- Eggless, vegetarian
- Semi-homemade making it easy to whip up
- Fun, delicious dessert for a party treat
Gulab jamun is very popular, it’s everyone’s favorite Indian dessert.
This Indian fusion recipe takes a cardamom cupcake with a fluffy texture which is lightly brushed with saffron simple syrup, giving it a similar mouthwatering taste. As a bonus, it has a gulab jamun stuffed inside!
The primary flavor of gulab jamun comes from saffron. Gulab means rose, so a touch of rose gives adds a beautiful rose flavor.
These cupcakes would make the perfect Diwali sweet treat or any time of year that you are looking for a special dessert. It’ll look pretty on your dessert table during the festive season.
I’ve made it in a similar flavor profile to my Gulab Jamun Cake. Like my Rasmalai Cake, I love using whipped cream frosting to balance the cake with a light topping.
If you love gulab jamun fusion desserts, you’ll also want to try Gulab Jamun Cheesecake!
Ingredient notes and substitutes
Cake: I make an 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. I prefer using oil for the most consistent results. If you are using butter do not forget to leave it out of the fridge until it is room temperature.
Rose Water: I used the Nielsen Massey brand of Rose Water which is strong like rose essence. You may need to adjust depending on the brand used.
Vanilla extract: This helps give the cake base a good flavor.
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.
Saffron simple syrup (Chaasni): It makes a very big difference to make your 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 adding 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.
No eggs are needed as this is an eggless gulab jamun cake.
Note: The ready-made gulab jamuns come in 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.
How to make gulab jamun cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350F. Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Drain the canned ready-made gulab jamuns to separate them from the sugar syrup
Mix the milk with vinegar in a cup.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Then mix wet ingredients separately. Now combine by adding wet to the dry ingredients and mixing.
Put two tablespoons of batter in each cupcake mold and place gulab jamun in the center. Put another 1 tablespoon of batter in each. Then, place in oven to bake.
Make the Chaasni (Saffron Simple Syrup)
While the cupcakes bake you can make the chaasni.
Bring water, sugar, saffron strands, and cardamom to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off and remove from gas. Set aside to let cool.
Make Rose Whipped Cream
For the whipped cream: Bowl and whisk are 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 it is to get the whipping cream to come together.
- Add ingredients to a large bowl.
- 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.
Prep the cupcakes
Once the cupcakes have cooled, poke some holes in the cupakes (going about halfway down). Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the chaasni two or three times.
Frost and Decorate The Gulab Jamun Cupcakes
- 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
Tip: Store the extra saffron simple syrup. When serving you can either pour/drizzle on the plate or serve the cake slices with pipettes. It adds that gulab jamun taste and feel for your guests!
Rose buttercream frosting can be used in place of rose whipped cream.
You could use a readymade cupcake mix if you have it handy.
This is a delicious cake that can be served on its own. If you’d like to pair it with 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.
Where can I buy gulab jamun?
You can buy gulab jamun easily at your local Indian grocery 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 were satisfied with how they held up being baked.
Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated if not serving same day.
Eggless Gulab Jamun Cupcake
- 2 Mixing bowl
- 1 cupcake tin
- 12 Cupcake liners
- 1 cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cups sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup oil softened to room temperature, or sub butter
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar substitute vinegar if needed
Chaasni (Saffron simple syrup)
- ⅓ cup water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 generous pinch saffron strands
Rose Whipped Cream
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream 16oz / 2 cups
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar It's very lightly sweet, add more if you want greater sweetness
- ½ tsp rose water I used Nielsen Massey brand, it is very strong
- ½ tsp pink food coloring powder 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.
- Set oven to 350F. Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.Drain the canned ready-made gulab jamuns to separate them from the sugar syrup
- Mix the milk with vinegar in a cup.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Then mix wet ingredients separately. Now combine by adding wet to the dry ingredients and mixing.
- Add in wet ingredients to dry and whisk until combined
- Put two tablespoons of batter in each cupcake mold and place gulab jamun in the center. Put another 1 tablespoon of batter in each. Then, place in oven to bake.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Take out of oven and set aside to cool.
Chaasni (saffron simple syrup)
- Bring water, sugar, saffron strands, and cardamom to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off and remove from gas. Set aside to let cool.
Rose Whipped Cream
- 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.
Assembling the cupcake
- Frosting the cupcakes using a piping bag with a piping tip. Fill pipettes with cooled saffron syrup. Garnish with gulab jamun slices, crushed pistachios and rose petals.