Elaichi or Cardamom Rusks are favorite of my dad’s. These are hugely popular as a tea time snack all over. It so happenes that spending time with grandpa meant picking up some of his habits. Rusk dipped in chai was one of the delights that my kids enjoyed with him :-). When grandpa is not around they go for the sweeter version – cake rusks.
For those who are not familiar with rusks , these are twice baked bread or cake , just like biscoti . These are crunchy, dry and could be flavored or plain. Unlike cakes or breads these have a longer shelf life and travels well too. The down side is that these can’t be enjoyed on their own (except for some cake rusks), but it is just 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 – nothing goes stale or moldy , and if stored under dry conditions could stay fresh for moths ! 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. There is no need to refrigerate or freeze leftovers , just store in an airtight container and these will 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.
Cake rusk starts its journey as a tweaked version of pound cake. Usually these are mad e in rectangular pans. Once the cake is cooled to warm it is sliced to desired thickness. These pieces are laid out n a cookie sheet and baked again until it becomes crisp.
In other words, make a cake that is not too soft like a pound cake. Slic e it into rectangular pieces about 1/2 inch thick and toast on both sides!
So here is the recipe for simple cake rusk. The quantity of the batter here is perfect for a 9X9 square pan and makes about 1 inch wide rusks.
Simple Cake Rusk
- 1 1/4 C Flour (150g)
- 10 Tbsp Butter (130g)
- 1/2 C Fine Sugar (110 g)
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature .
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cream butter and sugar together. If the sugar grains are large pulse it in a blender to make into fine powder. 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 .
- Add the dry ingredients in batches and mix slowly using circular scoops till a silky smooth batter is formed. Do not over mix .
- Grease and flour a 9X9 square cake pan. 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 . Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes . Turn and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes till the desired brownness.
- This rusk is sweet. You can reduce the sugar to 75 gms , but any less will change the texture drastically.
- Preferably weigh the ingredients , especially flour and sugar.
- When measuring gently stir to loosen the flour int he container and scoop it on to the measuring cup using a spoon. Use a knife to level.