Baath Cake – A Goan Tradition

Baath Cake

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 .

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 !!

Goan Baath Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 7 hours

Yield: 8 Servings

Goan Baath Cake

A traditional Christmas time treat from Goa, made with semolina and coconut.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

Bring all the ingredients to room temperature before making the batter. Butter or oil an 8X8 square cake pan or line it with parchment paper.

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 the top.

Cover tightly with a lid and let rest for 6 hours to overnight preferably in the fridge.

When ready to bake remove from the fridge .

Place the oven rack a little below center. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until done. Cake is done when a tooth pick inserted int eh middles comes out clean and the tops are browned evenly .

Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Notes

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

https://oventales.com/baath-cake-a-goan-tradition/

 

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.

Baath Cake

Xmas Treats

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