The holidays are upon us and this is the time of year for party, party par-tay!!! It seems like there's some kind of do every night. This is also the time of year for film nominations and my husband and I each receive DVD screeners from the studios so that we can vote. Sometimes a neighbor or two drops in to watch with us and then Dessert Must Be Served! I'm always looking for new and different desserts to make, and while trawling through a bunch of Indian recipes, I came across one for cake.
Cake is not something one typically associates with Indian cuisine, but different countries pick up different things from a lot of places, and this particular South Asian cake recipe comes via the Dutch.
When Dutch traders started frequenting Indonesia, it was just a matter of time before their buttery cakes met the wealth of Indonesian spices and an amazingly tasty dessert was born.
Actually there are other cakes in Kerala which bear a resemblance to this one. Some are made with carrots with or without eggs, and sometimes they contain a variety of nuts and dried fruits. All of them put the traditional old "doorstop" fruitcake to shame.
This particular cake is my adaptation of a recipe from James Oselands' Cookbook, Cradle of Flavor. Traditionally this cake is baked almost like a terrine, adding each layer in a separate baking while basting with butter. I decided that a bundt cake would involve less labor and less butter though I have to be clear here, I've rarely met any butter I didn't like. Also, the one thing this cake does not lack is butter as you'll see.
Indonesian Spice Cake
Here's what to do:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Grease and flour a bundt cake pan
Sift 2 cups of cake flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp of baking powder
4 tsps of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
a pinch of kosher salt
Set the dry mixture aside
In a large bowl beat together 3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature. When the butter is nice and soft, cream in 1 and 2/3 cup of sugar a bit at a tiime. Beat the mixture until it's nice and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
4 whole eggs one at a time. Beat until each is blended.
2 tsp of vanilla
3 egg yolks
When the batter is well mixed add in 1/2 cup of raisins.
Supposedly this cake should be ready in about 1 hour, however my cake took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to bake. When a toothpick poked into it comes out clean, it's done.
Set it on a rack to cool in the pan for ten minutes, then unmold it. Dust it with a bit of powdered sugar
and serve it with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
The insane thing about this cake is it smells exactly like pumpkin pie when it's baking, and as Alan reminded me...
"The smell of Good & Plenty candy combined with cucumber, aroused women the most according to a 1999 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. The scent of baby powder had a similar effect. But the smell of cherries, barbecue smoke and men's cologne were turnoffs, he said.
Turn-ons for men: the smell of pumpkin pie and lavender, followed by black licorice and doughnuts. Why? Hirsch doesn't know exactly, but he said the smells could have been comforting or evoked nostalgia. "
Or maybe most men are more like Homer Simpson then they'd care to admit.
|"Mmmmmm..Indonesian Spice Cake"|