I shall be presenting each recipe as a separate post for ease of posting and for your reading as well. I’ll start with the post pon the Mawa Cake. But, first a little bit of Mawa Cake history.
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 but 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, the 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 instead of the cashewnuts . Mawa Cakes are usually baked as small loaves, round cakes and also as cupcakes. They’re served as they are, plain with tea or coffee.
The cake itself is not much of a challenge and very easy to make so what makes this challenge interesting is that the Daring Bakers had to start the cake from scratch, which was by making their own Mawa. Mawa is not too difficult to make, it just requires some time, patience and a lot of stirring! You can find the detailed recipe for this Mawa Cake at the Daring Bakers site .
Mawa Cake – A Cardamom Flavoured Milk CakeNotes:
You can make the “Mawa” a day or two ahead of making the cake and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When you take it out, it will look dry and a little lumpy because of the fat in the milk solids, which is normal. Just let it come to room temperature before you use it to make the cake. You may use blanched almonds instead of cashew nuts for the Mawa Cake. You may also substitute nutmeg for cardamom if using almonds, though almonds pair up wonderfully with cardamom in this cake. If you have never powdered cardamom, then crush the seeds after discarding the pods. The pods do not need to be roasted before using the cardamom. In India, the Mawa Cake is usually served as it is, without any other accompaniment, with coffee or tea.
The other recipes that are a part of this Daring Bakers challenge:
Bolinhas de Coco (Goan Cardamom Flavoured Coconut Cookies) Indian Masala Biscuits (Spicy Savoury Indian Cookies)