Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mawa Cake & Bolinhas De Coco - Daring Bakers In India!

This month's Daring Bakers challenge takes us to Goa for some semolina and coconut cookies, Bolinhas de coco and to the Irani cafés in India for some mawa cake!

Aparna of  My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!
Rich, milky, laced with cardamom, topped with cashew nuts or even almonds, mawa cakes are a trademark of the Irani cafés. The texture is slightly dense, reminiscent of a pound cake says Aparna. She challenged us to make mawa cake with home made mawa. Basundi or rabdi, which I used to make often earlier, is just a couple of steps shy of mawa or khoya, but surprisingly I have not made it at home so far. In case you live somewhere where you do not have easy access to it, take heart, its easy to make, but needs patience.

I have made Mawa cakes earlier, though lighter textured, less rich ones. But I did wanted to bake this one too, just for the fun of making mawa at home and not to miss this challenge hosted by Aparna. It was fun indeed!

Mawa Cake :

I have halved the recipe and baked the cake in an 3 cup capacity bundt pan, remaining batter in 2 small muffin cups.

For the Mawa:
1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk

For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted Butter (soft at room temperature)
3/4 cup (180 ml) packed crumbled mawa
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) (10 oz) (280 gm) castor sugar
3 large eggs
5 to 6 cardamom pods, powdered, (about 1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom)
2 cups (500ml) (9 oz) (260 gm) cake flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract (optional)
Cashewnuts (or blanched almonds) to decorate (about 18 to 20)

1. First make the “Mawa”. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.

2. The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.

3. Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.

4. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake. It will harden in the fridge so let it come to room temperature before using it. You should get about 3/4 to 1 cup of mawa from 1 litre (4 cups) of full-fat milk.

To bake the cake : Pre-heat your oven to moderate 180°C/350°F.
1. Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a largish bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well.

3. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended. If you cannot find cake flour, place 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in the bottom of your 1-cup measure and then fill it with all-purpose (plain) flour to make up to 1 cup.

4. Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan. Pour the batter into this and lightly smooth the top. Place the cashew nuts (or blanched almonds) on top of the batter randomly. Do not press the nuts down into the batter. A Mawa Cake always has a rustic finished look rather than a decorated look.

5. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 1 hour until the cake is a golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake the cake or it will dry out. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminum foil hallway through the baking time.

6. Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 10 min in the tin. Release the cake, peel off the parchment from the base and let it cool completely.

BOLINHAS DE COCO (Cardamom Flavored Coconut Biscuits/ Cookies):

The notable thing about these cookies are they are made entirely out of semolina and fresh coconut (no flour). These cookies are a little crisp, crunchy on the outside and kind of cakey within when freshly baked. Cardamom and coconut make a fab pairing and I loved the flavor of the cookies. Am sure they would have been better texture-wise if I had not goofed up with the dough.

2 cups (500 ml) (5-1/3 oz) (150 gm) fresh grated coconut, packed
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) semolina
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) (8-3/4 oz) (250 gm) granulated sugar
3/4 cup water (180ml) (6 oz) (175 gm) water
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) ghee (clarified butter) or melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs
8 to 10 pods cardamom, powdered (about 1-1/2 teaspoon)

1. Run the grated coconut in your processor or the small jar of your blender a couple of times so that the flakes are smaller and uniform in texture. Do not grind into a paste. Keep aside.

2. Put the semolina in a pan and toast/ roast it, over low to medium heat, until it starts giving off an aroma, and looks like it’s about to start changing colour. This should take a couple of minutes. Do not brown. Transfer the semolina into a bowl and keep aside.

3. In the same pan, pour the water and add the sugar to it. Place it on medium heat and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Once the sugar has dissolved, keep stirring the solution and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. The sugar solution should just begin to start forming a syrup but is still watery. Do not cook until it forms a thick syrup.

4. Add the toasted/ roasted semolina and mix well. Then add the coconut, salt and ghee (or melted butter) and mix well. Put the pan back on the stove, and over medium heat stir the coconut mixture until it is really hot and easily forms a thick clump. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Take the pan off the heat and let the semolina coconut mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer this into a bowl or container, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, ideally overnight. For really fluffy biscuits/ cookies, the overnight rest is recommended.

6. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. ( I did the mistake of warming the mixture slightly to get it to room temperature faster as I had to go out. I should have just let it come to room temperature by itself, had to refrigerate the dough again to firm it up, but it did not come back to the same consistency).  Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Lightly beat the yolks with a fork to break them and add to the dough. Also add the powdered cardamom and mix well with a wooden spoon or fork.

7. Whisk the egg whites by hand until frothy and add to the dough. Mix well till incorporated.
8. You will now have a slightly moist and sticky dough. Refrigerate this dough for about half an hour so it firms up a bit.

9. Pre-heat your oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line your baking trays with parchment or grease them well with some ghee or melted butter.

10. Take the dough out and pinch off walnut sized bits of dough. The dough should be firm enough to handle without difficulty. If the dough is sticking to your palms, lightly dust your palms with flour before shaping the dough. Roll the bits of dough into balls and then flatten them very slightly.

11. Decorate the top by marking criss-crosses (3 equidistant lines one way and another 3 crossing them at right angles), with a table knife. Press down a bit but not too deep or right through the biscuit/ cookie. Use up all the dough this way.

2. Place the shaped dough on the baking trays leaving a little space between them. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until they’re a golden brown and done. Mine took a little longer probably because the dough was a bit loose. Let them cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then transfer to racks to cool completely.

13. Store the biscuits/ cookies in airtight containers. This recipe makes about 4 dozen Bolinhas de Coco.

Thank you for the lovely challenge Aparna, it was fun doing this!


Hamaree Rasoi said...

Cake looks so soft and tempting. Loved the look of it. Excellent preparation.

Divya Kudua said...

Wow,this one's truly a DB with an Indian touch.Proud of Aparna!Though I haven't tasted a Mava cake yet,have heard so much about it.Since I am not a Db-er,I might take the easy way out using store bought Mava..lol:)Absolutely love the texture of the cake!

Unknown said...

wow, luks perfect!!!

V K said...

You have mentioned 1 litre of milk to make maza & also 3/4 cup (180 ml) packed crumbled mawa (which is not mentioned in the recipe). Did you mean to use either of them? Or is there a step missing?

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

I once made mawa cake with store bought mawa and it was little dry. may be the mawa was solid. will try making it with homemade mawa.

Rumana Rawat said...

Very soft looking cake...

Priya Suresh said...

Lovely choices, am in love with both the cake and cookies, especially that mawa cake is just fabulous.

The Betz Family said...

Your cake and cookies are beautiful! Great job on the challenge!

Unknown said...

Your mawa cake looks so soft, far more than my cake.
Greetings from Germany