Yes, the title does read Meetha Paan Cake and you will never forget its taste, it’s that captivating! Paan has been majorly popularized a great deal by Bollywood. You will surely agree with me on this….One can never forget songs like “khaika Paan Banaras Wala…” or “Paan Khaaye Saiyaan Hamaar…”
Paan is a mouth fresher made with the preparation of betel leaf in combination with other ingredients and tobacco and is used as a digestive aid, especially after a spicy, hot and heavy meal. Women usually prefer paan without tobacco. I absolutely adore meetha paan, especially the when the Gulkand is seeping through every bite, with crunchy coconut and sugar-coated fennel seeds balances the taste on your palate. After every meal I have at a restaurant, I make it a point to have a meetha pan at a paan shop which is usually right outside the restaurant. As a kid, I used to eagerly watch how they made paan, ingredients they put in and how they used to fold it.
Now that the creativity in the food industry has increased to new heights, the paan waalas have left no stone unturned to keep up with the trends. You get a variety of fillings depending on what tickles your taste buds – Chocolate Paan, Ice Paan (to name a few). The list of ingredients of this recipe is a little long and, but you can easily get all of them at any shop. I got them all from the closest paan shop itself :D. The recipe is quite simple with no fancy ingredients.
The Indian experience is not complete without chewing the Paan. Here is my take on the famous Indian Paan.
For the cake
1 ½ cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup curd
3/4th cup powdered sugar
½ cup oil
2 tsp. Vanilla essence
1 1/4th tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1/3rd cup tutti-frutti
1 tbsp. rose petal jam (Gulkand)
1 tbsp. coloured coconut flakes
1/2 betel leaf (paan patta), chopped finely
1 tsp. flour
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup rose petal jam (Gulkand)
1 tbsp. tutti-frutti
Grated saffron betel nuts (kesari supari/kesari laccha – optional)
Sieve all-purpose flour and ensure that there are no lumps in it and keep it aside. Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius. Grease a 4″x7″ loaf tin or an 8″ round pan with oil. Dust some flour to coat it on all sides and the bottom of the tin.
In a big bowl beat the curd until it is smooth and add the powdered sugar and beat again for around 2-3 minutes. Add baking powder and baking soda to the curd mixture and mix well and leave it aside for 5 minutes (the mixture will become a little frothy and you will see some bubbles forming in it).
Add vanilla essence and oil to the curd mixture and mix it gently (please be gentle, the air in the mixture should not be lost). Now add the flour in parts and fold it into the mixture gently (do not stir vigorously as it will loose air in the mixture). At this point add the Gulkand to mixture and fold it gently.
In a bowl take tutti-frutti, coloured coconut flakes, chopped betel leaf and add 1 tsp. of flour and mix well (this will ensure that it does settle in the bottom of the tin). Add this mixture to the cake batter and fold it nicely.
Pour this batter into the prepared tin and bake it in the pre-heated oven for 35 – 40 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake, if it comes out clean with then its ready. If the toothpick has some batter stuck to it keep the tin back in the oven and bake for some more time.
Remove the tin from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake and turn it upside down onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
In a bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the Gulkand. Cover the cake in this Gulkand cream and decorate with tutti-frutti and grated saffron betel nuts (you may even cut the cake into two layers and use this Gulkand cream as frosting between). Refrigerate it for at least half an hour, slice the cake into thick slices and enjoy!