Madeira Cake is known as Tea Cake in Chennai and is available in all bakeries. Madeira cake is very popular here and was always served in any of my cousins’ family events. January is when we get very good quality oranges, which is why I decided to make my own version of Madeira cake. I studied several recipes but found them flawed in many ways, but they all had one thing in common: the surface was cracked; that is the characteristic feature of this cake. I standardised the recipe using proportions which would give good results (smooth texture, rise well, not greasy), and I arrived at a very tasty cake with a very reliable method.
Christmas is the season when everyone eats heartily irrespective of their religion, especially rich frosted cakes. By the time the New Year approaches their digestive discomfort makes them regret some of their menu. This Ginger Loaf Cake allows them to enjoy the season of cakes and relieve their distress 🙂 I came across this recipe in Cakes and Cake Decorating and All-Colour Cookbook – the same recipe with the same photograph! Self-raising flour is not easily available here, and what is available here is very bitter, so I have substituted it with maida and baking powder. I don’t like the taste of ginger powder and have used fresh ginger extract instead.
50 years ago I received a baking oven as a wedding gift. From then on I’ve been making a rich and large fruit cake for every Christmas, while of course complaining about the labour 🙂 Rum was available freely in liquor stores and I always used rum in my cakes. I had to stop making this fruit cake once the government ordered privately run liquor stores to shut. Now that the government is running sophisticated liquor stores in the fanciest of shopping malls, I was finally able to procure rum again and revive this family Christmas tradition 🙂
When I was a child, my father would bring home plum cake with royal icing, chocolate cake with butter cream icing, assorted cakes, and many more treats on Christmas Eve. I used to look forward to Christmas all through the year just for this. When I got married in 1969, I received a baking oven as a wedding gift which kickstarted my love affair with baking. I used to make an elaborate Christmas Fruit Cake where we would start chopping the fruits 4 days in advance to soak in rum. After several decades, I stopped making this because it was very tedious, rum became difficult to get because of government regulations, and my son does not touch fruit cakes 🙂 When a friend enquired about fruit cakes on Facebook, I decided to come up with an easy-to-make, no-fuss Christmas Fruit Loaf that would still match the flavour of the traditional fruit cake.
Happy Easter everyone! Though Easter eggs are given more importance than Easter cakes, I like to bake a cake for Easter. My daughter and I were browsing through a Jewish cookbook, which I had purchased a long time ago. We came across this recipe and felt that this marble cake was befit for a festival. Jewish recipes, in general, I find use less sugar, so we increased the amount to suit our palate. Though this cake looks complicated, it is fairly easy to make and tastes absolutely divine.
Happy New Year, everyone! In Tamil Nadu, for Tamil New Year’s Day it is the tradition to serve a bitter-sweet concoction to remind one that the year will contain both the good and the bad. I feel that it is only appropriate that a Lemon Drizzle cake should usher in the International New Year, with its sweet and sour flavour to symbolize the reality of life.
It was in 1963 that I first tasted the Spice Cake. I prepared it in the cookery lab as part of my nutrition and cookery course I had taken for my undergraduate studies. In those days we did not have spice powders like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; these spices had to be crushed on a grinding stone (ammi) and then sifted. Because of this additional labour involved in making this cake I didn’t attempt the spice cake at home for a long time. Now we are able to get very fine powders of cinnamon and cloves in the stores. Life has become easy for me to take up the baking of spice cake. Though nutmeg powder is also available it never tastes fresh. Therefore I grate the nutmeg on a fine grater just before adding to the flour.
My husband would have turned 76 yesterday. This marks the start of our 12 days of Christmas and it is a family tradition to bake a Devil’s Food Cake despite having a name at odds with the season. My husband used to quote the Bible and then joke that even the devil may quote scriptures so I thought this would be very apt for his birthday. I found this recipe in a book called Family Cook Book (with 2,023 recipes!) that I bought at the 1986 Chennai Book Fair for Rs. 47 which I borrowed from a friend. I’ve been baking this cake ever since for many occasions and the page on the cookbook is covered in coco powder as a testament to this.
I had always firmly believed that cakes should be made with butter and eggs. I found this recipe for an eggless butterless cocoa cake in Hershey’s Chocolate and Cocoa Cookbook which I bought in 1987. I decided to bake this cake for New Year 2014 and was greatly pleased by how moist and tasty it was, but my children complained that it was a bit rubbery. Still, it is a very good cake.