Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Honey~Date~Walnut Cake (Kharjuram Cake)

Honey-Date-Walnut Cake
Honey-Date-Walnut Cake ~ Fresh Out of the Oven

The classic combination of honey, dates and walnuts is used for this light, moist cake. This is my first ever cake of this type that I baked. Delicious and nutritious, Honey-date-walnut cake is one of my favorite cakes.


1 cup dates
½ cup honey
1 cup walnuts
2 eggs - at room temperature
¼ cup each - milk and butter at room temperature
2 cups - all-purpose flour (maida pindi)
½ cup brown sugar or white cane sugar
½ tsp each - baking powder, baking soda and cardamom powder

Honey, Walnuts and Dates

Dates and Honey: Finely chop dates into thin rings. Take them in a cup and add honey. Keep the dates soaked in honey for about 30 minutes. This is done to soften and further sweeten the dates. The dates that I used in this recipe are Deglet Noor, mildly sweet Tunisian variety. Extremely sweet and soft Medjool type does not need the honey/soaking part.

Walnuts: Finely chop walnuts to small pieces

Eggs: Break eggs into a cup and beat with a spoon. (I removed yellows, my preference.) Sometimes I skip the eggs totally and would add a mashed, ripe banana in its place. This works too.

Sift and add flour to a big vessel. Stir in sugar, baking powder, soda and cardamom powder. Mix.

Add butter, milk and eggs. Also walnuts and dates along with the honey they are soaked in. Combine all thoroughly. If the batter is too tight, adjust the consistency by adding little bit more milk. Pour the mixture into a cake pan. level it evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the cake pan in the bottom rack for the first 15 minutes, and then move the pan to the top rack. Bake for about a total 30 minutes, until the top of the cake turns to light honey color and when a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from oven. Let cool. Slice and enjoy!

Cake and Care Package to Our Friends
Cake and Care Package to Our Friends

Vijay’s classmate and friend became a proud parent of a cutest baby boy, couple of days ago. They came home from hospital yesterday and this is the care package we sent today for them. Chapatis, aloo chole, idly, peanut chutney and honey-date-walnut cake.
Congratulations Dimpy and RP!

Honey tends to thicken during winter time. Microwaving for couple of seconds usually lightens the honey.
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Dates (kharjuram), Honey (Friday March 9, 2007 at 8:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (32)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Cashew~Walnut Laddu (Kaju-Akhrot Burfi)

When I invited my friends to celebrate Sankranthi festival, in addition to the traditional ’sweet pongal’, I also prepared cashew walnut laddu. Low in sugar calories, high in nut energy! Cashews and walnuts are first roasted and powdered, then cooked in milk-sugar kova till they all came together into solid fudge like consistency. Cooling further solidifies the mixture and then small portions are taken and shaped into rounds -’laddus‘ or cut into squares-’burfis‘. I like the round shape, so I always go with round laddus. Very convenient to hold and eat, children particularly love laddus.

Cashews, Walnuts, Milk and Sugar in the Background


Half gallon- Whole milk
2 cups-sugar (3 cups if you like the laddus on the sweeter side)
1 cup - cashews
1 cup - walnuts


Milk and Sugar: In a thick bottomed big pot, bring milk to boil. Add sugar. Stirring occasionally, simmer the milk-sugar mixture until it gets thick and is reduced to about one fourths of the original quantity. It takes at least 45 minutes to one hour.:) Do this on medium heat. Avoid high heat and take care not to scald the milk.

Cashews and Walnuts: Meanwhile, lightly roast cashews and walnuts separately in an iron skillet. Let them cool down to room temperature. Separate 10 pieces from each and chop them into small pieces. With the remaining ones - make fine powder of them in a food processor/mixer.

Milk and sugar simmering thickened milk and sugar after 1 hour on the stove
Milk and sugar simmering………………..Thickened milk and sugar kova after one hour on the stove

Kova into Laddu: Add this fine powder to the thickened milk-sugar kova and cook for 15 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture is firm. Sprinkle chopped chunks of cashews and walnuts that were kept aside. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the mixture is almost crumbly and comes away easily from the sides of pan.

Take a spoonful of mixture and press it with your hands into a ball. If it holds shape, then mixture is ready for cooling. Turn off the heat. Spoon the mixture into a greased square or round pan. Level it with a spatula and let it cool for at least 4 to 5 hours. Cut into squares for burfis or take a spoonful of mixture, shape it with your hands into a round ball for laddus. Store the laddus in glass jar. They will stay fresh for upto one week.

