Eggless mawa cake is a moist, tea-time cake that’s super simple to make but looks like a feast fit for a King!
Have you heard the term Indian jugaad? Unless you’ve been living under a rock all your life, I assume that you have. It’s a colloquial term used to describe the average Indian’s ability to often find “hacks” for things to make them simpler/cheaper/easier etc. While China gave to the world Hakka Noodles, Indians gave it “gobi manchurian,” while Italians gave it “Pizza Napoletana,” we invented “Tandoori Paneer Pizza.”
So obviously then, if the world was going to tot around its Victorian sponges in our faces, could we be left behind? Enter the Mawa cake – soft, buttery, cakes made with mawa or khoya to match the Western sponge but with it’s own Indian twist – cardamom! A pairing so subtle yet so obvious in its Indianness, that its invention can be considered nothing less than genius.
Unfortunately. all that is known of it’s existence is that it gained popularity as a staple offering of the many Parsi/Irani cafes ubiquitous to Bombay. But beyond that, it’s origins and rise to fame is as shrouded in mystery as the existence of the first Parsi cafe itself.
Luckily, that doesn’t prevent us from enjoying the recipe – no matter what its origins. And while the original recipe does use eggs (and here we don’t,) the other ingredients are largely the same with mawa or milk solids being the hero ingredient of this cake.
What is Mawa?
Also known as khoya or khoa, mawa is essentially dired evaporated milk solids that is made by simmering milk over a low flame for many hours till all of it’s water dries up. It is the ingredient that forms the base of a majority of Indian sweets.
If you live in India, or have access to a store that sells Indian grocery near you, buying mawa is not difficult nor expensive. However, if you still prefer making your own, it’s a pretty simple but rather time-consuming process. You could follow any of the many videos available on Youtube for that.
Apart from the fact that the eggless mawa cake is
- delicious to the last bite
- simple to make
- rich enough to serve at occasions
- liked by people of all ages
- the perfect afternoon tea snack
- and flavorful despite its simple appearance
it is also a memory that many Indians cherish. My husband for example, uses ‘mawa cake’ to describe any dry cake irrespective of whether it is made with mawa or not. This association perhaps stems from the familiar tastes of cardamom and saffron in the cake that’s common across the Indian cuisine.
I have also made use of assorted nuts – cashews, pistachios and almonds to round off the Indian flavors. However, you could totally skip them or change and use the nuts of your preference.
Flavoring Mawa Cake
Since the original mawa cake is really subtle, it’s easy to add flavours to the recipe to make your own variations. Think rose, pistachio, chocolate, pineapple, etc although the original does not come in any of these flavours.
Storing Eggless Mawa Cake
I wasn’t sure if this was required, because whenever I make mawa cake at home, there are never any left-overs to store. However, if you do have any unused, you could place it in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature for upto 2 days. Beyond that it will need to be refrigerated.
Serving Mawa Cake
I would be absolutely correct in assuming that when you serve a food as a memory, you would try and replicate the original as far as possible. And since the original mawa cakes were served plain in cupcake size along with a hot beverage, it’s how we prefer to eat it too. But it’s also delicious with a dollop of cream, or a sprinkling of nuts, or a scoop of ice-cream.
So go on and try out this favourite recipe of mine. It’s going to quickly become your favourite too, I promise!
If you love Indian-inspired recipes, try out some of these other eggless ones –
Eggless Mawa Cake
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ¼ tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp Cardamom Powder
- ¼ cup Yogurt/Thick Curd
- ¼ cup Butter
- ½ cup Castor Sugar
- ⅓ cup Milk
- 80g Mawa, unsweetened
- Cashews/Almonds/Pistachios for topping
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degree C. Grease or line a 6 inch pan.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom powder and keep aside.
- In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together till light and pale. Add the yogurt and beat again till everything is combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately and mix well to ensure that no lumps form and you have a smooth batter.
- Grate or crumble the mawa into the batter and fold it in.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and top with the nuts.
- Bake at 160 c for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Cool the cake and garnish with chopped nuts/rose petals and serve.
- For measurement conversions to grams and ml, refer the conversion guide here – Measurements Conversion Guide