Gulab Jamun Cake

A while ago I made a rasmalai cake, ever since making that I’ve been wanting to make a gulab jamun cake too.

I AM SO GLAD I MADE THIS. This cake made me so happy.

The final cake was very pretty to me, the flavours I could taste when I bit into it were amazing and also the cake layers were so moist. I loved this cake, I have nothing else to say, I just loved it!

The gulab jamun cake covered in whipped cream and decorated with mini gulab jamuns and crushed pistachios.

Video Tutorial

What makes this a gulab jamun cake?

I didn’t want to just add gulab jamun to this cake and call it a gulab jamun cake. I also wanted to take the flavours you get from gulab jamun and add it into the cake.

I always like to do this whenever I’m making some kind of South Asian fusion dessert, it just feels more fun like this.

So if we think of gulab jamun, this is a very basic definition of it, but it’s essentially pieces of dough that have been fried and then soaked in a cardamon and rose flavoured syrup.

For this cake, I added cardamom powder into my cake batter. And then once the cake layers were baked, I added a syrup that had been infused with cardamom, rose and saffron.

When I bit into this cake, I tasted the same flavours I taste when I bite into a gulab jamun. I need to say this again…..the flavour of this cake was so amazing!

A slice of the gulab jamun cake on a white plate, with the full cake in the background.

Ingredients for the cake

Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make the cake layers:

  • Unsalted butter – we’re going to be using self-raising flour for this cake. A lot of self-raising flours already have salt in them, so it’s best to use unsalted butter otherwise the cake might end up too salty.
  • Oil – for moisture. I use vegetable oil but any flavourless one works.
  • Sugar – I’m using a mixture of both granulated sugar and brown sugar. The brown sugar just adds some extra flavour as well as moisture.
  • Cardamon powder – for cardamom flavour.
  • Vanilla extract – also for flavour.
  • Eggs
  • Self-raising flour – I’ll go into how to use plain/all purpose flour later on in this blog post.
  • Milk – it’s best to use whole milk.
A close up of the decorated gulab jamun cake.

Ingredient substitutes

For the cake batter, there are a few ingredients that I typically get asked if there are substitutes for, or if they can be left out.

Here are those ingredients:

The oil

So in cakes you typically need some kind of fat. This is usually either butter or oil.

I used a mixture of both for this cake, the butter adds great flavour, whereas the oil makes the cake super moist.

However, if you wanted to leave the oil out and only use butter instead, you could. The cake will be slightly less moist, but it will still taste great.

Just instead of using 125g of butter, use 250g!

The brown sugar

Like I mentioned, I used a mixture of granulated sugar and brown sugar.

The main reason why I used brown sugar was just for some extra flavour, I feel like brown sugar adds a nice flavour to cake.

But if you didn’t have any, you can just use 250g of granulated sugar in total.

The self-raising flour

If you live in a place where self-raising flour is hard to find, you can use plain/all purpose flour instead.

Use the same amount but mix 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt into it!

1 of the cake layers before being baked.
1 of the cake layers after being baked.

What cake tin to use

I baked my cake batter in three 6 inch cake tins.

I wanted a cake that was a little tall, so this is why I used 3 tins.

However, if you only have 8 inch tins, those work too. Just use 2 instead of 3.

The baking time might be a little different if you do this though. Keep an eye on them, they’re done when a toothpick inserted into the centre come out clean!

The syrup

I added a syrup to the cake layers after they had baked and cooled.

Making this syrup is easy, all you need to do is boil some sugar, water, cardamon and saffron together. Then I also added some rose water into it.

Here are a few tips:

Add the rose water last

The rose water is optional, you don’t need to add it. It just adds a nice smell and a little bit of flavour.

If you are using it though, it’s best to add it last, after you have taken the syrup off the heat.

If you add it at the start with the other ingredients, the rose water just evaporates and you lose the smell and flavour. So add it last!

Don’t boil the syrup for too long

You just want to heat these ingredients until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to boil.

Once it comes to a boil, take it off the heat.

You don’t want the syrup to become too thick, if it is too thick it won’t soak into the cake layers very well.

Don’t add too much syrup to the cake layers

When it comes to adding the syrup to the cake layers, try not to add too much. Otherwise they cake will end up soggy and way too sweet.

You just want to brush, or spoon, some of it onto the top of the layers. Just enough to moisten the surface of the layers.

The cake layers in the cake tins, after being baked.

The whipped cream

To make the whipped cream all you need to do is throw the ingredients into a bowl and whip them.

Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make it:

  • Double cream – also known as heavy cream. If you live in a place that doesn’t have double/heavy cream, whipping cream works too.
  • Icing sugar – I added this to taste, you could adjust the amount of sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – for flavour.

How to fix over whipped cream

You only want to whip the cream until it thickens and you get medium peaks.

As you spread the cream onto the cake layers and ice the cake, the movement you are doing as you spread it kind of continues to whip the cream….if that makes sense.

So if you whip the cream until you get stiff peaks, as you spread it onto the cake it will just become too thick, which will make icing the cake a little difficult.

If you feel like you have over whipped your cream DON’T WORRY this is an easy fix.

