Gulab Jamun Cake

Gulab jamun cake, always a party hit, is an easy, delicious,moist, saffron simple syrup-soaked cardamom cake with gulab jamun baked inside!The cake is layered with a light rose whipped cream or can be made without it.Read on to learn more about this yummy moist cake!
Gulab Jamun cake decorated with pistaschios, roses and gulab jamuns.

If you are a fan of Indian fusion eggless cake recipes or Indian sweets, you will love my Rasmalai Cake, Kesar Pista Milk Cake, Gajar Ka Halwa Cake, Mango Shrikhand Cheesecake, Tiramisu Burfi, Cookies and Cream Burfi and Kesar Pista Cupcakes.

What is gulab jamun cake?

Gulab jamun cake is an easy eggless cardamom cake baked with readymade gulab jamuns inside.  Once baked, the cake is brushed with a saffron simple syrup (chaasni), just like gulab jamuns are.

I have used a delicious light rose whipping cream to layer the cake and make a beautiful two layer cake.

Gulab jamun is a VERY popular Indian dessert.  It is essentially fried balls of dough/milk powder which are soaked in a saffron / cardamom / rose simple syrup.  This cake similarly soaks a baked cake with saffron simple syrup which gives a similar mouth watering taste.

The primary flavors are from saffron in gulab jamun.  Gulab means rose, so a touch of rose gives it a beautiful rose flavor.

You can also make this in cupcake form, check out Gulab Jamun Cupcakes or as Gulab Jamun Cheesecake!

The cake can be made in a variety of ways which is noted in the Variations section below. 

I had to make an Indian fusion cake as I love making fusion desserts with gulab jamun such as Gulab Jamun Ice Cream and Gulab Jamun Pancakes

Key Ingredient Notes

Gulab jamun ingredients in bowls on marble top.

Cake: I make a eggless vanilla sponge cupcake recipe as a base for this using all purpose flour (plain flour) and add in milk powder.  You can use a box mix as well.

Gulab Jamuns: I used ready made canned gulab jamuns by Haldiram.  I like using ready made gulab jamuns because they are not as soft as freshly homemade gulab jamuns.  So, they hold their shape well when you make them in the cake batter.

Oil or Butter: You can use either for this recipe, they both taste great.  If you are using butter do not forget to leave it out of the fridge until it is room temperature. The process is slightly different for butter and is outlined in the recipe card below.

Rose Water: I used Nielsen Massey brand of Rose Water which is strong like rose essence. You may need to adjust dependent on the brand used.

Vanilla extract: This helps give the cake base a good flavor.

Gulab Jamun Cake cut.

Saffron simple syrup (Chaasni):  It makes a very big difference to make your own chaasni instead of using the syrup that comes in the canned gulab jamun.  It is very easy to make.  I like using saffron as the primary ingredient in the syrup and add in a touch of cardamom powder.  The rose flavor comes through in the whipped cream so I don’t add it here as it can be overwhelming.  If you are skipping the rose whipped cream, you could add a little rose water to the syrup instead.

Whipped cream: This is very easy to make at home and I like to make it from scratch so the amount of sugar and flavorings can be controlled.  I add a little cardamom and a hint of rose that gives a lovely floral taste.  You can skip either or both, up to your preferences.

No eggs needed as this is an eggless gulab jamun cake.

Note: The ready made gulab jamuns come in a sugar syrup.  While you can use it, I don’t think it tastes as good as making your own saffron simple syrup.  You can use it in place of making the saffron syrup if you wish.

1. Tips For Making the Cake

Set oven to 350F. Line two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Drain the canned ready made gulab jamuns to separate them from the sugar syrup.

Mix together dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.

(To make it easier and get even cake layers, recommend halving the batter recipe and mixing in two different bowls). I put the measurements for 1 cake in the notes section next to the ingredients in the recipe card.

Divide batter by two and pour 3/4 of batter into two sheet cake pans.  Then, place the gulab jamuns on the batter. Top with the remaining 1/4 of batter on each.  Place in preheated oven to bake.

Make the Chaasni (Saffron Simple Syrup)

This part is so simple!

Bring water, sugar, saffron strands and cardamom to a boil.  Let simmer 5 minutes.  Turn off and remove from gas. Set aside to let cool.

