Say I Love You With An Irresistible Persian Love Cake

Love Cake Persian

A Persian Love Cake is the perfect cake to make for Mother's Day or any occasion really. It is one of the simplest cakes you can make and yet its beauty would suggest otherwise. Made with ground almonds and fragrant cardamom and rosewater it is a moist cake that keeps for days. Not that that situation might arise as it is SO delicious! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader. I called her Nasrin.

Love Cake Persian

The story behind Persian love cake is that once upon a time in Iran, a Persian girl created this cake so that a Prince would fall in love with her. There's also another story that a French chef or baker tried to seduce a Persian woman and came up with this cake. And while this Persian Love Cake is well known, some say that its not particularly well known with Persians. Our friend Saba is from Iran and he says that it's more likely a Western invention given the name Persian because it sounds good and it's unlikely you would find a Persian Love Cake in Iran (although some modern bakeries may want to make use of the cake's popularity and bake it). Love cakes exist in Portuguese and Sri Lankan cuisines too and like the Persian version, both of these use a generous amount of nuts and spices in them. The main ingredient that distinguishes the Persian love cake from others is the use of rosewater.

Love Cake Persian

I love this cake in the flurry of Mother's Day because while it is great to celebrate your mother, you might be a mother too and you'd like to be spoilt too and relax and this cake can easily be made by anyone in the house really (pets and very small children excepted). Or if you're like me, I will bake this a day ahead of time so I can relax on the day. This Persian Love Cake is simple with just one layer and a simple powdered sugar icing. It still has a simple beauty to it thanks to the rose petals and pistachios on top. I bought a bag of Iranian pistachios that are gorgeously bright green in colour and it's worth seeking these out. For the edible rose buds, I found these at an Asian grocery store where they sell the full buds for rose tea. And along with a simple sugar icing that's all that you need to dress this cake up. Mr NQN doesn't usually like cake but he loved the texture of it, which for lack of a better word is damp (I know, moist isn't much better).

Love Cake Persian

I've actually got two Persian Love Cakes here on the blog. The other Persian Love Cake I made is a two tier cake made with almonds and cardamom, with rose syrup and a rose flavoured buttercream. It's experiencing a bit of popularity as there's a book out now called The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding and the "painted cake" in it is described as looking like this one! I only found this out when some people made the original one and tagged my recipe on it which is a serendipitous surprise! It was made for book clubs or just for reading along with the book.

So tell me Dear Reader, is Mother's Day a busy day for you? Have you ever made a recipe based on a book that you've read?

Love Cake Persian

Persian Love Cake

Did you make this recipe? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Rated 5 out of 5 by 42 lovely readers. Share your rating:

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

  • 250g/8.8ozs almond meal/very finely ground almonds

  • 200g/7ozs cake flour*

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 180g/6ozs butter, softened
  • 250g/8.8ozs caster or superfine sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons rosewater (to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

For Icing

  • 170g/6ozs icing or powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 3 tablespoons Iranian pistachio slivers
  • 5 small dried roses, plus petals from 5 dried roses

Cake flour can be bought at the supermarket. You can also make it at home. To make 1 cup/150g/5.2ozs of cake flour replace 2 tablespoons of plain all purpose flour with cornflour/fine cornstarch and whisk well. I usually mix up a big batch of this and keep it in a container ready for baking cakes as it produces cakes with a softer texture.

Love Cake Persian

Step 1 - Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round tin with parchment (avoid a springform tin if you want the sharp edge). Preheat oven to 160C/320F fan forced. In a large bowl whisk the almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Place the butter, sugar, rosewater, cardamom, zest and vanilla in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for 3-4 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk 1 egg and then add into the mixture on medium speed ensuring that it is incorporated before whisking and adding another until all of the eggs are added.

Love Cake Persian

Step 2 -Fold the almond mixture into the butter mixture ensuring that the you get a uniform mixture but do not overmix. Scoop into the prepared tin and smooth over the top with an angled spatula. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin. You can make this cake the night before as it keeps well.

Love Cake Persian

Step 3 -Slide a knife around the edge and gently remove the cake from the tin. Trim the top so that it is flat and then place it upside down on a serving plate or cake stand.

Love Cake Persian

Step 4 -Sift the icing sugar (I put it in the food processor as I hate sifting) into a large bowl and then mix with the rose water. Then add the water one teaspoon at a time until you get a drippable consistency. It's important to not add in the water all at once. You can also replace the water with lemon juice but I like this icing made with water. Spoon the icing over the cake, letting some icing drip down the sides. Add rose petals and pistachios straight away before the icing sets. This cake keeps in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

Love Cake Persian

Published on by .

Reader Comments

Loading comments...

Add Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked*