I'd never heard of Indian Mava Cakes, let alone tried one, until I read about them on Tartlette. Wow, did they look good and I love cardamom (a featured ingredient in these cakes). It's especially nice in the autumn which is sadly fast approaching (at least in Portland -- I realize it is still summertime at the Tucson branch of Two Kitchens). From my Internet research, I've learned Mava (also called Mawa and Khoya) is a dairy-based pudding or paste-like substance that is often the base of Indian Desserts. If anyone out there is a mava expert, I'd be interesting in learning more about it.
The recipe we used had two main parts, making the mava and then making the cake. While the cake part was simple, the mava was not. First, as I'm sure Mariana will mention (we conferred via text messages on this) the mava took forever -- about an hour and 20 minutes! The recipe said it would resemble thick butterscotch pudding, but I was still unsure when my mava was finished. Mariana -- is this what your mava looked like?
As a side note, while it may look like pudding, I don't recommend tasting it -- pretty gross before it gets mixed into the cake batter.
The cake part was straightforward and easy -- I baked mine in a large muffin tin. I changed the original recipe by adding a teaspoon of vanilla and topped the cakes with thin slices of pear brushed with brown butter and sugar (I also left some naked as I was curious about the more traditional version).
I thought the finished product was super enjoyable -- a sweet dense cake with pear. This was especially tasty as an afternoon snack with some fruit and a cup of tea, but it might also be eaten for breakfast tomorrow.
Would you make this recipe again?
Yes, especially because the mava recipe made three times the amount needed for the cake, so I have extra mava waiting for the next cake. But, I'd do the mava again, too. It's just a lot of stirring I wasn't totally prepared for.
What else would you serve in the meal?
When I started this recipe, I thought it would be fun to pair it with Indian food, but the next time I would probably serve it with a roast chicken and green salad -- nice and simple and autumn -like.
How would you change this if you were going to make it again?
More pears! I would probably use a spring form pan and make 9-inch round cake, instead of using a cupcake pan. I'd shape the pears in a starburst pattern.
What was your favorite part of making this recipe?
Tasting the cake batter. And using my mandoline to slice the pears -- I love it!
Least favorite?The mava. In addition to taking forever, I used too small of a saucepan and it boiled over multiple times.
Did you mess up any parts of this recipe?
Not that I can remember -- besides the mava boiling over.
If you were going to serve this to one of your friends, who would you choose?
Hmmm, besides you? Probably my mom. I think she would find the cardamom interesting and love the pears.