MAKE A PERSIAN LOVE CAKE FOR YOUR VALENTINE THIS YEAR

A Persian love cake is a great way to show your special someone how much you love them this Valentine’s Day. It is not only a show stopper aesthetically, it tastes absolutely divine.

overview of homemade persian love cake on a plate

The almond, rose, and cardamom scents that arise from each slice are intoxicating. They will draw your loved one under your spell in no time at all.

In spite of the fact that it’s made entirely from scratch, it is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make.

It requires just 20 minutes of prep time. So, you get a dessert that looks like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen without spending any sweat equity at all.

WHAT IS PERSIAN LOVE CAKE?

This is a traditional Middle Eastern cake. There are slight variations in the recipe by region, but each of them are moist and delicious.

Either rose or orange water can be used to flavor Persian love cake. I am presenting a rose flavored version for this post, as it feels most appropriate for a Valentine’s Day dessert.

And because I adore baking with rose water. I’ve always found it to be a pleasing experience. Rose water baked goods are fantastic!

The other primary flavor in this cake is cardamom. This is a rich, deep Indian spice often found in Middle Eastern desserts.

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices to use in sweet dishes. If it is a spice you are unfamiliar with, and you want to experience it in different dishes, you can try either my chai spiced cacao recipe or my pear chutney recipe; both made with cardamom.

This cake recipe carries a secondary light citrus flavor that comes from the lemon juice added to it. And the almond flavor used in it’s batter gives it a nutty base flavor.

It is topped with a sweet, lemon rose flavored glaze, and then decorated with dried rose petals and crushed pistachios.

The end result is a very striking cake indeed. The scent and sight of it alone makes it an absolute lovers’ dream.

And the taste will, without a doubt, make your special someone’s tastebuds dance with delight.

THE LEGEND BEHIND PERSIAN LOVE CAKE

With a name like Persian love cake it’s seemingly obvious that there is a folklore story behind this stunningly beautiful dessert.

overview of sliced persian love cake on a plate

Some say that the name comes from the simply fact that the effort that it took, without modern tools, to grind the nuts and spices needed to make this cake was truly a labor of love.

It’s a nice enough explanation for the name. But, I admit that I have a little more appreciation for the other folklore story associated with this dessert.

That story presents the claim that a Persian woman made this cake to win the affections of a prince that she was in love with. She baked this cake as a love potion, in order to bewitch him into falling madly in love with her.

I have yet to uncover the result of her efforts. But, I believe it is worth a try for you to make this magic cake to secure the affections of the one you love this Valentine’s Day.

So, regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship with your love, or you are simply hoping to win their affections … go ahead and make them a Persian love cake.

Perhaps, it will work it’s magic in your life, causing your highest expectations to come to pass with the very first bite.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE PERSIAN LOVE CAKE

It is likely that you will need to make a run to the store in order to make a Persian love cake. A few of the ingredients, namely the rosewater and almond flour, are not common pantry items.

Pistachios, cardamom, and rose petals are also ingredients that may not be found in the average kitchen.

BUT … this amazing cake is well worth a trip to the store. So, if you’re feeling like you want to make this for your special someone this Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to head on out and grab those special ingredients.

Here’s a list of what you’ll need …

Ingredients needed for the cake …

ingredients for persian love cake on a counter
  • FLOUR – All-purpose white flour is used to make this cake, organic is preferred.
  • ALMOND FLOUR – Any almond flour can be used for this recipe, superfine grind is preferred.
  • BAKING POWDER – Good quality baking powder is needed to make this cake.
  • BAKING SODA – Good quality baking soda is needed to make this cake.
  • SALT – Table salt will work in this recipe, real salt or pink salt is preferred.
  • BUTTER – Farm fresh salted butter is the best way to go for this recipe.
  • SUGAR – Plain white sugar works best in this cake.
  • LEMON ZEST – The zest of an organic lemon is preferred for this recipe.
  • CARDAMOM – Grind your own cardamom for this recipe if you are able. Otherwise, use a high quality cardamom.
  • EGG – A farm fresh egg is preferred for this recipe.
  • BUTTERMILK – Organic buttermilk is best in this dish.
  • ROSEWATER – Rosewater can be purchased online. It is pricey, and not used very often in the kitchen. But, it is well worth the investment. For this recipe, I made my own as I didn’t have time to order any online.

What you’ll need to make the icing …

ingredients for icing for persian love cake on a plate
  • POWDERED SUGAR – Confectionary sugar is used to make this cakes icing.
  • ROSEWATER – See above.
  • LEMON JUICE – The juice of an organic lemon is best for this cake.

Optional, but lovely, ingredients needed for the garnish …

  • ROSE PETALS – Dried, food quality rose petals are needed to decorate this cake.
  • PISTACHIOS – Raw pistachios are preferred for this cake. They have a brighter green hue to them than other pistachios. I was unable to find raw … so I settled for roasted.

HOW TO MAKE A PERSIAN LOVE CAKE

This gorgeous cake is so much easier to make than it’s appearance would lead you to believe. I recommend gathering all of the ingredients prior to starting. But, I recommend that no matter what you’re making.

