This is an immensely flavourful cake that will remind you of biting into a Gulab Jamun. It is a two bowl, no mixer required recipe and it uses a ready made mix that comes together in 40 minutes.
Let’s think Gulab Jamuns. Those balls of decadent goodness. The true idea behind ‘No one can eat just one’ for me. For this cake, I have taken all the beautiful flavors of a Gulab Jamun – the saffron, cardamom, the moist texture, the sugary goodness and made it ..into a cake.
This cake is eggless, moist, decadent and just like an original Gulab Jamun – a little goes a long way! Look at this slice, and tell me honestly – don’t you want to bite into it?
What is a Gulab Jamun mix?
Gulab Jamun mix is a premix readily available in stores. It contains plain flour, rising agents, milk powder and depending on the brand, softeners or flavourings. There are several brands available in the market.
Why should I use this mix?
It is like a cake mix. The ingredients in it are similar to a box cake mix. It is easily available in many stores across India ( and in Indian stores if you live away), but more importantly because it is a mix we all buy and forget to make the sweet.
Also, personally I find it really hard to add 500 grams of sugar to a single dish – and yes, that is what an original gulab jamun recipe calls for.
What brand should I buy?
I used MTR Gulab Jamun mix when I made it but I have received feedback from people who have used several other brands including Gits, Priya Chitale Bandhu and Aachi.
Can I make this cake without buying a Gulab Jamun mix?
YES! You can. I made this cake for the first time because I had this mix lying around. I have variations below on how to make it without the mix as well.
Eggless Gulab Jamun Cake
- 3/4 cup gulab jamun mix
- 3/4 cup plain flour (maida)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder (or, crush 3 pods of cardamom to a smooth powder)
- 3-4 saffron strands
- 1/2 cup oil (use any neutral oil like vegetable/canola)
- 2 tsp ghee
- 3/4 cup sugar (use regular white sugar or raw sugar. if coarse, powder in a mixie and measure)
- tsp rose water (can be substituted with 1 tsp rose essence)
- 1 cup milk
Saffron Glaze Syrup
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2-3 saffron strands
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder (or, add 1 pod of cardamom)
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- 1 tsp edible rose petals (optional)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp pistachios
- 1 tbsp edible rose petals
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 8 inch pan. I have tried this recipe with a bundt pan and a round pan. This cake is really forgiving, so use any pan you have. Just make sure the batter is not more than half of the pan. The cake does raise a bit, but not too much.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the gulab jamun mix, plain flour, baking powder, baking soda. Add the cardamom powder, saffron strands. Mix well and keep aside. The gulab jamun mix usually has lumps, so you may have to break them using your hands.
- In a smaller bowl add the sugar, oil, ghee, rose essence, milk and whisk until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until fully combined and no streaks of flour are visible.
- Pour the batter into a greased cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25-30 minutes. Each oven is different, so start checking from the 25 minute mark if a skewer comes out clean. The cake is done then!
For the saffron glaze syrup
- When the cake is baking, make a sugar glaze. This adds a whole dimension to the cake and I'd highly suggest not to skip it.
- Add 1/4 cup sugar to 1/4 cup water and let it come to a boil, add 1/2 tsp lemon juice, saffron, cardamom and rose petals.
- Let it boil on a low flame till it forms a syrup. It has to be slightly thick than regular water and sugar should have dissolved completely.
- Pour the syrup over the cake when the cake is still warm. This really helps for it to get really moist, juicy, and taste really close to a real gulab jamun.
Serving the cake
- Garnish with rose petals, crushed pistachios. I'd highly reccomend taking a slice when it slightly warm. The cake stays well for up to a week in the refreigrator ( if it stays that long)
- I have used raw sugar that is slightly brown in colour, so the cake is in this shade. if you use regular white sugar, the cake can be lighter in colour
- You can use plain flour or whole wheat flour (atta). Do note that the store-bought gulab jamun mix usually contains plain flour.
- The cake is not vegan because Gulab Jamun as a dessert is made with milk solids(khoa) and is fried in ghee. To make it vegan, the recipe needs to be significantly altered. If I try a version, I will update it here.
- This recipe has 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and 3/4 cup of Gulab Jamun mix. A gulab jamun mix has milk powder, maida and rising agents. To make this cake without a mix – add 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of unsweetened milk powder. The overall amount of flour + milk powder will be the same 1.5 cups as per the recipe.
This cake is ideal for a festive lunch or dinner. It’s familiar in flavours but is also fun to eat because we are not used to eating a gulab jamun as a cake.
We don’t do very sweet cakes here however, this is a sweet cake. You can vary the sugar in the cake anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup and keep all the other dry ingredients same. I personally like it at 3/4 cup as we do add more sweetness in the syrup.Please DO NOT skip that syrup. I want you to just trust me on this, allright.
When I shared this recipe on Instagram, I didn’t quite think it will go viral. But, it did and how?! I’ve had over 150 people try this cake and share pictures with me.
If so many people have trusted this, loved it, and made it there has to be something awesome, right?
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.
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