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Baath Cake – A Goan Tradition

This post took a long time  coming.  I  started  writing this  last  Christmas, encountered some  technical issues 😉 and  it  was  put on the back burner.  So the  other  day when a  friend  asked  to write an   Indian  recipe  for  Christmas,  this  got  dusted  up. It  was all the  excuse  I needed  to make  this  cake  again.  For  those  who are  not  familiar  with it  Baath or  Bathika  cake is  a  traditional  cake from Goa, India.   It is  made  with  fine  semolina (sooji),  coconut  and  sometimes flavored with aromatic  spices. Traditionally this  cake  was baked at  homes  in a  stove top  clay oven with  hot coals placed on the lid .

Baath Cake - semolina and coconut cake from Goa

Semolina is used  often in the Goan/Maharashtian  cuisine. It is  the preferred  coating  for  fried  fish,  the main ingredient for quick   breakfast or  snack like  upma,  and  let’s  not  forget  the popular  quick desert – kesari or  Sooji ka halva (sheera).  Is  it  any wonder  that  with the  Portuguese  influence  the people of Goa   created  this  wonderful  cake  made out  of  semolina  and  the other  local ingredients ?

This is not   a  cake  that I  grew up with. In Kerala X’mas  was  characterized by the  traditional rich fruit  cake  with a glass of  home  made  wine to add to the  festivities.  From a  baker’s  view point this  is an interesting  recipe as the  main ingredients  were  coarse –  fine  semolina, and  grated  coconut.  In order  to get a  moist   cake  that  does  not  fall apart, the batter  needs  to absorb all the  moisture  and  flavors  before hand. Hence  the long  resting  time  before baking.  The   flavors  meld  and  mature  creating a  delicious  cake  that crumbles in  your  mouth.  A  true  Baath  cake  needs at least 6  hours  of   resting  time.

Baath Cake

The  traditional recipes   call for over night  resting  on the  counter top, risking  the  wrath of  food  safety  experts.  Before  you reach for  the  pitchforks consider this,   in the  days  before  commercialized  agriculture  the  eggs  came  from one’s own  backyard,  making  salmonella  poisoning  virtually unheard of…  And  my guess is  that decades  back   the  December  temperatures  in  Goa  would  have been  considerably cooler. But in an  abundance of  caution I would  say   rest   the  batter  in  the  refrigerator.  The  added  advantage is  that  it  gives you the  flexibility to  bake  according  to your  schedule, as you can  leave  the  batter in the  fridge for  up  to  24  hours .

Mix  the  cake  batter  and  pour it   into the  baking  tray, already  greased  and  floured or  lined  with parchment paper. I like  to line mine  with parchment  paper   with a  little  bit of  overhang.   This is  entirely for  utility purposes –  pull up the  parchment on  opposite  sides  and the  cakes  comes  out  easily.    Cover  the pan  with an  airtight lid or  plastic  wrap ( or  aluminium  foil)  and   keep in the  fridge  until you are  ready to bake.  When  ready to  bake  take it out of  the  fridge  and  rest on the  counter  while  the  oven is preheating.

Baath Cake

I like  the  texture of  these  cakes. It is not  overly soft  and  smooth, but  more  rustic.  If  you prefer a  smooth  top  you could add a  few  table spoons  of  water/coconut  milk  to  thin the  batter.  But  that is  a  decision  you make  when  you make  the  batter, as  the  moisture  content of  the  fresh ingredients  missed the  memo on the acceptable water content.  Kidding  aside   when you  see the  picture of  the  batter above  you know  that  the  top is  not  going  to be  smooth . Even at  that  point  you  could  use  a  pastry brush  (or a  small spoon) dipped in  water to  add more  moisture  to make the  top  smooth  and  even.

Baath  recipes call for  a little AP  flour  (maida)  as a  binder.  A little  milk is added  to the batter  as  well.  There are  some  recipes  that  add extra milk and  proceed  to bake   without  resting.  I am  sure all these  recipes  will  yield  delicious  cakes,  but  the  extra  milk makes a  dense  cake  rather  than  one  with  light  airy crumb.   I have   cut  down a  little  on the  sugar,  a  little,   as  I  want the  textures  and  flavors  to  be  be prominent and  not  masked  by the sweetness.

Baath Cake

Yum , now if  only I had  any  home made  wine  left  over !!

