Eggless Mawa Cake- a tea time cake made with mawa (milk solids) and flavored with cardamom and saffron and nuts.
This is a popular cake from Irani/Parsi cafe and bakeries in India.
Indian inspired dessert are my favorites. It of course has to do with the fact that these flavors are more familiar to me and hence they appeal more to my taste buds.
Cardamom, rose, saffron are some of the most popular flavors used in Indian desserts. And while these flavors are extremely common in mithais (Indian sweets) like burfi, ladoo, peda etc., they are not very often used in cakes and pastries.
However, there’s one cake which uses these flavors and is also pretty popular in India and that’s Mawa Cake. This cake is especially popular in Parsi and Iranian bakeries and cafes in Mumbai and Pune.
Honestly I didn’t have this cake growing up because I grew up in and around Delhi and I had never even heard of this cake back then. It was during one of my trips to Mumbai when I had the chance to taste this cake.
Buttery, soft, lightly sweetened and bursting with so much flavor, I was instantly hooked to this cake! The addition of mawa, nuts and all those aromatic flavors made me love it at first bite.
This is a tea time cake, it’s lightly sweetened and goes so well with cup of chai or coffee. You do not need any icing or frosting for this cake, it’s just so good as it is.
The first time I made this cake at home was many years ago and it was for in in-laws. They are not a fan of chocolate and other popular cake flavors so while thinking about what to bake for them, I made this mawa cake and they really enjoyed it.
That version was made with eggs (as most mawa cakes are) but today I am sharing an eggless version with you guys. I know you guys love all eggless recipes that I share so I had to make this one without eggs too.
What is Mawa Cake
As mentioned above, it’s a cake made with mawa/khoya which is nothing but milk solids.
Mawa is made by cooking the milk until all the liquid dries off, it takes hours! At my home, mawa was always made from scratch but I don’t have that sort of patience so I use some from the Indian store.
Mawa is commonly used in a lot of Indian sweets like gulab jamun, gujiya etc. You can also make mawa using milk powder and cream, that’s instant mawa which can be used if you do not have access to traditional mawa at stores.
This cake is flavored with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg and has nuts on top. I also added some rose petals because why not! It is lightly sweetened and makes the perfect tea time cake.
This cake doesn’t have it’s origin from India, it was brought to India by immigrants and has been popular ever since.
For this recipe, I used a basic eggless vanilla cake recipe and added cardamom and mawa to it and it turned out pretty good!
All purpose flour: this cake in entirely made from all purpose flour aka maida.
If you want to add whole wheat flour, I would recommend doing 50% whole wheat and 50% all purpose.
Cardamom: it’s the main flavoring spice for this cake. So use a good quality cardamom powder for that nice aroma.
I also added some cardamom essence in the cake but it’s optional and you can skip if you don’t have it.
Leavening agents: the recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda. The soda reacts with yogurt in the recipe and replaces the egg.
Both the agents help in making the cake rise and making it light.
Saffron: this is not always used in mawa cake but I do like it’s flavor so use it. You can skip it.
Butter: I have used unsalted butter here, if you want you can use salted butter also. In that case skip the salt from the recipe.
Sugar: do use granulated white sugar (the one that we get in US) or caster sugar in this recipe. The sugar that you get in India is not fine so if you are using that you should pulse it a bit using your food process and then use in the recipe.
Mawa: aka khoya is the key ingredient for this cake. You can find mawa at Indian grocery stores in the freezer section.
My personal favorite brand of frozen mawa is vadilal. Simply thaw and use. If you can’t find mawa, you can also make an Instant one using milk powder and cream. I don’t have a recipe for that yet so search it on the net and you will find one.
Yogurt & milk: these are the liquid ingredients in the recipe. The yogurt also reacts with soda to leaven the cake.
I have used plain whole milk yogurt here and also use whole milk. Skimmed milk and low fat yogurt should also work.
Garnishes: so this cake often has a topping of cashews so you can use cashews or use what I have used- pistachios, almonds.
I have also added some dried rose petals on top because they make it look pretty and festive!
Texture of the cake: this moist cake has kind of a mixed texture. It is lighter in parts but places where there is mawa, it is dense.
Serving suggestions: this cake tastes best with cup of chai or coffee.
Store this cake at room temperature and it will be good for 3-5 days easily.
This is one of those cakes which you can prepare for a tea party, for Diwali, Holi or just about any celebration.
It tastes great on it’s own and that’s the best part about it! Hope you guys will try it this festive season.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees and spray a 8-inch round pan with baking spray and set aside.
1- In a large bowl sift together flour, cardamom powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk everything together and set aside.
2- Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (or use your hand mixer), beat butter with sugar and saffron strands (crushed) until creamy.
3- Add cardamom essence if using and mix again.
4- Now, add whisked plain yogurt and mix well.
5- Now, add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined.
6- Followed by all of the milk and then the remaining flour. Mix until combined but do not over-mix.
7- Fold in the crumbled mawa and mix.
8- Transfer mixture to the prepared 8-inch round pan. Top with chopped pistachios, silvered almonds and dried rose petals. Bake the cake at 350 F degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice mawa cake and serve with cup of chai or coffee.
This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in August 2013.
Eggless Mawa Cake
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour 195 grams
- 1.5 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick (113 grams), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar 150 grams
- generous pinch saffron strands
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom essence optional
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt whisked and at room temperature
- 3/4 cup milk 6 oz, I used whole milk
- 3/4 cup mawa crumbled, 125 grams
- 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon silvered almonds
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rose petal crushed
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees and spray a 8-inch round pan with baking spray and set aside.In a large bowl sift together flour, cardamom powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk everything together and set aside.
- Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (or use your hand mixer), beat butter with sugar and saffron strands (crushed) until creamy.Add cardamom essence if using and mix again.
- Now, add whisked plain yogurt and mix well.
- Now, add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Followed by all of the milk and then the remaining flour. Mix until combined but do not over-mix.
- Fold in the crumbled mawa and mix.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared 8-inch round pan. Top with chopped pistachios, silvered almonds and dried rose petals. Bake the cake at 350 F degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Transfer cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice mawa cake and serve with cup of chai or coffee.
- Cashew nut is often used on top of this cake so you very well may use it.
- Nutmeg is also often use to flavor this cake so you can use some in addition to cardamom powder in the recipe.