We connect at the dinner table, lunches, breakfasts, weddings, Eid, Independence Day, family reunions, social get-togethers, birthdays and countless other occasions around a dastarkhaan, a dining table, or a trolley. It shows our collective passion for food.

Today, I’ll share with you the recipes of Samina Auntie’s fresh cream cake, and other trolley delights. The cake is homemade, delicious and finger licking good. Samina Auntie was gracious and kind, and willingly shared her cake recipe with me some 33 years ago.

The cake was made often and almost always in the afternoon, when Bashar — our cook — had cleaned up the kitchen and slipped away for his afternoon siesta. On his return in the evening, the kitchen would be a mess, but there was always a delicious cake to devour and share.

Revisiting some old recipes to enjoy with a cup of tea

Now some 33 years later, Samina Auntie’s daughter shared the recipe with me all over again. She also baked the cake and served it to us with a piping hot cuppa tea, and some freshly baked scones. Hence today, in honour of the cake, we present to you the Pakistani Tea Trolley. Bake, serve and enjoy.

DRY CAKE MIX

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
8 ounces self-raising flour
8 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 can of mixed fruit (cherries, peaches, strawberries, pineapples, mixed fruit) with syrup
4 tablespoons milk chocolate shavings

FOR FRESH CREAM

INGREDIENTS

500 ml double cream
4 tablespoons sugar

METHOD

Separate the eggs keeping the yolks aside. In a cake mixer whisk egg whites and sugar until the mixture forms soft peaks and the texture holds its form. Fold in the flour, egg yolks and the vanilla essence (do not use the cake mixer when combining the two) and mix it all together by the baking method of cutting and folding, bringing in air into the batter. Once the batter is mixed, divide the mixture equally in two greased baking pans (round 8-½ inches) and bake in a 350 degrees pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Put the cakes on a wire rack for cooling.

Beat the double cream and sugar in cake mixer until the mixture forms peaks and can hold its form.

Sparingly pour the fruit syrup onto the cooled cakes, spreading it evenly to moisten the cake. Now spread the icing and some fruit on one cake, topping it with the second, spread the icing evenly on the sides and top, decorating with fruit and shaved chocolate. Chill and serve.

PAKORRAY

INGREDIENTS

2 cups gram flour
2 green chillies, chopped
2 medium-sized potatoes, sliced
2 to 3 boiled eggs, sliced
1 small eggplant, sliced
Spinach leaves
6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
1 teaspoon ajwain,
1 teaspoon coriander seeds,
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (pan roasted and roughly ground)
1 teaspoon baking powder (level)

METHOD

Prepare the batter by mixing all the ingredients, eyeballing amount of water. Deep fry until crisp and crunchy. Enjoy with chaat masala, yoghurt, chutney or ketchup.

Note: you can use any vegetable of preference.

CHANNA CHAAT

INGREDIENTS

2 cups channay (chickpea), soak overnight in water and 1/3 tsp soda
¼ to ½ cup gurr (jaggery), optional
½ to 1 tsp black salt, or to taste
½ tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
¼ to ½ cup tamarind chutney
1 to 2 potatoes, boiled and cut in small squares, (add yellow food colour while boiling)
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped onions

METHOD

Boil chickpea until completely tender, once boiled set aside and add jaggery, let cool and add all other ingredients. Garnish with chopped green chillies, cilantro, sliced round onions, sliced tomatoes and serve with a side of chutney, yoghurt, chaat masala, papri or any other desired side.

Pinwheel biscuits
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup baking cocoa

METHOD

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Divide the dough in half; add cocoa to one portion. Divide each portion in half. On a baking sheet, roll out each portion between waxed paper into a 12x10-inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the waxed paper. Place one chocolate rectangle over a plain rectangle. Roll up tightly, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; wrap in plastic. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm. Unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices.

Place two inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Published in Dawn, EOS, October 7th, 2018