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Carrot Halwa Cake with Coconut Cardamom Cashew Frosting

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Recipe by: Veda Sankaran
Photo by: Veda Sankaran
This moist, decadent carrot cake by Veda Sankaran combines a carrot halwa with a yogurt cake base, topped with a frosting similar to one used on German chocolate cakes, but with more of an Indian flare. It literally tastes like heaven. Veda says, "The inspiration for this, once again, was to find a way to take traditional Indian desserts I love and reimagine them in new modern forms. A rich milky carrot halwa is transformed into a cake!"


Time: 45 min-1hr prep, 10-25min Bake
Yield: 7 2-layer mini cakes

ingredients for carrot halwa:
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into ½” rounds, then pulsed in a food processor until finely shredded
½ tsp Spicewalla Cardamom Seeds, crushed
1 cup dark brown sugar
8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp ghee

ingredients for the cake batter:
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
½ cup olive oil
½ cup whole fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

ingredients for frosting:
8 tbsp butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup half and half
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp Spicewalla Cardamom Seeds, crushed
½ cup fresh or frozen shredded coconut (thawed)
½ cup crushed nuts (I used Trader Joe’s sesame honey cashews)




1. Combine the finely shredded carrot with the heavy cream, brown sugar, crushed cardamom, and ghee in a nonstick pan.

2. Heat on medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything combines and the liquid evaporates. After that, continue cooking, stirring often until the carrot mixture thickens and darkens in color. This will take approximately 30 minutes. Take it off the heat and cool while you make the cake batter.


1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add all the other dry ingredients and stir.

2. In a larger bowl, use a whisk to combine the eggs with the olive oil. Then add the yogurt and vanilla, continuing to whisk everything together.

3. Next, add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the wet ingredients and combine.

4. Once the batter is smooth, add the cooled halwa to the batter and use a spatula to combine everything.

5. Use a muffin top pan to make small 2 layer mini cakes. Spoon the batter into the muffin top pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10-11 minutes. If using a larger cake pan, cook for at least 20 minutes and then do a toothpick check to see if it comes out clean. If it doesn’t, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.


1. Beat the egg yolks and keep aside.

2. In a small heavy bottomed pan, on medium heat, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar melts and butter and sugar combine. Add the half and half, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Then add the crushed cardamom seeds and vanilla.

3. Next, temper the beaten egg yolks by spooning some of the butter/sugar liquid into the bowl and stirring vigorously to combine. Then add the tempered egg yolk to the pan and stir continuously on low heat until the frosting begins to thicken.

4. Once it thickens, remove from the heat and add the crushed nuts and coconut. Cool completely before frosting the cakes.


1. Place one small layer on a plate and add a thin layer of the frosting. Place the next layer on top and spoon on more frosting and spread evenly.

2. To decorate, add small pieces of edible gold foil.


*You can find the frozen grated coconut in Indian grocery stores, but if you don’t have one near you, you can use the sweetened coconut found in the baking aisle of your grocery store. 

*If you are using any other raw nuts other than the sesame honey cashews, toast in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes before adding to the frosting.

Recipe by:
Veda Sankaran
Jalsa By Veda LLC

Cardamom cardamom seeds diwali recipe

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