Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcakes: Happy Blogoversary to Me | Cupcake Project

Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcakes: Happy Blogoversary to Me

One year ago today, I posted the first cupcake on this blog. It was an Indian-inspired chai cupcake. By total coincidence, one year later, I am posting another Indian cupcake.

I wanted to make Indian cupcakes to go with my Taste & Create naan recipe(’cause you know, you need a starch to go with a starch). The problem was that I couldn’t find any good Indian cake recipes. I didn’t want to simply bake an Indian-influenced cupcake like the chai cupcakes – I wanted to use an actual Indian cake recipe.

How Did I End Up Making Bhapa Sandesh?

To come up with an Indian cupcake recipe, I emailed my friend Nupur of One Hot Stove. I asked her what she would recommend. I expected maybe a suggestion or two. Nupur went above and beyond to make sure that I had the information that I needed.

First, she explained why I couldn’t find many Indian cake recipes online: “Well, cakes in India are a Western import really. Typically, Indian kitchens don’t even have an oven so desserts are made on the stove-top rather than oven-baked.” She then went on to give me a slew of ideas for a variety of cakeish Indian desserts. Thanks so much, Nupur!!
The recipe that stuck out for me was bhapa sandesh from Bong Mom’s Cookbook. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Sandeepa of Bong Mom’s Cookbook made the recipe for her one year blog anniversary! She said on her blog, and I repeat to you, “All joyous occasions in India are celebrated with something sweet and so here is ‘Bhapa Sandesh’ or Steamed Sandesh for all of you on the Blog turning One.

What is Sandesh?

I had to turn to Wikipedia to answer the question, “What is sandesh?” Sandesh is “a sweet that is made in West Bengal state of India and in Bangladesh… It is created with coconut and sugar. Some recipes of Sandesh call for the use of chhana (curdled milk) or paneer instead of coconut. Some people in the region of Dhaka call it pranahara (literally, heart ‘stealer’) which is a softer kind of sandesh, made with mawa and the essence of curd.”
The bhapa sandesh that I made did not have coconut, nor did it use chhana or paneer. Instead, it used ricotta cheese. It did have mawa (dried milk powder), but I’m not sure if that made it a heart stealer variety or not.
Did the Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcakes Steal My Heart
The bhapa sandesh Indian cupcakes didn’t quite steal my heart. I liked them, but they were by no means my favorite cupcakes. I found them to be a bit too rich. They seemed like an Indian version of a ricotta cheesecake.

The bhapa sandesh Indian cupcakes did, however, steal the hearts of some of my other tasters. People seemed to enjoy the moistness and the mango flavor. In fact, my friend Ran just left this cupcake-related comment on my mango frosting recipe post: “These were some of my favorite Stef cupcakes in some time. Fantastic flavor and moisture levels. A perfect summer cupcake!”

The Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcake Recipe

As noted above, I got the recipe from Bong Mom’s Cookbook. I am reprinting it with my notes and modifications below.

 

Tea masala extract

Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcakes: Happy Blogoversary to Me

Yield: Makes about 12 cupcakes. You may get more or less depending on how tall you make them.

Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcakes: Happy Blogoversary to Me

Ingredients

    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 2 C whole milk ricotta cheese (If you've got a little time, make your own ricotta.)
  • 1/2 C sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 C milk-mawa powder (You should be able to find mawa at any store that sells Indian groceries.)
  • 10 drops tea masala extract (My tea masala extract was a gift from Nupur so it seemed fitting that I would use it in a recipe she recommended. If you don't have any on hand, you could easily use some of Chockylit's chai spice mix that I used in my first [chai cupcake post|http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2007/05/chocolate-chai-spice-first-cupcakes.html.)
  • Chai Spice Mix Recipe (if needed)
    Spice Mix Ingredients
  • 2 t whole fennel, 2 t whole cloves, 1 T ground cardamom, 2 t ground cinnamon, 2 t ground ginger
  • Spice Mix Instructions
  • With a small food processor, grind up the whole fennel and cloves.
  • Transfer to a small bowl and add remaining spices.
  • Mix to combine.

