Riceflour and Coconut Cake-A lift from Assamese Cusine

 

I have often mentioned that my mother is and has been a fantastic cook. For her ability to work out a dish out of the uncertain things and odd blend of pairs is what i think made her an artistic cook. Artistic I say coz, the power of inventing, the passion for that unexplored drives you to find that perfect taste. This is what she did. And the rice flour(pithaguri as we call in Assamese) cake today is one such recipe that i tasted first some 3 decades back.. No goggle, no cook books, this was her pure invention. Of course if you goggle up you might still get some similar recipes but this, years back with no internet connection or even telephones, was purely a recipe that she blended from the ingredients that was used to make the most common and staple savories in the assamese culture… the “pithas“. She transformed the same into a cake giving it a glorious new taste

Honestly she doesn’t remember the recipe nor do i , hence all i did was try since I dont remember the taste faintly. Ad i think the resultant taste its more or less the same as my mom”s cake. With addition of coconut it gives a different taste.I am not sure if she added coconut or not, but I choose to add it as well.You can still perhaps make it without the coconut.But coconut seals the taste of the “pitha”.

So if you browse back to my Assamese savories of ghila pithas and the tekeli mukhot diya pitha in the blog, it consists of almost the same ingredients..Just blended together to form a most cake with the basic prerequisites of a cake like baking powder and oil/butter.

Like i mentioned rice flour and coconut forms the base for some of the most delectable and delicious savories from the cuisine of Assam culture. Like the south of India, Assamese cuisine  also boasts of its sweet savories, the pithas which are mostly made of rice flour, blended with either coconut or sesame seeds and mixed with a preferred sweetener like jaggery over white sugar.Fry, steam ,roast and develop them into varied different types of pithas like the “ghila pitha”, “til pitha”, “narikol(coconut) pitha”, “tekeli mukhot diya pitha” and many such .

So here, the base is transported to modern times, given the texture of a cake by way of adding addition essential ingredients that bake up to a cake and using the baking style of preparation that which is primary for cake baking process.

I have made the chocolate version too, by adding half of the batter with cocoa.It tastes divine ..chocolate, coconut and rice flour..Unified to form one of the most amazing invention of a traditional familiar yet unexplored /uninitiated version of a tea cake.Will try and post a pic sometime later.

Since Rice flour is the main ingredient, you will need to use the right kind and texture. Market bought ones are fine. I have used the store bought rice flours from Guwahati which my cousin actually got for me .They seem to be perfect coz of their use in pithas, hence for me that’s the perfect texture. You could buy any store bought rice flour.And if that”s not available in your city,, you could just grind the rice in a  mixer and store it in a air tight container . You can use it to add as a thickener in soups or curries or also as a binding agent in patties/kebabs/cutlets/croquettes

But you will need to keep the following things in mind when you bake a cake with rice flour to arrive at that perfect texture and resultant taste

 

  • Baked recipes with rice flour tends to be more crumby then  wheat flour /all purpose flour, so that’s how the texture will be. It can smoothen out if you add eggs.
  • Also since rice flour tends to absorb more water then other flours you  will perhaps need to add little more milk
  • Additionally. since the texture is a little rough and tends to get hard quicky, the baking time required is a little less then a normal cake
With the above elements in place you are ready to roll, work out the most luscious traditionally rustic  cake

Ingredients:

Rice flour- 1 cup
Coconut- 1/2 cup
Sugar-2/3rd cup
baking powder- 1 tsp
salt- a pinch
vanilla essence(optional)- 1 /2 tsp
milk- 1/2 cup(you can add more depending on the consistency)

For the runny sauce

3 tbsp cream
2 tbsp milkmaid(condensed milk)
white chocolate melted 2 tbsp(optional)

Method:

  • Mix the sugar and coconut and keep aside for sometime for the sugar to melt and blend with the coconut
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder
  • Add the coconut mixture to the flour mixture and add salt , oil ,vanilla essence and mix well to break the lumps
  • After mixing well, add the milk to form the cake batter
  • Grease a baking tray and pour the batter
  • Bake for 4 mins in the microwave.
For the sauce:
  • If using white chocolate which actually is optional, melt it in a double boiler or microwave
  • Add cream and milkmaid in a pan and just warm it under low flame. Add the chocolate, stir and remove it
  • Pour it over the cake it over the cake
  • Add additional almonds/raisins

Absolutely rustic and traditional with a contemporary twist of baking, the sauce makes it an Indian dessert. Do not try and put the regular icing since the modern taste of the buttery icing will not blend with the Indian taste of the cake.The sauce needs to compliment the taste of the cake hence a very Indian taste. One bite and it almost tastes like the tekeli mukhot diya pitha albeit a little baked texture of the surface. Its so unique yet that familiar taste makes it worth a try.You wouldn’t know if its a pitha or a cake.To be best served with tea as we relish our pithas and cakes or even otherwise.

However you choose this one definitely is a cake that’s just uplifted from the base of the Assamese savories named pithas and given a  twist. Stunningly delicious and addictive , it wont fail to indulge you.The Indian runny sauce makes it totally classic. A traditional culturally rooted sweet to its transition to a modern cake that which is outstanding as an experiment of blending a pair to work out a contemporary twist.

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