Be it any celebration occasion, cake is a must to have to make it a memorable one. And, if not a special occasion, cakes are a delight to lift up the mood, for a sweet bite, or just for the sugar craving. Pineapple cake, chocolate cake, vanilla sponge, lemon cream, carrot cake, walnut cake, chocolate truffle the flavors are many to choose from designed for various occasions. But, broadly,tea cakes, sponge cakes, and celebration cakes is what most cakes fall under with shapes, size, and decoration that mark an occasion or find everyday use.
“What makes a cake so delectable?” The bread with the right amount of sponge which is sweet and moist from inside can make anyone salivate. And that too baked with some basic ingredients: flour, butter or oil, eggs/without eggs, sugar, and milk that are mixed and added in the right proportion. And, to this, if nuts, fresh fruits, candied fruits are added it enhances the taste multiple times.
How difficult it is to bake a cake? What is the art involved to bake the perfect cake. Well, there is some science, some act of ingredients, rest is the magic in the baker’s hands. In its early days, baking a cake involved solid arm strength to creambutter and sugar using a spatula until stiff peaked in. And, there is science here. First, creaming evenly disperses the sugar in the mixture, completely dissolving it into the butter. Second, creaming increases the volume by means of incorporating more air in the batter. The result. Lighter texture of the end product!
Over centuries, the basic recipe remained same but the technique evolved. The hard work is passé now. The labor needed is almost zero. A range of electric mixers, electric whisks available today does the job in minutes that has reduced the time taken to less than half.
The Success Story in India
The history of cake dates back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks, ancient Romans had cakes baked using the most basic ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, honey, and nuts. The types of cakes evolved as new ingredients were used such as beer for leavening, and later eggs for leavening. In some parts of the world, cakes were essentially considered as bread, with the only difference being in the baking process. But, cake remained a home-made or bakery-made specialty for a very long time. It is only with the cake in a box concept did cake become a mass produced item rather than a home-made or bakery-made specialty.
Today, cake is consumed in all parts of the world. So much is the popularity of cake, various cultures have given a twist to create cakes that suit their palate. Such innovations gave birth to eggless cakes!Yes, cakes that do not have eggs. This would give a jolt to the inventers of cake, and even to communities worldwide for whom cake is part of their native cuisine. But, yes, eggless cakes is a huge market today centered mostly in India. So much is the demand for eggless cakes, today,it has become a ‘class of cakes’.
In India, vegetarian communities mainly Gujarati and Marwari are the ones who scaled up demand for eggless cakes. It is mainly for religious reasons, large part of Gujarati and Marwari community, residing in any part of the world, are key consumers of eggless bakes. “Eggless che, eggless hainna” is the first question people of these communities have when they look to buy a cake.
Before this, in India, cake was a specialty of the Christians, Anglo Indians, and Parsis. Be it any festive occasion, feast, or wedding celebration cake used to be the main attraction of the food. Light and fluffy cake baked to perfection,with its aroma wafting in the environment would be a pleasure to the senses and to the taste buds. And, for Christmas, the plum cake continues to be the delight of Christian homes, traditional bakeriesthat is savouredby people of all communities.
Probably, this was the beginning of popularity of cakes that led to the creation of eggless cakes for vegetarian communities in India. Thus, to serve the delish baked goodto other communities, mainly trader families of Gujarati and Marwari communities and Brahmins employed in government departments,who were vegetarians, traditional bakeries introduced eggless cakes by eliminating eggs in the original recipe.
But, it is some of those enterprising Gujarati home-cook turned entrepreneurswho commercialized the home-version of eggless cakes that became a hit. Today, almost each and every bakery, mainly in Western and Central India,sells eggless cakes in a variety of flavors and toppings. And, there are packaged eggless cakes too that both local small-scale bakery companies and big ones make.
“But, it is home-bakers turned entrepreneurs who are behind the big wave of gourmet eggless cakes for their popularity today. Celebration cakes, tea cakes, or for any other occasion the cakes baked at home bakeries, which are mostly single-handedly baked are incomparable, beyond perfection. Undoubtedly, it is the use of best-quality exotic ingredients that make these cakes out of the world.” For some home-bakers, so much is the passion for baking cakes that they prepare their own flavors and frostings with all-natural ingredients. This has been a hit among urban consumers who are seeking hand-crafted foods, created with finest ingredients from a health perspective.
And a further twist to home-baked cakes is whole wheat cakes. Home-bakers, most of whom are mums, have developed whole wheat cakes to replace white flour full that is low in nutrition. Whole wheat, walnut, dates, honey, butter, milk, and egg substitute is what makes these cakes such a delight. So much goodness! “Can we say these whole wheat cakes make for a wholesome snack after school?” Certainly.