Mawa Cake: The Strangled History Of This Parsi Delight

The word ‘Parsi dessert’ takes us straight to the world of Ravo and Doodh Pak. The Parsi indulgence with delicious food is all things delicious and fun. From the meat-based savoury dishes to the decadent desserts, Parsi cuisine has divergent dishes of all flavour profiles that never fail to amaze food connoisseurs. The Parsi gastronomic tradition can be evidently found in parts of Western India like Gujarat and Maharashtra. Having migrated from Iran during the 17th century, the Parsi cuisine is an amalgam of Irani, British and Indian flavours.

If we go on to find the distinct characteristics of the Parsi cuisine, one is most likely to find meat in savoury dishes and dry fruits and coconut in desserts. However, there is one Parsi dessert that is unique and distinct from others and is called Mawa cake. One can never miss to savour a bite of this delectable dessert when in Mumbai. Made with Mawa, butter, whole wheat flour, cream and sugar, Mawa Cake is a vital dish in the Parsi dessert course. Along with the basic ingredients which are pretty much available in almost all Indian kitchens, the process of making Mawa cake is quite easy too. The only difference between regular sponge and Mawa cake is that Mawa is mixed with flour, baking powder, sugar and milk and is baked to perfection.

Although the dish is quite popular among Parsis, one cannot be too sure about the history of this dessert. Two famous bakeries- B Merwan and Pune Royal Bakery claim to have invented this Parsi delight. The swarming of Irani cafes in West India after by the Irani immigrants popularised the delicious dessert. Not only the history but the reason and objective behind the creation of this cake has also been a mystery till today. While some say that it was an invention while experimenting with the good old sponge cake, others claim that it was the result of an attempt to use excess milk during times when there was no refrigerator.

No matter how mysterious the history of the dessert is, a delicious and spongy Mawa cake can set any mood straight. Don’t forget to grab a bite of this Parsi delight when in Mumbai.