Mar 24, 2011

I'm Back! with "Karachi Biscuit" Loaf Cake!

Ahh, it's been more than a month since I last posted here. And what a month it's been! First off the meditation program that I had been to was totally amazing. Came back all glowy-glowy, though most of that has worn off by now :-D. Started baking again a week after I got back, and I made myself a list of recipes to perfect and work my way through.

I'm learning through the process of baking that I am a thorough perfectionist. If something does not come out the way it was intended to, I am too reluctant to post the recipe for you guys over here, even though it might be okay. So I have been baking quite a bit lately, but nothing seems good enough to be able to post here.

I have to keep reminding myself from time to time that this blog is 'Practice Baking' and not 'Perfect Baking'! Sometimes, I accidentally refer to my blog as the latter when I'm talking to someone about it. Sigh! Whatever am I to do with myself.

So I have been trying hard to get my hands on the perfect recipe for Karachi Biscuits, which are a popular type of cookie in Hyderabad. Tried a couple of times and failed. However, with all the experimenting that I've been doing, I've managed to create something that smells, tastes and even looks just like these cookies, except that they're in a cake form!

Fruit Cake ~ Karachi Biscuit Style!

A product of the famous Karachi Bakery in Hyderabad, the Karachi Biscuit is a must-have for every one who sets foot in the land of the Nizams. In fact, when ever we have relatives visiting, or we go visiting out of the city, a trip to this bakery is always planned. These scrumptious delights are made in fruit and nut varieties and they are simply out of this world.

I have a couple of pics for you of these wonderful cookies.

So naturally, being obsessed with baking, I decided that I simply must have this recipe in my collection. Of course, it isn't that easily available and I made a few trials of my own.

Here's some pics of that:

Trial 1 ~ No "Karachi" in the Biscuit!

For this I just tried adding tutti-frutti pieces to my egg less butter cookie recipe. Turned out that I added very few. So few that while the cookie was pretty yummy, there were just like one or no fruit pieces in some of them.

Trial 2 ~ Looks better but still needs work...

I used some random fruit cookie recipe I found on the internet. Made this with butter, brown sugar, flour and custard powder. I wasn't too happy with the results though, they were too crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Strange, they were.

So I decided to give it a rest for a while and went ahead with some other experiments in baking. I've always loved fruit cakes and I wanted to make some plain vanilla cakes with tutti-frutti in them. Not a very Christmassy kind of fruit cake, and definitely not a plum cake, I just wanted something plain and simple.

I started off with my basic pound cake recipe that has worked so well for me. You can find that here. So I did a small version of that using 50g each of flour, sugar and butter. Added some Tutti-Frutti and put it to bake.

Unfortunately some mishaps happened. My pound cake recipe uses an electric hand mixer and produces a very light, velvety and fluffy cake. Due to that, two problems arose.

1. The fruit pieces were too heavy when compared to the batter and sunk all the way to the bottom of the tin soon after it went into the oven.

2. Even the pieces that did manage to stay in the middle couldn't hold on once the cake was sliced. They were falling off since the cake was too fluffy. Nothing for them to cling on to, you see.

You can get a clear picture of what went wrong in this pic here:

Fruit Cake ~ Trial 1

The cake is inverted, so you see all the pieces are the bottom. Thankfully I made a small one, so nothing much wasted over there.

Nevertheless, I decided to try again the very next day. This time I abandoned the electric mixer and did everything by hand, so that the cake could be much denser. Also, I did not add any baking powder or soda, or salt. Purely relied on the eggs to take care of the rising.

And rise it did! Beautifully at that. Fruit pieces stayed put. Did not sink or anything. And to my pleasant surprise the cake smelled exactly like Karachi Biscuits. I thought it was just me, but my family thought so too. And the taste was very similar. So even though it's just a plain old fruit cake, in my mind the name that's stuck on is "Karachi Biscuit" Cake!

Enjoy the recipe!

RECIPE ~ "Karachi Biscuit" Loaf Cake

  • Butter - 100 g + extra for preparing the pan
  • Granulated Sugar - 100 g
  • All Purpose Flour - 100 g + extra for preparing the pan
  • Tutti-Frutti - 100 g
  • Eggs - 2
  • Milk - 2 Tbsp
  • Vanilla Essence/Extract - 1 Tsp
  • Pineapple Essence/Extract - 1/4 Tsp
Utensils & Bakeware
  • Mixing Bowl and Wooden Spoon/Spatula
  • 7" x 2 .75" x 2" Rectangular Loaf Pan
  • OTG / Convection Oven - Microwave or Regular
  • Prepare all the required ingredients at room temperature. Butter should be soft but not melted.
  • Prepare the cake pan by greasing the insides with butter and dusting with some flour.
  • Sift flour once or twice to remove any lumps.
  • Powder the sugar if the granules are too large.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place the softened butter and beat with a wooden spoon or spatula until it becomes a smooth creamy paste.
  • Add the sugar in increments, beating well after each addition, in a clockwise direction. You should achieve something that looks like this:
  • Beat the two eggs in a separate bowl just until the yellow and white are well combined.
  • Add the beaten egg in increments to the batter, beating well after each addition. This step is important because if too much liquid is added at once, the batter might start to curdle. 
  • Add the Vanilla and Pineapple Essence and mix. It should now look like this:
  • Now add the flour and milk alternately, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Make sure to start and end with the flour additions. The final batter should look like this:
  • Now it's time to toss in the Tutti-Frutti. Coat them well with some all purpose flour. This helps to keep them from sinking into the batter. You might not need the entire 100 g, use your judgement and reserve around 20-30 g if needed. 
  • Fold the pieces of fruit into the batter gently. Spoon the batter into the prepared can pan and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Do not tap the pan to the working surface as might be done with other cakes. 

Baking Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F for about 10 minutes. 
  • Place the cake pan in the center of the oven and bake for about 1 hour. 
  • Check if a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If not, bake for a few more minutes.
  • Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Invert the cake out on to a plate and restore it back to the right side up.
  • Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

Here's some more pics of the cake! Please do try this out and let me know how it worked out for you. As always, I'm happy to hear from you!

Hot from the Oven!

And out of the Pan...

Fruit Cake Texture

No comments:

Post a Comment