My Persian Love Cake

And so the story goes that a girl fell deeply in love with a prince and baked him a cake full of magical spices and enchanting flavours to win his heart…

Middle Eastern flavours are my absolute favourite and it doesn’t stop with sweets. In this version, I adore the beautiful flavours of pistachio, orange, cardamom and rosewater working in harmony with one another. And, to put a healthier spin on it, I use yoghurt and sunflower oil. A symbol of undying love, this cake certainly has the heart in mind!

Preparation Time: 40 minutes / Cooking Time: 50 minutes/ Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1  cup of low fat natural yoghurt (I used Jalna Low Fat  Greek Yoghurt)
  • 2 oranges, scrubbed to remove wax
  • 100g pistachio kernels,
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • 1 1/3 cup of plain flour
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For topping:

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp rose water
  •  1 tbsp of dried rose buds, break of the stems and loosen the petals (you can find at spices stores, tea stores or Asian grocers)
  • 50g pistachio kernels, lightly crushed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (or 160 degrees Celsius, fan-force)
  2. In a saucepan, submerge the oranges into boiling water, and boil until soft and tender.
  3. While the oranges are boiling, combine the caster sugar and oil in a mixing bowl and  whisk until the sugar dissolves. Continue whisking and slowly add the eggs and rosewater to the mixture.
  4. In a food processor, grind up the pistachio kernels until they become a fine meal. Place to the side.
  5. Once the oranges are boiled, remove from heat and cut into big chunks to cool down. Once the pieces are warm, place the oranges in the food processor and blend until they become a smooth, even mixture, much like a puree.
  6. Fold the orange puree and yoghurt into the mixing bowl with the eggs, oil and sugar.
  7. Slowly add the pistachio meal, flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt and combine the mixture evenly.
  8. Pour the cake mixture into a greased cake tin and place in the oven for 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  9. When the cake is cooked and cooling, pierce wholes into the cake with a skewer.
  10. Place the honey, orange juice and rosewater in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Take the mixture off the heat and throw in the rose petals to coat them evenly with the mixture.
  11. Spoon the mixture over the cake evenly and allow the syrup to seep into the cake. Sprinkle the pistachios on the cake and drizzle the remaining mixture over them.