Maa's Homestyle fruit and nut cake

10:56 AM


All of us who grew up in the 70's and 80's grew up eating two types of cakes, one, the small square shaped dense cake wrapped in butter paper, stored in big glass jars called Boyam in street side tea shops or grocery stores. Two, cakes baked at home in the pressure cooker or round aluminium table top oven, that our mothers learnt from someone in the neighborhood or from distant relatives. Which they baked again and again to achieve a recipe that worked like charm everytime. I have not much memory of the first one as I was never fond of that dry and cloyingly sweet cake but the second one is something I am very nostalgic about.

This vanilla cake with dry fruits, artificial cherries, chalkumror morobba (petha or winter melon candy) was soft yet crumbly and was the only cake that maa baked for each and every special occasion. In winter she baked it quite often for our snack box and evening tea but for birthdays the same cake got layered and dressed with melted Cadburry chocolates and colorful gems. We dint have much and we dint need much because life was simpler, desires were small and kids still were easy to be surprised. 

The days when she baked the cake the house smelled beautiful and even we can have the aroma from quite far away. As maa was known in our neighborhood for her extraordinary culinary skills our friends would often got jealous of the treats awaiting us on arrival. Many then forced their mothers to join and learn from maa and she always happily taught them her tip and tricks. 

Now that I bake and make novelty cakes many of my clients often share the same memory of how those simple cakes baked in the pressure cooker smelled and tasted million times better than what we eat these days. and thats a funny things to say because all maa used was synthetic vanilla flavour and sugar laden deshi petha for this cake. She had no access to pastry flour, real vanilla or imported exotic dry fruit. 
It only proves that Nostalgia is not called comfort zone without a reason.

So here is my recipe of that simple old World cake...well I tried and can't claim it's the exact one but definitely it does taste quite same. Bake it and see for yourself.

Maa's fruit cake

Ingredients:
Flour: 11/4 cup+1 tsp
Butter: 100 gms
Eggs: 2 large (if small then use 3)
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1 cup (adjust as per your liking)
Milk: 3/4 cup (best if you use full fat milk)
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Dry fruits: 1 cup
I used cashews, raisins, red artificial cherries available in the fruit shops and petha or chalkumror morobba.

Use all ingredients at room temperature.

Method:
Grease and line a 7" cake pan and keep aside.
Pre heat the oven at 175C.
Powder the sugar in your mixer.
Cut the fruits in small pieces and keep aside.

Start by sieving the flour and baking powder twice. keep aside.
whip the butter, vanilla and sugar in a big bowl till fluffy (3-4 minutes by handheld mixer, 7-8 minutes by hand). Add one egg and beat for a few seconds till it is mixed properly. repeat till the eggs are mixed. 

Now add 1/3 of the flour and using a spatula fold it in. When most of it is mixed through add half of the milk and mix in. Do not OVEBEAT or your cake would be dense and brick like. Add half of the remaining flour and fold through. Then mix in the milk again and finally fold in the rest of the flour. 

Now dredge the dry fruits and nuts with the 1 tsp flour and just very lightly mix in.

Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean.

Take out the pan and cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. Then lightly loosen the sides with a knife and invert it on a wire rack. Remove the pan carefully and then peel the butter paper from the back. Once the cake is completely cool place it on a cake tray and drizzle some powdered sugar on top.

Enjoy with your favourite drink.

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4 comments

  1. Beautiful memories of childhood.. love it..

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  2. Simplicity at its best... nothing like what moms would make... the cake looks so homely!

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  3. I can quite relate to those memories - we had three cakes back then - the vanilla cake, the chocolate cake made with cocoa powder and mix these two together for the marble cake:) n Yeah nothing is enough to surprise kids these days.
    The cake looks simply awesome and makes me nostalgic.

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  4. Kamon acho ..abare Kolkata akta kaje giyechilam..tomake bolechilam mone hoy..amar akta flat ache oi bapare..tarpor ma ki asustho hoye jay..puro bed ridden..make dr dekhano..akhon bhalo ache atai ja..aei cake jano to amar dadu banato..maer baba..koto kichu je janten uni..sarakhon kichu na kichu banaiche...aei cake dekhe amar chotobela..mamabari sab mone pore galo...kache thakle chole jetam golpo kore cake kheye astam

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