I first learnt this recipe from my mother almost 25 years ago for a college-level cooking competition. It was handed down to my mother by my grandmother.

What you need

Maida – 1 cup

Baking powder - 1tsp

Cooking soda – 1/2 tsp

Condensed milk - 200 gm

Margarine - 50 gm

Water – 1/2 cup

Milk – 1/2 cup

Sugar powder - 1tbsp

Caramel sauce - 1 tbsp

Candied peel - 20 gm

Mixed fruit - 20 gm

All spice powder - 5 gm

Raisins - 20 gm raisins

Cherries - 20 gm

Cashew nuts - 20 gm

Vanilla essence – 1/4 tsp

Cooking instructions

Mix maida, soda and baking powder and sieve the mixture thrice. Mix condensed milk, margarine, milk, water, sugar and caramel sauce. Add the sieved mixture part by part to the liquid mixture and make a smooth batter. Add all the dry fruits and finely chopped nuts, all spice powder and vanilla essence. Grease a cake mould with butter and dust it with maida. Pour the cake mixture in the greased cake mould and bake in a preheated 1 inch sand bed created in a pressure cooker for 25 min. (without the whistle of the cooker).

Now cut the baked cake with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and drench it with sugar solution.

For kesari mithai icing mix milk khoya, powdered sugar, kesar leaves and food kesari colour. Knead this mixture to get a smooth paste and set this mixture on the drenched cake. Finally decorate with chopped almonds, kesar leaves, cut cherries and silver foil.

Mamta Gupta is an art and craft teacher with a Chennai-based school.