(This recipe makes 15 medium sized laddus.)

Cashew-Walnut Laddu

One medium sized cashew-walnut laddu, my entry to ‘Sugar-Low Friday’ event hosted by lovely Sam of Beck & Posh.

By the time my friends left, I had only four laddus remaining out of 20. Two for me and two for Vijay, enough for us. This is how I do my ‘Sugar - Low’, by portion control. In my view, this is also one of the ways to lower the sugar consumption.

Tagged with:

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Walnuts, Cashews, Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101 (Friday January 27, 2006 at 7:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Walnut Burfi (Akhrot Laddu)

Vijay got a good grade in this semester. He is studying for his master’s degree in software engineering, part time at Carnegie Mellon University. And the walnut burfi is for celebration. The combination of walnuts and milk-sugar is a classic. The resulting walnut burfi or laddu is a rare indulgence for us.

Milk, Sugar and Toasted Walnuts

(makes about 6 medium sized laddus)

2 cups of walnuts (Akhrots)
2 cups of whole milk
3/4 cup of sugar

Lightly roast walnuts in an iron skillet and let them cool down. Keep one fistful of nuts aside and grind the remaining walnuts into powder.

Boil milk and sugar until they come together into very thick mass almost like the final stages of pala kova. It takes about 30 minutes. At this stage, stir in powdered walnuts. Mix thoroughly and keep stirring until, the walnut-kova mixture leaves the sides of the pan and comes together into one big lump. Takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the whole walnuts and mix once and remove the mixture into a pan. Allow it to cool and make small laddus with it or press the whole mixture evenly and tightly in a greased pan to cut squares.

Walnut Burfi (Akhrot Laddu)
Walnut burfi (Akhrot laddu) - Old fashioned

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Walnuts, Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101 (Monday December 26, 2005 at 1:07 am- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I learned the basics of bread making by watching Breaking-Bread series by Father Dominic on PBS. His show demystified the whole bread making process for me. I grew up in Andhra Pradesh, the rice bowl of India, where bread is not an everyday food. It is an exotic thing associated with sickness, prescribed by doctors as an easy digestable food for people when they are ill. Only time I had bread was when I was under the weather and that too quite reluctantly.

When we moved to US, it took some time to get know that bread is not a bland tasteless cardboard kind of food that I remembered and also to separate the bread-sickness association from my mind. I was fascinated by the completely unknown world of bread making and different varieties of bread. I was curious and eager to learn the process so I tried the cook books about baking bread. With information overload, the whole process of bread making felt as easy as preparing for an entrance exam or tooth pulling.:)

During that time, Breaking Bread series by Father Dominic started on PBS. This chubby, homely monk with a pleasant, fatherly disposition and witty, calming narrative showed the bread making in such a way, that I felt confident to try out. The bread I first baked was a plain whole wheat bread loaf. We both liked the taste of it and later on I experimented with adding honey, nuts etc., After moving to Ohio, I am using the whole wheat flour, produced in old style - stone grinding powered by water at Lanterman’s Mill (not only the major tourist attraction but also a functioning working flour mill of Boardman, Ohio) for my bread. The difference in taste is tremendous, the close thing I can compare it is that of great harvest bakery whole wheat bread. Lot of texture and full of flavor, just two slices would fill us up good.

Last weekend I tried again my bread making skills. Although the dough behaved with a mind of it’s own because of excessive rainy and humid weather, the loaf cameout good after baking. Here is the recipe and the whole process in images:

Lanterman's Mill, Youngstown, OhioStone ground Whole wheat flour  - Purchased at Lanterman's water mill, Ohio
Lanterman’s Mill……………..Stone ground Whole Wheat Flour


1 cup coarsely ground whole wheat flour from Lanterman’s mill
1 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthur brand)
1/4 ounce packet of dry active yeast
1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup honey
½ cup of golden raisins and chopped walnuts
¼ cup of oil

Just Prepared dough, waiting for a rise Two hours after - the dough has risen

First Rise:
Dissolve yeast in half cup of warm water. Measure the flours in a big bowl. Mix buttermilk, oil, honey, water and yeast mixture into the flour to make soft, sticky dough. Take the dough on a wooden board and knead it for about 5 to 10 minutes, handling it gently. Use a spatula to pick up the sticky dough and turn it over as you work. Place this kneaded dough back in the bowl, cover and place the bowl in a warm place and let the yeast do the work. Wait until it tripled in size for about 2 to 3 hours.

