Diwali fireworks are bursting around us as I type. We have all been sitting in the balcony with the little one who was very impressed by the pretty starbursts, although he does not like the noise too much and is now with his great-grandmother, my Ammama who has come to my parents home here in TN all the way from her beloved farm in Kerala to be with our little monkey. He is sitting on her lap with his fingers in his ears, wearing cotton shorts and the thin cotton sleeveless t-shirt like all kids here since it is very warm. An amusing sight for me since I am so used to seeing him all the time in his Oshkosh hoodies in the US. Hope my Indian friends are having a wonderful Diwali and everyone is enjoying the
The picture above is the result of about half an hour on the terrace of my parents home, trying to capture atleast one star-burst before it vanished into the dark sky. The cheeky fireworks kept teasing me, bursting on one side then the other while I lumbered around with my heavy camera until I caught this one and decided it would have to do. There were much prettier ones and I ask you to please ignore the slight blurriness of what I managed to capture and see it for what it really was -a burst of little diamonds scattered in the night sky.
Diwali is a Hindu religious festival celebrating the return of Rama and Sita after years of exile and is spread over five days. It is great that I was able to be in India during this time.You just cannot help getting caught up in the excitement, whatever be your own religion. For me atleast means fireworks, beautifully bedecked women in their finest saris, jewelry and with jasmine in their hair, but most of all - sweets! It just would not be Diwali without the mandatory boxes of ghee and cardamom scented sweets that would arrive from friends. Cake is not typical to Diwali but I was inspired to make this cake yesterday. Why would I bother making laddoos or mysore pak when all I have to do is step outside to Sri Krishna Sweets, that institution of south Indian sweets practically next door to my parents home? I love Sri Krishna's and I loved them even more today when I read an article about how they are trying to preserve traditional sweets and snacks by renting out spaces for mamis near their homes to get together and cook up murrukus and jaelabis for sale, providing them a source of income as well.
But back to the cake - layers of soft, airy sponge with a touch of citrus zest and just sweet enough orange Bavarian cream with segments of fresh orange that burst as you bite them-citrus fireworks in your mouth!
The sponge cake is made with a lot of eggs but no butter. It is quite dry and slightly eggy-smelling on its own. But it absorbed the simple syrup I made with orange juice and sugar like a...well, like a sponge and becomes moist and tender with a filling and frosting. So for a layer cake, do not look past this simple sponge cake which is also quite easy to make and very easy to remember. If you are looking for a plain tea cake to eat on it's own, check out these instead. I was itching to add a dash of cardamom powder which think would have been perfect with the orange but my kid brother (no longer a kid really) does not like cardamom too much so I controlled myself. Besides Diwali brings about a cardamom overdose anyway!Which ever way you try it -with or without the cardamom and for whatever reason you find to bake it, you will love it! Even if your Bavarian Cream does not set like me -I don't know why :( and is a little runny, it still tastes really, really good!