This Gulab Jamun Cake is the perfect cake for Holi, Diwali, or any holiday. Moist rose and cardamom spices with layers of cardamom rose cream cheese frosting and gulab jamuns make the ultimate Indian inspired festival cake.
Happy Holi! Let’s all give a big welcome to spring. It’s finally here. I for one, welcome our great sunshine overlords. Speaking of Holi..I have the perfect Holi cake for you today. I took a traditional Indian sweet, the gulab jamun, and incorporated it into a spiced cake to make this delicious Gulab Jamun Cake to welcome spring.
I know what you’re thinking..”Whitney, spice cakes are for fall…dummy.” Well, I guess, maybe? But when you add delicious gulab jamuns in the layers as well as decorating them on top of a cake that’s been laced with spices and rose, it turns into a spring celebration cake, right? RIGHT?
I say yes. Because, why not? Gulab jamuns are one of the most traditional Indian sweets. So if I want to turn it into a Holi cake to tell spring “Thanks for coming.”, I can.
I was inspired by Emeril Lagasse’s spice cake recipe, except I added a bit of cardamom and rose water. Then I split the cake into four layers. I doused each layer in sugar water, added a bit of cardamom and rose water cream cheese frosting to each layer, then topped it off with an extra helping of frosting, rose buds, and more gulab jamun. So. This is the ultimate Indian inspired Gulab Jamun Cake. I’d say it’s also perfect for Diwali..but what do I know? Lots, I tell you. Lots.
If you want to make your own gulab jamuns, check out my recipe by clicking the picture below. You can always use store bought gulab jamuns, though, which will be found at any Indian grocer.
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp group nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tsp Rose Water
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- Rose Water to taste
- 21 Gulab Jamuns, store bought or homemade
- Dried Rose for decorating
- Two 9" round cake pans
- Preheat your oven to 350. Spray the cake pans with cooking spray and lightly flour each pan.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cardamom powder, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a small cup or bowl, mix the rose water and buttermilk.
- In a mixing bowl, add the brown sugar and butter and cream together until fluffy. Keep the mixer on low speed and gradually add the oil until incorporated. Then add each egg yolk, one by one, until incorporated.
- Add ¼ of the flour to the batter, mix. Add ¼ of the buttermilk mixture, mix. Repeat until done and set aside.
- In another bowl, add the egg whites and beat on medium until stuff peaks form. Gently fold the peaks into the cake batter.
- Immediately spread batter evenly into the cake pans.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted to the middle comes out clean.
- Rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then take out and rest on cooling rack until completely cool.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until mixed. Add the cardamom powder and mix. Add the rose water to taste.
- Using a long knife or string, divide each cake into two even layers. You will end up with four layers.
- Crumble 12 gulab jamuns, set aside.
- Put one layer of the cake on a cake stand.
- Add ¼ of the cream cheese frosting to the layer, then sprinkle with ⅓ of the crumbled gulab jamuns.
- Repeat until final layer.
- Add the rest of the cream cheese to the top, then place the remaining gulab jamuns around the edge.
- Sprinkle rose on top, but this is optional.