The Second rising in the Bread Pan Second rising done

The Second Rise:
When the dough has finished rising, add nuts and raisins and prepare the dough for the second rise. Take the dough again on flour board, deflate it by pressing the dough flat. Now sprinkle finely chopped walnuts and gloden raisins. Incorporate them into the dough by kneading for few minutes. Place the dough in a loaf plan, cover and let it rise to the top of pan, takes about another two to three hours.

After this final rise, place the loaf pan in preheated oven at 400° F and bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove it from oven, bread slides out of the pan easily and let it cool completely before slicing.

The pearls of wisdom, I learned from Father Dominic is ” Let the dough rest and don’t peek and poke it too often”. Very true for successful bread making.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Walnuts and Golden Raisins with strawberry jam
Honey whole wheat bread with walnuts and golden raisins
Our weekend breakfast, lunch and dinner

Recipe Source: Cooking Show on Television.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Walnuts, Goduma (Wheat), Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Honey, Whole Wheat Flour (Monday October 17, 2005 at 12:15 pm- permalink)
Comments (21)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Tropical Fruit Tart

Stephanie’s beautiful fruit tart inspired me to make one myself. Also I saw this month’s SHF theme was tarts and that gave me the final push I needed.

I used a store bought lard-free pie shell as base for fruits. Did I say that this was my first time making tart, may be next time I might make my own tart shell. For now, this will do. For filling, I went with toasted walnuts and fresh fruits - ripe mango, strawberries, plums, cherries and cantaloupe.

Baked the pie shell in the oven for 15 minutes as per instructions on the cover of the pie shell package. Meanwhile I started to cut the ripe fruits in different shapes needed for my tart. With all the remaining scraps of fruit, I made jam/jelly, just like that. I added 6 tablespoons of brown sugar and watched the fruit bits turn into bright, colorful mush on high heat. I let it cool, stored half of it as jam and to the remaining half, I added half a cup of toasted walnuts and pureed them together to a smooth paste. This was my tart filler.

bits of fruit for jam Jam/Jelly

After filling the tart shell with the fruit-walnut puree, I arranged cut mangos, strawberries, plums, cherries and cantaloupe in order and refrigerated the tart for about one hour. Ta da… check the photo of fruit tart below, isn’t it colorful and pretty?

What a quick and easy recipe, but it gives the impression as if it took hours to prepare. We shared this delicious fruit tart with our next-door neighbor to congratulate on her new job.

Tropical Fruit Tart

My maiden attempt at fruit tart was a delightful success. I will definitely make many more.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Fruits, Mango, Strawberries, Sugar (Friday June 17, 2005 at 7:49 am- permalink)
Comments (7)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Carrot Cake

Carrots and bananas - what happens when you put the two together, you get a deliciously rich and different dessert that’s the best of both. The recipe is my own - out with the pineapple, cloves, all-spice and eggs - in goes the bananas and cardamom. They give the cake a wonderful, fruity, honeyed fragrance. The recipe is somewhat different but tastes as good, I might say, even better than the traditional carrot cake.

Recipe: Cardamom, Coconut, Golden raisins, Walnuts, Carrots and banana
2 cups of Betty Crocker pancake flour
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp of baking soda
Mix all of the above in a big bowl.

5 cardamom pods- peel and powder the seeds inside
2 big ripe bananas- peel, mash and beat until fluffy
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup of brown sugar- (your wish)
In another big bowl, mix them well.

I used the pancake flour only because I want to finish off the BIG packet, purchased at Costco last winter. You can always substitute that with all-purpose flour. You can purchase dry unsweetened coconut, golden raisins and cardamom at low prices in an Indian grocery shop.

Now back to cake making - Preheat the oven to 350 F. Meanwhile fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly but not hard. Add some milk and combine again if the batter is too tight. Pour this mixture into a big round buttered cake pan. Bake the cake at 350 F, for about 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool it before applying frosting or decorating. The topping on the carrot cake is walnut-coconut caramel (see the post below for the recipe)

Carrot Cake with Walnut-Coconut Caramel Topping

Comparable to an Indian version of carrot sweet called carrot halwa, this carrot cake is simply moist, rich and delicious.

