chocolate.
Last week, while searching for a certain recipe online, I stumbled upon a dates cake on Aayi’s recipes (http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2006/05/27/date-cake-eggless/). It looked easy enough to try, and so I prepared the batter with almost the same quantities. Since I wanted to try out a new small heart-shaped cake mould that I bought a few days ago, I divided the batter into three batches.
Halfway through cooking the first batch, I realised (horrors of horrors!) that I’d forgotten to add baking powder, which is an ESSENTIAL ingredient, especially in eggless cakes (I do not cook with eggs at home, the sight of eggs makes me squeamish. But if you give me a chocolate cake with eggs, I’ll be as likely to finish it in one go as you!).
So, out came the half-done batter. I added baking powder separately to the first batch. I mixed the other two batches, added baking powder and mixed it up well. Poured the first one, once again, into the heart-mould and popped it into the microwave oven. Although it came out fluffy and light, for a change, I could detect the raw smell of flour in it. It was also a tad dry. To cover it up, I sliced the cake horizontally and spread some blackcurrant preserve and the result tasted quite good.
For the remainder of the batter though, I added about 2 tablespoons of blackcurrant preserve and gave it a rough mix such that there were clots of preserve here and there. This one was pretty good.
Dates ’n blackcurrant cake
Dates – 15-20
Milk – ¾ cup
Sugar – ½ cup
Flour/maida – 1 cup
Blackcurrant preserve – 3 tbsp
Oil – 1/3 cup
Baking powder – 1tsp
White/dark/milk chocolate grated – 2-3 tbsp
Note: I used regular wheat flour
The original recipe calls for ½ cup oil and 3/4 cup of sugar, but I used 1/3 cup of oil and ½ cup of sugar instead
I always use baking powder instead of soda (the original suggested the use of soda). But soda apparently helps make softer cakes
I used dark chocolate as that was what I had at hand, but I think white chocolate will make for a better combination
Boil milk with dates and let cool. Deseed dates
Grind dates with milk and sugar into a smooth paste
Add oil and mix well
Sieve together flour/maida and baking powder/soda
Add the flour to the milk-dates puree a little at a time. Mix well
Add preserve and mix very gently so that preserve isn’t fully amalgamated with the batter
Microwave on high for 5- mins or Pre-heat oven to 350deg. F and bake for 35-40 mins
Let cool. Sprinkle grated chocolate on top before serving
You could also cut the cake horizontally and add some grated chocolate or slices of fruit
PS: The girl in the peach dress (right extreme) in the pic is Aparna and I’m the one cutting the cake