November 7, 2007

Mava Cake

This is a post that talks of several firsts. And all this around my favourite time of the year. Diwali or Deepavali is my favourite festival. In fact, this is my favourite time of the year. Come what may, I try to spend the day with my family (read parents - I am only now slowly getting accustomed to the idea that my family is now S!). There was this one year, 1999, when I had just moved to Gurgaon, and I couldn't go back to Madras. In those days, a one way flight ticket from Delhi to Madras was almost what I took home as pay after taxes. Today, things are very different. Flights are cheaper and my has increased in 8 years. Thank heavens for small mercies! That year, I was to be all by myself. Thankfully, a senior from University contacted me and took me home to spend the festival with his family. It was fun being part of festivities that were alien to me. But Diwali to me is not one tenth as much about the rituals as it is about being with family. I came into this world on Deepavali day. So, my birthday according to the Indian calendar always falls on the same day as the festival. And one of the 9 names that were given to me during my namakaranam is, for the same reason, Deepa.

There has never been an opportunity for me to try my hand at making any of the Diwali sweets or savouries. Amma always made stuff at home every year and while I've helped her make the besan laddoos and other things, I've really always only been the taster. And I believe that has held me in good stead. Had it not been for all those years of meticulous tasting, I doubt I'd be even a fourth as good a cook as I am today.

This year, for a change, I thought I should make some bhakshanam for Deepavali. It was to be just S and me here in Gurgaon. So I had decided on besan laddoos and a few savouries. But then all of a sudden, we decided to go to Madras. I dropped all plans. I mean one wouldn't take Bhakarwadis if one were dining with Chitale Bandhu. Or imagine taking murukkus while going to tea with the folks at Grand Sweets. A phrase in Tamil, "Sooriyanukkey Torch a?" (Showing a torch to the sun.), seems apt.

But that is when Nandita played spoil sport. She asked me if I'd be interested in doing something jointly. She at her place in Bombay and me at mine, here in Gurgaon. I agreed and she shared the recipe with me. We were to make this "together" on Saturday. I forgot completely that my cousin and family were going to be here that weekend. I decided to make it today. It was almost like being part of a small daring baker's group. So, although we were all set to go to Madras and even though I had no plans of making any sweets for Diwali (just planned to binge on whatever Amma was making this year!) I was going to make something special for Diwali. So, there you go. I've already told you about two firsts. 1. That I made something jointly with someone in the blogosphere. 2. That I made something by myself for Diwali. Keep reading for the third.

This is a fairly simple recipe.

Wet Ingredients

1 tin Sweetened Condensed Milk(400 g)

50g Butter (Amul butter is fine)

200 g Mava (khoa)

1/2 cup Milk

1/4 cup Milk (this is to be used if while mixing the wet and dry ingredients, if your batter is too thick).

Dry Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 Cardamoms, peeled and powdered

Pinch of Saffron, pounded with a pestle using a bit of sugar

1/4 cup Cashew nuts, powdered coarsely

To Decorate

2 tbsp Cashews, coarsely powdered

Heat the wet ingredients together till butter melts and the mixture is homogenous. Cool the mixture to room temperature.

Sift the maida and baking powder three times. Add the cardamom, saffron, and cashew nuts. Whisk the dry and wet ingredients together. Use the 1/4 cup of milk if the batter is too thick. The final consistency should be that of idli batter, or the besan batter used for making pakoda. Bake in muffin cases (and sprinkle the cashews on top of the batter) for 20 minutes at 350F or till light brown on top.

This recipe yielded 33 muffins (the recipe said 12) and I'm not complaining. The first person to taste the mava cake was none other than dear Lakshmi. For the very first time, I met a fellow food blogger who had become a friend in the really short time that we've been in the food blogsphere. Lakshmi and her husband Satish visited me today for about an hour. It didn't feel like I was meeting them for the first time. It felt like old friends were re connecting. I lured Lakshmi to my place by promising her a fresh, home made pizza. And it seems like it was good enough for her because she was here, right here in my apartment. Talking about things, looking at my house and recollecting the different things she's seen in the pictures on my blog and then connecting those to the furniture, crockery and other stuff.

For me, Diwali has never been a season of giving and receiving gifts. It has been about being with loved ones. I must admit that it has also always been about food. I plan to make a batch of cupcakes and distribute them at an orphanage that my colleague visits on a regular basis. She had asked us to donate money for some chips and colas, but I thought this may be a better idea. It is going to require a great deal of effort, but given how much I love baking, I think it will be worth my while.

I am sending this to Meeta who is back with one of my favourite blog events, Meeta's Monthly Mingle. This time's theme is Traditional Feasts. She'd asked us to talk about why we made a certain dish if it was the first time we were making it. It is very simple. I wanted an Indian sweet, but my forte is really baking. This eggless cake seemed apt for this festival. It has all the flavours that traditional Indian sweets have and it is a baked goody. Moreover, when Nandita asks you to do something, it is very difficult to say no.

This also goes to Vee for her Diwali event. You can find Nandita's mava ring cake here. This joint baking thing was so much fun.

I'd like to wish all of you and yours a very Happy Deepavali. Have a wonderful time and I'll see you when I get back from Madras.


Kribha said...

Looks great Raaga. I tried some mawa sweets too for the first time. will post it after diwali. Have a fabulous diwali dear.

S said...

hi those r so cute n mouth watering...i never heard of mawa cup cakes..ur look nice...

Sreelu said...

