Annika Eats

Ras Malai Cake

A cardamom spiced loaf cake that is nourished with a saffron syrup, filled with a Radi custard that is topped with a voluptuous vanilla scented whipped cream. Garnished with pistachios.

Diwali is the only time of year where the house is filled with a variety of Indian sweet treats. Do not get me wrong, we have sweets at home all the time but not Indian Sweets. I have found that most Indian sweets are loaded with sugar not like your average pudding or pie. In saying this if there was 1 dessert that always had my name on it, it had to be Ras Malai. Ras malai or Rossomalai is one of the most popular sweets in India, it originates from the eastern regions with main ingredients being milk, sugar, Chenna aka paneer, cardamom, saffron, pistachios. It is dish consisting of small, dumplings made out of paneer that is sweetened with a sugar syrup. These dumplings are then steeped in an aromatic milk reduction. It does take a little effort to make but the flavors with make your palate sing and dance.

I have taken these components, flavors, textures and made a cake inspired by all things Ras Malai. The essence behind it is, when you eat the cake you feel like you are eating ras malai with those traditional flavors but in a fluffy cake form. Also, this is an easier way to enjoy the flavors of Ras Malai without having to slave over the stove to make it. If you haven’t tried Ras Malai this cake is a great way to start introducing yourself to the life changing dessert. As the original recipe is eggless this entire recipe is eggless too. Yes, all my eggless ninjas please get into formation. I wouldn’t recommend many substitutes with this cake however there are a few aspects which you could work around. 

A few substitutes:

Flour: You can use 50/50 All purpose flour and whole meal flour. Cup for cup gluten free option also works in this recipe.

Sugar: You want to use castor sugar for everything in the recipe but granulated white sugar also works. Do not use brown sugar or jaggery as it will affect that authentic Ras Malai flavor.

Milk powder: If you don’t have it you can leave it out in the cake recipe however for the custard you can use 3/4 cup whole milk instead. 

Saffron & Cardamom: These two flavors are the most important to achieve the accurate flavor hence they cannot be skipped. You can use powder or strand for the saffron also cardamom pods or powder works fine.

Rose water: This is essential for that Rabdi flavor. If you do not have it a few fresh rose petals will also help. However you leave it out. 

Nuts: I like using a mixture of pistachios, almonds and cashews in the cake as well as for the top. It is important to have them lightly toasted before adding into the cake batter. 

Butter: You can use margarine or any vegan butter if you like, just don’t use oil for the cake or the custard. 

Milk & Yogurt: You could use yogurt that is thinned out with milk, you could also use just milk. Buttermilk/laban are also alternatives that work.

Baking powder & Baking Soda: YOU CANNOT SKIP THESE TWO. They create the air in the cake making it fluffy and spongy.

Cooking Methods:

Baking : You can bake this in the oven as recommend however you could also bake the cake over the stove in dry heat. 

Steaming: You could steam the cake in a steamer for 35-40 min or create a steamer with a large stock pot and place the cake tin in the pot on an elevation. Cover it in foil, add a little water and let it steam for 35-40 mins on medium heat. 

Microwave oven: Bake in a preheated setting at 170℃ for 25-28 mins until tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Microwave: This cake took 9 mins in my basic microwave, I would recommend start by baking your cake for 2 mins and continue every 1 minute until you have a clean tooth pick once inserted into the center. 

This cake is better once it has been in the fridge and set for 20 mins before slicing. It can last for 5 days in the fridge stored in an air tight container. Happy Diwali to you and your family! 

Ras Malai Cake

A cardamom spiced loaf cake that is nourished with a saffron syrup, filled with a Radi custard that is topped with a voluptuous vanilla scented whipped cream. Garnished with pistachios.
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Decoration Time 10 mins
Course Brunch, Cake, Dessert, Sweet tooth, tea time
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 Slices

Equipment

  • 8inch Loaf baking tin
  • Baking paper
  • Larger mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Fork
  • Small sauce pot
  • Spoons
  • Knife

Ingredients
  

Cake-

  • 120 gm Butter (soft)
  • 300 gm Flour
  • 15 gm Milk powder
  • 75 gm Nuts (roughly chopped)
  • 200 gm Castor sugar
  • 150 gm Yogurt
  • 150 gm Milk
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
  • Pinch of Salt

Syrup-

  • 125 gm Water
  • 15 gm Castor sugar
  • 4 Cardamom pods
  • 3 strands Saffron

Rabdi Custard-

  • 60 gm Milk powder
  • 175 gm Water
  • 40 gm Corn flour
  • 3 tbsp Castor sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 7 strands Saffron
  • 1/4 tsp Rose water
  • 10 gm Butter

Cream-

  • 130 gm Whipping cream (cold)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 drop Rose water

Garnish-

  • Chopped nuts
  • Saffron strands

Instructions
 

For the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line your baking tin with butter and baking paper. Set aside.
  • In a jug add the yogurt, milk, baking powder, baking soda and stir. Set aside to froth up.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the flour, nuts, cardamom powder, sugar, salt, milk powder, vanilla and butter. Using a fork mix them together until you have a damp sand texture. All the butter should be incorporated into the flour.
  • Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and using your fork beat well until smooth. This might take a minute however keep beating until it is absolutely smooth. If you need to switch to whisk go for it.
  • Transfer batter into the prepared tin and bake for 48-50 mins until golden, risen and tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Stab holes into the cake with a knife or tooth pick.
  • Cut out the center portion of the cake with a knife and scoop out some of the cake into a bowl. Clean the cavity you’ve created with the back of a teaspoon to ensure it is smooth.

For the Syrup

  • Place all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 3-5 min until reduced a little.
  • Take off the heat and let it cool ever so slightly. Pour spoon fulls of the the syrup onto the cake gently. Allow the soak up the syrup in the tin slowly. Set aside once most of the syrup has been used.

For the Rabdi Custard

  • Place all the ingredients except the butter into a sauce pan on low heat and whisk continuously until smooth. This will take a while however be patient.
  • Once the ingredients have come together, increase the heat to medium and let it come to a boil while you whisk constantly. Do not leave it unattended. This will happen fast.
  • As it thickens you will see bubbles on the surface. Remove from the heat and cover with a cling film and let it cool down before using.

For the Cream

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the necessary ingredients and whisk until soft peaks. The cream must be cold for this. The bowl should be clean and grease free.

Assembly

  • Get the cooled cake and remove it from the baking tin. The baking paper should have that easy as once it has been soaked and cooled it will be very moist and tender. Handle gently.
  • In the hollow cavity dollop the custard and smooth it out until it is leveled with the cake.
  • Add the cream on top and swirl around using the back of a spoon. Garnish as you like.
  • Slice and enjoy!
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