My Very Basic Cake Recipe

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I am of the firm belief you need one solid basic cake recipe. If you have that sorted, everything else is a permutation & combination. I've been baking since before I started boiling water, so it's fair to say baking comes more naturally to me than other things. But there is this one standard cake recipe I use, which I then play around with. A dash of lemon, some orange zest, a spot of cocoa, fruit slices, anything really works with this recipe.

Today, I decided to add this fruit known locally as 'Bore'. Sounds funny right? It's also called 'Ber' or Indian Jujube apparently. It's only the last couple of years I've been having it, and it's caught my fancy. I try and get some of these when they are in season cos they are so fresh and crunchy and more sweet than sour. It tastes like a fruit we call 'Sabarjil' in Malayalam. Perhaps it's the same. Also, I had a new baking dish I've been eager to try out. So I decided to make an Upside Down Cake with this fruit.

Making Upside Down Cakes is a no brainer. Caramelize sugar till it reaches an amber gold colour, quickly coat the base of the baking tray. Pour batter on top. Bake. Invert the cake out of the dish almost as soon as it's out of the oven, or else the sugar caramel cools down and sticks to the baking dish. For this cake, I topped the caramel with slices of fruit in a nice pattern and then poured cake batter on top. On top of the batter, I added a crumble base, which are those white specks at the bottom of the cake you see in this picture. So I had oozy, almost bitter caramel on top of the cake, soft cooked fruit, an even softer cake and then a nice crunchy crumble base. Just so you have a fair idea of how me mind works. I like textures and this one gives me quite a few.

For the cake, I used my standard standard cake recipe which I'm going to share right here. All you have to remember is that a standard Indian egg weighs 50g. In most cases, we get a medium sized egg which falls in this category. If they are the smaller kinds, they will weigh ~40g, and if they are fairly large, they will come close to 60g. But for ease of representation, let's consider standard eggs as 50g.

The rest of the ingredients work in multiples of the egg quantity. So if you have one egg which weighs 50g, use 50g of butter, 50g of sugar, 50g of flour and 1/2 tsp of baking powder. If you have 2 eggs multiply the ingredients by 2 (100g butter, 100g sugar, 100g flour, 1 tsp baking powder) and so on. Of course, you'd have to adjust the size of the baking tins depending on the quantity. I always add a tablespoon of liquid to adjust the batter consistency and this I think gives me a softer cake. Normally it's milk, but occasionally, like in this case, when I want to be frivolous and give a different flavour to the cake, I add a splash of liqueur. So basically this is a pound cake which I've kind of worked around for my convenience.

Generally all recipes ask for a drop of vanilla extract/essence/lemon zest to eliminate the eggy flavour. In reality, I almost never have vanilla at hand and unless the cake specifically calls for lemon/lime, I don't zest it in. Maybe because I'm not so averse to the flavour of eggs, but I almost always feel that if you beat in the egg really well after each addition, it removes any egginess.


150g - Butter
150g - Sugar
3 - Eggs
150g - All Purpose Flour/Maida
1+1/4 tsp - Baking Powder
3 tbsp - Liquid (Milk, Liqueur,Yogurt)


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line an 8" round cake tin
2. Cream Butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Don't try and save time on this. Cream till it becomes light in colour and you cant feel the sugar grains
3. Add the eggs in one by one. Beat well after each addition, till finally the eggs are completely mixed in and the mix is light and fluffy
4. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold it into the batter in batches. You needn't be too gentle about this. Go ahead and fold
5. Add in the liquid and stir till its uniformly mixed in.
6. Pour into cake tin and bake for 45-50 mins (my oven takes this long. Check your oven timing the first time around)
7. When a toothpick comes out clean/cake springs back on touch, you're good to go.

The best part about this recipe is, you can bake it in a round tin, a loaf tin or as I did this time, in a curved tin. It really doesn't affect the cake too much. Like I said earlier, depending on the size of the cake I want, I play around and make it for 1 or 2 eggs occasionally. I use the one with 2 eggs quite often cos thats the easiest when it comes to using butter. 100g butter is how we get it here and it's an ideal measurement when it comes to pouring into cupcake liners and baking a quick batch.

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