In Indian cuisine, a wide variety of spices form the bedrock of flavour. From snack and vegetable preparations to curries and rice dishes, spices are what make these delicacies what they are. But spices don’t just have savoury applications. You can use several of them while making sweet treats, including when you’re baking a cake. Sometimes, these spices can be the star ingredient flavouring the baked item. At other times, they can simply be one of the elements making it tastier. If you’re relatively new to baking, here are some of the spices you should consider while preparing cakes:
Also Read: Baking Hacks: 10 Important Baking Steps We Often Miss Out
Baking For Beginners: 7 Spices That Can Be Used In Cakes
Vanilla is one of the most common and versatile spices you can use to flavour your cakes, as well as a wide range of other desserts. Even in cakes that already have another dominant flavour or ingredient – be it chocolate, nuts, or fruits – adding a bit of vanilla can greatly enhance the overall taste. If you want a simple recipe to begin with, click here to learn how to make an eggless vanilla cake.
Another ingredient you may not immediately classify as a spice is ginger. Although ginger is a root, it functions like a spice and has applications in sweet as well as savoury recipes. Ground ginger is an especially useful baking spice you must consider stocking in your pantry. Apart from cakes, you can use it in cookies, puddings, tarts and so on. Here’s a ginger sponge cake recipe to give you an idea of its yumminess.
Cinnamon is another common baking spice. It is famously used in recipes for apple pies, carrot cake and coffee-flavoured desserts. It is also the key spice in several traditional sweet treats from different parts of the world. While vanilla may be more easy to experiment with, cinnamon has a distinctive aroma that is almost bound to stand out. Hence, pay attention to how much you add. If you want a recipe, here’s one for an atta carrot cake.
For many people, the flavour of nutmeg evokes feelings of festivity and holiday cheer. This is because it is widely used in festive items made during the winter in Western countries – including pies, eggnog and much more. Your cake can also get a wonderful upgrade with the addition of nutmeg. You can also use it in combination with other spices like cinnamon and ginger to build a more complex flavour profile.
Cardamom is widely used in mithai and Indian dessert recipes. So why not try adding some to your cake too? Like vanilla, cardamom can be combined with a variety of other spices and ingredients to make a delightful sweet treat. We suggest trying to pair it with recipes that may also contain apples, bananas, plums, nuts, coconut, etc. If you’re looking for a unique cake, click here to read the recipe for a rose cardamom cake.
Saffron is another spice commonly featured in Indian dessert recipes. But you can also use it to enhance the flavour of different types of cakes. Saffron is extremely potent and you need to be mindful while using it. Even a very small quantity can lend enough flavour (and sometimes colour) for a huge serving of any given dish. You can pair it with nuts or rose essence while baking.
7. Star Anise
This is a relatively lesser-used spice for baking. But if you’re feeling experimental, you might just unlock the wonderful potential of star anise to improve sweet dishes. Rather than blindly risking your own cakes, look for carefully curated recipes that feature this spice. Take time to understand its application and also consider your own taste before you add it to your cake batter or dessert base.