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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Vegan Ginger and Jaggery Cake ( Whole Wheat Version )

Hola!! I am back after a vacation and still trying to shake off the lethargy that has engulfed my limbs. That's precisely why there have been no food posts on my blog for the longest time. I am just trying to scrape by with no fuss simple meals and doing something off beat had not even crossed my mind for the entire week. That is till last night.

The sudden craving for digging into some cake drove me crazy around midnight. But I had only sparse groceries on hand as I had finished off most of the stuff before going on vacation and had not yet replenished the pantry. And that's when I had the thought of trying something super healthy. Whole wheat cake with no butter and jaggery instead of sugar sounded tempting. Taking inspiration form the Odia Poda pitha, I added some ginger and cardamom to flavor it. Had initially planned on adding a bit of grated coconut but forgot it at the last minute as I was half asleep by the time I was done with it.

Just as I finished mixing everything and was about to pop it into the oven, tragedy struck. My trusted oven gave up and I ended up with a blown fuse and a husband who was threatening to go off any moment. Had to call the security guy and cajole him into fixing the fuse at the earliest. With the power restored, I had to focus on what to do with the cake mix I had on my hands as I could not risk switching on the oven. My first thought was to put it into the fridge and make some pancakes the next morning. But I wanted the cake real bad. Hence took a chance with baking it in my electric rice cooker. And thank God for it !!

A slightly fudge like texture and bursting with traditional flavors, this one turned out to be the best vegan version I had ever come across. Highly recommended for everyone. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup jaggery ( or as per sweetness )
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/3 tsp green cardamom (powdered)
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup canola oil + 1 tsp for greasing
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation - Take the whole wheat flour and baking powder in a bowl. Sift a few times using a sieve to remove lumps and ensure even mixing. This also improves the amount of air trapped into the flour which gives a spongier cake.

Mix the jaggery , water, ginger, coconut, cardamom, salt and vanilla essence in a bowl.

Sift in the flour into this liquid (use a sieve) and mix in using a heavy spoon. Mix in one direction only and avoid beating/whisking the mixture.

Finally add the oil and mix in as gently as possible.

Cooking - Preheat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 mins.  Or if using electric rice cooker, pour 3 cups water into the pan and get it to a steaming stage.

Grease a tin with oil. Drizzle flour over it. Pour in the mixture.

Place the baking tin into the oven. Cook for 15 -20 mins till a toothpick  comes out clean.

If rice cooker is used, it will switch off once the water is gone. The residual heat is enough to bake the cake thoroughly.

Wait till it cools down and then overturn the cake tin onto a plate.

The cake can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days in a airtight container. If one needs to preserve it longer, it is best to refrigerate.

Note - The steamed version of this cake ( made in rice cooker ) is softer and spongier but does not have a proper crust.

I have used a lovely semi solid variety of jaggery that I got from Odisha. It has a wonderfully rich caramel flavour and gives a really intense color to the cake. While it is tough to get that variety in superstores, one can try using a mix of the light colored jaggery and some palm jaggery for a similar rich color. 

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