Slice of Carrot Cake

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Carrots, Bananas, Golden Raisins (Tuesday June 14, 2005 at 10:23 am- permalink)
Comments (62)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Walnut-Coconut Caramel Toffee

This weekend, I prepared a carrot cake and walnut-coconut caramel for weekend barbecue party at our friend’s house. Last month, they added a big deck to their house and also bought a new gas grill. It is a sort of opening party for the new deck and grill.

I initially started making the carrot cake, then I remembered my pregnant friend who had just passed very difficult first 3 months, when she couldn’t eat anything because of high case of nausea. I thought walnut-coconut toffee is the best in-between meals snack for her now. Just like that, I made the caramel toffee. I also used some of it as topping or dressing for the carrot cake. The cake was a big hit with the children. They loved it and one curious kid asked me why I made the caramel instead of cream cheese topping. I Knew caramel is unusual topping for carrot cake and told him that I was just trying something different. He told me that he loved caramel and he served himself a big piece. :-)

Walnut-Coconut Caramel Toffee: Walnuts, Dry coconut flakes, Light brown sugar and Ghee

  • 1-cup light brown sugar
    1/2 cup melted ghee
    1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
    1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut flakes
    1/2 can of 5 oz of Nestle evaporated milk


Combine ghee, brown sugar and evaporated milk in a thick-bottomed vessel. Cook them stirring occasionally until they reach the softball stage. Now add walnuts and coconut flakes, stir them until well coated or for about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour them into a greased flat dish, refrigerate until set. Cut into small squares and wrap them individually in wax paper.

Walnut-Coconut Toffee

I can never make this type of sweet for us. We don’t do enough work to spend the extra calories. But for a special friend in her special condition- they are prefect treats.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Walnuts, Sugar, Milk (Monday June 13, 2005 at 2:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (7)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Banana - Walnut Cake

We had a three day holiday for Memorial Day, and this is how we spent the weekend:

Saturday- shopping, cleaning the house, preparing dinner with my husband Vijay’s help. Our Nandyala family friend and his college friends came all the way from Milwaukee. They made a pit stop at our house before reaching their final destination - SV temple, Pittsburgh.

For dinner, we prepared puri, rice, chana masala, chicken kurma, Boiled eggs sautéed in red chilli-garlic powder, peanut chutney, sambhar, papads, raita with yogurt, and for dessert banana-walnut cake and fruit (cantaloupe). It was so hectic; I couldn’t find time to take pictures of preparation and finished items.

Sunday- helped our friends who came here from India just one month back, move to Detroit. Packing, cleaning etc. Baked again another banana-walnut cake for them. Managed to take some pictures of cake.

Monday- We have planned to go to Pittsburgh for diva darshanam at the SV temple. But it was raining so hard, and I didn’t want to travel on the PA Turnpike, which is notorious for accidents. So instead we hit some local shops nearby, and dined out.

First long weekend of summer was over just like that.

Banana-Walnut cake

As much as possible, I try to avoid using eggs in my baking for cakes etc. Because I don’t like the strong chemical smell of egg yolks. It wasn’t like that back in India, but after coming here, the yolk smell and taste has started to make me very ill. I don’t know what they feed the hens here in US, the fertilizer smell of egg yolks is unbearable, and the taste, oy…awful to say the least.

I found out that very ripe bananas are good substitute for eggs, so I use them often in my cake and bread making.

1 cup Bisquick pancake flour. All-purpose flour works fine too. (The only reason I made the cake with Bisquick is because I wanted to finish off the big packet of Bisquick pancake flour that I purchased at Costco last year.)
1/2 cup - walnuts, chopped
1 banana, skin peeled, and ripe fruit mashed smoothly
1/4 cup - sugar
4 tablespoons - oil or ghee
1 tsp each, - baking powder and vanilla extract
Milk if needed

Banana-walnut cake Ingredients

You must be familiar with the baking drill. Wet first, dry next, and then combine the two together.

IN a big bowl, mix the wet ingredients - banana, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine well.
Then add the flour, sugar, walnuts and baking powder. Combine thoroughly. If the batter looks tight, then add about quarter cup of water or milk.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Prepare the cake pan, by applying ghee or oil on the bottom and to the sides. Pour the cake batter. Spread evenly. Bake at 350° F for about 30 to 45 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the baked cake, it should come out clean. Cool and then cut pieces. Enjoy.

Banana-Walnut cake

Light and Fluffy, Almost Egg-less, Good Tasting Banana-Walnut Cake

Slice of cake

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Bananas, Sugar (Tuesday May 31, 2005 at 8:38 am- permalink)
Comments (54)

The New Home of Mahanandi: