When you open your grandma’s kitchen cabinet and find that packet of rusk, a surge of nostalgia runs down the spice, isn’t it? She would stack so many packets of rusk in the cabinet so that we were never out of tea snacks. A plate of rusks, a bowl of bhujia and a cup of chai were everything needed to make the evening special. Dipping that crunchy rusk into the tea was a rite of passage if you ever wanted to call yourself a proper Indian kid. Essentially rusk is a dry and crunchy biscuit that is twice-baked bread. You might compare it to a biscotti which is also dunked in coffee, but any Indian kid will be able to tell you that even though both the biscuits are designed for dunking, the difference in the taste of rusk and biscotti puts them poles apart. 

Photo: Anjum Khan

The reason why rusk is such a popular tea snack in India might be due to the fact that it’s made using semolina and wheat, which are grown in abundance in the country. What may come close to the taste of biscotti is another snack known as cake rusk. 

Photo: Magda Ehlers

Here’s the difference between rusk and cake rusk. 

Cake rusk has a cookie-like texture. It is made using vanilla sponge cake which is then twice-baked. On the other hand, rusk makes use of leftover bread. So that’s one of the main differences between rusk and cake rusk. Then, of course, cake rusk is sweeter and more calorie-loaded. Rusk may also have a touch of cardamom while cake rusk is vanilla-ish in flavour, and that is absolutely moreish! A lot of people have started to come up with newer recipes such as chocolate and coffee cake rusk, thandai flavoured cake rusk and orange cake rusk, owing to the growing demand for these biscuits in the country. 

According to us, both rusk and cake rusk taste absolutely divine. So which one will you be making?