I adore the name of this cake. There is a story behind the name that once upon a time there was a Persian woman madly in love with a prince. To make him fall in love with her, she baked him this cake, filled with magical love powers. There are two endings to the story. In the first, the prince returns her love and they live happily ever after. In the second he doesn’t (and in my mind she consoles herself by eating the entire cake!). There are many different versions of the cake (and the story) and I first started looking at them last year around Valentines day when we are invited to an Iranian (Persian) friend for dinner and I was asked to make dessert. I looked at a lot of recipes. Some use cream, many use rosewater, and there are different combinations of nuts and spices. In the end I tried this one from Gewurzhaus which ticked all the boxes for me. I love the freshness that the yoghurt and orange bring along with the combination of cardamom and pistachio. I have altered things slightly as I find myself incapable of religiously adhering to any recipes. And I have made this over and over. It is very simple, extraordinarily delicious and gluten free which is increasingly popular these days. I have given substitutions for the Gewurzhaus spices, but if you do live in Melbourne and can get to Hawksburn, Chadstone or the City, their cardamom pistachio sugar is incredible and their spices are another level to anything you can buy at the supermarket. Please try this – it is a very special cake.
Persian Love Cake
3 1/2 cups almond meal
3/4 cup demarara sugar
3/4 cup Gewurzhaus cardamom pistachio sugar, plus extra to serve (or substitute with 1/2 cup raw sugar, 1 tspn ground cardamom and 1/4 cup crushed pistachios)
120g butter, at room temperature
250g natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve – about another cup
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
1 tspn ground cardamom
Zest of one orange
50g raw pistachios, chopped or slivered
Icing sugar and dried rose petals to serve
Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease and line a 20 or 22cm round cake tin.
In a food processor, pulse together the almond meal, sugars, butter and a pinch of salt until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Spoon half the mixture into the prepared cake tin and press down to form an even base.
To the remaining mixture, add eggs, yoghurt, half the orange zest and the spices and pulse until smooth and creamy. Pour over the base and shake gently to ensure mixture is even in the tin.
Scatter the top with chopped pistachios and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cake is golden.
Cool in the tin on a wire rack.
To serve, dust the cake with icing sugar and scatter over rose petals and extra pistachios. Mix together extra yoghurt with leftover orange zest and little cardamon pistachio sugar and serve alongside the cake.
To make this dairy free, substitute the yoghurt for unsweetened coconut yoghurt (make sure it is tangy like natural yoghurt) and the butter for coconut butter (not coconut oil).