Elaichi or Cardamom Rusks are favorite of my dad’s. These are hugely popular as a tea time snack all over India. Rusks dipped in hot tea is part of spending time with grandpa for my kids. When grandpa is not around they prefer the sweeter version – cake rusks. For those who are not familiar with rusks , these are twice baked bread or cake , just like biscoti . Perfect or dipping in a hot cup of milk , coffee , or tea.
In all probability it all started with an ingenious baker who found himself with way too much unsold bread one day. While preheating the oven he would have thought “Hey why don’t I slice the bread and dehydrate it as well ?”. Dehydrating meant less worries on storage . The sweet crunchiness would have been a happy by product that made these so popular.
While rusks made from bread are crunchy and light, cake rusks are a bit more soft and sweet. No need to refrigerate or freeze leftovers , just store in an airtight container and these stay fresh for a week or so. The simple pound cake recipe works great for cake rusks , but I find it to be a bit on on the sweet side. After some tweaks we have a recipe that we love . Here it is .
As this recipe starts out as a standard cake recipe , make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature . Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour a 9″X9″ square pan or line it with parchment paper. You could use any other rectangular pan , adjust the baking times accordingly. The quantity made in this recipe makes about 1″ wide rusks .
Beat the room temperature well till it becomes a little fluffy . Add the sugar to it and mix till it becomes creamy and pale . If the sugar grains are large pulse it in a blender to make fine , but do not use powdered or icing sugar. Beat in the eggs one by one until thoroughly mixed in . Scrape the sides to prevent the butter from sticking to the sides . Add the vanilla essence and mix .
Sift flour , baking powder and the salt together. Mix well . Add the dry ingredients in batches to the butter and sugar mix . Stir in slowly using circular scoops till a smooth batter is formed. Stop stirring as soon as all the flour is incorporated . Do not over mix .
As you scoop the batter it should feel silky smooth . Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan . Use the back of the spatula to spread it evenly . Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the top begins to brown .
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes . Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Invert into the a clean cutting board . Cut in half into 2 rectangles . Cut each rectangle width wise about 1/2″ thick slices . Arrange the cut pieces on a cookie sheet with the cut sides down as shown. There is no need to grease or line the cookie sheet . Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes . Flip the slices and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes till the desired brownness is achieved.