Ras malai cake is an Indian delicacy that originated in Bengal and has become one of India’s favorite desserts.
It’s also one of my favorites as it reminds me of being a kid at home.
The dish consists of a sponge-like disc wrapped in a thin layer of creamy coconut milk flavored custard.
The whole thing is then dipped into a sweetened condensed milk mixture before baking.
This makes for a unique and delicious treat!
What Are The Ingredients In A Rasmalai Cake?
To create this classic dessert, there are three main components to consider – the sponge, the filling, and the glaze.
- Sponge Ingredients: Cottage cheese or paneer (Indian version of cheddar) can be used here. You will need about 1 cup (250 ml), which should be drained and finely chopped into small pieces.
- Coconut Milk Filling Ingredients: Coconut milk needs to be stirred well so that all lumps get dissolved. If using canned coconut milk, ensure that the cream is thick enough. For homemade, use fresh grated coconut in place of canned coconut milk.
- Condensed Milk Glaze Ingredients: Condensed milk is added to give the rasmalai its signature sweetness. Since this is a dairy product, if you want to avoid any possible lactose intolerance issues, opt for non-dairy alternatives like almond milk or soy milk instead.
How Do You Make A Rasmalai Cake?
To begin making Ras Malai Cake (or any other type), start by whipping up some heavy cream to use later on.
You can either whip this cream directly or save it in your fridge until needed.
Once whipped, pour about half of the cream over the bottom of a large bowl.
Then add two cups of sifted all purpose flour along with 1/4 cup of sugar.
Mix these together well so they form a thick batter.
Next, take out another bowl and mix 2 eggs with 3 tablespoons of water.
Add one tablespoon of oil to the egg mixture.
Now slowly work in the remaining two cups of flour until everything comes together nicely.
Next, add the rest of the flour and salt to the egg batter and mix them together well.
At this point, add the egg yolk mixture to the flour batter.
Stir it gently but thoroughly until the batter becomes smooth and no lumps remain.
Now, heat butter in a pan over medium heat.
When the butter starts foaming, remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Transfer the hot melted butter onto a plate and allow it to cool down completely.
After cooling down, place a metal ladle full of batter into the middle of the cooled butter.
Gently lift the ladle off the butter to create a round shape.
Repeat this process until you have used all the batter.
Place each rasmalai cake on top of a clean kitchen cloth and cover with plastic wrap.
Place a flat tray filled with ice cubes underneath the rack where the cakes will be placed while baking.
Preheat oven to 350ºF degrees.
To bake the rasmalai cakes, carefully place the rack inside the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the rasmalai cakes from the oven once they turn golden brown.
Let them sit for 5 minutes before removing them from the rack using a spatula.
Once removed from the oven, set the racks below the rack with the trays of ice cubes underneath it again.
Pour 2 teaspoons of ghee (clarified butter) over each rasmalai cake and immediately serve them warm.
What Is The History Of Rasmalai Cake?
Originally from Bengal (now known as Bangladesh), this dessert was born out of necessity.
As the story goes, many women would take their children on long journeys by foot or boat to fetch water from the river.
To keep them happy while they were away, mothers would prepare special treats such as ras malai cakes for them to eat when they returned.
These were typically prepared using leftover cottage cheese and served warm after soaking in a thick syrup.
Over time, people began making these cakes more elaborate and adding other ingredients like nuts, raisins, and dried fruits to create new flavors.
Today, there are a wide variety of ras malai cakes available across both countries – some containing cream, others chocolate, and still others filled with pistachio nut paste.
How Did The Rasmalai Cake Come To Be?
In 1875, Raja Sri Krishnachandra Ray was crowned king of Kolkata (then known as Calcutta).
He loved eating sweets so much that he had his own personal chef who would make him these cakes on special occasions.
One day, while enjoying lunch with friends, the king suddenly got up from his seat and started walking around wildly.
His friends tried to calm down the king by telling him not to worry but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Finally, they asked if there was anything wrong with him.
To which he replied, “I don’t know what’s happened, I am just feeling very strange.”
His friends immediately took action and rushed him to hospital where doctors found out that the king had eaten too many ras malai cakes and was suffering from food poisoning.
To this day, the rasmalai cake still remains one of the most famous dishes in the city of Kolkata.
According to Food Network Asia, the first rasmalai cake was created by Durga Devi, wife of King Krishna Chandra Ray.
She reportedly used leftover rice flour leftovers to create the dessert and served it to her husband who liked it so much that he requested she continue making them.
After that, the rasmalai became a royal family tradition.
