Box of Spice has a new look! Well, actually it was back in September when I completed the 3 glorious years of blogging but I was in the process of updating the site so it took a little longer than it should have. I am so happy with the new look and at how organised the site is now. The old one was driving me nuts! I found such an amazing person to work with. She just worked with me everyday till it got done. Thanks Julie for all your hard work at making my site look so amazing!
It was fitting to have a redesign in my third year. I always tend to do everything in three’s. A bit OCD yes. 🙂
This cake is hugely inspired by the Slutty Brownie Cake by Whatsgabycooking. What a stunner that cake is! I just had to, needed to make it! It was on my “got to make cakes” list.
And then I was sitting wondering of ways to make a special Diwali treat, something that might merge Holland and India a bit as I celebrate Diwali this week far away from home. Diwali brings back memories of the excitement I felt as a kid. Buying and collecting fireworks for weeks, buying the diyas, cleaning and decorating the house with rangoli. And my ma’s incredible cooking. It is not the same in a country so far away and I long to sit next to ma as she battles against her illness. Its not the most happy Diwali in the recent past but one must chug along. That is the nature of our lives. It must go on…
Yesterday I shed some of that heavy, somber dust sitting on my shoulders. The kitchen is my refuge and there is where I spent all of this weekend, testing my gulab jamuns recipe after recipe. And then the cake. Gaby from Whatsgabycooking made that part a lot easy because the base cake is so good. I didn’t need to change anything there except add stuff. I’m Indian so that part comes easy as well. Unless a dish has 20 million spices I think we feel uncomfortable. Haha we just cannot do easy!
So my bottom layer is stuffed with these amazingly delicious gulab jamuns with cardamom and rosewater infusion. The middle layer is so Dutch. With bitter almond cookies, this time infused with amaretto. Yum! The top layer is just plain old boring chocolate! Some Swiss buttercream between layers and all around, again flavoured with rosewater and this cake marries the Dutch and Indian perfectly.
So Happy Birthday to me and a very very Happy Diwali to you all! <3
- For the Gulab Jamuns
- 2 cups milk powder
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsps ghee
- pinch of baking soda
- ½ cup water
- Oil for deep frying
- For the Sugar Syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp rose water
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- In a non-stick pan, add the sugar and the water for the sugar syrup. Heat on high while stirring continuously. Around 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice. Reduce the heat after this and continue to stir occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cardamom powder and the rosewater. Take off the heat when the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- In a wok, get the oil ready for deep frying the gulab jamuns.
- Meanwhile in a bowl, add the milk powder, plain flour and baking soda. Mix well.
- Add the ghee and with your hands knead into the milk powder and flour mix.
- Now start adding water a little by little till the dough comes together. The dough needs to be soft. It will be a little crumbly and thats ok.
- Rub a little ghee on your palms and form small balls from the dough. Keep aside.
- Test the oil by dropping a bit of the dough. It will sink and sizzle. That's what we want.
- Depending on the size of your wok, drop in the gulab jamun balls.
- Use a wooden spoon to move around the jams. Do not actively touch the jams. They could break.
- Fry on low to low-medium heat for around 10-12 minutes until the jamuns are a dark brown color all around.
You also need to nudge the jamuns while frying and not touch them too much lest they break.
- For the Base Cake
- 4 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- For the Gulab Jamun Layer
- 8-10 gulab jamuns (depending on the size of your jamuns this will vary)
- 3 tbsps sugar syrup (from the gulab jamun recipe)
- For the Bitter Almond Cookie Layer
- 125 grams bitter almond cookies, broken roughly
- 85 ml amaretto
- For the Chocolate Layer
- 4 tbsps dutch processed cocoa powder
- For the Swiss Buttercream
- 1 cups sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 250 grams butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 3 tbsps rosewater
- For the Chocolate Mousee Ganache
- 200 grams dark chocolate
- 200 ml cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter and flour three 7-inch cake pans.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- With an electric mixer (I always use a hand held one), beat the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes on medium-high speed. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add half the flour mixture. Add 1 cup of buttermilk and mix until combined. Add remaining flour mixture and whisk. Add the remaining buttermilk and mix. Remove the mixer and finish by folding in the mixture.
- Divide the batter into 3 bowls.
- For the Gulab Jamun Layer, first add the sugar syrup and mix well. Then add a thin layer of batter to the cake pan. On top of this thin layer line up your gulab jamuns. I would cover the entire surface. Then add the rest of the batter kept aside for this layer.
- For the Bitter Cookies Layer. First soak the cookies for around 20 minutes in the amaretto. Then just fold the softened cookies into the batter.
- For the Chocolate Layer just fold in the cocoa.
- Bake until golden brown and done. Anything between 35-50 minutes. Let cakes cool for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the Chocolate Mousse Ganache, heat 100 ml of the cream in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat once boiling and add all the chocolate. Stir to mix while the chocolate melts into the hot cream. Whisk the rest of the cream till stiff peaks form. Fold in the melted chocolate mix into the stiff cream. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- For the Swiss Buttercream, bring a few inches of water to a boil in a double boiler. Whisk the sugar, the egg whites, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl above. Continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolved, about 4 - 5 minutes. Transfer to a big bowl and whisk and beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until they almost hold a stiff peak and are fully cooled, about 10-20 minutes. (I use a hand held electric whisk so this took me longer than with a kitchen machine). Beat in the butter, a little at a time, until the icing is smooth and spreadable. In the end add the rosewater. Mix well.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer of the cake on a cake stand. Spread a ½ inch layer of the swiss buttercream on top and carefully place the second layer of cake on top. Repeat the process with additional buttercream. Add the last layer of cake on top. Frost the top of the cake with more of the buttercream and add a very thin layer to the sides of the cake. Frost until smooth. Add the chocolate mousse ganache and smoothen out.
The sugar syrup addition to the Gulab Jamun layer has cardamom and rosewater. If these are flavours you don't want too much of, this addition can be left out.