Holi – the festival of colours, of harvest, of spring, of feasting! Why not celebrate it with an Indo-fusion dessert – baked of course!! Add some colourful frosting to bring out the essence of Holi!
Holi has some fond childhood memories – from wearing to-be-discarded clothes to running around our locality and playing with friends with a myriad of colours and pichkaris. I also remember the innocent naughtiness of smearing colours on people’s faces and throwing balloons filled with coloured water. We were then banished to the house backyard to clean ourselves up before entering the house to eat some delicious sweet and savouries.
Shrikhand is a traditional dessert popular in Western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Simply put, it’s hung curd (Greek yoghurt) sweetened with sugar and flavoured with cardamom or nuts or Kesar or even fruits like mango. I remember using the manual churner (also called puran yantra) to mix the ‘chakka’ (hung curd in Marathi) and sugar together. It was a task given by my Mom to me and my sister and the temptation of having shrikhand with hot pooris was enough to get us working!
Oh, sweet good ol’ days…
I’ve made a cardamom-flavoured pound cake (adapted this classic recipe) with chopped almonds & pistachios and I have topped it with multi-coloured shrikhand. You can use store-bought shrikhand or make your own at home. (see my notes at end).
Trust me when I say this, this tastes exactly like eating shrikhand-poori 🙂 🙂 🙂
You can also adapt this eggless cake recipe , add cardamom and nuts and bake in a loaf pan to make it Holi special 🙂
This recipe works best for an 8″x4″ loaf pan.
45g milk (3 tablespoons)
3 large eggs (150g without shells)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
150g cake flour, sifted (you can make your own, check notes)
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
185g unsalted butter at room temperature
30g chopped up nuts of your choice (I added almonds and pistachios)
200g shrikhand (store bought or homemade)
Gel food colours of your choice
1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Prepare your loaf pan either with butter or cooking spray or with parchment paper that slightly hangs outside for easy removal later.
2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
3. Add the softened butter and mix on low speed till you reach crumbly sand-like texture.
4. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and mix on medium speed till well combined. Scrape down the bowl in between to make sure everything is well incorporated.
5. Add the cardamom powder and chopped nuts and mix gently with a spatula.
6. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smoothen the top with a spoon or offset spatula.
7. Bake the cake at 180C for 55-65 minutes till a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. If you feel your cake is over-browning, cover it with aluminium foil after 30 min of baking.
8. Remove from oven and let it cool inside the pan for about 10 minutes before removing. Cool it completely over a wire rack.
9. Divide the shrikhand among 3 bowls and add a drop of gel food colour into each bowl. Mix well and transfer them to piping bags. Pipe them as per your choice – I piped them in stripes at an angle so on each slice you can see all the colours 🙂 If your shrikhand is little loose, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes before piping.
10. The cake stores well for 4-5 days in the fridge.
How to make cake flour substitute
Measure out 150 of all-purpose flour from the recipe. Remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and place it back in your flour canister. Replace the removed all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch/cornflour. Sift flour 4-5 times to ensure the mixture is thoroughly combined and also aerate the flour in the process.
How to make Shrikhand at home
Ingredients (serves about 500g of shrikhand) –
1kg plain yoghurt (preferably full fat)
7-8 teaspoons of fine sugar (as per taste)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Flavours of choice – Kesar or chopped nuts or mango pulp
1. Prepare hung curd – Line a strainer with some muslin cheesecloth and place this strainer over a large bowl. Add the yogurt to the strainer and tie the four ends of the muslin cloth together and press gently. You’ll see whey liquid starting to separate and collect in the bowl below. Place a heavy object on the tied up yogurt and leave it aside for 5-6 hours or overnight. You’ll end up with hung curd ready to use.
2. Churn the shrikhand – In a bowl, add the hung curd and sugar and mix it for few minutes with an electric beater until the sugar is dissolved and you get a smooth paste. (Add more sugar as per taste). Add the cardamom powder and mix well. Shrikhand is ready 🙂 Add some nuts or fruit pulp or Kesar steeped in some warm milk. Refrigerate the shrikhand for few hours before consuming – this helps develop the flavours and the sugars to blend in.