Here is how you can make your own version of the classic rasmalai cake.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup desiccated coconut powder
- ⅔ cups plain yogurt
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup condensed milk
- Coconut oil or ghee for greasing pan
- Mix together the flour, salt, and coconut powder until well combined.
- Separate the egg yolks from whites.
- Beat the egg whites using electric beaters till stiff peaks form.
- Add 5 tablespoons of sugar and combine well.
- Next add 4 tablespoons of water along with the egg yolks, mix well.
- Now fold in the whipped egg whites gently to avoid breaking them.
- Pour batter onto the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees F (90 C) for about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Serve chilled with ice cream or whipped cream.
What Are Some Popular Variations Of Rasmalai Cake?
If you love this classic Indian dessert but aren’t quite sure what else there is out there, here’s a list of some of the most common variations on this dish.
- Chapli Ras Malai Cake – Chapli means “custard” or “cream” in Hindi and chapli ras malai cake literally translates to “creamed curd cake.” This variation can be found all over North India especially in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Sikkim.
- Sooji Ras Malai Cake (or Kaju Sooji) – This version is traditionally served during Diwali, when people get together and celebrate the festival of lights by sharing sweets and savories. The sooji used in these cakes comes from almonds rather than cashews like traditional recipes call for.
- Kanak Ras Malai Cake – Kanaka refers to the color yellow and kalakar refers to the color green which is how they got their name. These versions tend to have more sugar content since people don’t want them too sour.
- Gulab Jamun Ras Malai Cake – Gulabi jamuns are famous across India and gulab jamun is a well known street food snack. This particular variant uses ghee instead of oil for its rich flavor.
- Jaggery Rasmalai Cake – Jaggery is a type of unrefined cane sugar popularly used in South Asia. It adds sweetness without adding any unnecessary calories.
- Dahi Rasmalai Cake – Dahi means yogurt. This version uses thick plain yogurt instead of cream.
- Paneer Rasmalai Cake – Paneer is a form of cottage cheese commonly eaten throughout India. This version uses paneer instead of cottage cheese.
- Eggless Rasmalai Cake – Eggless rasmalai cake is very similar to regular rasmalai cake except that it doesn’t use egg yolks.
What Are Some Tips For Making A Perfect Rasmalai Cake?
Here are some tips to keep in mind while preparing this classic Indian delicacy:
- Start by soaking the yogurt overnight. Don’t skip this step as it helps thicken up your custard and give it a richer flavor.
- Make sure you use unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter) for frying the cakes. You can substitute the oil but it will take longer time to cook.
- Once the cakes are cooked, don’t try to flip them over. Instead, cut them into small pieces and serve immediately.
- You should not make more than 6 cakes per batch because once they start cooking, they tend to get soggy fast. If you have leftover cake batter, just store it in the fridge and reheat when needed.
How Do You Know When A Rasmalai Cake Is Done?
I often get asked how to tell if the rasmalai cake I have baked is ready or not.
When it comes to cakes, there are no hard and fast rules.
There are just general guidelines based on experience and taste.
For example, most people will bake their rasmalai cakes using an electric oven rather than gas because this method ensures even cooking throughout the cake.
If you don’t own an electric oven, however, you can use your stove top instead – but make sure to pay close attention to the cake so that it doesn’t burn too quickly.
On the other hand, whether you choose to use a microwave or a conventional oven, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of doneness.
Here are three things you should look out for:
- A deep golden brown color on the outside of the cake indicates that it is cooked through.
- When you insert a knife into the middle of the cake, it should come out cleanly without any batter stuck to it.
- If you press lightly against the surface of the cake, it shouldn’t spring back immediately. Instead, it should be firm enough that it takes more pressure from your finger to cause it to bounce back again.
Of course, these aren’t the only factors involved in determining when a rasmalai cake is done. You need to consider all of the different variables such as the size of the pan used, the temperature of the oven, and the amount of time the cake spends inside the oven.
How Do You Store Rasmalai Cake?
You can keep your rasmalai cake refrigerated or frozen for up to 2 weeks after preparation.
However, the best way to preserve this delightful delight is by freezing it once its baked.
Ras malai cakes freeze well because they take on moisture from the freezer and become dense instead of soggy.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Making Rasmalai Cake?
There are several reasons why Ras Malai Cake isn’t quite the same every time you attempt to bake it.
- You may have used too much sugar or not enough. Sugar will help thicken your coconut milk custard, while more liquid helps create a soft, fluffy texture for your sponge.
- If you over mix your batter, you risk creating tough cakes. Also, if you don’t knead properly, your dough can easily tear during rolling out. You should be gentle when working with this dish so as not to damage the delicate structure of the cake. If you use too much flour, your rasmalai won’t rise properly either.
