If you love cakes you are going to love this recipe! Parsi Mawa Cake has a very distinctive yet unique flavor making this traditional Parsi treat truly oh-so-moreish! It is a aromatic teacake filled with mawa (I'll explain what that is in a moment) and exotic spices! Despite it's reputation, with a few hacks it is very easy to make, comes out wonderfully moist, and makes a decadent tea-time snack!
Although not a traditional ingredient, I used spelt flour for this recipe as it is an ancient grain that is, more natural, less processed and kinder on the digestive system while maintaining the flavor and texture wonderfully! If you can’t get spelt flour traditional plain/all-purpose flour/maida is fine.
I also like to add a touch of clove, again it is not normally added but I think this subtle ingredient just adds that little bit "something special" to the end result.
So…the secret ingredient to these treasures is an ingredient called mawa I mentioned earlier. In India, Mawa also known as mava or khoya is made by boiling down milk over many hours until it resembles something like a loose cottage cheese. Now in India mawa is readily available but like many of you reading this I don't live in India and don’t have hours to stand by the stove to make my own delicious mawa so Mum taught me a fantastic hack that allows you to make these in a fraction of the time by using readily available thickened cream (thank you Mum)! Because it is already partially thickened it cuts the cooking time down dramatically compared to what it would normally take and it creates the same amazing flavor – it’s a total win-win!
With clove, less is more, don’t be tempted to add too much, a small pinch is all you need.
Regular 35% fat thickened cream is recommended (don't use light cream for this recipe)
If you don’t want to make cupcakes you can bake this in a small cake tin at 180C/375F until cooked for 35-40 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or the top springs back when gently touched
Please note this recipe makes more mawa than you will use, so follow the recipe and do not pour it all in!
The thickened cream in this recipe will be used to make your mawa and ghee
When the mawa is cooked it will have reduced considerably and the yellow ghee will surface, you just need to pour it off (or strain to separate) for later use in the recipe. If for whatever reason you do not have enough ghee add the equivalent of room temperature butter/ready-made ghee as needed.
YOU WILL NEED
½ cup milk
Small pinch of saffron (purely optional)
1+1/4 cups white spelt OR plain/all-purpose flour/maida
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
Pinch of clove powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
600ml/20 ounces thickened cream to make 115g/4oz khoya/mava & provide 6 tablespoons of ghee
1 cup caster/superfine sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
15g/0.5 oz slivered almonds chopped
15g/0.5 oz pistachios chopped
Preheat oven to 180C/350F and keep your cupcake pans ready on a tray and set aside.
IF USING SAFFRON gently heat the milk to a warm temperature and add a small pinch of saffron into the milk and set aside to let it diffuse. (You can do this in a microwave too using a glass jug or bowl if you wish - a 20 second burst on high should be sufficient.) If you aren't adding saffron, you will still need the plain milk later in the recipe.
In a large non-stick fry pan pour in the cream and cook over a medium heat until reduced and has the consistency and look of loose cottage cheese. You will also see the yellow “ghee”. This will take around 10-15 minutes or faster depending on the heat of your stove and the size of your pan, be sure to STIR REGULARLY to avoid burning the cream. Once it has cooked, gently pour off the “ghee” in a separate bowl and set aside for later use.
In a medium mix bowl, sieve the spelt flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg and clove powder into a bowl and set aside.
Using your stand mixer or another bowl and your electric hand blender add 115g/4oz. mawa and 6 tablespoons of the ghee you’ve reserved and the sugar and beat for 4 to 5 minutes till the mixture is creamy and becomes pale/light.
Add the eggs and again whisk until well combined.
Add the saffron milk (or plain milk if you don't have saffron) and whisk until well combined.
Add the flour mixture and whisk on low to combine and then if you need to, whisk on a medium high speed to ensure a smooth mixture.
Spoon or pour the batter into your prepared cupcake pans, gently even out the top surface of each cupcake and then sprinkle the chopped almonds and pistachios evenly over all the cupcakes – I also like to add just a little extra pinch of cardamom to each cupcake for extra flavor but it is purely optional.
Place the cupcakes into your oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and enjoy your delicious cupcakes with your favorite cup of chai!
MAKES 10 PARSI MAWA CUPCAKES or ONE SMALL TEA CAKE