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How to make cake rusk | Cake rusk recipe

A pile of cake rusk on parchment paper. At the back are two cups of tea, and one of the cups of tea has a cake rusk placed on the saucer.

Cake rusk is a crunchy dry biscuit and a popular teatime snack in India and Pakistan. Similar to biscotti, these crispy biscuits are perfect for dunking in your tea. Read on ahead to learn how to make cake rusk at home.

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What is cake rusk?

Cake rusk is a type of dry biscuit and a popular teatime snack in India and Pakistan. It is also known as just rusk, or papay. Since cake rusk is crunchy and dry, the traditional way to eat it is by dunking it in tea / chai till the cake rusk turns soft. This is why cake rusk and chai go perfectly together, and people usually have rusk either for breakfast or evening tea (aka shaam ki chai!). There are many varieties of cake rusk available at the supermarket, and at local bakeries as well. Some are plain, some are flavoured, some are sugar free, and some are sweetened. Once you start making cake rusk at home, you will forget about the supermarket versions.

Cake rusk is similar to Italian biscotti with a few differences. In biscotti, a biscuit style dough is made and shaped into logs, which are ‘twice baked’ to result in crispy crunchy biscuits that are usually dunked in coffee. Cake rusk is also ‘twice baked’, but instead of biscuit dough, cake is used.The first step to making cake rusk is making a cake. The cake is then cut into logs, and then baked again resulting in the distinctive crunchy crispy cake rusk.

Pound cut cut into slices laid out on a parchment paper on a baking tray.
Cake cut into slices, ready to go in the oven to be turned into cake rusk.

How to make cake rusk?

Cake rusk is traditionally made by making a cake from scratch. However, you can use cake mix if you don’t have time. Or if you have leftover pound cake at home, you can also use it to make cake rusk.

  • Making the cake: Making cake rusk is super simple and doesn’t require any special equipment. Just a wire whisk or a wooden spoon, and a little bit of muscle to mix everything together. The first step to make cake rusk is to make the cake batter. Start off with creaming butter and sugar together, then adding eggs. Sift over the flour, and then add vanilla along with cardamom powder to flavour the cake. You can also yellow food colouring to enhance the colour of the cake rusk.
  • Cool and cut the cake: Once the cake has been baked, let it cool. Then cut it into logs.
  • Twice bake the cake: Bake the cake slices again till they are crunchy and golden brown. The cake slices are baked on a lower temperature and for a longer time so that they can dry out and have that distinctive crisp cake rusk exterior.
  • Dunk in chai and enjoy: Once the cake rusk, dunk them in a cup of chai and enjoy!
A pile of cake rusk placed on parchment paper. In the back are two glasses filled with tea, and a milk jug along with a few pink artificial flowers.

Cake rusk – storage tips:

As the cake rusk have been dried, their storage life increases. Once the cake rusk has cooled, they can be kept in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. If they last that long, that is!

Some other Pakistani and Indian snack recipes that are perfect with chai are as follows:

  1. Aloo Pakoras (Potato fritters)
  2. Paneer Tikka Sandwich
  3. Potato and Chicken Croquettes
  4. Keema Samosa
  5. Chicken Box Patties
  6. Vegetable patties (Spicy potato puff pastry)
  7. Masala French fries

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How to make cake rusk | Cake rusk recipe

Cake rusk is a crunchy dry biscuit and a popular teatime snack in India and Pakistan. Similar to biscotti, these crispy biscuits are perfect for dunking in your tea. Read on ahead to learn how to make cake rusk at home.
Course Afternoon Tea, Chai
Cuisine Indian, North Indian, Pakistani
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 150 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup /100g sugar
  • ½ cup / 65g butter room temperature
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • Pinch of yellow colour
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F (160 fan forced). Line an 8-inch square baking tin with parchment paper and grease sides with oil. If an 8-inch square baking pan isn’t available, you can use a 7-inch square pan, or an 8-inch round pan.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale in colour. This can be done with a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. If using an electric hand mixer, whisk for about 20 seconds, and is using a regular whisk, mix until combined. Once the eggs have been added, mix in the vanilla essence.
  5. Add the flour mixture, and fold through with a spatula. Add the food colour (if using), and gently fold it through.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared greased pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake sit in the tin for around 10 minutes, and then turn it into a cooling rack to cool completely. Place the cooled cake on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut the cake down the middle, and then into ¼ inch strips. These strips can then be cut into smaller cake strips.

Make the cake rusk:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 C / 300 F (130 fan forced).
  2. Place the cake strips on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place the cake strips in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown on the top. Turn the cake strips over, and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
  3. Remove the cake rusk from the oven, and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cake rusk has cooled, it can be stored in an airtight conainter for around 2 weeks.
  4. Serve cake rusk with tea / chai.

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