Written by Chetna Makan


Recipe: Rose, cardamom and coffee dessert slices

The upcoming dessert week in the GBBO tent has inspired the show’s 2014 semi-finalist Chetna Makan to share a recipe which puts a feast of flavours together in one place. Namely our mouths.

the finished chocolate squaresIt is all about the desserts this week in the Bake Off tent and I am taking inspiration from Indian sweets, which are made in small squares or rounds, like bite-sized desserts.

I use this concept here to combine some of my favourite flavours. The bitterness of cocoa is highlighted by the coffee, and together they cut through the sweetness of rose and cardamom – it’s an absolute riot of flavours in one mouthful.

A simple yet impressive dessert, this recipe is from my book The Cardamom Trail, out now.

Ingredients (makes approximately 25)

200g (7oz) chocolate digestive biscuits
50g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
225ml (8fl oz) milk
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon coffee granules
3 large egg yolks
75g (2¾ oz) caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
250g (9oz) mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon rosewater
white chocolate curls (or other decoration of your choice)


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Grease a 20cm (8in) square cake tin and line it with non-stick baking paper.

Put the digestive biscuits in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin to crush them to crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and pour in the melted butter, mixing thoroughly so that the crumbs are completely coated.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon to create a smooth, even base layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside to cool completely. In a small pan, slowly heat the milk to scalding point. Add the ground cardamom and coffee granules and mix well, then remove the pan from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, cocoa and 2 tablespoons of the spiced milk together to form a smooth paste. Slowly add the remaining milk, whisking the whole time. Tip this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat for 2–3 minutes until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain through a sieve into a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 10 minutes until lukewarm.

Put the measured boiling water in a small bowl and sprinkle in the gelatine. Stir until the gelatine powder has dissolved. Add this to the lukewarm pastry cream and mix well. In another bowl, beat the mascarpone and rosewater together. Fold this into the pastry cream and pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Cover the tin with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight to set.

When ready to serve, carefully remove the cake from the tin and cut it into squares. To finish, sprinkle with white chocolate curls (or any decoration you prefer). The slices will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to three days.

Check out Chetna’s other delicious recipes here.


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Written by Chetna Makan

I am a fashion designer, who after becoming a mum discovered the world of baking. Also seen in the Great British Bake Off 2014. @chetnamakan