Make Rose Whipped Cream

For whipped cream: Bowl and whisk is needed – if you have room in your freezer, stick them in the freezer while you get your ingredients together.  The colder the whisk and bowl, the easier to get the whipping cream to come together. 

  1. Add ingredients to a large bowl.
  2. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

Note: I used McCormick’s natural food color powder in Berry.  If you use another food color such as a liquid one, I would do 1 drop as the color comes through much brighter.

Assemble the layered Cake

Make sure to give the cake time to cool in the pan or on wire rack before assembling!

You will make the cake with the following layer twice:

  1. Cake layer: Poke holes in the cooled cake with a tooth pick.  Brushed/lightly soak with saffron syrup. Don’t soak too much as it will all become mushy.
  2. Rose whipped cream: Spread half on the first layer

Add 2nd half of cake and repeat!

Tip: Store the extra saffron simple syrup.  When serving you can either pour/drizzle in the plate or serve the cake slices with pipettes. It adds that gulab jamun taste and feel for your guests!

Gulab Jamun Cake Design

Gulab jamun cake decorated with crushed pistachios, gulab jamun and roses.
  • Crushed pistachios: Try to pick the greenest ones! Roughly chop and sprinkles in a circle around the perimeter of the cake.
  • Dried rose petals/roses: Used the Suncore brand, they have beautiful colors.
  • Gulab jamuns: I saved two gulab jamuns from the can.  Just slice and place in a half circle on the cake

Rose whipped cream: I prefer a simple naked cake look so I don’t spread the whipped cream on the sides of the cake. 

Variations

This gulab jamun cake recipe is flexible! There are 3 options to make this cake:

  1. Cake + Saffron Simple Syrup Only: Tastes just like gulab jamun, but it is baked! See the blog post for an image of a slice of cake with saffron syrup. I would make single layer cakes, brush each with the simple syrup and also serve a little syrup on the side for guests to pour over right before digging in. You can use pipettes like these.
  2. Cake + Saffron Simple Syrup + Rose Whip Topping: Super delicious, the lightly sweetened rose whip topping is easy to make.
  3. Cake + Saffron Simple Syrup + Rose Buttercream frosting: Also, delicious.  Uses butter cream instead of whipped topping.

To make a one-layer cake, simple half the recipe and use 1 8 inch round cake pan instead of two.

You can also make this in a bundt cake pan.

Serving Suggestions

This is a delicious cake that can be served on its own.  If you’d like to pair it with an ice cream, I have gulab jamun ice cream and kesar pista ice cream up.

They both have saffron in them and would go well with this cake.

As mentioned above, you can serve a little syrup on the side for guests to pour over right before digging in. You can use pipettes like these.

FAQ

Where can I buy gulab jamun?

You can buy gulab jamun easily at your local Indian store or even online.  There are so many varieties of ready made gulab jamun available. I choose to get Haldiram as the ingredients seemed cleaner than the other and was satisfied with how they held up being baked.

Can I make gulab jamun cake with MTR or other gulab jamun mix?

I have not tried this yet but I plan to make a gulab jamun mix cake soon!

Storing the cake

The cake can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.

Indian fusion cakes are so fun, I hope you enjoy the best gulab jamun cake on special occasions!   

Gulab Jamun cake decorated with pistaschios, roses and gulab jamuns.

Yummy Eggless Gulab Jamun Cake

Shilpa Joshi
Gulab jamun cake, always a party hit, is an easy, delicious,moist, saffron simple syrup-soaked cardamom cake with gulab jamun baked inside!The cake is layered with a light rose whipped cream or can be made without it.Read on to learn more about this yummy moist cake!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine indian fusion
Servings 16 people
Calories 318 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 mixing bowls
  • measuring spoons / bowls
  • 2 8 inch round cake pans (if you divide the recipe by half you can make this a one layer cake and only need 1 8 inch cake pan)
  • 1 Whisk

Ingredients
  

Cake (2 8inch round cakes)

