You don’t have to be a baker to pull off this stunning Crinkle Cake. It has that pretty sheen and crinkly swirled top of a fancy pastry, but is actually a simple dessert based on store-bought frozen phyllo dough! I had so much fun playing with the flavors and toppings of this TikTok trending recipe, adding my favorite combination of cardamom, rose, and pistachio. It was heavenly.
Crinkle Cake went viral on TikTok when @ramenasaidwow shared her secret recipe for the dessert that she built a business on. I saw frozen phyllo dough and I was in! I’m always on the lookout for easy dessert recipes with simple ingredients that I can keep on hand for when the occasion arises. This Crinkle Cake is so amazing I’ll be making up reasons to bake it! And I am adding this to my collection of fav TikTok Recipes.
I love desserts that can be customized! This recipe has a simple custard and syrup that can take on any flavors you choose. I added warm earthy cardamom to the custard, delicate rose essence to the syrup, rose petals, and chopped pistachios to the top for color and crunch. This combination is magical together and works perfectly for Indian holidays and festivals. I can’t wait to delight my guests at our next party!
It’s So Easy
The Crinkle Cake recipe is so unfussy that @ramenasaidwow says if you can’t get the phyllo sheets to fold back and forth like an accordion, just crinkle them up and put them in the pan. And look how few steps there are in the instructions! You don’t need any special equipment or fancy ingredients to make a dessert that looks like it came straight from a bakery.
The Taste and Texture
Let me just say–WOW! The texture is similar to baklava with a gorgeously sticky crunchy top and intricate layers of flavor-soaked and crisped phyllo. In contrast, the custard binds everything together and keeps the center nice and soft. Adding the rose essence and cardamom complements the sweetness and gives an alluring aroma to the dessert. Mouthwatering.
Step by Step Instructions with Photos
- Defrost the phyllo dough according to the package instructions.
- Take 2 layers of phyllo dough together at a time holding the sheets together at the top and let them hang from your fingers. Using your fingers to “crinkle” the sheets, gently fold back and forth in an accordion-style drawing from the bottom up to the top.
- Lay the folded dough into an ungreased rectangular baking dish starting at the shorter side and continue filling in the folded sheets down the length of the pan. **See video for my demonstration.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan.
- Remove the pan from the oven and evenly pour melted butter over the phyllo sheets. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Combine milk, sugar, cardamom, rose syrup, and eggs with a whisk to form the custard.
- Remove pan from oven and evenly pour the custard over phyllo dough. Return pan to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Combine water, sugar, and rose essence in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes as the syrup forms a one-string consistency
- Drizzle over the cake after removing it from the oven
- Garnish with chopped pistachios and rose petals
- Cut into 3-inch squares and serve.
Crinkle Cake is an anytime treat: from dinner parties to brunches, tea times, and potlucks. Serve as is, or add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a side of fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Variations are Endless
Eggless Crinkle Cake - make the custard with 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup of condensed milk, 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, and 1 teaspoon rose essence.
In the same way, I added spice to the custard, essence to the syrup, and my own toppings, you can take the basic recipe and run wild. Get started with these:
- Use cinnamon to the custard in place of cardamom
- Add chocolate chips to the filling and the top
- Add raisins
- Use orange essence in place of rose
- Use any chopped nuts, or none if you are looking for a nut-free dessert
- After adding the custard, tuck in your favorite fruits, like thinly sliced apples or mixed berries, and bake it
- I used rose essence that is available in Indian grocery stores. It can also be substituted with good-quality rose water.
- If you are allergic to nuts, skip them completely.
More fun Viral Recipes
- 1 box phyllo dough
- 2 sticks butter melted
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose essence
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 eggs **
Syrup (See notes)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon rose essence **
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon rose petals
- Defrost the phyllo dough as per the package instructions. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Take 2 layers of phyllo dough together at a time holding the sheets together at the top and let them hang from your fingers. Using your fingers to “crinkle” the sheets, gently fold back and forth in an accordion-style drawing the bottom up to the top.
