A Colourful Idea


It’s the start of a long weekend. Many office-goers have taken a day off and gone about to complete their duties for the festive season. The festival of colours is upon us. Mothers have started churning out home-made sweets from their kitchen and fathers have been given the task of getting ‘bhang’ and colours from the local shops. The typical fare of ‘thandai’, ‘dahi-badas’, ‘gujias’ have been stored a day before in pantry’s of almost all Indian Hindu households.

According to my best fact finder, Wikipedia, Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox, on the full moon day. The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of winter. Though this year global warming has proved otherwise with bouts of rain in Delhi, I still am excited that the possibility of the approaching summers. The kitchen as usual has been taken over by me and my brother to give our mother a rest and most probably to bounce a few ideas among the two ideas which will give us a new approach to the whole festival.

We decide on making something sweet, a usual choice when it comes to Indian festivities. We talk about making a contemporary dish out of the traditional ones; ice-creams (got junked because of the absence of an ice-cream maker in the house, a drink (not so much we say), a muffin (which finally was turned into a cake due to the absence of cup-cake liners in the house). The first thing which comes to our mind is a ‘Gujia’ cake but we are not so amused by the idea of it. We finally come up with a ‘thandai’ cake. A thandai is a drink made up of some spices, almonds, a little saffron and at times rose water. We think about ingredients which are Indian enough to make this ‘Indian’ cake into something new age and as my brother says “jazz it up”. A few days later we come up with the following recipe and right now as we eat the last morsels of cake, we feel proud.

Thandai Holi Cake


For the Thandai MixtureDSC_0400

  • 10 almonds
  • 4 cloves of green cardamom
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp of poppy seeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp saffron



For the cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup of ground raw sugar (we used ‘Gur)



  • 1 ½ tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ¾ cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup thandai mixture
  • ½ cup crushed almonds


For the Thandai mixture

  • Soak almonds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, poppy seeds and green cardamom overnight.
  • Peel the skins off the almonds and grind into a fine paste.
  • Heat the milk and bring it to boil. Simmer heat and put the thandai mix into it. Reduce till about ¾ of the mixture is left and remove from heat.
  • Strain in a fine sieve.


  • Mix in the saffron and keep aside.


For the cake

  • Cream the butter and the raw sugar together till the raw sugar dissolves.


  • Beat the egg in a separate bowl and mix into the butter mixture.
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Fold in the butter mixture into the flour mixture.
  • Put in the milk which was kept aside and mix.
  • Grease a baking mould and put in the batter


  • Spread the almonds over the top of the batter



  • Put into a preheated oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade.
  • One the cake cools cut into pieces.


Have some cake and celebrate a colourful Holi!



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