The first step you’ll take is to whisk all of the dry ingredients for the cake batter together in a medium bowl. Then set that bowl aside.

dry mix for homemade cake in a bowl

Next, you’ll blend the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and cardamom together in a small bowl.

beaten butter and sugar for cake in a bowl

Add the egg and then blend it until the mixture is creamy.

beaten cake batter in a bowl

Then mix the buttermilk and rosewater together, and blend them into the wet ingredients as well.

overview of wet ingredients for a cake in a bowl

Finally, hand mix the wet and dry ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. And pour them into two very generously oiled 4″ round baking dishes, or one 6″ baking dish prepared the same way. Bake until done.

overview of cake batter in a bowl

NOTE: I baked the cake for this post in a deep 4″ dish, and then cut off the overflow that rose above the top of the dish before plating it. Therefore, it is taller than what you will get using two 4″ dishes or a 6″ dish.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When they are completely cooled, it’s time to make the glaze. Simply whisk all of the ingredients for the glaze together in a small bowl.

homemade icing dripping from a spoon into a bowl

Spread the glaze to the edges of the cake and allow it to spill over the sides.

glaze dripping down the sides of a homemade cake

Then quickly garnish the top of the glaze with dried rose petals and crushed pistachios, before it sets up. This way they will stick to the top.

woman garnishing the top of a persian love cake

TIPS AND TRICKS

There are some tips and tricks that you should be aware of when making a Persian love cake. They will help you get the best results possible with this recipe.

overview of a sliced homemade persian love cake

Here they are …

Tips for ingredients …

  • It is important that the butter and eggs for this recipe are at room temperature when you use them.
  • Be sure that you use almond flour in this recipe, as opposed to almond meal. These are two different products. Almond meal contains the skin of the almonds, and it will alter the texture of this cake.
  • It is best to use superfine almond flour, as it makes the cake nice and tender. Other almond flours may add a bit of graininess to the final product.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of rosewater. It has a strong flavor and even though the amounts used in this recipe seem minimal, you don’t want to increase them.
  • Cardamom, also has a strong flavor. Do not increase the amount for the recipe.

Tricks for best baking results …

  • The corners of the pan need to be buttered very generously, make sure they are well covered.
  • Always bake this cake on the middle rack of the oven.
  • Immediatley remove the cake from the oven, and place it on a cooling rack, once it is fully baked. You don’t want it to continue to dry out, which can happen quickly with almond flour.
  • If your cake comes out of the oven domed, shave off the top (after is has completely cooled) to make it flat, and then place it bottom side up on your serving plate to decorate it.

Tips for glazing …

  • You want the glaze to be thick enough that it doesn’t just run off the cake and all over the plate. Yet, it should not be hard to pour.
  • Always allow the cake to cool completely before you glaze the top. If it is still hot the glaze will run right off the top, and your cake will be sitting in a pool of glaze.
  • Be sure to decorate the top of the cake with rose petals and pistachios immediately after you spread the glaze, so that they will stick to it. Otherwise, they will just sit loose on top of the cake.

SERVING PERSIAN LOVE CAKE

In my personal opinion, this cake is best served by candlelight. Bonus points for hand feeding it to your loved one with a spoon.

piece of a homemade persian love cake on a fork

However, as perfect as it is for a romantic encounter, it is not only meant for lovers. It will make quite an impression on others as well.

Might I suggest presenting it to your closest friends at an afternoon tea party, or making it for the little people in your life to show them just how much they mean to you.

It can even be prepared and given to someone who makes your life a bit better by their dedicated service to their craft, such as; your hair stylist, your local farmer, your pet sitter, or the person who cares for your children while you work.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY THESE OTHER DESSERT RECIPES …

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pinnable image for persian love cake

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overview of homemade persian love cake on a plate
Yield: 4 servings

PERSIAN LOVE CAKE

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Persian love cake is moist and delicious. It's a highly fragrant cake, with an irresistable blend of rose, cardamom, and lemon flavors.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • oil, to grease pan
  • 1/3 c flour, white all-purpose
  • 2/3 c almond flour, superfine grind
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbls butter, salted
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp rosewater
  • FOR THE GARNISH:
  • dried rose petals, food grade
  • crushed pistachios

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously grease two 4" round or one 6" round baking pans. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, blend butter, sugar, lemon zest, and cardamom on high speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Add egg and blend well.
  6. Add buttermilk and rosewater and blend well.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and hand stir just until mixed.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Remove from pan. Trim the top of the cake off if it domed in the oven and place it bottom up on a serving dish.
  11. Place the ingredients for the glaze in a small dish and mix them well.
  12. Add powdered sugar to get desired consistency.
  13. Spoon glaze over the top of the cake. Push it toward the edges with a spoon, allowing it to spill over the sides.
  14. Quickly garnish with rose petals and pistachios, before the glaze sets.
  15. Serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 378Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 381mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 27gProtein: 7g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 1/28/2023. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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