When I was a little child & many years then on…it was the sweet aromatic flavor of baked goodies wafting early in the morning on my way to school from Kayani Bakery which made my day. Well, there were two Kayani Bakeries in Pune…one was on East Street opposite Capitol Cinema which is now Victory & the other near the junction at Sharbatwala Chowk. I had to pass Sharbatwala Chowk to reach my school so this is where I would experience the wonderful aroma of baked goodies. I did not even have to go to the bakery but could get a good view from the road & what an array of goodies… all sorts of biscuits & cakes but it was the Shrewsbury Biscuits & the Mawa Cakes which would steal my attention. Unfortunately, this bakery just closed down recently & I was nursing a broken heart for quite some time. But there is still hope…
Even though many Irani Restaurants which were situated just around the corner & at junctions have closed down; there are still quite a few which exist & serve Mawa Cakes. I particularly like the Mawa cakes available at Diamond Bakery – Fatima Nagar, Pune. I vividly recollect the times when Pune was not a bustling town but just a pensioner’s paradise…It was so clean, green & peaceful! We could enjoy the Irani chais, kharis, biscuits, broon maska, gootli pav maska, lovely thick cake slices, pastries, Irani samosas, hot creamy milk, saucers full of rich thick malai (cream) & above all the Mawa Cakes in these quaint Irani Restaurants which were open 24 hrs in some locations like near the Pune Railway Station or near Bus stands e.g. Deccan Gymkhana.
When we would go for midnight mass at Christmas, it was a ritual to visit Coronation Restaurant opposite Alankar Cinema on that really cold winter night after mass. We would enjoy hot Irani Chai & Samosas or hot milk & the rich, milky Mawa Cake. I must say, it was pure bliss!!!Sadly,Coronation Restaurant no longer exists.
I feel Mawa Cake is manna from heaven. Whenever I held a mawa cupcake or a slice in my little hands, it was so precious to me… just like I am holding a piece of treasure! Mawa or Khoya/Khoa is just solidified milk, which has very little moisture. The authentic mawa is created in a huge kadhai/wok. You have to stir endlessly with alertness & patience till the milk reduces to a thick solidified mass.
Mawa is an essential ingredient in making most of the Indian sweets & desserts. The addition of mawa in a cake transforms it into a unique baked goodie. To experience the feeling of heaven, you need to take just one bite of the Mawa Cake. It is uniquely flavorful with sweet cardamom & saffron. It is simple, plain, dense, scrumptious, buttery & milky. The luscious Mawa tingles your taste buds with gentle softness. You just want the feeling to prolong & enjoy the delightful sensation forever. While you bite into this delicious beauty, you just want to unwind, sit back & relax without any interruptions (tea, coffee or any other beverage). If you must, then couple it with hot milk to double the warmth on a rainy or cold winter day. Mawa cake truly is fulfilling & satisfying as it is dense & heavy textured with an after taste which lingers on for a very long time.
Today’s recipe is the very special & popular Mawa Cake. I do not venture to make the mawa at home for the simple reason that it is very easily available in Pune. We get fresh & good quality mawa & other Indian dairy products in our local dairies. You can fold in toasted chopped nuts in the batter or sprinkle on top before baking if you want to make it look special but I prefer & love to savor the goodness of mawa & enjoy it plain. You can even bake it in moulds of your choice to make it look pretty. Those who do not like rich plum cakes & rich fruit cakes can bake this for New Year. You may even consider gifting them… they do make great gifts!
Wishing all visitors A Very Happy New Year 2013 filled with Health, Peace, Joy & Prosperity!
1 ¼ cups Maida/Refined Flour/A/P Flour
1 tsp. Baking pwd.
1 cup Sugar pwd. (fine grained/caster sugar)
½ cup Butter
½ cup Milk
½ cup Mawa (grated)
5 Green Cardamom pods
A pinch of Saffron Threads (optional)
A pinch of Salt
First, lightly grease/ coat your cupcake moulds or cake tins with butter & dust with maida & set aside.
Peel the green cardamom pods & grind the seeds with a tablespoon of sugar with a mortar & pestle or use a grinding stone like I did.
Drop the peels in your sugar box or tea leaves bottle for some good sweet aromatic flavor.
In a sufficiently large bowl,sift together flour, baking powder, cardamom powder & salt.
Roast the mawa in a frying pan/wok on a low flame for about 3-4 mins., just till the ghee starts oozing out. Set it aside.
Soften the saffron strands in a little warm milk to allow it to release its flavors & let it come to room temperature.
In another sufficiently large bowl, beat together roasted mawa, butter & sugar at medium speed until it is light & fluffy. It is important to beat well.
Use a stand mixer or an electric hand blender like I did. If you are using a hand whisk then it will take a real long time to attain a good consistency.
Now turn the speed to slow & add one egg at a time; beating well after each addition.
Once the eggs are well incorporated, add the flour mixture in three additions & mix gently after each addition.
It is time to add the milk & the saffron milk (if using).
Turn the speed to medium & continue beating till the batter is smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Divide the batter in the prepared cupcake moulds or any variety of cake moulds or in cake tins.
Bake for 20-25 mins. if using cake tins & for 12-15 mins. if using cupcake moulds/muffin tins.
The top of the cakes/cupcakes should be lightly golden & a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Do not overbake or the cake will be dry. It is better to be alert & keep checking regularly.
Cool the cakes in the tins for a few minutes & then on a rack.
Enjoy your fresh mawa cakes warm or at room temperature. You may even gift them if you please!