Sweet and savoury cake trends

Updated: 22 November, 2020 09:16 IST | Gitanjali Chandrasekharan, Kasturi Gadge | Mumbai

All you need to know about two varieties of cakes trending online, one easy-peasy to make, the other fancy enough and best ordered in from experts

Ivana Rodrigues and her mug cake
Ivana Rodrigues and her mug cake

A bite-sized hug

Quick to bake, quick to eat. Here's why mug cakes are the perfect antidote to lockdown cravings

A month into the lockdown, chef, author and founder-CEO of The Chocolate Spoon Company, Rachel Goenka, addressed an important issue—the pointlessness of baking large cakes, when all you needed was a quick sugar hit to satisfy a midnight craving. Mug cakes, which Goenka was introduced to while a student of journalism at Penn State University, now are regularly featured on her IGTV handle with videos less than 10 minutes long.

While not necessarily a lockdown trend, mug cakes, did find new popularity this year, what with the entire planet craving the hug that, sadly, only sugar and flour can provide. Goenka's videos document over 10 recipes, starting with the classic molten lava chocolate cake and an apple pie cake, that she likes. Like most parents, she was unable to pick a favourite among her many recipes.

While the ingredients are basic and whittled down to singular cup-sized measurements, Goenka warns that not understanding your microwave could affect the cake. "A lot of people play around with microwave settings—low, medium or high. Remember, if you are making this on high, the baking time will reduce. All of my recipes are within a minute. You need to understand your microwave to see what's the right time for it. Settings could change, depending on the power of the microwave."

Ivana Rodrigues, 19, who is studying game design at Ecole Intuit Lab in Dadar, discovered mug cakes through videos online. "Once after we had lunch, my mum and I decided to give it a shot. It took no time, and tasted good, so we just kept building from there." Castor sugar has been replaced with palm sugar, all purpose flour has been replaced with buckwheat flour and, when the family wants to indulge a bit, they add a cube of cooking chocolate to make it more gooey. She adds that the mug cake-baking has increased during the lockdown, with her parents coming in and taking a bite or two each. "I always have a glass of milk with the cake, it just makes it taste much better," says Rodrigues, adding that over time, she has even halved the recipe, "because I find it too much".

And so easy is the process of making this, when asked for a picture of a cake, Rodrigues says, "I will make one today, photograph it and send you the pictures."

Ivana's mug cake recipe

Ingredients
2 tbs wheat flour
1-2 tbs palm sugar
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
A pinch of baking soda, baking powder and salt
1.5-2 tbs milk (depending on how gooey you want your cake)
1 tbs oil
½ tbs water
Optional: a cube (or two) of cooking chocolate

Ivana Rodrigues

Method
1. Put in the dry ingredients straight into the mug and stir until they're well incorporated. I've made the mistake of skipping this step and I've found that the flour tends to adhere to the crevices at the bottom of the mug.
2. Add the wet ingredients and stir again, and then stick it in the microwave for about a minute and 40 seconds (depending on how wet the batter is). If I'm adding a cube of chocolate, I'll bake the cake halfway, then add the chocolate, and continue the baking after.

Rachel's apple pie mug cake

The Apple Pie Mug Cake
The Apple Pie Mug Cake

Ingredients
1/3 cup diced apples
½ tsp + 1 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp flour
¼ tsp baking powder

Rachel Goenka
Rachel Goenka

Method
1. Begin by adding the diced apples, 1/2 tsp brown sugar and cinnamon in a cup and microwave for 30-40 seconds.
2. Mix the melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, 1 tbsp brown sugar, flour and baking powder and microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds, depending on your microwave.
3. Garnish with a dollop of cream cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Tis kēki time

Chocolate cake is passé; make way for the newest trend on the Internet—the savoury sushi cake!

Black quinoa sushi cake
Black quinoa sushi cake

This year did not allow us to throw big fat parties, but most of us tried to make those quarantine birthdays extra special, with home-bakers working overtime to be more creative than ever. What started with banana bread, quickly escalated to pullover and lotus biscoff cakes. The latest addition to this cake theme is a savoury version, perfect for sushi chompers.

Tofu teriyaki sushi cake
Tofu teriyaki sushi cake

Sushi cakes are made using sushi rice, nori sheets, condiments, sashimi and vegetables. You can use a cake pan or a deep dish to hold all the layers together. Prakash Joshi, brand chef at Oriental Hub by Colossal Kitchens, explains, "The sushi cake is a twist to the normal sushi. The ingredients and layers for a variety of flavours include edamame, asparagus, avocado, bell peppers, grilled zucchini, marinated teriyaki and tofu." Most sushi cakes will have three layers of rice and fillings. Once the clearly defined layers are placed, cover the pan and simply flip it out on a cake pan after 20 minutes. To add some drama, some chefs also create intricate patterns or messaging using mayonnaise or cream cheese.

Sushi cake non-veg
Sushi cake non-veg

Harry Hakuei Kosato, founder, Sushi and More, says, "Sushi is no longer an exotic food but a highly preferred healthy food choice. Also, in Japan, sushi was traditionally eaten to celebrate special occasions. Of course, it is a casual affair today, but we feel it brings happiness to the soul and that was the idea behind doing sushi cakes regularly."

Sushi cake veg
Sushi cake veg

While Sushi and More creates customised cakes, Colossal Kitchens has a set menu that is tailor-made for the vegetarian audience, offering a variety of filling options. The Celestial Rainbow is made from avocado, cheese, assorted peppers, while Tropical Summer is a sweet take on the idea and comes with cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, grapes, cheese. Black Quinoa has flax seeds, beetroot, carrot and avocado.

Celestial rainbow sushi cake
Celestial rainbow sushi cake

Rice is known to be gluten-free, making the cake ideal for those with gluten allergies. The cakes come with a side of soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.

Prakash Joshi
Prakash Joshi

"Another thing to bear in mind is that because the sushi cake is relatively softer than a regular cake, use a soft knife to cut it," adds Kosato.

Rs 1,500-Rs 3,000
Approx cost of veg and non-veg sushi cakes

Get sushi cakes from here

Sushi and More 9930937285
Oriental Hub by Colossal Kitchens 7208558111
Tooting Tummy 9819812000
JB's Relish-ious 9320842633

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First Published: 22 November, 2020 09:09 IST

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