Raaga, Happy Birthday and Diwali wishes to you, My brother celebrates his b'day on diwali too.Mava cake looks great.Enjoy your time with parents and feast on mom made food :)

Asha said...

Happy Birthday sweetie. Nine names!! WOW!!;D
Cake or cupcakes look great. I don't get any Mava stuff here. Great color too. Enjoy your parents and Diwali too!:))
Great entry.

Manasi said...

Happy Birthday Sweetie!!!
Hope u and ur family have a dazzling Diwali!!!!
***9 names***!! Wow!!!

Laavanya said...

Happy Deepavali Raaga. I loved reading your post and the mawa cakes look wonderful and cute.

Saju said...

What lovely looking cakes. You had me being jealous, not coming to your house for these cakes and more!
Happy Deepavali, and happy bd too.

Swaroopa said...

cupcakes looks gr8. will try them soon.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story. Loved both the story and the cakes
happy Diwali to you and the family

musical said...

Happy B'day, Raaga :). Mava/milk cake is a lovely sweet for any occassion na and yours look so perfect. I am tempted to make some sweet for a change :).

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Raaga - this looks awesome. Quit different to Nanditas version.

Suganya said...

Raaga, I have mixed feelings after reading this post. Happy that you could meet fellow bloggers, envious that you get to go home abruptly, content to see such a nice recipe. Happy Diwali and Happy Birthday!

Unknown said...

Looks good!!!

Anonymous said...

Looks Perfect Raaga! And lucky get to go home for Diwali. Is it not wonderful to actually see a fellow blogger whom you have only visualized?
'sooriyanke torcha' is funny...we also say 'hanumanke highjumpa':)

Have a great deepavali

Seema said...

Nice mava cakes.. looks very nice & perfect one serving!! Its got a great colour to it.Happy Birthday to you :-)

bee said...

happy birthday to you and happy diwali to you and your family.

Namratha said...

These look great Raaga!! Happy Birthday and a very Happy Diwali :)

Chandrika said...

Happy Birthday Raaga! And a Happy Diwali too!

The post was very interesting...I remember the time when I was stuck at Bangalore during Diwali due to a project deadline.. I felt so bad..

The mava muffins are definitely unique!

Btw, AFAM announcement is up at my blog! Have a look! :-)

Sig said...

Congrats on the half anniversary Raaga dear, and Happy Diwali to you and yours!

Sagari said...

yummy cup cakes raaga happy dewali

Srivalli said...

Nice post Raaga...I too always feel even after so many years of marraige..this is the first time parents and we are at a different place..missing them a lot....

and so you met lakshmi..she never let a word out that she is planning to meet you...:D..good..

muffins looks yummy

Nupur said...

What a wonderful post for so many reasons! First, wishing you a happy happy birthday! second, how sweet to bake sweets for some cute kids who deserve something special in the festive season. Your joint baking project looks doubly delicious :)
And "carrying bakarwadis to chitale bandhu" that made me laugh :D

Sona - quick picks/pick quicks said...

Happy birthday, Ragaa..u are deadly baker, i must say...

Chef Jeena said...

Lovely cakes Raaga. :)

Unknown said...

Happy Nakshatra Birthday to you dear girl! And as i said 33 cup cakes to feed a mini army - i like the other term - 'Tirupatike Laddoo aa?'

I had fun thanks to your support, lets do more of this with some interesting recipes.


Cynthia said...

Beautiful treats for a joyous occasion.

Happy Diwali.

Anonymous said...

ooooh, the famous Mawa Cake is here,too. Just great!

Happy b'day And wish a very happy Diwali.

Thanks for participating!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Happy Birthday! And Happy Diwali, too! I hope you have a good time with your folks!

I must admit that I was never enthralled by mawa cake. But your muffins and Nandita's cake look very enticing! Sounds like you two had a blast doing this, too!

Latha Narasimhan said...

Happy birthday Raaga dear!:) Lakshmi was very thrilled to meet you! She was all praises for everything about you!:) Cute smiling face, lovely pizzas and so on!:) Enjoy your stay with parents dear!:)

Kajal said...

Delicious and mouth watering dish my dear. With use of mava its taste better. Thanks for sharing my dear. Have a nice day.:)

Raks said...

Looks yummy and delicious...:))
So your star birthday falls on deepavali day...?!

Raaga said...

Thanks all. I had a great Diwali at home with my family and am back. I am sure all of you had a great time. Thanks for all the wishes.

Swati said... late to visit here and wish you happy belated diwali ...
The recipe is really good and is going to be very handy and useful to me...:)

Divya and Chaya said...

Wow, a very unique recipe! Nice job.

Raaga said...

Thanks all.

Dee & Chai, I am unable to visit your blog.

Miri said...

Really yummy looking cakes!

Seems to be the time to discover Delhi food bloggers, just stumbled upon A Mad Tea Party yesterday and now you - and you are even a Chennaiite turned Delhiite - though quite long back while I have just moved here!

See you around, and I love the amchi recipes too since I have grown up eating amchi food at my best friend's place and simply loved the flavours.

Another metaphor for the coals to Newcastle comparison - Thirunelveli ke halwa aa? :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Raaga
I like you blog site categorisation of food.Just wanted to show you this..recently made the 5-layered cake for an Indian Wedding in Botswana.It was an experiment. Do pass by me site whenever you can.

Anonymous said...

Hi Raaga

Finally I made this from your blog and loved it. Really appreciate your honest and straight style of writing - be it on life or food! I have my eye on quite a few other recipes from you that I want to try.

Good work! and keep it up!