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  • Sheena Philipose

Diwali Special: Mithai-Inspired Cake

Happy Diwali everybody! It's the time for lights, crackers, and sweets of every variety- burfis, rasamali, gulab jammuns, the list is endless. I was inspired to make some of the above sweets, and since I've been called and known to be the 'cake lady', I thought why not make a Diwali cake using ingredients inspired by these sweets? This soft sponge cake incorporates saffron, nuts, cardamom, and rose water, and came out very well considering it was entirely experimental. Feel free to add and omit any of these at your will.

Tips for baking a perfect cake:

  • Always use room temperature ingredients- eggs, butter and milk should be at room temperature.

  • Unlike cooking, baking requires ingredients to be measured accurately, so use measuring cups and spoons.

  • Use the right pan size and make sure to fill only a little over the half-way mark of your pan to give room for the cake to rise.

  • Make sure to preheat your oven to the mentioned temperature, in this case, 180C/350F.

  • Always bake the cake on the middle rack of your oven

  • Always check if your cake is baked by poking a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, that means it's done. Otherwise, stick it back in the oven for a few additional minutes until done.

This recipe can be halved also for a smaller cake and celebration. Check out my youtube tutorial on how to make the cake


Diwali Special: Mithai-Inspired Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Servings: 10


For the cake:

  • Butter: 250g or 1 1/2 cups

  • Sugar: 550g or 2 1/2 cups

  • All-purpose flour: 3 cups

  • Baking Powder: 1 Tsp

  • Baking Soda: 3/4 Tsp

  • Salt: 1/2 Tsp

  • Cardamom powder: 1 1/2 Tsp

  • Eggs: 6, large

  • Milk: 1 cup

  • Almonds: 1/4 cup, chopped

  • Pistachios: 1/4 cup, chopped

  • Rosewater: 2 Tbsp

  • Few strands of saffron

For the topping:

  • Sugar: 1/4 cup

  • Water: 1/4 cup

  • Almonds: 1/4 cup, slivered

  • Pistachios: 1/4 cup, chopped

  • Dried rose petals: 1 Tbsp

  • Rosewater: 1 Tsp

  • Edible gold leaf


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Lightly grease a deep 28 cm round cake pan or a spring-form tin and line the base with parchment paper.

  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cardamom into a big bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the nuts with a tsp of flour and keep aside.

  3. Warm the milk in the microwave for 40 seconds, add the saffron, and let it rest.

  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

  5. Next, add the sifted flour and milk in two batches alternating between the two and mix the batter well. Add the rosewater and nuts and fold it into the batter carefully.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 60 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through to get an even bake.

  7. Prepare the topping: Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat, and add the rosewater and rose petals.

  8. Check if the cake is done by poking a skewer in the center and ensuring it comes out clean. If it is, switch off the oven otherwise bake for an additional 5-10 minutes and check again. Make sure to keep a close eye on the cake if you're adding more time.

  9. While the cake is still warm, pour the prepared sugar/rose syrup on top, sprinkle with the nuts, and decorate with the gold leaf. Enjoy!

Visit for a how-to tutorial.

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