Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DB: Mawa Cake, Bolinhas de Coco, and Masala Biscuits/Cookies

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!

This month for Daring Bakers' challenge we were encouraged to make not 1 but 2 desserts.  Desserts that were amped up with various spices.  It was manditory for us to make the Mawa cake, but the second dessert was baker's choice between Bolinhas de Coco or Masala Biscuits/cookies.  I chose the Masala Biscuits. 

This challenge was incredibly fun and educational, as well.  Our host this month is from India so these recipes are fluenced by their cultures and flavors.  I always enjoy learning about and making from food different cultures and regions.  It gives me a glimpse inside their norm.

Mawa Cake
A milk cake flavored with cardamom. 
Mawa Cakes are a specialty cake that is the hallmark of Irani cafés in India. The Iranis are Zoroastrians who left Persia/ Iran in the 19th and early 20th centuries to escape persecution of non-Muslims, and settled down and thrived here mostly in the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. They’re most famous in India for their friendly informal cafés/ restaurants that serve the most awesome food. The brun pav or maska pav(kinds of bread) with Irani chai (thick, strong, sweet and milky cardamom flavoured tea), their Shrewsbury biscuits and Mawa cakes are just a few of them. Mawa (also known as Khoya/ Khoa) is made by slowly reducing milk (usually full-fat) until all that remain is a mass of slightly caramelized granular dough-like milk solids. Mawa is used in a wide variety of Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Peda, to mention just two. Mawa is pronounced as Maa-vaa; Khoya is pronounced as KhOh-yaa.
In this cake, Mawa lends a rich and a caramelized milky taste to this cake which is slightly dense and reminiscent of a pound cake. Cardamom and cashewnuts are typical of a Mawa Cake, though blanched almonds are also used. Mawa Cakes are also bakes as cupcakes.
The cake is very easy to make and the Mawa is not too difficult. It just requires some time, patience and a lot of stirring!
Source: Aparna


For the mawa-
4 Cups whole milk

For the cake-
1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 Cup packed crumbled mawa
1 1/4 Cups sugar
3 Large eggs
5-6 Cardamom pods, ground (about 1 1/2 tsp powdered cardamom)
2 Cups cake flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1/2 Cup milk
1 Tsp vanilla extracct
Blanched almonds, to garnish


For the mawa-
Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, ensuring it doesn't stick to the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the milk has reduced to about a quarter of its original volume.  This typically takes about an hour to an hour and a half.

Once the milk has reduced to 1/4 of the original quantity, reduce heat to low and continue cooking.  Being sure to stir regularly until the milk takes on a lumpy appearance. 

Once there is no evidence of liquid in the pan remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  When ready to use, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

For the cake-
Preheat oven to 350.  Sprah an 8 inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan.

Place butter, crumbled mawa and sugar in a large boowl and mix on high until combined and light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and milk and and mix.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt.  Carefully add to the butter mixture and blend until incorporated. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and lightly smooth.  Place the almonds on top of the cake, but do not press into the batter.  Place in a preheated oven and allow to bake until golden brown and set, about 55-60 minutes. 

*If the cake is browning to quickly, cover with aluminum foil about halfway through the baking process.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Remove the sides of the tin, remove the cake from the base of the tin and allow to cool completely.

Masala Biscuits
Spicy and savory Indian cookies

The word “Masala” means “spice mix” and so Masala Biscuits/ cookies are a savoury and spicy Indian snack that is quite popular in some of the Southern Indian states.
From Aparna


1 3/4 Cup all purpose flou
2 Tbsp white or brown rice flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3 Green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
3/4 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 Tsp whole peppercorns, coarsly crushed
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
1 Tbsp finely chopped coriander or cilantro
3-4 Tbsp cold yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
Oil to brush the biscuits


Place both flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor along with the cubed butter.  Place the lid on the food processor and pulse several times until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the chopped green chillies, grated ginger, peppercorns, cumin, sugar, chopped curry leaves and coriander and pulse a few times to incorporate. 

Add two tablespoons of yogurt and pulse again.  Add one more tablespoon of yogurt and pulse again, add one more, if needed.  The dough should come together, be moist but not wet. 

Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least an hour, or overnight. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.  Line baking trays with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the dough and lightly press into the dough with the rolling pin.

Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut the dough and place on prepared baking sheets.  Brush a very thin coat of oil over the tops of the cookies.  Place in a preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely. 

1 comment:

Sinnesfreuden said...

I love the daring bakers for this glimpse into other cultures. I always learn something new.
Great job done!

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