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This Gulab Jamun Cake is a classic South Asian dessert manifested into a cake form. Layers of cardamom cake sandwiched with rose buttercream and pistachios, topped with copious amounts of Gulab Jamuns will impress any dessert lover.
Gulab Jamun is a classic South Asian dessert.
Gulab Jamuns are deep fried dumplings made from a combination of dried milk and flour, flavored with cardamom. The dumplings are then soaked in rose flavored simple syrup to make a melt in your mouth dessert.
Gulab Jamuns are the most popular South Asian desserts. In my family Gulab Jamuns are a favorite dessert, and I guarantee no one would ever turn one down. I wanted to create a cake that was an ode to a favorite dessert.
Flavors in the Gulab Jamun Cake
Gulab Jamuns are definitely sweet, but the addition of cardamom and rose flavors create a more complex flavor profile. The dough is also made with dried milk powder, which gives it a unique texture, that easily melts in your mouth.
In order to recreate the flavors of the cake, I decided to go with a cardamom cake. Cardamom is a warm and earthy spice, and used in both sweet and savory dishes in South Asian cooking.
For the frosting, I made a rose flavored Swiss meringue buttercream. Rose is an ingredient that’s often used in Pakistani desserts to elevate the cake. The rose buttercream frosting, gives the cake an elevated flavor. If you don’t have rosewater, you can just make a vanilla flavored buttercream!
Decorating the Gulab Jamun Cake
To bring the cake together, I used pistachios in between the cake layers, as well as on the outside.
You can taste the dessert in the cake and the frosting, and adding the gulab jamuns on top just brings the whole cake together.
And of course, the whole cake is topped with enough Gulab Jamuns to give every serving some cake and a bite of Gulab Jamun.
I chose to add Gulab Jamuns to the top and the sides of the cake. Another option wold be to experiment with adding some chopped Gulab Jamuns when filling the cake!
Where to get Gulab Jamuns?
I chose to make them from a Gulab Jamun mix, similar to this, found at Indian or Pakistani grocery stores. They also often have ready made Gulab Jamuns available for purchase in the freezer section, or in the canned food sections. If you’re near an Indian restaurant, they most likely have Gulab Jamuns available on their menu.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also make Gulab Jamuns from scratch. Cooking with Manali, has lots of photos with the recipe!
Let me know if you give it a try!