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Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)

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Indian Milk Cake aka Alwar Ka Mawa is a traditional Indian milk fudge prepared with full cream milk, sugar, ghee, and a coagulant! Making this delicious mithai is very simple and easy.

This 4-ingredient Indian Sweet (mithai) Alwar Ka Mawa or Milk Cake has originated from Alwar, Rajasthan. It is popular across India and is adored by all age groups. 

a feamle sprinkling dried rose petals and pisatchios over indian milk cake served in a brown plate

Do you love Alwar Ka Mawa, and want to try this Indian Milk Cake recipe at home? Then this page has all the wonderful tips, tricks, and variations to help you make your best Milk Cake or Alwar Ka Mawa mithai which will melt in your mouth!

You can make it for Diwali, Holi, or any other festivals. Or simply make it any time you are craving for sweets. Just cook it once, and you will never buy it from the store ever again.

Even if you are trying this Indian style Milk Cake recipe for the first time, this will instantly become your new favorite. 

The ideal texture of milk cake is grainy, dense, moist, juicy, and melt in the mouth. With this milk cake mithai recipe, you get exactly the same texture of perfectly succulent, full-bodied, palatable, and grainy milk cake. 

A bite of this Indian Milk Cake in your mouth will explode your taste glands with the sweet caramelized milky flavors and awesomely grainy texture.

Love milk based desserts? Then you would also love these deserts:

indian milk cake garnished with edible silver leaves and pisatchios served in a plate

What is Indian Milk Cake?

Indian Milk Cake or Alwar Ka Mawa is a sweet milk fudge made with solidified cream milk, sugar, ghee, and some acidic agent. Here milk is reduced to 1/3rd, and then it is cooked further with some acid. Once reduced it is then cooked with sugar, and lastly, some ghee is added to this thick milk solid.

This sweet is entirely cooked in a pan. In Alwar (the birthplace of this mithai), this mithai is also known as Alwar ka Kalakand.

Why is this Indian Milk Cake called Alwar ka Mawa or Alwar ka Kalakand?

This is because Alwar ka Mawa or Alwar ka Kalakand is also a type of Kalakand which originated from Alwar, Rajasthan. 

indian milk cake served in a plate

What is the difference between Kalakand and Milk Cake?

Milk Cake and Kalakand both are very similar, yet so different. 

Kalakand is a Milk fudge made with cottage cheese that has a dense, moist, juicy, and melts in mouth texture similar to Milk Cake or Alwar Ka Kalakand. 

However, no matter how similar their cooking process and ingredients are, they still taste and look a lot different. 

Following are some characteristic differences between Milk Cake and Kalakand:

FeatureMilk CakeKalakand
AppearanceMilk cake has a brownish-white shade.Kalakand looks white.
TextureMilk cake has a solid grainy and sticky texture which is really hard to break. Also, milk cake has a lower moisture content. Kalakand has very gooey, soft, light, and delicate milk granules that are somehow holding the shape, and which can easily fall apart with some pressure. And it has a high moisture content, is less chewy, gooier, and is not sticky like milk cake.
TasteMilk Cake does not taste like paneer at all. It tastes dense and super-rich, and has caramelized flavors.Kalakand tastes like sweet paneer that is juicy and has some cardamom, saffron flavorings.
Cooking ProcessMilkCake is originally made by adding alum powder to the evaporated milk. Then this curdled milk is cooked with sugar and ghee (clarified butter). This milk mixture is poured into a container and that container is wrapped with a thick towel or rug. The wrapping slows down the cooling process, by allowing it to cook from inside in mold while cooling and setting. And thus the mixture gets the significant two different shades.In the Kalakand recipe, milk and paneer are cooked together and half of the moisture is evaporated. Then sugar is added to this mixture and it is cooked until the mixture comes together and leaves the sides. Finally, the flavorings and nuts are added, and then it is kept aside to set for 2-3 hours. After setting, it is cut into pieces.

How to Make Indian Milk Cake?

Indian Milk cake is a very simple recipe, but it needs little patience and some muscle work. In the milk cake recipe, milk is boiled until it reduces to 1/3rd of its original volume. Then very little coagulant (lemon juice, alum powder, or citric acid powder) is added. After this, milk solid and whey slightly separates. You keep cooking milk solids and whey until almost all the moisture is absorbed. 

Then sugar is added in batches and the mixture gets cooked with the sugar till all the liquid is absorbed again. Lastly, a little ghee is added in batches to give it oozing caramelized flavors. Finally, it is poured into a deep thick bottomed pan, and covered with a thick towel or rug. It is then kept aside for at least 4-8 hours to set at the room temperature.

