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Monday, June 20, 2011

Milk Cake / Kalakand

My dear loyal blog readers, Have I got a treat for you !!

This is my favorite Indian dessert and takes me back to my childhood memories when my mom would get this cake for my birthday. My parents did not eat eggs and did not make or buy the Western cakes when I was little.

I used to look forward to having this cake on my birthday. I must admit that my mom never made it and she always used to buy it from the local "Halwai" and I have never really seen them make it, but have seen milk boil in their large vessels preparing to make this dessert.

Over years, I noticed that people usually interchange the name Milk cake and Kalakand with Milk/Khoya Burfi, but to me THIS is the actual Milk Cake which is available mainly in North India.

My memory of this cake is that it has to be moist, not too sweet and definitely with granular chewy texture. Typical milk cake has center part which is brown, basically almost overcooked caramelized "mawa" with smoky caramel like flavor than that of the surrounding part which is little lighter in color with plenty of typical Mawa taste.

However if you don't care for the center caramelized core part, you can make the entire cake with same light color and consistency, this is totally acceptable.

I don't make this very often, only when I am having large company and when I have craving for this "Birthday cake of mine". On the same note I also want to warn you it is loaded with fat, but that is what make it so delicious. In India they make this out of regular buffalo milk which contains about 8% fat.

I tried to replicate the taste that I remembered and this is the closest recipe I came up with using all the ingredients that are available here. It takes good 2 hours to make, but it is well worth it and always a favorite hit and crowd pleaser during our Indian parties and get together.

This recipes yields about 12 servings.


* Half gallon of half and half

* 2 cans of evaporated milk

* 2 cans of condensed milk + 1/4 cup of sugar (I had one and half can of condensed milk so I used 1/2 cup of sugar) (you can make it sweeter if you like, but I like it this way)

* 2 teaspoon of granulated Alum (I bought small bottle of this by Durkee)

* 1 stick of unsalted butter

* 1/4 cup of unsalted pistachios for garnish

* Few strands of saffron for garnish (optional)


* Take a heavy duty clad bottom stainless steel deep pan and mix half and half and evaporated milk in it.

* Place the pan with milk and boil it on high heat with stirring in between.

* When it comes to boil, add alum.

* The milk will start to curdle.

* Keep boiling it on high heat with stirring in between.

* Add condensed milk, keep stirring.

* Continue to boil it on medium - high heat, stir in between.

* Take two 8" round cake pans and two small stainless steel bowl (katori) coat them with melted butter.

* Add sugar and rest of the butter to boiling milk, keep boiling on high heat until curd thickens.

* Stir intermittently, but not vigorously, you don't want the curd to become smooth.

* Take 2 cups of thickened curd (mawa) in a microwave safe container, cover it and microwave it on high for 10-12 min stirring it every min. (caution when stirring it may splatter and it can be extremely hot !! and be sure that it does not char) This is to make the brown center part of milk cake.

* You can keep cooking the rest of the mixture with sugar and condensed milk on the stove until the thickened "mawa" start receding the pan. (total time for start of boiling milk until now is about an hour and 30 min).

* Turn the stove off.

* When the microwave content is reached desired brown color, scoop it out in two small stainless steel bowls and press firmly with spoon until it takes the shape of bowl.

* Invert the bowl with this brown mawa in to cake pan, emptying the "mawa" in the center.

* Scoop the "mawa" from pan on the stove on top of this brown circle and around it and press firmly, until it takes round shape of cake pan.

* Turn the cake pan upside down on a plate, and turn another cake upside down on another plate.

* Now carefully stack both the cakes on top of each other in such a way so the top layer is light brown "mawa" and center is the dark caramelized portion of "mawa".

* You may have to use hand and fingers to form a mound.

* Garnish with sliced pistachios and few strands of Saffron. You can slice (as shown in picture) and serve immediately or you can refrigerate if and serve chilled.

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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