History Of Chhena Cake

Chhena Cake is a traditional and mouthwatering dessert that holds a significant place in the culinary heritage of Eastern India. This delectable sweet treat has a rich history that dates back centuries.

chhena cake
chhena cake

Origins of Chhena Cake

The origins of Chhena Cake can be traced back to the ancient history of Odisha. It is believed to have been invented by a skilled Odia confectioner named Sudarshana Sahoo in the 19th century.

Sudarshana experimented with the traditional process of making chhena and introduced a novel method of baking it to create a delicious sweet cake.

Chhena and Its Significance

Chhena, the main ingredient of Chhena Cake, plays a vital role in Odia cuisine. It is made by curdling milk and separating the whey, leaving behind a soft and crumbly cheese.

Chhena is not only used in desserts but also in various savory dishes like paneer tikka and matar paneer.

The Legend of Chhena Cake

According to a popular legend, Lord Jagannath, the deity of the famous Puri temple in Odisha, expressed his desire to taste a new sweet dish.

In response to this divine wish, Sudarshana Sahoo created Chhena Cake and offered it to Lord Jagannath during the Ratha Yatra festival. The cake became an instant hit and gained popularity among the devotees.

Traditional Preparation of Chhena Cake

The traditional preparation of Chhena Cake involves curdling milk with lemon juice or vinegar, which causes the separation of the whey. The chhena is then kneaded with sugar, cardamom, and ghee to form a smooth dough.

This dough is placed in a clay pot and baked in a wood-fired oven until it turns golden brown. The slow baking process gives the cake a unique caramelized flavor.

Variations of Chhena Cake

Chhena Cake has inspired various other sweet delicacies in the region. Some notable variations include:

a. Poda Pitha

Poda Pitha is a traditional Odia cake made from fermented rice batter, jaggery, and chhena.

It is prepared by wrapping the batter in turmeric leaves and then roasting it over hot coals. Poda Pitha has a smoky flavor and a slightly crispy texture, making it a delightful treat.

b. Rasgulla

Rasgulla, another popular dessert in Eastern India, is made from chhena as well. It involves shaping the chhena into small balls, which are then cooked in a sugar syrup. The result is soft and spongy cheese balls soaked in a sweet syrup, creating a burst of flavors in every bite.

c. Chhena Jhili

Chhena Jhili is a deep-fried sweet dish made from chhena, sugar, and semolina. The dough is shaped into small oval or cylindrical pieces and deep-fried until golden brown. The crispy exterior and soft, creamy interior make Chhena Jhili an irresistible delicacy.

Popularity and Cultural Significance

Chhena Cake holds immense popularity in Odisha and neighboring states. It is an integral part of festivals, weddings, and special occasions.

The sweet aroma and rich taste of Chhena Cake have made it a symbol of celebration and joy. It brings people together, fostering a sense of unity and happiness.

Chhena Cake: A Delightful Dessert

Chhena Cake is a dessert that satisfies both the sweet tooth and the craving for something rich and indulgent.

Its unique combination of flavors, including the subtle sweetness of chhena, the caramelized notes from baking, and the aromatic spices, make it an exquisite treat for dessert lovers.

Health Benefits of Chhena Cake

Apart from its delightful taste, Chhena Cake offers some health benefits as well. Chhena itself is a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

It provides essential nutrients to the body and contributes to bone health and muscle development. However, it is important to consume Chhena Cake in moderation due to its sugar content.

Chhena Cake Recipes

Now, let’s explore two delicious Chhena Cake recipes that you can try at home:

a. Classic Chhena Cake Recipe


  • 2 liters of full-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee


  1. Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add lemon juice or vinegar to the boiling milk and stir gently. The milk will curdle, and the chhena will separate from the whey.
  3. Drain the whey using a muslin cloth or a strainer.
  4. Rinse the chhena under cold water to remove any traces of lemon juice or vinegar.
  5. Hang the chhena in the cloth for about 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
  6. Transfer the chhena to a mixing bowl and knead it well until it becomes smooth.
  7. Add sugar, cardamom powder, and ghee to the chhena. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Grease a baking dish with ghee and transfer the chhena mixture to it.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake the chhena cake for about 45 minutes or until it turns golden brown on the top.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for some time.
  1. Once cooled, cut the Chhena Cake into desired shapes and serve.

Chocolate Chhena Cake Recipe


  • 2 liters of full-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Follow the same steps as the Classic Chhena Cake recipe to make the chhena.
  2. Once you have the chhena ready, add cocoa powder to the mixing bowl along with sugar, cardamom powder, and ghee.
  3. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until the cocoa powder is well incorporated.
  4. Grease a baking dish with ghee and transfer the chhena mixture to it.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake the Chhena Cake for about 45 minutes or until it turns golden brown on the top.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
  7. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top of the cake for added crunch and flavor.
  8. Cut the Chhena Cake into slices and serve.

Serving and Presentation

Chhena Cake is often served as a standalone dessert or accompanied by a drizzle of sweet syrup or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. It can be garnished with nuts, saffron strands, or edible rose petals to enhance its visual appeal. The warm and inviting aroma of freshly baked Chhena Cake adds to the overall sensory experience.

Chhena Cake: A Symbol of Festivity

In Odisha, Chhena Cake holds great significance during festivals like Diwali, Ratha Yatra, and Durga Puja. It is considered an auspicious offering to deities and is distributed as prasad (blessed food) among devotees.

The presence of Chhena Cake on special occasions brings joy, prosperity, and a sense of togetherness.

Chhena Cake in Modern Times

With its growing popularity, Chhena Cake has transcended regional boundaries and has become a beloved dessert across India and even internationally.

It has found its place in restaurants, sweet shops, and dessert menus, captivating the taste buds of people from all walks of life.

Chhena Cake Around the World

The fame of Chhena Cake has traveled beyond Indian borders, and it has gained recognition in various parts of the world.

It has become a delightful surprise for dessert enthusiasts seeking new flavors and culinary experiences. Its unique taste and texture have made it a favorite among those who appreciate the richness of Indian sweets.


Is Chhena Cake suitable for people with lactose intolerance?

Chhena Cake is primarily made from chhena, which is a fresh cheese. While it is low in lactose, it may still contain traces of lactose. It is advisable for people with lactose intolerance to exercise caution and consume Chhena Cake in moderation or seek alternatives that suit their dietary needs.

Can I store Chhena Cake for later consumption?

Yes, you can store Chhena Cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to keep it away from strong-smelling foods to maintain its original flavors.

Can I freeze Chhena Cake?

While it is possible to freeze Chhena Cake, it may alter the texture and affect the overall taste. It is best enjoyed fresh, but if you need to freeze it, ensure proper wrapping to prevent freezer burn and consume it within a month for the best quality.

Can I make Chhena Cake without an oven?

Yes, you can prepare Chhena Cake without an oven. Instead of baking, you can cook it on a stovetop in a covered pan on low heat until it sets and turns golden brown. The cooking time may vary, so keep an eye on it to avoid burning.

Can I use low-fat milk to make Chhena Cake?

Using full-fat milk is recommended to achieve the desired texture and richness of Chhena Cake. Low-fat milk may not yield the same results, as the fat content plays a crucial role in the overall taste and consistency.


Chhena Cake, with its rich history, cultural significance, and delectable taste, stands as a testament to the culinary heritage of Odisha.

This delightful dessert, born out of the innovative use of chhena, has won the hearts of people far and wide. Whether enjoyed during festivals or as a treat for celebrations, Chhena Cake continues to bring smiles and create memories that last a lifetime.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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