I knew right away, the moment I read about this Ras Malai Cake in The New York Times that this was worth trying. What intrigued me, even more is that there is no Ras Malai tucked in anywhere in the recipe, but the evocation of it with the milk syrup, the mascarpone frosting and sponge cake!
I’ve realized that if you can’t get your hands on mascarpone for this recipe, then even Greek Yogurt or what we call hung yogurt in India, will work in this recipe.
The sponge cake is slightly unusual in that you whisk the egg whites with the wet ingredients only lightly. I was a bit sceptical about this, but the cake turned out perfect.
I’ve used the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment to make the cake and the frosting. The best part, the frosting has been used as the filling too! Just remember to keep the mascarpone chilled while making the frosting, it could curdle otherwise.
After cooling the cake, slice it into half and brush with milk syrup. Let the cakes chill for a bit and absorb the syrup. And then we add frosting to the bottom half…and then to the top, decorate with crushed pistachios and I’ve used some edible flowers.
Serves: 6 people
Time taken: 1 hour 40 minutes active time + time for cake and syrup to cool
INGREDIENTS: For the milk syrup
– 1 cup milk
– 2 pods green cardamom
– 3 Tablespoon sugar
– ½ teaspoon rose water
INGREDIENTS: For the cake
– 2 egg whites
– ½ cup milk
– ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
– ¼ teaspoon rose water
– 165 gms cake flour (weigh out 165 gms all-purpose, remove 2 Tbs flour from it & replace with 2 Tbs cornflour)
– 150 gms caster sugar
– 10 gms baking powder
– ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
– 85 gms butter, softened ( I used Amul, if using unsalted, add ¼ tsp salt to dry ingredients)
INGREDIENTS: For the Frosting & Filling
– 80 gms unsalted butter, pliable, slightly cold
– 120 gms mascarpone cream (chilled)
– 160 gms icing sugar, sifted
– ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
– 1 teaspoon rose water
– Handful of pistachios, chopped
– Edible flowers to decorate
METHOD: For the milk syrup
– Bring the milk & cardamom pods to a simmer in a saucepan, turn the heat down and let them simmer until reduced by half. Then add the sugar and let the milk thicken. Take it off the heat, strain the milk and let it cool. Stir in the rose water.
– Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
– In a large bowl, gently whisk together the egg whites, milk, vanilla and rose water.
– In the bowl of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cardamom powder. Add the butter and one-third of the wet ingredients and beat briefly to combine. Add the remaining wet ingredients in 2 batches, beating very briefly to combine after each addition. Pour the batter in cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.
– Let the cake cool completely and then slice it in half using serrated knife.
– Brush the insides of each half with milk syrup.
– In the bowl of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer, make the frosting by beating together the butter and icing sugar. Add the mascarpone, cardamom & rosewater and beat briefly to combine.
– Add some of it to the inside of bottom half of the cake. Place the top on it and frost the top and sides. Decorate with pistachios and edible flowers.