About serving: Indian Milk Cake tastes extremely rich and even 1 piece of mithai can make you feel satiated. What I do is that I enjoy 1-2 pieces every day after my meals. :)

overhead shot of indian milk cake served in a brown plate

What type of container is used for setting Indian Milk Cake?

A deep and thick pan is required for setting Milk cake. This is because this way sugar caramelizes in the center giving it the shade of two colors. If you want a deep color of milk cake, then use an aluminium container.

What is the best coagulant for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa) Recipe? 

Halwai (confectioners) use alum powder to curdle the milk. But you can also use any of the below coagulants for making milk cake:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder

  • 1/4 cup yogurt

The texture and the size of milk protein granules vary with the different types of acidic agents and their amount.

What is Indian Milk Cake made of?

This Indian Milk cake is made with full cream milk, sugar, ghee, and some coagulant (alum, citric acid, or yogurt).

What type of milk is best for the Indian Milk Cake recipe?

This Indian milk cake is an entirely milk-based dessert and good full-fat milk is a key to make the best Indian Milk cake. For this recipe, I used 3.5% fat milk (this is because 3.5% fat milk is the highest we get here at grocery stores). So if you find 6% fat milk, then you should definitely go for it. The creamier the milk - the better it is. 

indian milk cake served in a grey plate

What are the ingredients needed for Indian Milk Cake?

Indian Milk Cake is made with only 4 basic ingredients usually available at home. These ingredients are:

  1. Milk

  2. Lemon Juice

  3. Sugar

  4. Ghee (Clarified Butter)

How does milk cake get a shade of two colors?

The Indian milk cake gets whitish-brown shades by setting and cooling in a deep tin that is wrapped in a thick rug. This way the top-level of the milk cake mixture cools down quickly while the bottom cools slowly and that makes it darker.

How long does it take to make Milk Cake?

It takes about 45 minutes to reduce the 2.5 liters of milk to one-third, and the whole process takes about 2 hours 15 minutes. But trust me, it is worth the time. 

After cooking, the sweet is kept to set for at least 4-8 hours before removing it from the pan/tin. But this resting time can be up to 24 hours.

What are the important TIPS, TRICKS, AND VARIATIONS to make your best Halwai Style Indian Milk Cake at home?

  1. Never use an iron (kadhai) or non-stick pan for cooking milk cake. Rather use a thick bottomed steel pan.

  2. Make sure that milk should only slightly curdle, therefore add acidic agents little by little. If you add too much acidic agent at once, then the milk would fully separate from the whey, and we certainly don’t want that.

  3. Milk cake’s ideal texture is grainy. If you want grainy, yet melt-in-mouth and soft milk cake then you need to make sure you add only a little acidic agent. If you would add so much acidic agent, then the milk cake would turn rubbery and chewy.

  4. Always use full-fat milk (preferably cow’s milk) to get more palatable Milk Cake.

  5. After adding sugar, milk will become bubbling hot. Make sure you cook a bit away from the pan and use a long handle to prevent yourself from burning. You can also use gloves.

  6. If you want a good grainy texture of milk cake, then make sure you are adding lemon juice only after the milk has reduced to 1/3 of its quantity.

  7. For the deep color of your milk cake, set the grainy mixture in an aluminum container. It’s because the heat resistance features of aluminum will keep the mixture warm for a long time and you will end up with good two shades.

  8. Always reduce the milk at medium-low heat.

  9. Add sugar in small batches, this is because adding sugar at once might curdle milk more. It is because sugar might contain impurities that might curdle the milk further if added in a large batch.

  10. Don’t use brown sugar for this recipe. Always use the whiter sugar —the whiter the sugar the cleaner and refined it is.  And refined sugar tends to curdle less.

  11. Don’t leave the milk unattended, or it will boil off the pan and spill. 

  12. Make certain to stir continuously after the milk thickens. This is because, at this point, milk tends to burn more. And even the tiniest of the burnt odor destroys the whole flavor of the milk cake.

  13. You don’t need any flavorings in this milk cake recipe, as slow cooking milk creates its own aromatic flavors. But if you still want flavorings, then add some cardamom powder.

