Persian Love CakeCourse: DessertCuisine: Middle EasternDifficulty: Easy
There is a sweet tale behind the Persian love cake that goes like this…a woman was desperately in love with a prince, and she made him this cake in hopes he would fall madly in love with her. Did it work? Well, I suspect the tale may have had a happy ending as it is said “the way to a man’s heart is through his belly”!
I have also discovered there are at least two versions of this cake one an almond meal based cake with pistachios and spice and one a chiffon style sponge cake with cardamom and whipped rose cream. I suspect the almond based cake is more true to Middle Eastern tastes but each cake offers its own beauty.
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
4 large eggs
12 cardamom pods (or 1 tbsp ground cardamom spice)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 3/4 cups almond flour
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons rose water
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Chopped pistachios and dried rose petals (optional), for garnish
- Preparing The Cake
- Preheat the oven to 320 °F and grease an 8-inch spring form pan and line it with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, beat the butter and 2/3 cup of the sugar until fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated.
- In a mortar and using a pestle, crack the cardamom pods to release the seeds. Discard the pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder.
- Incorporate the cardamom powder into the dry ingredients mixing thoroughly.
- Add lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the rose water, baking powder and salt until smooth.
- Incorporate into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a baking rack and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon of rose water to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Poke holes all over the cake and pour the warm syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely, then remove from the pan and transfer to a cake platter.
- Preparing The Icing
- Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of cold water until smooth. Spoon the icing over the cake and garnish with pistachios and rose petals, if using; serve.
- You can add crushed pistachios to the batter to add crunch and a sweet nutty flavour.
- Almond flour can be substituted with rice flour, gluten free flour or semolina.
- This cake also works well with the pistachio pudding recipe. Serve the cake with a dollop of the pudding alongside or slice cake in half and add the pudding as a filling.