- It doesn’t matter how many times you try to make rasmalai cake, there will always be a few mishaps along the way. Here are some tips that might save you from ruining your next batch.
- Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F. Otherwise, your cake will take longer to cook than expected and you could end up with dry, hard cakes instead of the moist ones you want.
- You need to give your rasmalai cake plenty of space to expand. Don’t crowd them together on the pan – they will get soggy.
- When pouring hot water onto your rasmalai cakes, wait until all the cakes have cooled down completely. Then, gently place each one back into its original pan and let it cool.
- Never slice rasmalai cakes before serving. They tend to fall apart very easily because of their high moisture content. Just serve them warm and fresh.
- Use fresh cream to make your custard. Any leftover thickened milk left after straining your cream can be frozen and re-used later.
- For best results, add half a cup of heavy whipping cream to each 1 litre (4 cups) of full fat evaporated milk. Heat the milk slowly on a low flame until bubbles start appearing around the edges. Stir continuously to avoid burning at any point.
What are some common mistakes people make when making rasmalai cake?
- Overbaking the rasmalai cake – Ras malai cakes must be baked until they turn golden brown. If you over bake them, your rasmalai cake will lose its shape and may even fall apart. Over cooking can also affect the texture of the rasmalai cake and result in cracked layers.
- Undercooking the rasmalai cake – Ras malai cakes are very delicate so undercooking them can lead to dry or hard rasmalai cakes. You should always cook this dish carefully to avoid overcooking.
- Not using ghee – Ghee (clarified butter) is used in most recipes involving rasmalai cakes as well as other dishes like roti. Using ghee ensures that the rasmalai cake turns out soft and moist.
- Using low quality ghee – For best results, use high quality ghee which contains no additives. Low quality ghee tends to break down quickly resulting in poor flavor and taste from the dish.
- Making too much of the sauce – Many times, I have seen cooks add more than enough amount of sugar to the rasmalai cake while preparing it. Adding extra sugar gives the rasmalai cake an unnatural sweetness. Try to limit the amount of sugar added to the rasmalai cake.
- Adding water instead of cream – When adding cream to the rasmalai cake, remember not to add any water along with it. Water lowers the temperature during cooking and prevents the eggs from setting properly. Also, try to only add half the amount of cream required to prepare the rasmalai cake. Too much cream will cause the rasmalai cake to become heavy and dense.
- Addition of flour – In many cases, cooks add flour to the rasmalai cakes to thicken the batter. However, adding flour makes the cake heavy and less flavorful. Instead of flour, try replacing it with corn starch.
- Failing to cool the rasmalai cake after preparation – After cooking the rasmalai cake batter, let it cool completely before dipping it into the thickened custard. Do not leave the rasmalai cake on the stove top or in direct sunlight. Letting the rasmalai cake sit for longer periods of time can affect the consistency of the final product.
- Preparation of the rasmalai cake too early – Before putting the rasmalai cake in the oven, wait about 20 minutes. Doing so allows the egg whites to set properly. Preparing the rasmalai cake too soon could result in cracking during the baking process.
If you follow these tips, you won’t go wrong when trying out this fantastic dessert!
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 cup castor sugar
- ½ cup milk
- ½ tsp kewra extract
- 2 drops yellow food color
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 2-3 saffron strands
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 box of rasmalai
- Put two 6 inch round cake pans in the oven and preheat it to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Add some cardamom powder and a few strands of saffron to a bowl of milk. Mix thoroughly, then set this away for a few minutes to infuse.
- Yogurt should be added to a separate basin with baking soda sprinkled on top, then let to bubble up.
- In a another dish, whisk the castor sugar and oil until they are pale and well blended.
- Add vanilla and kewra extracts.
- Now add the milk that has been infused with the yogurt mixture, sugar, and oil, and stir thoroughly.
- Add baking powder and maida to the wet ingredients. Make sure there are no lumps by whisking.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes at 180C, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean.
- Use a serrated knife to divide each cake in half after allowing the cakes to cool completely.
- For the frosting, whip the cream until firm peaks form, then fold in a couple spoonfuls of the rasmalai liquid.
- A few drops of yellow food colouring should be added.
- Drizzle some of the rasmalai liquid over one layer of cake. Whipped cream should be piped in a thick layer.
- Place the second layer of cake after adding some chopped pistachios. Repeat as necessary with additional layers.
- Whipping cream should be added in dollops and distributed evenly over the top. Add a few ras malai pieces as a garnish.