Gajjar Halwa Cake with a Twist

This is a fun twist on the traditional; A carrot halwa cake which incorporates the richness of gajjar halwa into a traditional carrot cake.

My name is Abhisha Parikh. I am an immigration attorney by profession but a baker in my free time. Growing up, I didn’t always like being in the kitchen, unless it was for recipe  tasting. But as time went on, I found cooking and baking to be so therapeutic. I saw ingredients as a blank canvas that hold infinite possibilities for recipe creations. Food is also a big part of our family gatherings. I remember during the holidays and birthdays, the dinner table is where everyone came together to celebrate and try all the new food that everyone has made. A couple of years ago, I decided to share this love for food and cooking and bring it to my social media platforms and from there, the community only grew bigger. I realized how food is something that connects each and everyone of us.

 

Gajjar Halwa Cake

carrot halwa cake
carrot cake with gajjar halwa

This is a fun spin on a spiced carrot cake. This recipe instantly transports me to my mom’s kitchen around Diwali, the air rich with the aroma of fragrant carrots, caramelized milk and cardamom. The halwa is like a decadent warm oatmeal, making it the perfect dessert for cold winter nights. Growing up, I have always loved to bake and play around with recipes that combine traditional Indian desserts and give them a new twist by adding those flavors into baked goods. 

Usually carrot cake is made with raw carrots combined directly into the cake batter, but I wanted this cake to incorporate the richness of the halwa after it has cooked a bath of hot milk. So for this recipe, we cook the halwa completely before adding it into the cake batter. This recipe is definitely time-consuming but I promise you that the end results are so worth it! 

The frosting on this cake is a cream cheese base so the cake will need to be refrigerated. You can take it out 1-2 hours before serving to bring it to room temperature. 

 

RECIPE

For the Gajjar Halwa

  • 8 large peeled and shredded carrots (700 grams), prepared with a food processor into long strands or grated on the large holes on a box grater
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • ½ cup mixed cashews, sliced almonds, and golden raisins mixed 
  1. In a non-stick pan, combine milk and carrots
  2. On a low to medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer
  3. While the mixture is simmering, keep stirring (make sure the milk does not stick to the pan)
  4. The carrots will cook in the milk and milk should start to lessen (this process can take 25-30 minutes)
  5. When the milk is almost ¾ reduced, add the ghee, sugar and cardamom powder to the mixture
  6. Stir well and continue to simmer and cook on low to medium flame
  7. Once the milk is competed blended into the mixture (should become a oatmeal texture), add in the cashews, almonds, and raisins and stir in
  8. Set the gajjar halwa aside to cool 

For the Cake

  • 4 Eggs 
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ½ cup sliced almonds 
  • Gajjar Halwa (you can keep about 1/4 of the halwa aside to decorate on top of the cake)
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. F. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans. You can line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper foe east removal. 
  2. In a large bowl, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sour cream, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix. Fold in the halwa and almonds. 
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the pan for easy release. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the Frosting

  • 8 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2  cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 packet of Good Day Pistachio and Almond Biscuits (available at any Indian Grocery Store)
  1. In a food processor, place the biscuits and blend until they reach a powder consistency and set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat for about another 2 minutes on high speed until completely smooth. Fold in in the powdered biscuits into mixture with a spatula. 

Assembling the cake

  1. Set one layer on a plate with the flat side facing up (or, optionally, if your cake rose too much, cut its rounded top with a knife to make it flat). Evenly spread about 1/3 of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
  2. Take the leftover halwa and roll them out into 1 inch balls and place them on top of the cake
  3. Decorate with crushed pistachios

Check out some other delicious cake recipes on our site including a delicious Eggless Molten Cake recipe!