Vaishnavi Vora, final year bakery and patisserie student at University College Birmingham and one of Dawn Foods student ambassadors, looks at the classic cakes from her home country of India.
Although India is big on confectionary known as mithai, there are also a few traditional classic cakes enjoyed in certain parts of India, all of these cakes are traditional and served at different festivals. Ghevar is usually served during Raksha Bandhan, and Bebinca is served during Easter, while others are enjoyed with a cup of tea. All of these cakes would make for a fantastic Indian afternoon tea experience served with masala chai.
Rava Cake - also known as semolina cake, is a very popular teatime cake, usually prepared with fresh homemade curd, making it very soft and moist.
Mava Cake - a teatime cake served at Irani cafes in Mumbai, popular amongst Parsi communities and commercially available in supermarkets. Mava is milk solids obtained by the slow evaporation of milk. The cake is often spiced with cardamom and contains almonds and cashews.
Chenna Poda - an Indian version of a Mexican cheesecake from the eastern parts of India. It literally translates as ‘roasted cheese’.
Bebinka - a traditional Goan delicacy prepared for Easter and Christmas, made with egg yolks, ghee, sugar, coconut milk and flour; spiced with nutmeg. The baking method is unusual involving baking a thin layer of batter, putting in ghee, pouring a 2nd layer of batter and baking, repeating to form 16 layers.
Ghevar - widely available in sweet shops in north India. A traditional disc-shaped cake fried in ghee and soaked in sugar syrup infused with saffron and cardamom. It's very rich, containing nuts and is served with malai (milk fat) plus decorated with silver leaf.
Another trend in classic Indian bakes is cakes without eggs, as vegetarians in India do not consume eggs. These cakes are popular in India and are gaining traction in the UK thanks to companies such as Egg-free Cake Box who produce eggless, fresh cream cakes.
Flavours like rose, pistachio, saffron, cardamom are the heart of Indian confectionery and are also popular now in UK classic cake bakes. They can be easily incorporated into bakes from the UK, as people are now willing to experience flavours from all around the world. How about Pistachio Scones with rose jam or saffron milk cake as alternative afternoon tea cakes?