gulab jamun bundt cake
If you follow me on Instagram (which if you don't...you should!), then you saw the dessert that I made for Diwali. I follow some amazing people on Instagram, many of which are Indian bloggers and some of the things that they come up with are really inspiring! This was inspired by both Sanjana Feasts and Milk and Cardamon. Both are absolutely fantastic and both have versions of this cake on their sites. I made a small tweak to Milk and Cardamon's recipe because I love love love saffron so I wanted to incorporate it into the cake as well. I ultimately chose Milk and Cardamon's recipe because I like the richness and flavor that eggs and butter brings to it. If you don't eat eggs or dairy, then Sanjana's recipe looks like it would be amazing!
I liked the idea of making a bundt cake because I don't really use my silicon bundt pan very often and for this particular recipe, it reminded me of a rangoli shape. Also, because this cake goes with a glaze instead of frosting, I like the idea of it dripping down both sides so more glaze per surface area. That's just good mathematics.
This recipe is fairly simple - as easy as making any sort of sponge cake batter. It does have 2 parts to it though...just like making traditional gulab jamun does. Instead of frying the dough balls and then soaking them in a rose syrup, you actually let the syrup absorb directly into the cake essentially like a simple syrup in a wedding cake. This ensures that the yummy syrup that has been steeped with sugar and spices really flavors every inch of the cake and keeps it delicately moist.
I made the batter in my stand mixer but most times I don't. A simple large bowl and hand mixer works well with all cakes because you can control over mixing that way. However, I'm a pro so I felt confident...you do you based on what you have and feel comfortable with.
As with most cakes, you need to cream the butter and sugar together. Take some time to do this because this is the base of a fluffy cake. The mixture should lighten in color and be a very soft yellow and fluffy when done. For this recipe, also add the crushed green cardamon pods to get that wonderful flavor in. Once it's nice and fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between as well as some vanilla extract and salt. At this point, you can't over mix it because the flour/gluten is not in the cake but just mix it each time so that everything is mixed in thoroughly. Then you add the dry ingredients. Just mix long enough that everything is incorporated and there are no lumps. This is where I went a bit rogue...I folded in about 8 to 10 saffron strands along with a scant tsp of rose water into the batter. I really wanted those traditional gulab jamun flavors to permeate the cake.
It's really as easy as that for the batter. Just scoop the batter into a greased bundt pan and tap it hard on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles and bake. About 10 minutes before it's done, you want to make the syrup.
This is super easy too. Just put the most of the ingredient in a small sauce pan and boil and then simmer for a couple of minutes. Take it off the heat and whisk in the fresh lime juice and rose water. Done and done. Then to make the glaze, you just take a small part of the syrup and put it together with powdered sugar and you are ready to assemble the final product!
Once the cake is done baking, leave it in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes. Then you want to poke lots of holes in the top so that the syrup can soak into the cake. You then pour the bulk of the syrup right into the pan...and watch the magic happen! It looks like you have flooded your cake with way too much liquid and you start turning around in circles in panic and then when you happen to glance back at it, the liquid has all disappeared! Magic!
Then restrain yourself from touching it...let the cake settle and cool for another 10 minutes before flipping it onto a platter or cake stand.
Isn't it gorgeous?? But wait! We need to add the finishing touches! Drizzle that glaze right on top so that it drips down the crevices and then sprinkle with some crushed roasted salted pistachios and edible flowers if you can find them (my Wholefoods let me down here). Doesn't it look like the most delicious edible rangoli to ring in the New Year??
Here is the recipe from Milk & Cardamon with my minor changes:
Gulab Jamun Bundt Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 Tbsp for greasing
1 ⅓ cups all purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp for greasing
⅓ cup dried nonfat milk powder
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp freshly ground cardamom
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
8 to 10 saffron strands
1 tsp rose water
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp saffron thread
8 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp rose water
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Glaze & Garnishes:
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp dried rose petal, optional
1 Tbsp pistachio, roughly chopped/crushed
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-cup bundt pan liberally with 1 tablespoon of butter (or a non flavored oil) and sprinkle thoroughly with some flour. If using a silicon one like me, put it on a sheet pan to hold it's shape.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and milk powder together until well combined.
Add the butter, sugar, and ground cardamom to a separate large bowl (or stand mixer) and mix with a hand mixer for 5-7 minutes; the butter will turn pale and fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the flour mixture. Mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated being very careful not to over mix. At this point, I folded in the saffron and rose water but you can omit that if you like.
Spoon the batter into the bundt pan and tap the pan on the counter 3–5 times to remove any air bubbles.
Bake the cake for 35–50 minutes (depending on your pan size and oven temps), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Mine took 50 minutes in my oven.
10 minutes before the cake is done baking, make the syrup: Add the water, granulated sugar, saffron, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the rose water and lime juice. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods from the syrup and discard. Reserve ¼ cup (60 ml) of the syrup and set aside.
Poke holes in the bottom of the bundt cake with a fork. Pour the rest of the syrup over the bundt cake while it is still warm in the pan. It will look like a lot of syrup, but the cake will soak it all up. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a serving platter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and reserved syrup to make a glaze.
Pour the glaze over the bundt cake. Sprinkle with the dried rose petals, if using, and pistachios.
Slice and serve!
Nothing better for a dessert or with a nice cup of chai in the morning!!!
Seriously...I hadn't tried it when it was all done because I was taking it to a Diwali dinner that I was going to. But if the reactions were anything to go by, it was a ginormous hit. Sakya, who isn't typically a fan of cakes in general, said it was literally the best one he has ever had. High praise indeed!
I hope that you get a chance to make this because I promise you that I will make it often myself. One more food porn picture and then I am going to go and actually eat a piece with some coffee because I want to and I promised myself that I will walk to the treadmill and think about getting on it...after.