This tea-time snack is very popular in Pakistan and India. Once you bake cake rusk at home, you will never buy them from the store.
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Today, I am going to share a unique recipe from my homeland, Pakistan. It is the recipe of the famous cake-rusks made at local bakeries. These are served as the favorite tea time snack and everyone enjoys it with a hot cup of tea. These are crunchy and crispy cookies just like the Italian biscotti.
Chai is something masses in Pakistan and India take very seriously. The day begins with tea in the breakfast and it is not possible to imagine of an evening without a cup of tea supplemented with different heavenly assortments. Nan khatais and these cake rusks are always there on the top of the list when you think of tea-time in Pakistan.
These Pakistani biscottis are commonly used in every house, and everyone in Pakistan or India is familiar with these little pieces of heaven, which are technically simple cake pieces first baked and then dried in the oven. This easy recipe is baked in a square pan. First step is to bake the cake and then using a sharp knife the cake is cut into 1-inch thick slices and placed on a baking sheet with parchment paper. I usually use silicone mats and find them the best for baking cookies. In the final step, the pieces are baked in the middle rack of a preheated oven for about an hour.
Once the rusks are baked, cool them on a wire rack at room temperature and then store them in the airtight container to keep them fresh for days.
Why Should You Try This recipe?
Here in the United States it is not hard to get the cake rusks as they are easily available in desi stores. But the issue with these store-bought rusks is that they are not fresh and it is hard to get the authentic taste for which they are known back-home. The solution – bake them easily at home. This will be your new favorite tea-time snack.
Better Taste: The homemade rusks are far better in taste than the store bought cake rusks. I mean, yes it is easy to go to the store, grab them, come home and have them with tea. But trust me, the taste is somewhat bland in comparison to the Pakistani bakeries taste. Those cake rusks are crisp, bursting with flavor, have an irresistible aroma and perfectly compliment a cup of tea. If you want to enjoy the authentic taste, you gotta bake them yourself. There is not other solution for the problem, sorry.
Texture: These rusks are crisp with a dark golden brown color and made with only just few basic ingredients.
While the traditional cake rusks are made with a few simple ingredients and a simple baking method, there are many variations that can be done to the traditional rusks.
Cardamom: You can incorporate cardamom, which is my favorite go-to flavor in desserts.
Cinnamon: I am not a big fan of cinnamon but those who are can add a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in the batter. It will bring more aroma to the batter.
Orange Zest: You may also add the orange zest in the batter if you want to give it a zesty orangish flavor.
Difference between Cake Rusks and Italian Biscotti
The cake rusk are like Italian biscottis. You have to bake both of these twice in the preheated oven at different temperature. The difference being that for cake rusk we use simple plain cake and for biscottis we use a hard biscuit dough.
Also, the cake for this recipe is very similar to the regular vanilla sponge cake or the yellow cake (as commonly known in Pakistan).
Different Oven Temperature
The crispy rusk texture is due to the baking procedure which makes the delicious treat. The oven temperature is important for this recipe to make a crispy cake rusk batch. The original recipe calls for baking the cake pieces twice, and the second bake is critical.
First bake the cake at 350 F in a preheated oven in the middle rack of the oven. In the second step, cut the cake in pieces (refer to pictures in the recipe card) at 300 F for 25 minutes on each side.
You only need a few simple ingredients for this recipe. These ingredients are usually readily available in the pantry.
Step 1: Preheat the oven at 350 F. Take a 9-inch square baking pan and spray it with a baking spray and place a parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.
Step 2 & 3: Beat the eggs in a large bowl until the eggs are fluffy, and the texture is airy with an electric mixer. Mix sugar to the eggs and beat for another minute. Add in the butter, vanilla extract and yellow food color and mix until combined.
Step 3: Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Step 4: Fold in with a spatula just until incorporated.
Step 5: Pour the mixture in the pan and place it in the middle rack and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until a wooden skewer when inserted in the center comes out clean with a few crumbs.
Step 6: Let the cake cool at room temperature before cutting it into pieces.
Step 7: Cut the cake in half.
Step 8: Then cut one-inch pieces of the cake as shown in the picture.
Step 9: Place the pieces in the baking tray and place them back in the preheated oven.
Step 10: Change the sides of the cake pieces after 25 minutes or until it is golden brown on the top. Bake the cake pieces again until the other side is golden brown as well.
Step 11: Take out the cake pieces and let them cool completely before placing them in an air-tight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you may use the yellow food color in the recipe. It will give a good color to the rusks. Simply add a ¼ teaspoon of yellow food color to the batter before adding the dry ingredients.
Yes, you can easily double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 pan instead of the 9-inch pan in the recipe.
Yes, baking the cake rusks twice is necessary as you have to dry out the cake rusks (just like the biscottis) in the oven to get the crunchy and crispy texture.
How to Store
Over the Counter: These cookies will stay fresh in an air-tight container for about 1 weeks. But my personal experiences tells me they don't last that long in the house.
In the Fridge: You can keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
In the Freezer: Wrap the cake rusks in plastic wraps and store them in the freezer for up to three months.
Cake Rusk (Indian/Pakistani Biscottis)
- 1 Electric Mixer
- 1 9-inch Square Pan
- 1 Baking Sheet
- 5 eggs (large)
- ¾ cup castor sugar
- ⅔ cup butter (150 grams) room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon yellow food color optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven at 350 F. Take a 9-inch square baking pan and spray it with a baking spray. Place a parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl until the eggs are fluffy, and the texture is airy with an electric mixer.
- It will take 3 – 4 minutes.
- Mix sugar to the eggs and beat for another minute. Add in the butter, vanilla extract and yellow food color and mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
- Fold in with a spatula just until incorporated.
- Pour the mixture in the pan and place it in the middle rack and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until a wooden skewer when inserted in the center comes out clean with a few crumbs.
- Let the cake cool at room temperature before cutting it into pieces.
- Place the cake on a wire rack until it is cooled completely.
- Preheat the oven again at 300 F.
- Cut the cake in half. Then cut one-inch pieces of the cake.
- Then cut one-inch pieces of the cake.
- Place the pieces in the baking tray and place them back in the preheated oven.
- Change the sides of the cake pieces after 25 minutes or until it is golden brown on the top. Bake the cake pieces again until the other side is golden brown as well.
- Take out the cake pieces and let them cool completely before placing them in an air-tight container.