Orange Almond – Milk Cake: A Modern Indian Inspired Dessert

It’s been months since I sat down to develop new recipes for the blog. Life has a way of catching up with you and since January, it’s been a whirlwind. I tore my ligament for the third time in 4 months and this time is was a sign that I had to slow things down dramatically. I had ignored previous injuries, and pushed past them as business started to take shape with back to back cake orders, maker’s markets and travel plans at the end of the year.

The forced down time gave way to some initial boredom but that soon turned around to more productive activities like reading, podcasting and acquiring new creative skills (more on that in a separate blog post). I even traveled to the US (nothing too hectic) and ate out a lot more as I was spending much less time in my kitchen.

With a whole string of restaurant openings in up and coming neighbours in Dubai, each one begging to be noticed and stand out. It’s interesting to take in these flavours and acknowledge that sometimes the best inspiration for new desserts can come from outside your own kitchen and cuisine. I feel when I am so zoomed in I find it hard to come up with something that stands out from the crowd. It’s moments like these that force you to take a step back, gain a new or renewed perspective on old favourites and combine it with things around you to come up with something innovative.

Here’s a bit of inspiration on what drove me to create this recipe. I grew up thinking Indian desserts were singularly sweet, unattractive in colour with their white, off white and yellow tones. They were drenched in ghee and milk and the very smell of scalding milk used to put me off. However the only indian dessert I loved that was made at home was a delicious smooth Badam Kheer (Sweetened Almond Milk) recipe that had been in our family for over 30 years that I simply couldn’t resist putting a spin on it. This had to form the base of the now very trendy Spanish classic Tres Leche (3 Milk Cake) which had been around for decades but this poke cake was getting a fashionable makeover all over the city and I had to break it down here so you all could make it effortlessly at home.

It does take a while to make, with some organization and preparation time but I highly recommend it and it is well worth the effort.

The Orange Almond Cake is baked in a sheet pan making it easy to portion. The cake recipe below bakes evenly without any doming. The addition of almond flour makes it slightly denser but texture wise way more interesting. The flavours of Orange and Almond when paired with the Saffron and Marzipan Milk is both familiar and fresh with the addition of Orange.

The soaked milk cake is topped with a zesty Orange Creme Patissiere. If you liked trifle growing up with layers of cake and custard this is the dessert for you. Finally, I loved dressing this modern Indian dessert with an absolute favourite in our home, Almond Brittle or Chikki.

Make this in advance and pour over the extra Saffron Almond Milk and place the crunchy Almond Brittle on the top before your guests come in for an absolute crowd pleasing number.

 

ORANGE ALMOND - MILK CAKE

This is my take on the Tres Leches (Milk Cake), it has a fun spin on it with an Orange Almond cake soaked in a Marzipan Saffron Milk, a traditional recipe (Badam Kheer) that’s been in our family for years, made contemporary with the addition of a zesty Orange Creme Patissiere and an Almond Brittle.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Modern Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 48 minutes
Servings 24 servings

Ingredients

Orange Almond Cake (9x13“ pan)

  • 175 g All Purpose Flour
  • 25 g Fine Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 115 g Anchor Butter
  • 200 g White Sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Zest of 2 Oranges

Marzipan Saffron Milk

  • 750 ml Full Cream Milk
  • 250 g Marzipan
  • 1 g Saffron

Orange Creme Patissiere

  • 300 g Full Cream Milk
  • 300 g Whipping Cream 35% Fat
  • 140 g White Sugar
  • 40 g Corn Starch
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 20 g Butter
  • Zest 2 Oranges

Almond Brittle

  • 190 g Toasted Almond Sliced
  • 360 g White Sugar
  • 130 g Glucose
  • 90 g Water

Instructions

  1. Cake: Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease and flour the pan and set aside. Sift the flours and baking powder. Cream the butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add in the flour 2 Tablespoons at a time and pour the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 18 mins at 175°C . Let the cake cool before poking with a fork.
  2. Marzipan Saffron Milk: Bring the milk and grated marzipan to a boil while whisking. Add in Saffron to flavor and color the milk. Set aside to cool completely. Pour 3 cups of the milk over the cake and set in the fridge for 2 hours.
  3. Orange Creme Patissiere: Mix the milk and cream together and leave ¼ part on the side cold. Bring the rest to a boil. Combine the cold liquid, sugar, corn flour & egg yolk together, and mix until smooth. Pour the boiling liquid into this mixture, mix it and pour back in the sauce pan and boil it, while continuously whisking. Once it thickens, turn off the heat add in the butter. Cool, cover and leave it in the fridge. Then spread over the cake.
  4. Almond Brittle: Heat the water, sugar & glucose until it caramelizes. Add in the nuts and pour it on to a silicon mat sheet. Cover it with another one and roll it to 1-2 mm thickness. Once cooled break into smaller triangles. Arrange over the individual pieces of cake and top with more of the Marzipan Saffron Milk.

  5. Enjoy!

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