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Let's bake cakes with ghee and garam masala

A new dessert cookbook, Passionate About Baking, is loaded with fuss-free chocolate recipes of cookies, cakes and tarts

Banana walnut chocolate chip loaf. (Photo: Deeba Rajpal)
Banana walnut chocolate chip loaf. (Photo: Deeba Rajpal)


Makes one 9 X 5 inch loaf
I was never a fan of bananas in baking, yet I baked this on popular request. This teacake turned out ‘unbelievably good’, as the better half declared. It’s really good for a wholegrain banana bread, where ghee meets coconut sugar to create beautiful caramel undertones. Do make sure the bananas are overripe.

The loaf ’s packed with toasted walnuts and dark chocolate chips and vanishes pretty quickly, and soon I’m waiting for bananas to get overripe again! Another fuss-free, one-bowl recipe that’s hand-mixed, and simple enough even for kids to stir together, it’s great for breakfast, tea or gifting, for anytime actually. 

130 g wholewheat flour 
65 g all-purpose flour 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp cinnamon powder 
1⁄2 tsp salt 
50 g walnuts, chopped 
50 g dark chocolate chips 
100 g clarified butter/ghee melted, cooled 
100 g sugar 
100 g coconut sugar 
2 large eggs (or 2 small eggs + 1 yolk) 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
150 g bananas or 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed 
1 tbsp Greek yogurt 
TOPPING Walnut halves, chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with parchment paper. Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl to mix. Reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the clarified butter/ghee and both sugars. Whisk in the eggs one by one, followed by the vanilla extract, Greek yogurt and mashed bananas. Add the dry mix into the wet mix, mixing until just combined. Do not over-mix. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared tin, and top with walnut halves and chocolate chips. Bake at 180oC for approximately an hour, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes, then gently take it out and cool on the cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Also read | The good, better, best eggless cake recipe



Spicy chocolate garam masala fruit cake. (Photo: Deeba Rajpal)
Spicy chocolate garam masala fruit cake. (Photo: Deeba Rajpal)

Makes one six-inch cake  
One bite of this cake will transport you to a winter wonderland where warm spices, chocolate and rum embrace you with their warmth. The flavours come together really well, and each crumb screams holiday season! My holiday baking through winter has increasingly been flavoured by garam masala, a spice my mother used to lace her Christmas fruit cake with. It comes as a surprise to many since they associate this quintessential Indian spice with curries, kebabs and savoury food.  

150 g dried fruit (raisins, dried berries, apricots, orange peel, crystallized ginger, etc.)
150 ml rum
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp coconut sugar  

65 g all-purpose flour 
40 g almond meal
20 g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder 
1⁄2 tsp baking soda  
A pinch of salt 
100 g walnuts, chopped 
85 g dark chocolate chips  
75 g clarified butter/ghee, melted
150 g coconut sugar
1 egg  
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 ml rum (to soak) 

Ingredients for rum-spiked chocolate ganache 
75 g dark chocolate, chopped fine
100 ml cream
1⁄2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp rum  
Candied orange slices, berries, cocoa powder 


Stir the ingredients for the fruit mix and store in a covered glass jar/ bowl for a minimum of 2–3 days. Check daily and top the mix with more rum if required. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a 6 inch loose-bottomed tin with parchment paper. 

Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl to mix. Toss the fruit mix into the dry mix, using a fork to coat the fruit with the flour. Reserve. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the clarified butter/ghee and coconut sugar until light and mousse-like. Alternatively, use a large bowl and an electric hand-mixer. Beat in the egg, followed by the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Fold the dry mix into the wet mix. 

Transfer to the prepared tin, even out and bake for approximately an hour until done. 

For rum-spiked chocolate ganache

Place the chocolate in a glass bowl. Heat the cream till hot but not boiling and pour over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 10–15 minutes until the chocolate softens, add the garam masala and rum, then stir gently until smooth. Cool to a spreadable consistency. 

Top the cooled cake with the ganache, then garnish with candied orange slices, berries etc. Dust the edges with cocoa powder

Excerpted with permission from ‘Passionate About Baking’ authored by Deeba Rajpal and published by Penguin Random House India.

Also read | An eggless chocolate cake recipe for a quick dessert fix

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