Summer is here and roses are blooming everywhere and so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to put the flavour of roses in pretty much everything we are cooking these days. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite rose inspired concoctions, both sweet & savoury, so do drop by if you feel like filling your kitchens with the scent of roses.
The first of our recipes is a Persian Love Cake. The story goes that this magical cake was first made by a Persian woman for a Prince she was in love with. And what’s not to love about this intently moist, sweet, rich almond cake with hints of rosewater, cardamom & lemon. This is hands down my favourite almond cake and a great one to make for a party because it keeps well, is yummy and looks impressive but is so easy to make. This recipe is from Yasmin Khan’s The Saffron Tales and I’ve never found the need to change anything because I love it as it is, but replacing the lemons with oranges , using hazelnuts instead of pistachios or making little Persian love cupcakes (especially for Valentine’s Day) could be nice twists.
I’ve made this cake 2 days in advance and it has always tasted better that way. You could take the traditional route and make the lemon icing in this recipe or you could whip up some lemon cream , rose buttercream or even mix store-bought pistachio cream with freshly whipped cream to top this cake. The variations are endless . If you want to make a 2 layer cake like I have here, just remember to double the portions for the lemon icing so you can top each layer.Handle the cake with care when layering, it’s so soft that it cracks easy.
200 g unsalted butter
150 g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
12 cardamom pods
100 g plain flour, sifted
275 g ground almonds
1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon rose water
1 teaspoon baking powder
a generous pinch fine sea salt
2 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 lemon, Juiced
1/2 tablespoon rose water
150 g icing sugar
3/4 lemon, Juiced
2 teaspoon cold water
2 teaspoons sliced pistachios or pistachio granules
2 teaspoons dried or fresh rose petals, roses or rosebuds
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 22 cm cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
Grind the whole cardamom pods in a pestle & mortar, discard the green shells and pound the little black seeds until they become a powder. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until just combined , don’t over-beat. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
Add the cardamom seeds to the mixture. Then add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and rose water.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin , even out the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
Check the cake close to the end of the baking time by sticking a fork in the middle. It should come out clean. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool.
While waiting for the cake to bake, make the syrup. Using a small pan over low heat, combine the caster sugar, rose water and lemon juice and stir until the sugar melts completely. While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick or fork to poke holes all over the top and then drizzle the syrup over the cake,making sure you cover the whole top of the cake.
Let the cake cool completely.
To make the icing combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and a 3-4 teaspoons of cold water and stir well until the icing is smooth and thick. Make the icing just before you want to use it or it will harden. Spoon the icing over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Decorate with the roses and pistachio.
If you want to make a double layer cake, use a serrated knife or cake slicer to slice the cake. Spoon half the icing over the bottom layer, place the top layer over that with the top (rounded part of the cake) facing down ,
=[then spoon the rest of the icing over that. This video from ZoeBakes will explain how to do that better than I can with words.
x Anu & Suba