These Gajar Halwa cupcakes have been inspired from the classic winter Indian dessert of carrot pudding made with rich, delicious ingredients like dessert carrots, khoya (milk solids), ghee, sugar and a generous helping of nuts. A moist carrot cupcake is topped with khoya buttercream frosting!
Bombay winters are well, not even close to what an actual winter should be like, but we do see a considerable drop in temperatures. Once December rolls in, the markets are full of the sweet red dessert carrots and every Indian household has a saucepan bubbling on the stovetop with the rich aroma of gajar halwa wafting through the house. I wanted to recreate this scrumptious dessert in cupcake form and these gajar halwa cupcakes came to be.
You may think it’s more or less like a carrot cake but I think they couldn’t be more different from each other. For starters, I find that carrot cake is more dense and contains an array of spices that make you feel all warm and fuzzy. This carrot pudding cupcake, on the contrary, is light and rich, it uses pureed dessert carrots and a touch of cardamom powder to bring out the sweetness of the carrots.
For any carrot pudding, I think the magic happens when you add the mawa / khoya. This is also called milk solids. It’s essentially milk that has been cooked down to the extent that you’re left with a crumbly solid mass, that is full of flavour and intensely rich. Can you imagine how much flavour it would add the final halwa!? Gosh, just thinking about it makes me drool! I’ve incorporated the khoya part of the gajar halwa into the frosting.
By now you certainly know that the boiled milk frosting technique is my absolute favourite for making any kind of frosting for desserts! I’ve followed the very same recipe, except this time, I’ve crumbled in some of that delicious khoya into the milk while cooking it. The resulting pudding is so rich and flavourful, you will want to eat it by the spoonful! But resist the urge and even if you do savour a few spoonfuls, make sure you leave enough to ice the cupcakes! 😏
I’ve gone the extra mile and topped these gajar halwa cupcakes with a macaron! Oh, don’t they look pretty! It’s nothing fancy, just your normal no nut no seed macaron without any flavour, coloured orange and topped with some crushed pistachios and almonds. I’ve filled them with the khoya frosting but you can go the extra mile and fill the centre with some gajar halwa. Every household has their unique recipe so your macaron would taste so delicious!
This is totally optional, but so worth it! I hope you make these gajar halwa cupcakes and add a little twist to your gajar halwa ritual this winter!
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 100 grams caster sugar
- 100 grams salted butter, room temperature
- 50 grams mawa / khoya
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 100 grams dessert carrots, pureed roughly
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- seeds of 2 cardamom pods, freshly crushed
- 100 grams milk, room temperature
- 200 grams milk
- 75 grams caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 70 grams butter
- 100 grams mawa
- seeds of 1 cardamom pod, crushed
- Begin by preheating oven to 170 C or 325 F
- In a clean bowl, sift the all purpose flour, baking powder and caster sugar.
- Use your electric beaters on very low speed to just combine the dry ingredients together, about 30 seconds.
- Add the butter and mix on low speed until it looks like breadcrumbs.
- Crumble the mawa and add to the cake mix. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the egg and beat on medium speed for 1 minute until well combined.
- Add the pureed carrots, cardamom powder and raisins.
- Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds until combined.
- Add the milk and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake liners and fill them 3/4 th of the way through.
- Bake in the oven at 170 C / 325 F for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre emerges clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely.
- In a saucepan, add the milk and caster sugar and cook this mix gently on low flame.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, add the all purpose flour and whisk the mix rigorously to break any lumps in the milk mix.
- Once all the lumps are gone, increase heat to medium and boil the mix for three minutes.
- This will cook out the raw flour taste and also thicken the mix.
- At the end of 3 minutes, transfer the milk pudding mix to a clean plate and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Once cooled to room temperature, begin beating the room temperature butter and mawa until combined, about 30 seconds on low speed.
- Add the room temperature pudding mix, a little at a time, beating well on medium high speed for 30 seconds each.
- Once you've added all the pudding mix, beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes, using a spatula to go around the sides and bottom of the bowl after every minute.
- In the final minute, add the crushed cardamom powder to the frosting.
- Transfer the contents of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 6B tip.
- Pipe a swirl on the cooled cupcakes and top with a macaron (optional)