O! what a  sight it was when the Sun finally peeped through the thick fog that had haunted the region for days leaving us wondering if we were ill equipped to face the cold or was it age factor or was it global warming leading to extreme weather conditions. While the latter looks the most likely reason, the appearance of the Sun definitely lifted the spirits and finally the layers of woolens that had almost concealed the identities were reduced. The hills enjoyed a good sunshine while the foothills shivered and shuddered at the wrath of the winters. In hills where modern amenities are almost nonexistent, people resort to natural ways to keep themselves warm. Villages have houses with thick stone walls plastered with mud that retains the heat inside. Use of firewood for cooking also keeps the insides warm. Kumaonis (people living in Kumaon region of Uttrakhand) also incorporate a lot of madua (ragi or finger millets) in their diet. Tea is had with lots of fresh ginger and ajwain (Bishop’s seeds). Piping hot tea is had with a loud whoosh sound. A lot of spices are incorporated in food in different ways.

I had bookmarked the recipe of a cake which has a lot of spices. I made it last week. The flavour and warmth of spices and the sweetness of fruits made a great combination.
Adapted from joyofbaking.com

1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk (240 ml)
½ cup (1 stick) butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons mixed spice powder (nutmeg, cloves, dried ginger)
1 teaspoon baking soda.
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup black currants
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped figs
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat the oven at 165 degrees C. Grease and line a 9 x 5 inch pan.
Take about ½ cup of whole wheat flour. Coat the dates and figs with the flour and chop them. Sieve the remaining whole wheat flour with baking soda and salt. Add spices. Add flour with dates and figs. Mix well. Melt butter, add buttermilk and vanilla essence. Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients and add black currants and golden raisins. Mix evenly and gently. Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 50 – 55 minutes till the top becomes golden and skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. 

Transfer to the cooling rack and slice when cold.

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  1. Baked this cake today,and it fell flat on its face!Should I have used baking powder instead of baking soda?Also,the bottom of the cake was burnt black?Where did I go wrong?The same happened to my simple aata biscuit!

  2. How can i substitute butter with oil.

    1. Hello Mamta, Add 1/2 cup vegetable oil in place of butter. Happy Baking!