My old cooking range had served me faithfully for more than 20 years. As much as it had seen many successes and failures of my experiments, it was time for me to let it go. It was one of the first things that I told my husband I needed, even before we got married. “Why do you need a cooking range?” he asked me. People around just could not comprehend why I did not buy a simple table top gas stove to cook with. To cut a long story short, I had my way and my cooking adventures which had started well before thoughts of marriage had even entered my head, continued unabated.
Now after 20 long years however, it was time to look for alternatives. I had decided on a built-in oven and my long suffering husband had no objections this time. He knew me well. Clothes and jewelry had no attraction for me. But talk about an oven, or even baking pans, my eyes would light up and sparkle. And so this new oven came into my life. As I looked at my beauty and admired her clean lines (Yes she is a girl) I was debating what would be my first bake. Should I make a bread? some cookies maybe –macarons would be perfect to test out the oven. After debating for a while, I decided on plain ol’vanilla cake. Simple and unfailing, easy to check out the various settings, the unfussy vanilla would be the perfect blank slate.
That decided, I kept going back to a super simple vanilla cake, an eggless one at that. I remember my mother making it for us when we were young. She would just pull out ingredients from the pantry and put them together. It had no condensed milk, carbonated beverage or even butter. Yet, it was one of the best cakes I had tasted. It was soft and spongy, sturdy enough to be iced and filled, cut well and did not crumble. It was moist and did not become hard when stored. She would vary it by adding cocoa or some nuts and sometimes a touch of cinnamon would liven things up. I remember waiting eagerly for the cake to cool so she would cut me a slice.
That’s it! It was decided. Eggless vanilla it was to be. I did ask my mother where she got the recipe from and typically, as with most mothers, she had no idea. “A lot of us used to bake this cake because it was so simple,” she said. “I might have made some changes and then again maybe not”. I decided to let things be. It can just remain one of those classics that I would not tamper with. Who am I to question this? I will just bake the cake, test the oven and then eat the cake. After all the proof was in the eating right?
1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Thick plain curd/yogurt
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 to 2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Oil
- Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
- Whiz your sugar in a blender if the granules are coarse (as you can see I did not and the little spots on the surface is proof of that)
- Beat the sugar and yogurt well until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the baking powder and baking soda to the yogurt and mix well. Make sure that there are no lumps of the raising agent. You will slowly see the mixture starting to froth.
- Mix in the salt, vanilla, and oil.
- Fold in the flour with gentle strokes until well combined.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done.
- Cool in the pan for at least 10 to 15 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool.
You could create different cakes like my mother did. Remove a couple of spoonfuls of flour and add in cocoa, nuts and spices, or even the zest of lime or orange. The combinations are endless. Try your favourite and let me know where your imagination led you.