I have a very old fashioned cookery book-called " The Landour Book Of International Recipes" originally published in 1930.It is a collection of ingenious recipes by British housewives trying to recreate the European kitchen in the Indian hillstations and dusty plains.
It is full of tricks and tips for improvising western recipes with local ingredients.In the days before ready-made cake mixes and electric ovens a lot of
rules of thumb went into baking and the cooks made do with what was
available.The book has a fair number of cake and cookie recipes using bura,gud,atta,makai and so on.I guess in those World-war ridden days, white flour and sugar must have become scarce and expensive.
Whatever be the reason,it was this delightful little book that gave me the inspiration to break from the clutches of dogmatic master bakers who insist that in baking a recipe must be blindly followed.And the cause of wholesome nutrition triumphed!Some nuggets from the book:"The standard rule for a basic plain butter cake for example is one half the sugar as the flour and one half the butter as the sugar.Thus flour,sugar and butter are 2 :1: 1/2 ratio.""The liquid can be butter milk,milk,fruit juice but just enough- so that the batter is not thin but well moistened and gooey."I have adapted a recipe from this book.This recipe is a combination of the butter atta cake recipe,with grated carrots .It makes a good everyday cake for kids with ingredients easily available at home.Remember before starting to make any baked goods,pre-heatthe oven andkeep a greased pan,dusted with flour ready to take in the batter.For one cup (225gm) atta: 1.Assembling the dry mix :Mix 225 gm,loosely packed and well sifted (this helps in incorporating as much air as possible),atta with 1 teaspoon baking powder,1/4th teaspoon salt and 1/4th teasp cardamom powder.You may also mix cinnamon,sonth and clove powders(half teasp in all).Keep one and a half cups of tightly packed grated carrots ready,next to the flour mix.Also,if you like,keep1/2 cup of mixed dry nuts(walnuts,raisins) ready.Dust them with a teasp of flour so that they don't sink into the batter.2.Assembling the wet mix :Break two large eggs in a mixie,add 1/2 measure sugar and 1/4 th measure melted ghee or butter.Add 75 ml of 'Real' carrot-orange juice to this and whiz for 5 secs..It will be nice and frothy.You may use powdered sugar if you don't like a granulated feel.If you prefer using gud (molasses),you will have to melt and dissolve it in carrot -orange juice and then add to egg-butter mix.3. Fold And Pop inNow to the dry mix,first add the carrots,drop in nuts and raisins if using.Now add the wet mix gradually, folding in the flour.Keep a bit of orange juice for moistening if needed.Dump the batter in the dusted pan.Pop in the oven set at 350 degrees(moderate heat).Bake for an hour-you will be able to smell it when its done.Allow it to cool for a while before removing from the pan. Garnish with blanched almonds and pistas,if you like.Though I am too lazy and too impatient to do that!