Persian Love Cake //
I’ve wanted to try a Persian love cake recipe for YEARS. But I’ve never been organised enough to bake it in time for Valentines. I’m almost not this time but hey, even if no-one makes it, at least I’ve finally done it! The legend goes that a beautiful girl wanted to woo the Prince of Persia, so she baked him a cake, loaded with the spices and scents of Persia – cardamom, rosewater and pistachio. I’d like to think she succeeded, who could resist the romantic charms of someone baking them a cake? So sweet.
It’s really quite a simple recipe, though does require a couple of specialist ingredients, and a bit of preperation. I made the meringue kisses first, then baked the cake, so they were baked and cooled when I needed them. You can buy ground cardamom at Tiger here in the UK, or they sell pods at most supermarkets. You’ll also need some rosewater, and I also used dried raspberry as decoration, both from Waitrose. I did also buy some edible rose petals to decorate with, but I lost them. D’oh! I got these cute heart tins from Home Bargains, but you could use this recipe to make two 20cm sponges too.
200g white chocolate
200ml warm water
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
150g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
150g self raising flour
225g ground almonds
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cardamom
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ginger
. Pre-heat oven to 160c. Grease your cake tins, and line if possible.
. Slowly melt together the white chocolate, butter, golden syrup and water. Beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla for several minutes, until light and fluffy. When chocolate mix is melted, leave to one side to cool.
. Sift together flour, almonds, salt and spices. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, then chocolate mixture once cooled. It will be very wet, that’s fine.
. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes (depending on what tin you are using). Since it’s such a wet mixture, it will take a while. Skewer it after 45 minutes, and use your best judgement on if it’s ready.
. Once baked, remove and allow to cool. Whilst cooling, make your meringue kisses.
80g egg white (approx 2 eggs)
160g caster sugar
Few drops of rosewater
Few drops of pink food colouring
. Whisk together the egg whites for a few minutes, until they start to froth. Slowly add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until it’s all combined. Leave to keep mixing until the mix goes shiny and it reaches stiff peak stage.
. Whisk through the rosewater and pink food colouring, to taste.
. Put in a piping bag with a star tip (or whatever you fancy) and pipe into little rosettes. I did half large and half tiny, for variety.
. Bake at 100c for one hour, then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
200g butter, very soft
500g icing sugar
Few drops vanilla extract
Few drops milk
Few drops rosewater
Few drops pink food colouring
. Beat together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and food colouring until all combined. Add the milk, slowly, a few drops at a time, until you reach the desired texture. Quickly fold through the rosewater, to taste.
. Put the mixture in a piping bag with a small star tip, and pipe little rosettes all over your cakes. Remember you’re adding other decorations, so don’t worry if you make any small mistakes!
. Decorate using your meringues, raspberries, crushed pistachios, or whatever other decorations you have to hand.
. Give to your sweetie, Galentine, or just enjoy all to yourself.
This recipe made 5 little mini heart cakes, approx 10cm wide. It would also make two 20cm wide cakes, which you could sandwich together. You might need to double the buttercream recipe if you make a larger cake. This recipe was adapted from Katherine Sabbath’s gorgeous recipe.