Jumbo loaf cake

Jumbo loaf cake

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  • 8
  • Easy
  • 20 minutes
  • 45 minute

“Goolab jamun, known as jumbo in the community I grew up in, is a moist and syrup-drenched sweetmeat. It reminds me of koeksusters and koesisters. This loaf emulates some of those beloved qualities and is easy to make. For the most intense flavour, it’s best to grind the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle just before using, removing the husks until a fine powder forms.” – Ishay Govender


  • 375 g flour
  • 125 g semolina
  • 1½ t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t ground cardamom
  • ½ t t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • ½ cup ghee
  • 2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk or Greek-style yoghurt
  • edible rose petals or other flowers, to decorate
  • 200 g mascarpone, whipped, for serving
  • For the syrup:
  • 250 g sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 T rose water
  • pink gel food colouring a drop (optional)

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a 20 cm loaf tin. Line with baking paper, with the edges draped over the ends of the pan to make removal easy.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, semolina, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

3. Cream the sugar and ghee together until pale and fluffy using a stand mixer or a hand-held beater, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at a low speed. Add the vanilla, increase the speed to medium and mix until combined.

5. Reduce the speed to low, then add half the flour mixture and half the buttermilk or yoghurt. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk until just combined. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 45–50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, save for a few moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the pan while you make the syrup.

6. To make the syrup, place all the ingredients, except the food colouring, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, then remove from the heat and add colouring to your preference.

7. Remove the cake from the tin, place onto a cooling rack and peel away the baking paper. Drizzle half the syrup over the cake and allow to soak in.

8. Serve the remaining syrup with the cake, mascarpone, a sprinkle of ground cardamom and rose petals or other edible flowers. The cake can be served warm or cold.

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Photograph: Myburgh Du Plessis
Production: Khanya Mzongwana

Ishay Govender Recipe by: Ishay Govender
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Ishay Govender is award-winning freelance food and travel journalist and author. She has written two cookbooks titled Curry: Stories & Recipes Across South Africa and Bright Rock Love Change Cookbook.

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