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This is positively sinful, decadent and you can’t stop eating it. It calls out to you in the middle of the night, the middle of a lazy Sunday evening, in the middle of a bath even…you find yourself scurrying out of your bath in a robe, dripping water, to stuff one piece into our mouth so you can eat it slowly, crunch by crunch, until you are done having that mandatory bath and can sneak up to refill your mouth.
Yes, yes, yes. Whoever said pressure cooker cakes are dry, boring, difficult, know nothing. Umm…no…factory made artificially flavoured, stuffed with preservatives, expensive, too-perfect looking bakery bakes. Hmph.
This beauty…aah, oh yeah, this BEAUTY happened one day in my head when the husband declared that of all cakes he has eaten, the best was one pressure cooked by his sister when he was all of seven years old. In her kitchen, with ingredients from her shelf. She never made it again, married and sucked into the business of life and living.
I pondered that…home made cakes are deathly simple. I could make one in an hour. And I had eaten pressure cooked cakes – they taste like under cooked bread sprayed with sugar, and get stuck in your pharynx.
The problem was shared with mother dearest. Out came the spoons and ladles and suddenly, mum-in-law’s old and boulder-heavy pressure cooker, that so far was playing the role of a storage container, metamorphosed into the glittering-shining-sparkling oven of my dreams. And the cake was made. And was eaten. And the husband had this look on his face that I would pay a million dollars just to see one more time, once again. Well, I will bake my cake again instead.
You will need:
150gms – refined flour (maida)
150 gms – sugar
150 gms – butter (Amul butter, a pack- and- a- half)
2-3 spoons of ghee/butter for greasing
3 – eggs (white eggs, save the brown for your omelettes)
1 tsp – baking powder
3-4 drops – Vanilla essence
You will then need to:
Now don’t howl if you don’t have measuring cups. Just buy the ingredients in those quantities directly from your local Kirana (who will then ask you if you are baking a cake. Mine did.)
Take the flour, sugar, butter in one huge mizing bowl. While the butter melts, whip up the eggs in a blender until light and fluffy. Pour into the mixing bowl. Throw in the baking powder.
Now start beating it. This is a highly boring exercise. So just to beat the boredom, watch TV and beat it clockwise for 50 times in one direction, then anti-clockwise, 50 times again. Repeat. Repeat.
By now, some family member will saunter over and ask what you are doing. Tell them you are beating besan for bhajiyaas. Shoo them away. Continue beating. Beat for half -an- hour or more if you wish. The more you beat, the better for the batter…
By the way, remember that rhyme…Betty bought butter but the butter was bitter etc etc? Repeat that if you want to. But…DON’T STOP BEATING. Beat until you can write out your name with a spoonful of batter in a way that when you pour it out of your spoon…the batter doesn’t break. It needs to fall in one continuous string of creamy batter. Aaah…slurrp.
Now get up, find an aluminium mould, grease it nicely. Take your pressure cooker (I used a pressure pan by the way) and let it sit for 10 whole minutes on high flame. meanwhile, put in the vanilla essence into the batter and beat some more (I told you, it just isn’t enough). Be careful with the essence, for less is more and an extra drop can make your cake bitter.
Now, pour the batter into the greased mould and let the batter settle down nice and smooth. Put a pressure cooker stand into the bottom of your cooker (if you don’t have one, skip this step). Set your cake batter vessel in. Cover the cooker. DO NOT use the gasket and the whistle. Just put the lip and now carefully transfer the cooker to the small gas and place the flame on sim/medium.
Now…the best part…forget the thing for 50 whole minutes. It will not explode or fly or burn. Even if it smells a bit burnt initially, it will gradually go away and 20 minutes later…your house will reek or this divine aroma that now resides permanently in my nasal cavities.
After 50 minutes, go turn off the flame, let it cool for five minutes and then…then, ladies and gentlemen, open the lid. The aroma assaults you. Everything makes sense, truth is revealed, nirvana is attained…the cake is ready. Let it cool for a bit and then, you can either scoop it out and serve it whole, or cut it out and store it away in pieces.
Personally, there is nothing as life-altering as a cake that gets scooped and served whole. I made it for my husband. You make it for your mother. Today. Happy Mother’s Day.
Reema Prasanna is a personal and corporate baking coach from Mumbai, blogs about her experiments in the kitchen, records recipes from India, and in another parallel dimension, she is also a Search Engine Marketing Professional, fiction writer and maniacal utensil & kitchen tool collector.