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Pistachio and Mawa Cake

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

As a kid growing up in the 80s, we ate only two types of cakes – the sugary cakes that you got at local bakeries smothered with icing or the plain dense Mawa cakes, which were better tasting. And most people will tell you that it is this ordinary-looking ‘Mawa cake’ that has a special place in our hearts. We all have memories of growing up eating small cupcakes purchased from Irani cafes with our cups of Chai.

Mawa or Khoya is milk solids made by boiling full-fat milk for hours till it becomes this thick lumpy dough. It is the secret ingredient that is added to a lot of Indian desserts & savory dishes, imparting a distinctive flavor & richness to that dish.

Lightly flavored with Saffron, Cardamoms & Pistachios, the warm cake makes the kitchen perfumed with this beautifully delicate fragrance that I can’t describe but has to be experienced. I have slightly tweaked the recipe from the fabulous blog of Natasha @tashasartisanfoods, which is full of delectable treats. It is one of my favorite cakes, one that always reminds me of home. Head over to her blog to check her recipe or use this recipe before.


  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup Raw Sugar

  • 1 cup plain Yogurt, at room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour

  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

  • 2 tbsp Desiccated coconut

  • 1.5 tsp Cardamom powder

  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Khoya /mawa

  • 1/2 cup Pistachios - powdered

  • 1 tsp Saffron strands

  • Pistachio and Almond Slivers for Topping the cake


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease an 8" cake tin.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and raw sugar until light and fluffy. Gently whisk in the yogurt.

  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into another bowl and gently mix in the desiccated coconut, cardamom powder, and saffron.

  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture. Gently stir in the crumbled khoya and pistachio powder.

  5. This is a thick batter. Scrape into the prepared pan and top with pistachio and almond slivers.

  6. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning it out on a cooling rack.

  7. Serve it at room temperature.

Note: the cake becomes stodgy when refrigerated due to the milk solids. I always like to warm the cake up before serving it. You can also serve it with some fresh cream for that extra decadence.

You can use Ghee instead of Butter but it will make the cake richer which I personally don't like.

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