February 3, 2009
I decided to bake a cake. It was our aunty’s birthday. We were off for live opera sung amidst a three-course meal and a rowdy group of 10.
Now curries I can cook. Sweets I can make. Cocktails I can mix. But baking is one art that has so far escaped me.
Still, I have a collection of cake trays from my efforts over the years. I even bought a retro black lacquer cake stand in the recent winter sales. One divine-looking recipe on the internet later I was ready for yet another attempt.
The warning bells went off when the chocolate orange cake batter didn’t taste remotely orangey. It failed to rise and go fluffy in the oven. And promptly collapsed into a biscuit on the wire rack when left to cook.
I bravely ganached the top and took it to the party anyway. The birthday girl hurt her elbow trying to cut the darn thing. The elderly uncles nearly chipped their teeth trying to eat it. And then, the bottom fell off the cake stand.
I might throw the rest of the cake at the next person who calls me a domestic goddess.
It was time to reinstate my faith in sweet things by trying my hand at something more in my comfort zone. I made a batch of Coconut Burfi, soft and delicately-sweetened little coconut bites that are perfect for any occasion. They were divine. A few candles and perhaps it’ll be the perfect present for next week’s birthday girl.
175gm dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
1 tin (397ml) condensed milk
2 tbsp ghee
Soak the dessicated coconut in just about enough hot water to cover it. Bash the cardamoms with the flat side of a knife and crush the seeds.
In a medium pot, bring the ghee to heat over a high flame. When it’s hot, stir in the dessicated coconut and roast for 10 minutes until very pale cream in colour.
Then stir in the condensed milk, the cardamom powder and stir violently for another 10-15 minutes until all the mixture is dry. You need to make sure it doesn’t get stuck on the bottom of the pot.
Tip the whole mixture into a shallow square oven safe dish and leave to cool for a bit. Then stick the whole lot in the freezer to set for about half an hour. When the time’s up, loosen the edges and the bottom with a sharp knife, tip into a flat plate and cut into even-ish squares.
Refridgerate for later or eat immediately. If you’re feeling fancy, decorate the coconut burfi with almond slivers and more crushed cardamoms.
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Wow, looks amazing…will need to try this recipe. thanks
wow looks eatable thanks for the idea- it sounds great!:)! email me when u have more delisous foods!!!!!
Great recipe, will try it
LOL…your story was darn funny I am sure everyone appreciated the effort u put in. Next time you’ll bake an awesome cake
I think the secret of baking cakes is getting the ratio of flour to fat right. Forget raising agents – use whisked eggs.
I am still getting to grips with cardamom. Do you discard the pods after extracting the teeny powdery seeds? Are there recipes where the whole pod is eaten/crushed too? Help, no one tells you this…
The burfi’s look beautiful and perfect…
Hi , there , cheered up my day to read yr cake making incident , (in a nice way), I have a recipe for a microwave chocolate cake that has turned out usu good, sometimes beautifully and sometimes just ok. If u want , can email it to you.
ha ha…same story here Most days I revert to Betty Crocker Mixes and aren’t ppl amazed at my cake’s softness
Anek hoyeche ebar duto pa tule rest nao…erpor jokhon ghumote parbe na, nariyal bufi mathay uthbe
Thanks so much for your kind words of comfort. Would you believe I am trying yet another cake recipe tomorrow… when will I learn??
Takeaways – precisely. Frantzie – Its the condensed milk we’re using here. hope this helps!
Looks wonderful and so easy to make as well! I have seen very similar coconut bites from South America.
To the poster asking about the milk, condensed milk is not the same as evaporated milk.
With burfis like these, who needs cakes?
Well, we all do…but you CAN buy those. The burfis in the store, however, suck..at least out here. So that is a much more important skill to have The pic is lovely.
This looks completely awesome, Mallika. I am drooling. Seriously.
i was expectin the same when i baked my first cake two days back,..but thanks to Chams plain vanilla cake recipe i wasnt dissapoointed,..:-)have blogged about it do read if possible,,btw barfis look yum ND DIVINE,,.
Nice post. Sounds delicious! x
It is like asha said, we call the burfi.
These one look perfect.
My mom used to make them with fresh oconut.
O god Mallika, aren’t you hilarious. What a drama in real life & all for a cake. With my little experience, I can troubleshoot a wee bit for you.
1. Did you use any raising agent; if yes, was it the right amount?
2. Was the oven temp right as according to your oven. Each oven has a mind of it’s own & experimenting does help. If the cake does a rapid rise on being put in, then maybe the temp is too high.
3. Did you change propotions in the recip. If yes, then the cake tin size changes too.
4. If all else fails & this happens again, do not panic. Resurrect the blessed biscuit by giving it a good soak with an orange juice (flavoured with a tbsp of liquer if desired), & then some firm whipping cream if layers are possible. Leave it to mature for a while (pref overnight), & then smother it with ganache. It’ll put the dentists out of business alright, & save the poor families teeth & elbows etc!
5. And if this fails too, I’d love to share some baking tins with you…LOL!
All the best for future escapades of the baking type…& BTW, the burfi is superb. We learnt it in school in Home Sc ages ago! Looks so good! Much love…xoxoxo
PS Enjoy the white fluff; it’s gonna be there again Thu/Fri I hear!
Ha ha – a dentists profession suddenly seems pretty appealing what with clientele flowing in:), but seriously I think you should just try once more, and open the oven after at least half the time mentioned is over:) I would love to see those cake tins you have!
The nariyal barfis looks beautiful! Looks so thoroughly professional:)
Ahhh, baking can be such a pain… but it is so much easier for me than candy making, now that is where I go insane!!! These look so delicious!
Your cake story is funny. I’m sure you’re a far better baker, Mallika, than you’re actually letting on.
Love coconut burfis. The squares look so pretty.
LOL! Funny story about your cake. I am sure your aunts and Uncles still love you after chipping teeth and all! ;D
That’s what we call Coconut Burfi or Kobbari (dry Coconut) Mithai in Kannada except we make it the hard way with sugar syrup cooking for hrs etc. This is easy peasy, looks delicious and perfectly cut. What more could you want? Good job.Beautiful!
Sounds wonderful – and easy. Is the “condensed milk” what Americans call “sweetened condensed milk”? Or is it unsweetened “evaporated milk”? I’m guessing sweetened condensed milk, because of the absence of sugar or other sweetener.