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14 September 2007

Seven-Cup Cake for Ganesh Chaturthi


In case you see the picture and wonder why the cupcakes are flat, this is a 7 cup-cake and not 7 cupcakes.  These are the ones that my mom, aunts and grandmom turn out into perfect little squares during festivals, in a jiffy. I'm always a bit wary about making them because of too much sugar and ghee and there's the uncertainty of them turning out properly. These can be made with just milk and sugar - called 'milk cake' or with chick pea flour, sugar and ghee called Mysore Pak, or even with nuts like almonds and cashews. As a child, these were the only cakes that were made at home apart from some failed sponge cake experiments conducted in the pressure cooker. I wanted to recreate some of that childhood magic and take this to my parents and relatives for Ganesh Chaturthi tomorrow.

Traditional Indian 'cakes' need no baking, because they are not actually cakes but fudgey sweets made using sugar, milk and some other ingredients, a bit of slaving over the stove, some elbow grease – and your 'cake' will be ready. Small pieces of these goodies go a long way in satisfying your sweet tooth. Some of these 'cakes' require almost an hour of stirring over a hot stove. This one, on the other hand takes 20 minutes at the most, but the results make people think otherwise. If you need larger quantities, make this in batches, that way you can give your elbow some rest in between batches.





Seven cup Cake

Category: Indian sweet, Milk sweet, Festival food
Time taken: Under 30 minutes
Makes: One 9 X 9 sheet 1/2" thick, can be cut into 25 squares




Ingredients

1 cup besan (gram flour)
1 cup ghee
1 cup freshly scraped or dessicated coconut
1 cup milk
2 cups sugar [if your sugar is not as sweet then add 1/4-1/2 cup more]

A few saffron strands or cardamom powder for flavouring

Directions
Grease a 9 X 9 baking sheet (or a deep dish) ghee and keep aside.
In a heavy bottomed wok, place 2 tbsp ghee.
Add the cup of besan to this and on a very low flame, roast it till fragrant - say around 4-5 minutes. Keep a close watch and saute constantly so as not to let the gram flour brown or burn.
In a large bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients including flavouring of choice {saffron strands or cardamom].
Once the gram flour is aromatic, tip the contents of the bowl into a wok. Keeping the flame low at all times, constantly keep stirring the contents till reduced to nearly half. For the quantities specified, this takes 15-17 minutes.
At the end of 15 minutes, immediately transfer the contents of the wok onto the greased baking sheet.
Smoothen out the surface with the edge of a flat spatula or by patting under few layers of foil, to make the heat bearable.
Score into squares or diamonds using a pizza cutter /knife.
Cut out when completely cool.

(The recipe is traditionally called a seven cup cake or the seven heaven cake because of three cups of sugar and 1 each of other 4 ingredients, making it easy to remember. However, in my experience, 2 cups of sugar is more than enough for our generation's sweet tooth. And even my grandparents are quite happy with that :)



31 comments:

Raaga said...

Hey... I'm going to substitute coconut with cashews and try :-) what do you think the result will be?

Nandita said...

You can try cashew or almond powder, but I though coconut made it very fragrant..buy hey almond has a lovely fragrance too and you could substitute saffron with almond essence

Anjali said...

Hi Nandita.

Yeah these vadis are amazing even with wheat flour.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

sra said...

True, this is so typically South Indian, come to think of it, I've heard about it only from Tamilians - supposed to be an emergency Mysore Paak recipe, I think!

Jyothsna said...

Reminds me of my grandma's amazing mysore pak! This actually looks more like the paal mysore paak we get at saravana bhavan.

Asha said...

Besan Laddu made into squares is a great idea.I always red palms rolling them with hot mix! Looks mouthwatering N. Have a great Gowri-Ganesha habba!:))

Nags said...

besan ladu is my roomi's fave sweet.. recipe seems very similar :)

Laavanya said...

My MIL makes this very well and she made boxes of these for us while she was visiting us. Love it.

Anonymous said...

besan is a chana daal flour not chick pea flour
Ketan

Siri said...

Yummy Yummmy Yummy..:D

Anonymous said...

Ketan,

Chana dal is split chick peas (like split mung and whole mung dals). So, chana dal flour and chick pea flour are the same.

Jyothi said...

Wow! looks amazing nandita! lovely sweet for festival. I will try this. Thanks for sharing.

Mansi Desai said...

nice one nandita! I was a bit flustered looking at the pic and the title 7-cup cakes:) and I still have to make something for tomorrow!!

Latha said...

7 cup cake looks delicious and not very challengin Nanditha! hey u look nice in that profile pic! so indian compared to the other pics so far! :-)

musical said...

The 7 cup sweet is great! These sweets, they assume a unique flavor during festivals! what with all the sharing and fun :).

Nandita said...


Mansi- LOL thats why I specifically put hyphen between 7-cup and not cup-cake

:D Firstly this wouldnt even be considered a 'cake' according to Western cooks, would be rather called a 'bar' or a fudge :D


Musical - yes, im just quickly checking mails before leaving for parents' place...after all they need help in devouring the loads of different kozhakattais mom makes :)

Latha- thanks dear. Just feels good to dress up totally Indian for a change and get out of the jeans-tee routine- glad you noticed :)


As regards comparing this to Mysore Pak (which is what I intended to make first) - this has one cup ghee as against 3 cups in mysore pak, which means I face the danger of blocking just one coronary as against all 3 :) You get the drift?
WHile mysore pak is delicious, I cannot bring myself to use that much ghee in anything edible...even using this one cup was an almost heart-stopping experience ;D

Roopa said...

I make this for the choice reagrds to mysorepak, the burfi looks excellent and have got a nice :)

Cynthia said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

Timepass said...

The sweet looks very soft and yummy. I have sent you a mail mentioning my entry for WBB-15. Pls do have a look.

Rohini's kitchen said...

7 cup sweet looks yummy.

Kay said...

happy ganesh chadhurti! :) I've only heard about this sweet. never tried it...

sounds easy, I'll try it soon and let you know.

easycrafts said...

Nice post...my mom makes them too. but i have never tried it still. thanks for the receipe

Nikita said...

I tried this with powdered dry fruits instead of dessicated coconut. But somehow the vadis were too wet to retain shape. Should I have cooked it a little more?

Princess Karamiri said...

First time visiting your blog. Your recipe sounds wonderful. Will try it out for sure!

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say that I tried this recipe and followed it to the 'T' and it came out just right! Thank you - you have a great blog going here.

-Rashmi

sujatha said...

Instead of coconut i add a mixture of cashew, badam and pistas finely powdered in the mixie. Try it will taste awesome!

Anonymous said...

it is actually 7-cup sweet, not cake

Hemamalini said...

Hi,

I've visited your blog many times but this is the first time to comment. I tried the 7 cup cake for Deepavali and it turned out very well. Thanks for the simple yet delicious recipe.

Hema

vimmi said...

I tried for Eid and it came out very well. Pursue with your task and help people cultive home made food

Anonymous said...

hi !! I tried this it was delicious but it came little chewy , can u advice on this.

Nandu

Nithya said...

I tried this last night and it came out a bit chewy like a toffee. The taste was good but. I used 3 cups of sugar. Did I take it out too soon?

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