Baath Cake - semolina and coconut cake from Goa

Goan Baath Cake

By Syama
This is an  old fashioned  cake.  In Goa it is popular during  X'mas  times and  made using  semolina  and  coconut. 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Resting Time 6 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 C Fine Semolina 160 g
  • 2 C Fresh Finely Grated Coconut - lightly Packed 160 g
  • 3/4 C Fine Sugar 170 g
  • 2 Eggs Large
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 C Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 1/2 C Milk/Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla essence

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Bring all the ingredients to room temperature before making the batter. Butter or oil an 8 in X 8 in square cake pan or line it with parchment paper.

Make the batter

  • Cream the butter/oil with the sugar until light and airy. Add the eggs one by one and beat till pale yellow and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla essence.
  • Mix the fine semolina with the baking powder well and stir in the coconut.
  • Fold in half the dry mix into the eggs. Add half the coconut milk/milk and stir to combine. Fold in the remaining dry mix. If the batter looks very dry add the remaining liquid. The batter should be of dropping consistency rather than pouring consistency.
  • Transfer to the baking pan and level off the top.
  • Cover tightly with a lid and let rest for 6 hours to overnight preferably in the fridge.

Bake

  •  When ready to bake remove  the cake pan from the fridge. Place the oven rack a little below center and  pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Let  the  cake batter   rest on the  counter  while  the oven is  preheating. 
  •  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or  until done. Cake is done when a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops are browned evenly .
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Notes

  • Oil makes a more moist cake.
  • Instead of vanilla add 1/2 tsp fresh cardamom powder or 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg for more of  local  flavors. 
  • Use finely grated coconut, not long coconut threads.

Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.

Tried this recipe?Mention @Oventales or tag #Oventales on Instagram

 

Notes :  Fresh shredded  coconut   imparts  the  beast  flavors.  If  using  dry coconut   use  lightly packed 1 C  coconut  and  add  1 C  coconut  milk or  water  to the recipe.

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Baath Cake

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Recipe Rating




Nichel

Sunday 13th of December 2020

How long can this cake be preserved at room temperature in humid climate after baking?

Syama

Monday 14th of December 2020

The short answer is - it depends. In any case I would not recommend keeping a cooled cake unprotected for more than a few hours. Cool completely and store in an airtight box (or wrap tight using wax paper) and it should last for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. Anything more will depend on the environment. Keeping the environment dry and contaminant free is very important. Hope that gives you an idea. Thanks, Syama.

Chandra Andujar

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Can I use semolina flour in place of the fine semolina?

Syama

Monday 7th of December 2020

It should be OK. Texturally both are similar and both are made from the same type of wheat. That said I haven't tried it. Would love to hear about it if you try. - Syama.

Anindita Gonsalves

Monday 19th of October 2020

Hi, I am going to try it out however I have a 6 inch square tin. So, do i use half the measurement of the ingredients?

Regards,

Anindita

Syama

Tuesday 20th of October 2020

With 6X6 pan you are looking at 36 square inches of surface area , while the recipe used 8X8 or 64 square inches. So to get the exact results you need to do 36/64 or 9/16 th of the recipe. 9/16 is a little more than 1/2 so when you halve the recipe you will get a little thinner cake, so your baking time will be a little less. Happy baking!

Syama.

Elizabeth

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Is it compulsory to refrigerate the batter? Can we not bake it immediately? Or after allowing to rest at room temperature for an hour ? Is Baking soda not needed for this cake?

Syama

Friday 16th of October 2020

It is better to refrigerate the batter if you are keeping it for 6 hours or longer. Keeping it at room temperature for long time in warm humid climates (like in most of coastal India) is not a good idea. Strictly from a food safety standpoint I would say NO to keeping it out for 1 hour. That said people have been doing it for generations, and seem to be none the worse for it. The recipe calls for baking powder - since there are no acidic ingredients in teh recipe. If you must use baking powder use no more than 1/2 tsp. One hour of resting should hydrae semolina enough to create the soft texture when baking. Thanks

Sheila D'Sylva

Monday 27th of January 2020

What does the letter C stand for in the list of ingredients? e.g. 1 C semolina 160 gms

Syama

Sunday 1st of March 2020

C for cup, so here it is 1 C semolina which is usually equal to 160g.