Prepare paan juice - Remove the stiff stems from the betel leaves and tear them into small pieces. Grind the betel leaves with 40 ml of water and strain the paan juice. Discard the ground leaves.
Sift and combine the dry ingredients - In a bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, add the baking soda and baking powder, and mix well.
Prepare the cake pan - I used a 7 X 3 round pan. Grease the pan with oil or flour spray, line the pan's bottom with parchment paper, and set it aside.
Combine the almond milk and vinegar and mix well. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and allow it to curdle.
Preheat the oven to 325 deg F.
Make the paan cake batter
In a mixing bowl, add the oil and powdered sugar, and using a hand whisk, mix well.
Add ⅓ portion of the dry ingredients and mix well. Now add half the amount of almond milk-vinegar mixture and gently mix.
Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients, paan juice, paan essence, green food color, and gulkand.
Gently mix all the ingredients. Now add the remaining dry ingredients and almond milk-vinegar mixture and combine. We are adding wet and dry ingredients alternatively in portions. This helps in a smooth batter.
Finally, add the nuts and fold them in.
Pour this prepared batter into the cake pan and tap it gently to break the air pockets.
Bake the cake
Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 325 deg F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. I baked it for 40 minutes.
I tried baking at 350 deg F for 30 minutes, and there was a light dome, so I tried with reduced baking temperature. It came out well, and the texture was also excellent. Every oven is different, and depending upon the cake pan and size, the timing might differ. So keep an eye after 30 minutes.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake and gently flip the cake. Allow it to cool for 15 more minutes before slicing. Top it up with some more nuts and rose petals and serve the cake.
If you are planning to use sugar syrup, then reduce the powdered sugar to 125 grams.
Start adding 1 tsp of vinegar and check if your almond milk is curdling; if not, add 1 to 2 tsps extra or as needed.
Instead of oil, you can also use vegetable shortening and soy milk instead of almond milk.