I was at first very sceptical at how an egg-free cake would taste and, more importantly, how the texture would be. This recipe was given to me by a friend of mine, Divya, about three years ago. I have to say it was a revelation. It has a lovely texture and crumb and the cake is light and rises really well. The orange syrup adds a lovely sour, sticky note and the dates a great chewy texture, propelling this simple cake into an elegant, impressive dessert. The cakes can be made a day in advance, they won’t be hot but they will still be delicious. You can also make one large cake; just make sure it is cooked all the way through by testing with a toothpick.
ANJUM’S INDIAN VEGETARIAN FEAST by ANJUM ANAND, published by Quadrille (£19.99, hardback) Photos ©EMMA LEE
for the cake
- 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the moulds
- 360–370ml (440-450g) condensed milk
- 150g pistachios, ground to a coarse powder
- 260g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- juice of 2 large organic oranges and finely grated zest of 1
- 6 tbsp caster sugar
- 8 large unsweetened dates, sliced
- crème fraîche, to serve
- handful of chopped pistachios, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line the base of eight 150–200ml pudding moulds (mine are metal) with greaseproof paper and butter the sides well.
Beat together the condensed milk and butter until well blended and creamy. Stir in 240ml of water, add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to mix.
Spoon evenly into the moulds; the mixture will be thick. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Meanwhile, pour the orange juice and zest and the sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until, when you drop a bit on a cold plate, it feels slightly syrupy to the touch. It will continue to thicken further as it cools.
Place a cake on a plate and spoon over some orange syrup. Place the date slices on the syrup and spoon a generous dollop of the crème fraîche on the side, or on top. Scatter over a few pistachios and serve.
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