I have been hearing about ‘Persian Love Cake’ for several years and seen several versions of recipes for it on the internet. I did not give it much thought until it was inquired about at my baklava cake post. I paid some attention to the recipes. There are recipes which use nutmeg in the chiffon cake, which is not heard of in Iranian desserts and neither is use of salt.
I’m fairly certain, the cake was adapted from an already existing Iranian recipe, Yazdi Cake, with basic ingredients being flour, sugar, eggs, butter, cardamom, rosewater and/or saffron, and maybe yogurt. Yazd is a city in Iran, famous for its confectioneries, one of them being mini bite-size cakes (now made like cupcakes) decorated with crushed pistachios on top. These are served as accompanying sweets to go with freshly brewed tea.
No one seems to know who started calling this recipe Persian Love Cake but the one which somewhat comes close to Iranian taste/preference was published by
Bon Appétit magazine in June 2005, written by Elizabeth Falkner. It is supposedly inspired by aromatics found in Persian desserts… cardamom which is found in many authentic Persian sweets, used in the chiffon cake, and rosewater and saffron used in the whipped cream, a combination of which is very common in Persian desserts. Nevertheless, I love that someone came up with the idea/name of ‘Persian Love Cake’!
This recipe is my version of what would definitely be pleasing to Persian/Iranian –and- international palates alike, at least for those who appreciate saffron, rosewater and cardamom.
Considering the cake’s name and its very decadent taste, it will be a great dessert for Engagements, Weddings, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Birthdays or any other auspicious events.
Persian Love Cake • کیک عشق
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
— Make this cake in advance, refrigerate for at least a few hours for the cake to absorb/sponge-up the syrup.
• 200 g/ 1½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
• 1½ tsp baking powder
• 7 large eggs at room temperature – yolks/whites separated
• 225 g/ 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
• 85 g/ 6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
• 140 g/ 5 oz blanched almonds, very finely-ground
• 1¼ tsp ground cardamom
◊ Measure/prepare and have all cake ingredients ready.
◊ Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 170°C / 350°F.
◊ Two 23 cm/ 9” round by 4 cm/1.5” deep non-stick cake pans are needed. Spray with non-stick spray and line with parchment papers.
◊ Whisk together flour and baking powder and set aside.
◊ First, beat egg-whites until well-foamed. While still beating, gradually sprinkle half of sugar, a little at a time and continue beating until fine texture and peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator.
◊ Separately, in a larger bowl, beat other half of sugar with butter until fluffy. Add egg yolks and continue to beat until foamy and whitish creamy. Add ground almonds and cardamom and beat until well-mixed. Stop the beater.
◊ Gradually sprinkling flour mixture into yolk mixture, fold in with a silicone spatula, scraping sides of bowl. Some elbow-grease is needed as it all forms into thick dough.
◊ Add one-third of the egg-white foam into thick yolk dough and mix until dough becomes manageable. Add the second third and work in gently by keeping the integrity of the foam. Then add remainder of the foam and just briefly, gently blend in.
◊ Empty batter equally into pans, smooth top and bake for 28 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
—While cake is baking, prepare cake syrup and whipped cream… recipe/direction  .
◊ Remove cake from oven and let it cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Invert both cakes onto baking cooling rack, remove parchment papers. As soon as parchment paper is removed, brush bottom side of both cakes all over with cake syrup. Let cakes cool completely.
◊ Place one cake layer bottom/flat side up on platter. Spread one-third of whipped cream over evenly. Top with other cake bottom/flat side down.
◊ Spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake (finished cake stands
7.5cm/ 3″/ high). Decorate with romantic flower of choice. (I wanted to use small orchids, but my local flower shop was out of them. Therefore, I used pansies which I had at home.)
Option 1 – To add one more Persian taste, sprinkle ground, unsalted pistachios on top.
Option 2 – If rose-petals are preferred for decoration, directions for candied rose petals included below .
 Cake Syrup
• 1/3 cup sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 5 tsp lemon juice
• 2 tsp rosewater
◊ In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Over high-heat, bring to a boil. Rotate saucepan and as soon as sugar dissolves, remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and rose water. Cool in refrigerator until ready to use.
 Whipped Cream
• 490 ml/ 2 ½ cups chilled heavy whipping cream
• 80 g/ 2/3 cup powdered sugar
• 1 tsp rosewater
• smidgen (1/32 tsp) ground saffron
◊ In a mixing ball, combine cream, sugar, rosewater and saffron and beat until peaks form.
Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
 Candied Rose-Petals
• 2 egg whites
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• petals from 3 organic roses
◊ Beat egg whites in medium bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose-petals on both sides with egg white foam. Sprinkle sugar on both sides. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.
◊ 2 Tbsp natural, unsalted pistachios for decoration along with rose-petals will look pretty.
◊ Also check out a tutorial on Candied Flowers by Back Road Journal.
~ Noushe jan • نوش جان ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?