“British colonial rule may have divided up India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but we are all united in our love of falooda – a rose-tinted milkshake textured with bubbly basil seeds and noodles,” says Ravinder Bhogal.
Faloodas come in many flavours, but her favourite is “the original and the best – rooh afza, make a thick concentrated floral syrup that turns milk Barbie pink”. The syrup can be easily found in Indian and Pakistani supermarkets.
“Here, inspired by my friend Ravneet Gill’s excellent Rasmalai Cake, I have used rooh afza-flavoured milk to make a sort of tres leches cake. If you can’t find basil seeds, use chia seeds, which have a similar tapioca-like texture when hydrated.”
Strawberry falooda milk cake
225g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
115g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
For the falooda milk:
50ml rooh afza
200g condensed milk
250ml whole milk
300ml double cream
For the topping:
300g strawberries, sliced
2tbsp basil seeds
1tsp caster sugar
300ml double cream
Dried rose petals, for sprinkling
Crushed pistachios, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a three-litre (33 × 23cm) baking dish with butter.
2. In a jug or bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the falooda milk and leave in the fridge to chill till required.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed for about seven minutes until thick and pale (or whisk in a bowl with a hand-held electric whisk). Fold in the flour mixture and rosewater, then fold in the melted butter. Spoon into the baking dish, smooth the top and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
4. When you remove the cake from the oven, prick it all over with a skewer and keep warm. Pour over the falooda milk and leave to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. To serve, mix together the strawberries, basil seeds, rosewater and sugar and set aside. Before serving, gently whisk the double cream in a bowl until it has a soft, rumpled bedsheet texture. Spread the cream over the surface of the cake and then spoon the strawberries over the cake. Top with rose petals and crushed pistachios.
Comfort & Joy: Irresistible Pleasures From A Vegetarian Kitchen by Ravinder Bhogal is published by Bloomsbury, priced £26. Available now. Photography by Kristin Perers.