Looking for a special cake to make this Valentines Day? Look no further than this pretty pink Persian Love Cake. An almond and cardamom scented cake is brushed with rose syrup, layered with pastel pink rosewater buttercream and decorated with pistachios and edible roses! I called her Daria.
I was inspired to make this cake by a bakery in Edinburgh called Love Crumbs where we ate a similar cake. I adored the simple decorating job they did and the gorgeous rose flavoured buttercream and fresh sponge cake. I gave Daria a bit more exoticness by adding cardamom and to the cake and adding some ground almonds to the cake part.
It's almost time for Valentines Day and for the first time in ages, we are going out to dinner. However since Mr NQN hates the forced atmosphere of Valentines Day and set menus we are celebrating it on the Saturday night instead of Friday night.
Although we've been together for quite a while, I recently discovered it is possible to still be surprised by your spouse. I don't think that's really a bad thing. Mr NQN calls me an enigma but he had his own enigmatic moment the other day.
"Do you know that I have a famous twitter follower?" he said as he was scrolling through his twitter feed on the couch.
"Who?" I asked distractedly as I was cooking at the time.
"Barack Obama," he said.
"Hilarious," I answered.
"No seriously, Barack Obama follows me," he said protesting. "Look!" he said showing me his twitter page and sure enough Barack Obama was following him. I hit the escape key wondering if it was a photoshop job that he had whipped up but no apparently Mr NQN is followed by one of the most famous and amazing people in the world.
"Whaaat? I need to sit down," I said. "How? Why?" I said.
"He has been following me for a while. I dunno why, all I do is give useless pollies s%^ on twitter," he said. I looked at my husband in a new light. Because not only did he beat me at twitter, but he kept it quiet for so long!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a famous follower? And are you doing anything for Valentines Day?
Persian Love Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 45 minutes plus cooling time
Cooking time: 55 minutes
- 200g/7ozs. finely ground almonds
- 1.5 cups plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1.5 cups caster or superfine sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 250g/8.8ozs. butter, softened
- 200g/7ozs. plain yogurt
- 4 eggs, room temperature
For Rose Buttercream
- 225g/2 sticks butter, softened
- 5 cups sifted icing sugar
- A little pink food colouring
- 3-4 tablespoons rosewater (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rosewater
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
- Edible dried roses
Note: rosewater isn't as strong as rose extract or flavouring so if you only have rose extract, use less than a teaspoon (or to taste).
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 130C/260F and line the base and sides of 2x20cm/8inch round tins with parchment.
Step 2 - Mix the almonds, flour, baking powder, sugar and cardamom in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Add the butter in cubes and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the yogurt and eggs and beat until combined.
Step 3 - Scoop into the two tins dividing the mixture as evenly as possible. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the centre springs back when pressed. Cool completely.
Step 4 - While the cake is baking make the rose syrup by combining the sugar, water and rosewater and simmering until you get a thicker, syrupy consistency. Cool completely.
Step 5 - Make the buttercream. Beat the butter for a minute and then add the icing sugar, colouring, vanilla and rosewater and beat until light and fluffy. Place the cake on a turntable brush rose syrup on the cake layer making sure that it soaks in well. Spread the buttercream thickly on one layer and make sure that the buttercream in the centre goes all the way to the sides and fill in. Then place the other layer on top. Brush more syrup on top and then spread buttercream thickly on top. Fill in any icing gaps in the centre and top. Use a scraper tool to scrape the sides until smooth.
Step 6 - Take an angled palette knife and with your dominant hand press down gently on the top of the cake to form a spiral pattern and turn the cake turntable with the other hand. This can take a bit of practice and you can simply smooth over the buttercream and start again if you don't get it the first go. Sprinkle the outside with pistachios and rose petals.