I wanted to bake a special cake today to celebrate the birthday of a close friend undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and glaucoma. As there was a ripe mango in the fridge, I decided on a mango cake. Thinking of the spice that I could mix with mango in a cake, I decided to try saffron as I had recently tried out kesari in my muffin loaf and had also enjoyed the Cornish saffron bread that I had baked a couple of months back. Therefore, while both my exotic muffin loaf and this mango saffron cake look outwardly similar, the taste is different.
Of course, on this special day, I wish to feature a very special singer – K.S.Chitra whose birthday coincidentally happens to be today as well. One of my favourite singers, Chitra has won six Indian national awards during her 35 years of playback singing as well as was awarded the Padma Shri in 2005. She has had extensive training in Carnatic music.
As I had already shared her first award-winning movie song in the post featuring music composer Ilayarajaa, I will share a beautiful song clip from her devotional song album, Krishnapriya (2005).
The second clip is a lullaby she sang for the Craft (Center for research in assisted reproduction and fetal therapy) hospital and research center. The center shares this song for downloading from their website with the message, “For our emotionally stressed women and men we hereby give a small gift- A Lullaby of hope that will go straight to your hearts- soothe you and transcend you virtually to the wonderful world of parenthood.” Chitra lost her eight-year old daughter in 2011 and resumed her singing with this track.
The last song clip is her award-winning movie song from Cheran’s movie Autograph (2004) featuring actress Sneha and the Comaganin Raaga Priya orchestra. The music was composed by Bharadwaj and performed by the special blind orchestra while the lyrics was written by P.Vijay (who also won an award that year) and sung by Chitra. The clip I chose to share here has roughly translated subtitles (courtesy of YouTube user Antony Rajabala).
Hope you enjoyed today’s music by one of my favourite singers and the lovely cake!
Mango Saffron Cake
- All-purpose flour – 1 cup
- Roasted semolina – ½ cup
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – ½ tsp
- Salt, pinch
- Vegetable oil margarine – 100g
- Sugar – 6 tbsp (can add more, as per your taste)
- Milk (non-fat or vegan substitute) – ½ cup
- Saffron threads – ¼ tsp
- Vanilla essence – ½ tsp
- Mango – 1, chopped
- Cashew nuts and raisins, to sprinkle
- Heat the milk with the saffron. Once bubbles start to form, remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
- Sift the flour together with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the roasted semolina to the dry ingredients bowl and keep aside.
- Chop up the mango and add the vanilla essence to the chopped mangoes in a separate bowl. Let the fruits soak in the essence.
- Whisk the margarine and sugar together until creamy.
- Stir in the saffron milk and continue whisking.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, continuously stirring.
- Fold in the chopped mangoes and transfer to lightly greased baking pan.
- Sprinkle chopped cashew nuts and raisins.
- Bake the cake at 170⁰C for around 30 mins. The time will vary depending on the oven.
- Let the cake cool off before slicing and serving with a hot cup of Sri Lankan tea. Enjoy!