The tiny beauties, as I write this, have found their way out from the Oven and have been placed in a neat linear arrangement on a rack. Typically, I write the blog after I have done with editing the videos and photos, however this time I couldn’t resist myself from pouring my heart out. My heart, looking at the second batch of cakes, as it spins in circles inside the Oven, is buzzing with excitement and a gentle aroma of khoa (reduced milk) that wafts out from the kitchen is getting me tranced.
I am feeling compelled to take a long trip down the winding lanes of memories. Every Saturday evening, which used to be a half day at workplaces in Mumbai, Papa would get Mawa cakes for us, neatly parceled from an Irani bakery in Colaba. I and my sister would be back home early that day from our day’s play and settle down waiting for him to return. He would unravel the packet in front of two pairs of devouring eyes and he says, our eyes would shine like thousand suns. There would be six pieces in that packet, and we knew he would not have any of them and so it would be left to me and my sister to divide them equally and have them at our own leisure pace. Sometimes we would not mind sharing a piece with Mummy.
In my view, if you have grown up in Mumbai then you had access to some of popular food items that would not make much sense to a non-Mumbaikar, but for you it must be something that you crave for even today. The list is pretty exhaustive but let me name few of the popular food items like Vada Pav, cutting chai, Pav Bhaji, Chaat, Irani chai, maska bun and the Mawa cake.
Mawa cake along with Irani chai and Maska bun is part of the Irani café culture that has been nurtured in Mumbai and to some extent in Pune. Most of these cafes have a rich legacy and an equally large customer base that they boast of, which explains why when Merwan bakery, a 100 year old bakery located in Grant Road in Mumbai closed down in 2014, city almost went into shock with throngs of media houses publishing the news and customer mourning on their loss.
This cake is a brilliant example of improvisation, and it is said that back in those days, when milk pasteurization and refrigeration were not a viable option, boiling the milk was the only option to prevent it from getting spoiled. Some smart chef, in one of the Irani bakeries (now which bakery was it is a point of debate though some people claim it was Merwan) decided that since boiling the milk results into lot of Mawa (reduced milk), they need to put all that Mawa to some use and thus was invented Mawa cake, a popular invention after Telephone (Well the last part is an exaggeration).
The Mawa infused with cardamom makes for a delicious cake and it is one of my favorites. The making of these cupcakes is fairly simple, if you purchase Mawa from dairy.
A mixture of dry ingredients like Maida (plain flour or cake flour), cardamom powder and baking powder are mixed together in a bowl and kept aside. In a separate large bowl, like other cake recipes, butter is whipped together with sugar, however the difference here being, that Mawa is added while blending. A device like hand mixer can be leveraged for mixing these ingredients. Now after few minutes of whisking, eggs are added to mixture one at a time and blended in. Finally, dry ingredients are folded in and given a quick whisk with addition of some milk. The resultant mixture attains a spoon drop consistency. Now spoonful of batter is poured on liners or silicone molds of desired shape and size and it goes inside the Oven for 20 minutes at 180°C.
Enjoy this simple yet delicious cupcakes and savour in the rich legacy of Iranian café from the confines of your home.
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- 230 grams maida(Plain flour)
- 150 gram Khoa(reduced milk).Grate and get rid of impurities, if any.
- 300 gram granulated sugar
- 135 grams butter.Bring it at room temperature before using.
- 3 eggs
- 65 ml milk
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼th tsp baking powder
- ¼th tsp salt
- Cashew nuts for garnishing
- In a large bowl, put Maida. Add baking powder, salt and cardamom powder. Mix all these dry ingredients together.
- In a separate bowl, put granulated sugar.Add butter (at room temperature).Add Khoa. Mix all these ingredients with a hand mixer at medium speed (speed 3 or 4).
- We have mixed for 4 minutes on medium speed.Sugar mixes well and batter becomes fluffy.
- Now we will add eggs one at a time and keep mixing.
- We have whisked mixture while adding eggs for one minute.Add dry ingredients and fold them in.
- Now keep adding milk and mix with hand mixer.
- We have whipped the batter for 2 minutes. It should be of spoon drop consistency.
- Pre-Heat the oven at 180°C
- Let's fill the silicone molds with the batter.Silicone molds need no greasing.Put batter only till ¾th .
- Level the batter by gently tapping the molds.Put cashew nuts on top.These are ready to go inside the Oven.
- Put the molds on low rack.Bake them for 20-22 minutes.
- Allow them to cool down slightly and then demold.
- Mawa cup cakes can be decorated with icing sugar and sprinkles.
Click here to watch recipe video