Just pour some un-whipped cream into it and gently mix this in. Keep repeating this until the cream has gone back to medium peaks.

With that being said, if you have whipped the cream to a point where it has split and now you have butter. It is too far gone, you won’t be able to fix this. So try not to let this happen!

1 of the cake layers after it had been levelled.

Is this cake overly sweet?

Gulab jamun is known as a very sweet dessert. I mean it’s soaked in a sugar syrup so of course it is very sweet.

Every time I’ve made some kind of dessert using gulab jamun, I’ve been asked if it tasted too sweet. Which is understandable, I get why this is a concern.

Here’s the thing, most of the sweetness in cakes is typically not coming from the cake layers. It’s usually coming from the icing or buttercream or frosting. 

That’s why for this cake I’m using a whipped cream instead. This is way less sweet than buttercream or frosting.

With whipped cream, you can adjust the amount of sugar in it, you can add less than I did, or more, or you don’t need to add any sugar at all.

So, yes this cake is sweet. But no sweeter than a typical cake.

I’ve adjusted the recipe to make sure it’s not too sweet, but again you can adjust it even more by using less sugar in the cream!

The gulab jamun

The last thing I wanted to talk about was the gulab jamun.

I used 16 gulab jamun for this cake. It was around 8 regular sized ones, and 8 mini ones for the top.

With the regular sized ones, I chopped them in half and added them in between the cake layers.

I did this just for the aesthetics, I thought it would be nice to see pieces of gulab jamun in the cake when you cut into it.

However, this cake already has all the gulab jamun flavours. So you really don’t need to add the gulab jamun in between the layers if you didn’t want to. Honestly, the next time I make this I would probably not add it it between the layers. 

If you are worried about the cake being too sweet, or if you just didn’t want to buy that many gulab jamun, you don’t need too.

Just get a few to put on top, that’s all you really need! 

Here are a few other fusion desserts I think you might like:

Gulab Jamun Cake

5.0 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • For the cake:
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened

  • 125ml vegetable oil

  • 125g granulated sugar

  • 125g brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cardamon powder

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 4 eggs

  • 250g self-raising flour

  • 60ml whole milk

  • For the simple syrup:
  • 100g sugar

  • 100ml water

  • 4 cardamon pods

  • A few strands of saffron

  • 2 teaspoons rose water

  • For the whipped cream:
  • 600ml double cream

  • 100g icing sugar (you can add more or less, I just added this to taste)

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Extras:
  • Some gulab jamun (I used around 16, 8 big ones and 8 small ones. It's up to you how many you want to use)

  • Some chopped pistachios for decoration, optional

Directions

  • Making the cake layers:
  • Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c/350f. Also grease and line three 6 inch cake tins. You could use two 8 inch tins instead, if you wanted too.
  • In a large bowl, add the softened butter, oil, both sugars, the vanilla and the cardamon powder. Beat these together on high speed for 5 minutes. If you're making this by hand, just aggressively whisk for as long as you can.
  • Add 2 of the eggs into this, whisk these in, then whisk in the remaining 2 eggs. Now add the flour and milk, whisk just until you get a smooth batter.
  • Add this batter into your cake tins then bake for around 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Once baked, leave them to cool completely.
  • Making the simple syrup:
  • In a pot, add the sugar and water. Break open your cardamon pods slightly so that the seeds are exposed, add this into the pot too, along with the saffron.
  • Give all this a stir, then place the pot onto medium heat. Heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, take it off the heat.
  • Leave this aside to cool at room temperature.
  • Making the whipped cream:
  • In a large bowl, add the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla.
  • Whip this just until your cream thickens and you get medium peaks. Leave this in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
  • Putting everything together:
  • Once your cakes have cooled completely and your syrup has come to room temperature, you can put the cake together.
  • I cut the tops of my cake layers off, just so that I have flat even layers but you don't need too.
  • Brush some of the syrup on top of your cake layers, try not to add too much, just enough to moisten the surface of the layers.
  • Place one cake layer on a board and spread some whipped cream over this. At this point, I cut a few gulab jamuns in half and added these on top of the layer of cream, this is optional.
  • Add another layer of cake on top of this, then more cream, more gulab jamun if you're adding them, and then the final layer of cake.
  • Now you can decorate the cake however you want. I covered it in the remaining whipped cream, added some pistachios to the sides, piped some cream on top, then added some mini gulab jamun on top too.
  • Let this set this set up in the fridge for about 20 minutes before cutting into it, then enjoy!
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4 Comments

  1. sreema
    July 13, 2023 / 7:45 pm

    Can I use three 9 inch cake pans for this recipe?

    • Ash Baber
      Author
      July 14, 2023 / 9:00 am

      The layers will be extremely thin, it’s better to just use two 9 inch pans instead!

  2. Preeti
    September 11, 2023 / 1:38 pm

    Hi, I made this cake for my daughter’s birthday and it was one of the best cakes we’ve ever tasted. It turned out so moist, rich and delicious! Thank you for the great recipe. I will definitely try out more of your fusion desserts!

    • Ash Baber
      Author
      September 11, 2023 / 5:21 pm

      AHH I’M SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT