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Recipe: Taruna's Gulab Jamun Cake

December 30, 2022 13:14 IST
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The New Year calls for a dessert that will say happy new year to your tastebuds too.

Taruna Deepak's fusion Gulab Jamun Cake is an intriguing dish for the evening.

It reminds you of that cherished Indian dessert that's steeped in sugar syrup, but it's spongy and light and is the perfect party cake.

Taruna mainly experiments with north Indian cuisine and always keeps an eye on the nutritional values of what she cooks.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Taruna Deepak

Gulab Jamun Cake

Serves: 8-10

For the cake

  • 1½ cup maida or all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk powder
  • 3 tbsp rava or semolina
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp green elaichi or cardamom powder
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup castor sugar, depending on your taste (a kind of finer sugar manufactured by top baking brands)
  • ¾ cup yoghurt, preferably the thicker, creamier store-bought variety
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup any neutral vegetable oil
  • 10-12 strands of kesar or saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp of warm milk
  • 7-inch diameter round cake pan
  • Butter and 1 tsp maida to grease and flour the cake pan
  • Parchment paper

For the syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp rose essence or almond essence
  • Pinch kesar or saffron
  • 6 green elaichi or cardamom pods, lightly crushed, 
  • 1 tsp lime juice

For the glaze

  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp warm milk or warm water
  • Pinch kesar or saffron
  • Finely chopped nuts, like pistas or cashews, for garnish, optional


For the cake

  • Prepare the cake pan by greasing and dusting it with flour and lining it with parchment paper.
    Keep aside.
  • Heat an oven to 175°C.
  • In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together, ie the flour, semolina, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom powder
    Keep aside.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, yoghurt, sugar till completely dissolved.
    Add the oil and mix till incorporated.
    Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with the saffron-soaked milk.
    Mix well till it's a smooth batter.
    Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or till a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
    Take out of the oven and after approximately 5 minutes turn the cake onto a wire cooling rack.
    Prick the cake with a skewer or toothpick to make tiny holes which will eventually absorb the syrup.
  • Start making the syrup as soon as the cake comes out if its pan.
    Do not wait for the cake to cool.

For the syrup

  • Place all the syrup ingredients, except the lemon juice, in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
    Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
    Discard the green cardamom pods and stir in the lemon juice.
    Take off heat.
  • Using a tbsp or serving spoon, pour the syrup evenly over the cake.
    Keep the cake aside to cool completely.
    Ideally pour half the syrup on top of the cake, then flip it and prick/poke it again and pour the rest of the syrup on the flipped side.
    Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
    Cool the cake completely before glazing.

For the glaze

  • Soak the saffron in the warm milk or warm water for half an hour.
    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the saffron milk/water and the icing sugar.
    Pour it evenly over the cake, allowing it to trickle down (please see the pic above).
    Garnish with the finely-chopped nuts.
    Allow the cake to sit for 15 minutes or till the glaze sets.
    Slice and serve warm.

Taruna's Note: In addition to or instead of the glaze, use whipped mascarpone cheese (available at gourmet grocery stores), to which you can add a small pinch of saffron soaked in 1 tsp of milk, to make the cake richer and look fancier.

Decorate with dried rose petals and the finely chopped nuts of your choice.


Taruna Deepak lives in Mumbai and is the creator of the food blog Easyfoodsmith.

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