These past ten days were amazing, relaxing and truly refreshing; I feel alive and energetic once again. Usually vacations are associated with adventures; taking bumpy rides, sight-seeing, climbing a mountain, being sporty and fun. But for me, this time was all about cherishing those golden college day memories. I visited some old friends. 1 state, 5 cities, 6 friends, 10 days and together we relived those carefree moments.
Sometimes visiting old mates is more fun than any holiday trip can ensure. The late night chats, listening to old tunes, and dancing crazily to the newer ones, fighting like kids, eating like there is no tomorrow and walking around in pajamas all day, ah! Wish time could go back one more time.
There was a time in college when almost every night (be it rainy or snowy) I, along with my gang of girlfriends used to go to this amazing café, ‘‘Pastiche” in Providence to enjoy their delicious desserts with hot teas. I dedicate this post to all the friends, who were, and still are like a family to me.
‘Gajar ka halwa’ or carrot halwa is an all-time favorite dessert in winters, that’s because red carrots come only for a shorter span of time in the season. Although halwa originated from Middle Eastern region, it has become equally popular in India and is now considered a traditional dessert. After moving here away from home, I always missed the red, juicy flavorful carrots, in comparison to the orange ones that are readily available here. So in order to bring the brightness and redness into my dessert, I complement it with red beets, adding just a little more sweetness and taste to it.
I have been wanting to try this vegan carrot cake for a long time now. The carrots, apples and the nuts together make an aroma; simply irresistible! The saffron flavored milk pudding, also known as rabri, goes in perfectly with the cake, and gives a very subtle and sweet tinge to it. Just the cake is adapted from Vegan Baking, however I tweaked it a little to give my twist to it. It is incredibly soft and though the nuts make it little delicate, likewise they make it tempting as well. Lastly, the carrot cake without cheese cream frosting seems incomplete and addition of mascarpone makes it creamy and light.
Eggless Carrot Cake Filled With Carrot Halwa And Milk Pudding (rabri) With Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting: (2 mini 4 inch cakes)
For Vegan Carrot Cake:
- 45 gm flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup water
- 150 ml oil
- 200 gm sugar
- zest of 1 lemmon
- zest of an orange
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 165 gm cake flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking pwd
- 1 tsp cinnamon pwd
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg pwd
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 180 gm grated carrots
- 1/8 cup chopped apples
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 9×9 square pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a food processor blend flaxseed meal and water till its thick, creamy and gelatinous consistency.
- In a mixing bowl whisk oil and sugar until combined.
- Add lemon and orange zest and vanilla. Whisk for few seconds till combined.
- Combine all the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a separate bowl.
- Add these dry ingredients in 3 batches into the mixing bowl and mix together until the mixture is well combined.
- Gently fold carrots, apples and the nuts in the above cake mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, for about 35-40 minutes.
- Let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- 300 gm grated carrots
- 200 gm grated red beets
- 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 ltr whole milk
- 2 tsp cardamom pwd
- Heat ghee in a wok and saute carrots and beets for 5-10 minutes on medium heat.
- Add milk and stir. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes on low heat.
- Add Cardamom pwd. Cook while stirring till all the liquid evaporates and it gets thick.
- Spread on a lined half sheet pan to cool. Cover it with cling wrap and chill over night or for 3-4 hours.
Note: This can be made ahead of time and can be frozen. Thaw in refrigerator before using. If using this as the primary dessert then nuts like almonds and cashews can be added.
For Milk Pudding (rabri)
- 100 ml whole milk
- few strands of saffron
- 30 gm sugar
- 50 gm khoya
- 1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
- Boil Milk on high heat.
- Add saffron and reduce the heat. Let it simmer till it starts to reduce and thicken. Keep stirring to avoid scalding.
- In separate pan heat ghee and roast khoya for 3-5 minutes.
- when the milk starts to thicken add sugar and khoya and cook while stirring till all the liquid evaporates and it gets thicken and gets a grainy texture.
- Transfer into a separate bowl and cover the top with cling wrap and let it cool.
- chill overnight or for 4-5 hours before using.
Note: This can be made ahead of time and can be frozen. When required just thaw in refrigerator. If you cant find khoya then heat little oil and put some ricotta cheese. Saute fore few minutes and add dry milk powder. saute for 5-7 minutes till its thick and granule like consistency.
For Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 10 oz of cream cheese at room temp
- 6 oz mascarpone at room temp
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- Whip together all the ingredients above till creamy and light. Do not over whip it.
- Cut the cake with 4 inch cookie cutter so you’ll end up with 4 mini cakes.
- Cut halwa with 4 inch cookie cutter so you get 2 round discs of it.
- Put the milk pudding in a piping bag with 807 round tip and keep aside.
- Put 1 cake layer onto the cake board or directly on the cake stand.
- Put 1 round halwa disc on top of the cake.
- Pipe out milk pudding on top of the halwa.
- Now put a 2nd cake layer on top.
- Divide the frosting into 2 parts.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting from 1 batch all around the cake (crumb coating) and put it in fridge for 20 minutes. (this is to secure the crumbs and make it easy to frost)
- Now spread the rest of the frosting all around the cake from the 1st batch and smooth it with small offset spatula.
- Repeat the process with rest of the cake layers to get a second cake.
- Decorate with flowers or the crumbs of the cake or the way you like and enjoy 2 mini portion size cakes.
!!!NJOY & EAT MORE CAKE!!!