Up until about a year ago I was an avid participant of the Daring Bakers monthly challenge. I rarely missed a challenge (when I first joined you could miss only two challenges per year) and loved how each month I would end up making something I never dreamt of baking. Daring Bakers encouraged me to tackle croissant making and create patissiere style cakes like the Biscuit Joconde Imprime, and it taught me so much about different baking styles around the world.
As blogging got busier and the list of recipes I wanted to try expanded and diversified, I found it harder and harder to complete the monthly challenges. I either jumped in too late (there’s a deadline for posting photos or blog posts about your attempt) or if I got in early enough, I found the challenge recipe too much to handle at the given time. I really wanted to make the iconic Princess Cake from Sweden the other month (yep, green marzipan and all) but it was pretty involved so I had to pass.
Fortunately the Daring Bakers community is pretty big now so the participation rules have been relaxed, which made me feel better about finally joining in again! I bit the proverbial bullet and decided to tackle this month’s challenge which was blessedly manageable; some intriguing baking recipes from India. The challenge was to make a Mawa Cake and one of two cookies (Bolinhas de Coco or Masala Biscuits).
According to this month’s hostess (Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen), there is no history of baking in Indian cuisine with most recipes having been introduced via traders, invaders and colonial rulers. Mawa Cake is one such recipe, derived from Persian migrants to India from the 19th Century. Mawa (or Khoa) is essentially milk cooked down to a ricotta cheese like substance. On its own, it’s not something I’d be in a hurry to scoff down but when added to a cake, wow!
My Mawa Cake had a very rich milkiness to it that made a simple spiced sponge cake all the more addictive. I really want to make this cake again without the cardamom just to let the milky flavour take centre stage. I used regular wheat flour along with corn flour and gluten free flour but the cake turned out wonderfully light. A very nice cake. Please refer to the hostess’ blog for the recipe as it has great photos and instructions for making the Mawa also.
As for the two cookies, I was tempted to make the Bolinhas de Coco (a cookie made with fresh grated coconut and semolina) but as I’d had enough sweet things over the weekend, I decide to make the savoury Masala Biscuits. I was a little concerned about the amount of fresh coriander and green chilli the recipe called for but I needn’t have worried! I did dial back on the chilli but everything worked amazingly! The biscuits were like lavosh and I’d love to try these with a spiced pumpkin dip. Happily I froze some of the dough for another time :) The recipe for these biscuits are also at the hostess’ blog.
Thanks to this month’s hostess for a fun challenge. So pleased to have joined in. I missed Daring Bakers!