Iron Chef Shellie

Ras Malai Cake

Take the flavours of the popular Indian dessert and put it in a cake.


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Ras Malai Cake
February 6, 2024

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Ras Malai Cake

Ras malai is a delectable Indian dessert consisting of soft paneer or chhena (cottage cheese) balls immersed in a creamy and sweetened milk mixture, typically flavoured with cardamom or saffron. To prepare ras malai, the cheese balls are first made by curdling milk, draining the whey, and then kneading the residue into a dough. The dough is shaped into small discs or balls, which are then cooked in a simmering sugar syrup. These cooked cheese balls are later soaked in a rich, flavoured milk syrup, resulting in a delightful and indulgent sweet treat.

Throughout our travels through the Himalayas, Ewen has often been in search of Ras Malai, and I keep hearing about this delicious dessert but never tried it for myself. I came across this cake recipe by Nadiya Hussain and knew I had to make it for him. Whilst he says he still enjoys the original dessert, he like this cake too 😄.

Ras Malai Cake

Nadiya Hussain
Print Recipe
Servings 10


For the cake

  • 10 strands of saffron, dropped into 60ml of warm milk
  • 250g salted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 280g plain flour
  • 4¼ tsp baking powder

For the milk drizzle

  • 100g powdered milk
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 3 cardamom pods, seeds removed from the pods and ground

For the buttercream

  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted

To decorate

  • 100g roughly chopped pistachios, plus edible rose petals


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
  • Make the saffron milk. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy and almost white. Add the eggs a little at a time, making sure to keep mixing. Then add the flour, baking powder and saffron milk, and fold the mixture until you have a smooth, shiny batter.
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins and level the tops. Bake for 30–35 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the milk drizzle by mixing the milk powder with the boiling water in a bowl. Add the ground cardamom seeds and mix.
  • As soon as the cakes are out of the oven, drizzle the milk all over the top of both cakes and leave in the tin for at least 10 minutes before turning them out and removing them to cool on a rack.
  • To make the buttercream, put the crushed cardamom pods in a small bowl of the milk and leave to infuse.
  • Meanwhile, put the butter into a mixing bowl and whisk until very soft and light in colour. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, whisking after each addition, until all combined.
  • When the cardamom milk is ready, pour through a sieve into the buttercream and whisk until really light and fluffy.
  • Once the cakes are totally cool, place one cake on your serving dish and spread an even layer of buttercream over it.
  • Put the other cake on top, flipping it over so the milk drizzle top becomes the bottom and sandwiches the buttercream. Spread some buttercream evenly across the top and the sides and use a ruler to level off the edges.
  • If you have any cream left over you can pipe little kisses on top. Then gently take the rose petals and pistachios and press them into the bottom edge of the cake.

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Ras Malai Cake

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Shellie Froidevaux

All content on this site is by Shellie Froidevaux - aka Iron Chef Shellie. Her skills include recipe development, food styling in her kitchen studio, lifestyle and travel photography, restaurant photography on location, styling and shooting social media for her clients and photography workshops for people who really want to change their game :)

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