Sunday, April 26, 2009

Butter Cake

He had been around for many years but I first met him when I had just turned a teenager. At that time, he seemed to be the epitome of 'ideal' man, if there ever existed such a thing. He was, of course, the dream of many a girls and during our recess hour in school, there'd be groups of giggly girls oohing and aahing over what he'd done and said.

Over the course of the next 3 years, I kept meeting him over and over again, remaining ever so impressed by him each time I met him. Of course, like all crushes, this one too ran its course and somewhere down the road, he was finally forgotten.

Then, one day, as I was blog-hopping this post on Siri's blog caught my attention - the book club was planning to read Jane Austen this month. The chance to meet him - Fitzwilliam Darcy- again was too tempting and I soon found myself immersed in Pride and Prejudice.

This is one of my all time favourites - anyone who likes to read romantic novels should read it at least once. A simple love story made extraordinary by the way it is written, the very Victorian style of writing peppered by quick repartee and wit .

When a wealthy bachelor, Mr Bingley, moves to their neighbourhood, Mrs Bennet, mother to 5 daughters dreams of arranging a match between her beautiful eldest daughter Jane and him. The story however revolves around Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the 5 Bennet sisters, an intelligent and witty girl and Mr. Bingley's friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich, handsome but reserved and rather snobbish.

The acquaintance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth gets off to a bad start when he refuses to dance with her, citing her rather plain looks. However, as he gets to know her wit and intelligence, inspite of himself, he falls in love with her. Elizabeth, on the other hand, dislikes him more and more; her prejudice fuelled by untruths and misunderstandings rather than fact.

So how does love happen? Read the book to find out how they journey from dislike to love.

The one thing that I really love about this book is: here's a heroine of a novel set in the 18th century who has a mind of her own and is more importantly, is not afraid to speak her mind. Here is a heroine who is bashful, yet not sickeningly coy. Years ago, Mr. Darcy would make me smile, yet when I read this book after so many years, Elizabeth, inspite of your obvious flaws, I wanted to hug you!

Of course, this time around when I was reading the novel, I was also reading it from the food perspective....there were several teas and lunches and dinners that happened- however very few specific references to food - and those that were there didn't quite make me head off to the kitchen!
In the end, I decided to go with the tea theme - so here's some butter cake and masala chai for you guys :)



Butter Cake:

I collect butter cake recipes - I know 10 ways of making a butter cake: one is grossly unhealthy - talk about 8 yolks in a cake; one requires a lot of effort - make sugar syrup, beat egg whites; one uses only egg whites - leaving me wondering what to do with all the egg yolks.

This particular recipe, however, is the one I make most often. It is the easiest butter cake to make; soft, buttery and moist, it tastes and looks like you've really toiled to get such a perfect crumb! For anyone who has always wanted to bake and cake and yet never has, this butter cake is something that will not fail you.


Ingredients:

Unsalted Butter - 175 gms
Caster Sugar - 175 gms (if you plan to frost the cake, reduce sugar to 160 g)
Eggs - 3
All purpose flour - 150 gms
Cornflour - 30 gms
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Milk/Buttermilk - 90 ml
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp (omit if using salted butter)

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 175 deg C. Grease and line a loaf pan or an 8" round/square pan.

Sift together (3 times) flour, cornflour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter for 2 minutes, then add all the ingredients - all at once - to the mixing bowl. Beat until pale and creamy - about 10 -12 mins, scrapping the sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times.

Bake for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Ice it with simple buttercream, though personally, I much prefer to have butter cake without any frosting - perfect with a cup of masala chai!

Masala Chai:

Boil 1 1/2 teacups of water and add to it 1" ginger (crushed), 4 cardamom pods, 4 cloves, 1" cinnamon and 4 peppercorns. Bring to a boil, add tea leaves and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Simultaneously, boil 1/2 teacup of milk with some sugar. Add the milk to the tea, strain and serve.

Here's what the other members made:

Simran made Tropical Fruit Tart and Aparna came up with the very English Crumpets.

Next month, we are reading Five Quarters of Orange by Joanne Harris. Drop in a line to Simran if you would like to be part of the Book Club.

25 comments:

  1. Love the butter cake, looks beautiful and delicious.
    Well i am sure lot of us can relate to the same ttenage years...........oh what a blessfull time it was.

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  2. Butter cake looks moist and delicious...oh i miss my college days...wish could get back those days :)

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  3. I can't imagine any bookloving teenager who didn't fancy Mr. Darcy at some point in time. I know I did.

    Butter cake looks so yum! But 10 recipes - you sure seem to be the one for throwing Victorian tea parties :)

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  4. Hi AD,
    It's a great idea to read a book in different perspectives....loved the way u've interconnected things here :) Butter cake ....wow!moist n buttery along with masala chai... none with their senses intact can ignore this ;)bookmarke this one AD! my list is growing longer by the day pheeeeeeeeeew... Thanks dear for the lovely nostalgic read.
    TC

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  5. butter cake looks just perfect

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  6. I like the sound of that butter cake. The ingredients are a bit different from the pound cake that I usually make.

    I have been wanting to read Pride and Prejudice again too.

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  7. Butter cake sounds delicious...looks pefect...

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  8. Butter cake looks lovely in shape and colour! Cute presentation! :)

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  9. Beautiful cake Ad.Looking soft and yummy...

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  10. perfect color, GREAT crust! yummy!

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  11. Wow the cake is so lovely and soft... Jane Austen fan sounds like me :)

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  12. Butter cake and masala chai looks prefect...Am inviting myself to finish both ur cake and chai...tempting!

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  13. Butter cake looks perfect....Love the combo of butter cake n tea..

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  14. cake looks perfect..very nice!!

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  15. Masala chai and butter cake with some cookies..what a perfect evening treat! The cake looks fantastic!

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  16. Butter cake looks perfect ...very aesthetic presentation !!

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  17. Butter cake looks Moist and Yummy.

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  18. Love plain cakes like this. More than me, it's my hubby who loves them. I have a similar recipe on my blog too:)

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  19. thank you ladies!

    I am off for a few days, so see you all next week!!

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  20. One of my favorite books... And your presentation is awesome...

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  21. All that butter sure makes for a soft and tasty cake, I'm sure.:)
    10 different ways to make a butter cake? That's something.

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  22. Butter cake looks lovely! enjoy ur break!

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  23. Looks delish and have nice time

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It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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