  • cup all purpose flour 350g (2 8inch round cakes), 175g (1 8 inch round cake)
  • cup sugar 300g (2 cakes) , 150g (1 cake)
  • 2 tsp baking powder 8g (2 cakes), 4g (1 cake)
  • 1 tsp baking soda 8g (2 cakes), 4g (1 cake)
  • ½ tsp salt 2g (2 cakes), 1g (1 cake)
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • ½ cup full fat milk powder 50g (2 cakes), 25g (1 cake)
  • cup oil or butter If using butter (75g for 1 cake) should be at room temperature (leave out at least 30 minutes before using)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract ½ tbsp for 1 cake
  • cup milk ¾ cup for 1 cake
  • 2 tbsp vinegar 1 tbsp for 1 cake
  • 1 can ready made gulab jamuns I used Haldiram brand – 2.2 lbs size

Saffron Simple Syrup (Chaasni)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 big pinch saffron strands
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • cup water

Rose Whipped Cream (see ingredients that follow) or Rose Buttercream (click for buttercream link)

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream 16oz / 2 cups
  • 2 tbsp sugar It's very lightly sweet
  • ½ tsp rose water I used Nielsen Massey brand, it is very strong
  • 1 tsp pink food coloring powder (optional) I used McCormick's natural food color powder in Berry. If you use another food color such as a liquid one, I would do 1 drop as the color comes through much brighter.

To decorate (optional)

  • 1 tbsp pistachios crushed
  • dried rose petals, roses I used Suncore brand

Instructions
 

Get the cake in the oven

  • Mix milk and apple cider vinegar together, set aside
  • Set oven to 350F. Line two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment. Drain the canned ready made gulab jamuns to separate them from the sugar syrup.
  • Mix dry ingredients together. (To make it easier and get even cake layers, recommend halving the batter recipe and mixing in two different bowls)
    If using butter, mix all dry ingredients except sugar.
  • Mix wet ingredients in bowl.
    For oil: Add in wet ingredients and mix until combined (don't over mix).
    For butter: Cream together room temperature butter and sugar until well combined and color becomes lighter. Then alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and wet ingredients.
  • Divide batter by two and pour 3/4 of batter into two sheet cake pans. Then, place the gulab jamuns on the batter.
  • Top with the remaining 1/4 of batter on each. Place in oven to bake 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Make the simple syrup and whipped topping

  • Bring water, sugar, saffron strands and cardamom to a boil. Let simmer 5 minutes. Turn off and remove from gas. Set aside to let cool.

Make Whipped Rose Topping

  • Add ingredients to bowl (heavy whipped cream, rose water, sugar and color).
  • Whisk until stiff peaks form. In a Kitchen aid mixer, it only takes about 3 minutes on the highest setting. Topping is ready.

Assemble the cake

  • Once cake is baked and you have let it cool completely you can use a brush or spoon to brush one layer cake with the saffron simple syrup. I like to let it soak in a little and do it about 3 times each.
  • Top one layer with half whipped topping. Place 2nd cake on top. Brush the top layer with saffron syrup a few times.
  • Top with remaining rose whipped topping. Decorate with crushed pistachios, rose petals and gulab jamun halves.
  • You will have extra saffron simple syrup. I like to drizzle a little on each cake slice when serving or you can serve with a little pipette for guests to drizzle over the slice themselves.

Notes

There are 3 options to make this cake:
  1. Cake + Saffron Simple Syrup Only: Tastes just like gulab jamun, but it is baked! See the blog post for an image of a slice of cake with saffron syrup. I would make single layer cakes, brush each with the simple syrup and also serve a little syrup on the side for guests to pour over right before digging in. You can use pipettes like these:
  2. Cake + Saffron Simple Syrup + Rose Whip Topping: Super delicious, the lightly sweetened rose whip topping is easy to make.
  3. Cake + Saffron Simple Syrup + Rose Buttercream frosting: Also, delicious.  Uses butter cream instead of whipped topping.
Note: The ready made gulab jamuns come in a sugar syrup.  While you can use it, I don’t think it tastes as good as making your own saffron simple syrup.  You can use it in place of making the saffron syrup if you wish.
To make a one layer cake, simple half the recipe and use 1 8 inch round cake pan instead of two.

Nutrition

Calories: 318kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 212mgPotassium: 92mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 474IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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