  14. To prevent the milk mixture from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan, keep stirring continuously after adding the acid. 

a hand holding indian milk cake or alwar ka mawa served in a brown plate

Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa) [Recipe]

Indian Milk Cake aka Alwar Ka Mawa is a traditional Indian milk fudge prepared with full cream milk, sugar, ghee, and a coagulant. Making this is very simple.
★★★★✰
(Rating: 4.9 from 7 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
10 hours 15 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Desserts Indian 22 pieces
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
240 calories 1 piece

INGREDIENTS

For Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa):
  • 2.5 liters Full Fat (whole) milk
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or more if needed (alternatively, you can use 1/4 tsp citric acid / or alum powder)
  • 1 cup sugar, or to taste
For Garnish:
  • Edilbe sliver leaves
  • Pistachios

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa):
  1. Add 2.5 liters of milk to a thick bottomed pan. Bring it to a quick boil over high heat while stirring in between.
    Image of the cooking step-1-1 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  2. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat. Simmer until the milk has reduced to one-third of its volume. Keep stirring in often to avoid it from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Also using a flat spatula, keep scraping down the milk cream (malai) sticking to the sides of the pan.
    Image of the cooking step-1-2 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  3. After reducing, milk should have the grainy fat granules, shown in the picture below. Now, add coagulant (acidic agent) and keep stirring over low heat. After 2-3 minutes, you will notice that the milk would start to curdle and little whey would be separated. This is the consistency we are looking for in this milk cake recipe.
    Image of the cooking step-1-3 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  4. Stir the milk well and keep cooking the mixture until whey almost completely evaporates.
    Image of the cooking step-1-4 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  5. Now add sugar in four small batches. Add the first batch and mix well until sugar is dissolved completely.
    Image of the cooking step-1-5 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  6. Keep adding, mixing, and stirring until all the sugar is used up.
    Image of the cooking step-1-6 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  7. Cook the mixture until the mixture has a thick consistency. The mixture would turn light brown in color after all the moisture evaporates.
    Image of the cooking step-1-7 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  8. At this point, start adding 4 tablespoons ghee little by little. Add 1 tablespoon and let it combine with the mixture. Repeat till all the ghee is added and mixed.
    Image of the cooking step-1-8 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  9. Keep cooking over medium-high heat, until the milk cake starts to leave sides and changes the color slightly. At this point, milk would release a nice fragrant caramelized aroma.
    Image of the cooking step-1-9 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  10. At this point, milk will release a nice fragrance and a light to dark brown color. Turn off the flame and let it cool a little.
    Image of the cooking step-1-10 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  11. Grease a thick and deep saucepan, baking pan (or mold) for setting milk cake.
    Image of the cooking step-1-11 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  12. Immediately transfer the cooked milk mixture into a greased pan. Level and make uniform from the top by pressing with a silicone ladle or something similar.
    Image of the cooking step-1-12 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  13. Smoothen the top and spread the mixture evenly with a greased spoon or silicone spatula. Cover the pan with the lid.
    Image of the cooking step-1-13 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  14. Now, wrap the pan with a thick towel and keep it aside to set for 4-8 hours.
    Image of the cooking step-1-14 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  15. After the setting time is over, uncover the pan. And loosen the sides of the pan with a hot knife.
    Image of the cooking step-1-15 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  16. Flip the pan over and demould. If the milk cake is not coming out easily, then place the tin on low heat for about 30 seconds and then flip it onto a wooden board or plate.
    Image of the cooking step-1-16 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)
  17. Cut the milk cake into slices. Decorate with edible silver leaf, pistachios, or any other dried fruit. Serve fresh or store in the refrigerator in a kitchen tissue-lined airtight container for up to 7 days.
    Image of the cooking step-1-17 for Indian Milk Cake (Alwar Ka Mawa)

WATCH VIDEO:


NOTES:

  1. Never use an iron (kadhai) or non-stick pan for cooking milk cake. Rather use a thick bottomed steel pan.
  2. Make sure that milk should only slightly curdle, therefore add acidic agents little by little. If you add too much acidic agent at once, then the milk would fully separate from the whey, and we certainly don't want that.
  3. Milk cake's ideal texture is grainy. If you want grainy, yet melt-in-mouth and soft milk cake then you need to make sure you add only a little acidic agent. If you would add so much acidic agent, then the milk cake would turn rubbery and chewy.
  4. Always use full-fat milk (preferably cow’s milk) to get more palatable Milk Cake.
  5. After adding sugar, milk will become bubbling hot. Make sure you cook a bit away from the pan and use a long handle to prevent yourself from burning. You can also use gloves.
  6. If you want a good grainy texture of milk cake, then make sure you are adding lemon juice only after the milk has reduced to 1/3 of its quantity.

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