- Lay the folded dough into an ungreased rectangular baking dish starting at the shorter side and continue filling in the folded sheets down the length of the pan. *See video for my demonstration!
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Melt butter in a small sauce pan.
- Remove the pan and evenly pour melted butter over the dough. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Combine milk, sugar, cardamom, rose essensce, and eggs with a whisk to form the custard. Remove pan from oven and evenly pour the custard over phyllo dough. Return pan to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.
- Combine water, sugar, and rose essence in a saucepan. Bring it to a gentle boil and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes as the syrup forms a one-string consistency. Drizzle over the cake after removing it from the oven. Cut into 3-inch squares.
- Eggless - Want to make it eggless? Make the custard with 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup condensed milk, 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, and 1 teaspoon rose essence.
- Rose Essence - I used rose essence that is available in Indian grocery stores. It can also be substituted with good-quality rose water
- Nut-free - If you are allergic to nuts, skip them completely
- Syrup - For more details on how to make the one-string consistency sugar syrup check out the recipe card for the Balushahi recipe.
This looks great! Will you be making a video on this? I’m a little confused on the folding and placement of the sheets
Hey! So you pick up 2 sheets at a time, fold them and place them on the shorter side of the 9 X 13 tray. Continue placing the sheets like that until the tray is full. Also, check out the video
Thanks for adding the video! I’m excited to try this!
Deb Jones says
Hi, can anyone tell me how to store this cake and how far in advance I can make it? I'd like to make it Easter dessert. Thanks!
Hi Deb, You can make it 1 to 2 days in advance and keep refrigerated.
Thanks so much!!
Will this cake taste better when warm? If I bake it beforehand, how can I warm it before serving guests?
It tastes good warm or at room temperature. You can always reheat it in the oven if you like!
Made this s for an Indian taps party today and every single person loved this!!!!!
Yay! Thank you! Def a crowd-pleaser recipe.
Hi, Love your recipes but I'd love it if you could use weights as well as cups.
Hi! Thank you! I will try to do that 🙂
Can I make tihs ahead? Thanks so much!
Yes! You can warm it up a bit in the oven before serving.
When you say make a custard , are we supposed to use a custard powder ( Brown and Polson custard powder ? )along with whole milk and sweetened condense milk ? Or just mix the sweetened condense milk with the whole milk ? I'm confused. The ingredient list doesn't show any custard powder listed
No custard powder is required. Just mix whole milk and condensed milk.
Thank you so much .
For eggless version- do we still need to make the syrup portion of the receipe? Trying to gauge if the sweetness if condensed milk in the custard will be enough
The syrup adds that baklava-like taste and texture. You can reduce it if you like.
I followed the recipe exactly as you write it and baked for 38 minutes. However, when I cut the slice and tried eating it with a fork, it’s really difficult to cut into bite sized pieces. And I believe it would be challenging for my guests as well. Should I be baking it less or more? Or any other tips to make consuming easier? Thank you!
Use a sharp serrated knife to cut into pieces.
So cutting the initial pieces for serving is not an issue. But once I serve those pieces on individual plates with forks, then my guests had issues using the fork to break it into bit size pieces to put in their mouths. Any advice?
It is a sticky dessert just like baklava. Use fork and knife or eat by hands 🙂
Aparna Jain says
Before adding the syrup should the baked sheets be completely cooled so that it doesn’t get soggy?
No need to completely cool down, works on warm baked sheets.
I baked this today as I had some phyllo sheet after I baked baklava. It’s a straight A recipe. Pretty simple and just
Does this have to be refrigerated eventually?
Yes, it can be kept at room temp for a day and then refrigerated after that.
I made this for Easter. Substituted raspberry flavoring and bits instead of the rose. It was amazing and quite a hit with the family.
Thank you for the feedback. Rasberry flavor sounds great!