Instructions

    Cupcake Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix ricotta, sweetened condensed milk, and mawa in a bowl to a smooth consistency.
  3. Add chai extract or chai spice mix.
  4. Spray cupcake liners with non-stick cooking spray. I've never had to do this before, but it really helped in this recipe. When I didn't spray, the cupcakes completely stuck to the wrappers.
  5. Fill an oven proof dish with 2-3 C water and place in the bottom rack of the oven.
  6. Fill cupcake wrappers about 3/4 full. The cupcakes don't rise much, so just fill a little bit lower that you want them to end up.
  7. Make sure the water has come to a boil and then put the cupcakes on the top rack of the oven.
  8. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  9. Let them cool and then place in the fridge to chill.

Notes

Top the cupcakes with my mango whipped cream frosting. Many of the cupcakes sunk in the middle during baking. No need to worry if this happens to you on this or any other cupcakes. You can always fill in the sinkhole with something yummy. In this case, I filled the hole with some extra mango pulp.

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/05/bhapa-sandesh-indian-cupcakes-happy_21.html

My Gratitude

I’ve loved my first year of blogging. I actually can’t believe that it has only been a year. Thanks to everyone who has read and left such kind comments over the year. If you are just starting a blog, I encourage you to keep going with it. I hope you’ll find it to be just as rewarding as I have.
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4 Responses to Bhapa Sandesh Indian Cupcakes: Happy Blogoversary to Me

  1. Sara May 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    Yum, these look delicious! Happy blog-o-versary! :-D

  2. Nancy May 21, 2008 at 4:22 am #

    I’ve loved your year of blogging as well. Your blog has been great fun to read as well as a window to glimpse Stef aspects not so readily apparent otherwise.

    Liked these cupcakes, being a mango fan, but not my favorites either. Not sure there are any bad cupcakes!

  3. cheryl May 21, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    Happy blogoversary! I miss the chai cupcakes…

  4. Sandeepa May 21, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    how very innovative. I will try the mango frosting, but am not sure about the tea spice flavor.

    BTW, maybe I should have mentioned using ricotta was an easy way out I used, actually people do use home made paneer (not the store bought one) for making “bhapa sandesh”

    Look for “Bhapa sandesh” on this page http://www.harekrsna.com/practice/prasadam/recipes/sweets3h.htm.
    Here Paneer has been used and instead of the oven they have steamed it in a pressure cooker.

  5. CB May 21, 2008 at 8:05 am #

    Happy blogoversary to you
    Happy blogoversary to you
    Happy blogoversary dear Cupcake Project
    Happy blogoversary to you!
    ♫♪
    … and many more!

  6. Anonymous May 21, 2008 at 1:03 pm #

    Stef, Happy Blogoversary! It’s been a blast to watch your splendid blog evolve. Each entry is another fun adventure!
    Love always,
    Mom XOXOX

  7. giz May 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    Happy blogaversary – have a cupcake on me ….hahahahaha :)

  8. Leslie May 21, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    Happy 1 year!

  9. Nupur May 22, 2008 at 2:39 am #

    What an innovative cupcake this is!
    Happy Birthday, Cupcake Project and here’s wishing you many sweet times ahead!

  10. Hillary May 23, 2008 at 7:34 am #

    Happy birthday Cupcake Project! You’re just a couple months younger than us. Enjoy your delicious looking cupcakes!

  11. Kimberly May 23, 2008 at 8:48 am #

    Happy blog-o-versary, Stef!!!

  12. Stef May 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    Thanks so much to everyone for all of your blogoversary wishes! You guys are the best!! It means so much to me that you took the time to leave me such nice comments!

  13. Mara May 23, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    happy blogoversary!!! i am still thinking about my ice cream cupcake…time is running out!!

  14. Stef May 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm #

    Mara – Thanks :) There’s still time! Looking forward to your creation!

  15. Gigi May 26, 2008 at 10:13 pm #

    Happy Blog-o-versary!

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