One would expect a dish made with tomato to be tangy and tart. Soups, salads and rasams come to mind whenever this ingredient is mentioned. However, at Araku Cafe, head chef Rahul Sharma has created a unique cake featuring the tomato as the hero ingredient. “At Araku, we often play with a single ingredient, to explore its various textures and flavour possibilities through a dish—in an effort to extract its full potential. For instance, in our tomato cake, we spotlight the skin of tomatoes as well. It’s a sun-dried cherry tomato cake topped with tomato jam, kachampuli vinegar, chewy sun-dried cherry tomatoes, mascarpone, tomato powder and tomato skin crisp,” he elaborates.
The use of ingredients such as kachampuli are in sync with the food ethos at Araku, which is to draw attention to a more sustainable and equitable food system. According to Sharma, while it may get challenging at times, the team is trying to find unique ways to repurpose by-products or waste into something beautiful that can be part of the menu. “A fine example are our Cascara Bon Bons made with coffee cascara (which are otherwise discarded), Araku Selection coffee, 75% Dark Chocolate, organic sugar, buckwheat flour, almond milk and amaranth,” says Sharma.
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For the new specials menu, launching on 21 August, the culinary team is focusing on monsoon-friendly ingredients such as fresh herbs and greens. The crowd-favourite Cassata, a play on the classic ice cream, will be coming back on the menu, but with layers of cocoa juice, rosemary and plum ice cream. “We’re also introducing a celtuce and bimli salad, both ingredients being unique to the season,” he says.
Araku Tomato Cake
Cherry tomato cake with tomato jam & mascarpone cream (Contains egg)
200 gm butter
150 gm sugar
200 gm eggs
200 gm flour
5 gm baking powder
50 ml milk
180 gm sundried tomato paste
50 gm cherry tomatoes
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For 7-10 minutes, whip together refrigerated butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy. Once the desired consistency has been achieved, add one egg at a time. Keep adding eggs one by one and pause only when the eggs are fully incorporated into the paste. Tip in the milk and sundried tomato paste. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Gently blend the two mixtures together. Grease a baking mould of your choice and pour the batter into it. Bake at 170 degree celsius for roughly 30-45 minutes. To test if fully cooked, insert a paring knife into the center of the cake to see if it has set. If the knife comes out clean, it's done. If it comes out gummy or with crumbs clinging to it, the cake needs more time in the oven.