Overview

Gulab jamun is a quintessential Indian dessert, and here it’s been transformed into a much simpler Bundt cake. Inspired by the soft, fried dough balls, this cardamom-scented cake is soaked in a fragrant cinnamon, saffron, rose water and cardamom syrup. The result is a puddinglike Bundt that is delicately textured and flavored.

If you want to re-create the orange glaze you see here, assemble the ingredients for the flavored syrup after you pop the cake in the oven. This will allow the saffron to saturate the mix, giving it an especially vibrant color. Otherwise, to keep the glaze white, combine the ingredients right before you cook the syrup.

Recipe note: The cake will improve in texture as it sits. It will keep airtight at room temperature for several days.

This is a fairly rich and sweet dessert, so feel free to cut it into even smaller pieces to savor with a cup of tea.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

16 tablespoons (2 sticks/226 grams) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup (215 grams) granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups (227 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

FOR THE SYRUP AND GLAZE

1 cup (240 milliliters) water

1 cup (215 grams) granulated sugar

One 3-inch cinnamon stick

8 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon saffron

2 teaspoons rose water

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 cups (180 grams) confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon dried rose petals (optional)


Steps

Step 1

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with the rack in the middle. Grease a 10-cup Bundt pan liberally with butter.

Step 2

Add the butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you may also use a hand mixer). Beat on medium-high for 3 minutes; the butter will turn pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and salt and mix on medium-high for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, add the flour and cardamom and mix on low until the flour is just incorporated. If needed, give the batter a quick stir with a spatula to fold in any dry bits.

Step 3

Spoon the batter into the pan and tap the pan on the counter 3 to 5 times to remove air bubbles. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Step 4

Make the syrup and glaze: Ten minutes before the cake is done baking, in a small saucepan, stir together the water, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom pods and saffron. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and whisk in the rose water and lime juice. Discard the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) syrup and set aside.

Step 5

Poke holes in the bottom of the cake with a wooden skewer or fork. Pour the remaining syrup onto the cake while it is still warm and in the pan. It will look like a lot of syrup, but the cake will soak it all up. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes. Use a small, flexible spatula or a round-edged knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and then turn onto a serving plate. Don’t be alarmed if the cake has split in a few places because of the moisture of the syrup. That’s where the glaze comes in.

Step 6

Whisk together the reserved 1/4 cup syrup with the confectioners’ sugar and pour the glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with the dried rose petals, if desired. Cut into slices and serve.

Adapted from “Milk & Cardamom” by Hetal Vasavada (Page Street Publishing, 2019).

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here. The nutritional analysis is based on 12 servings.

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Nutrition

Calories: 430; Total Fat: 16 g; Saturated Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 110 mg; Sodium: 110 mg; Carbohydrates: 66 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 50 g; Protein: 4 g.