from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra (Anova Books, 2009)
Serve this in small slices. The cake keeps for more than a week, well wrapped, in a cool place. Do give yourself enough time: the layering alone can take up to 45 minutes, after the batter has been prepared.
You will need a grill for this recipe.
250 gm / 9 oz butter, softened
200 gm / 7 oz caster sugar (in two portions of 100 gm / 3½ oz each)
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
125 gm / 4½ oz plain flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
50 gm / 1¾ oz melted butter, for brushing
20-cm / 8-inch round baking tin
Beat the butter until smooth. Add 100 gm / 3½ oz caster sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat well to incorporate.
Sift the flour with the salt and set aside.
In a scrupulously clean bowl, using a clean whisk or beater, whisk the egg whites until foaming. Pour the remaining caster sugar in a slow but steady stream onto the whites while still whisking. Continue whisking until stiff peaks hold their shape. Add a generous spoonful of the whites to the creamed mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites in three batches, alternating with the flour. Do not overmix.
Transfer half of the mixture to another bowl. Carefully fold the spices into the contents of one bowl. Spread a quarter of the contents of one bowl over the bottom of the greased baking tin and level it off with a plastic scraper.
Place the tin under a hot grill and grill until the top is puffy and the batter cooked through. The first layer always seems to take a little longer, perhaps about 5 minutes, depending on how close it is to the heat source. Remove the tin from the grill, then brush with butter and add another layer.
Each subsequent layer will take about 3 minutes – they will be puffed up and golden brown and should be cooked through. You should have a total of eight layers. Always be sure to spread the batter evenly and to wipe any spills off the side of the tin. Spills tend to burn and drop into the batter, spoiling the appearance and taste of the finished cake. When you have grilled all of the layers, carefully loosen the edges and turn onto a wire cooling rack.
© Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra 2009