I do so Love Persian Love Cake!
Doesn’t the name just call to you? Love is the Air at the moment (and yes, I am singing that as I type!) and I have a Bridal Shower this afternoon and a wedding next week. I do so love weddings! Perhaps it all stems from that Lismore tradition of going to see the weddings of people we had some vague connection to , like my Grade 3 Netball coach, or the neighbour of your Aunt; waiting beside the church to see the bridal car slowly pull up, craning our necks to see the bride emerge, a vision in tulle and satin or chiffon as we “oohed” and “aahed” and filed details away for thorough discussion later. Perhaps it was that early experience as a flower girl for Zia when I thought that I was a princess in pink. I’m fairly sure that the story goes that I was not initially going to be included in the bridal party, but somehow wheedled my way in (I like to think charm, but as I was 4, you can more likely think tantrum). My memories of that wedding are of the Jiffy’s that Zia had sewn lace flowers on to match our dresses, the painful up-do that took forever, and the most memorable – Zia Marie piecing my ears with some ice and a large needle – OUCH!
My first job was actually singing at weddings with my cousin Debbie, so I again got to attend more than my fair share. We were a fairly popular choice given that the competition was low – mostly from a young gentleman who played the organ and wore his pants too high (just saying). Add to this, that both my sisters got married in my final year of High School and the endless bridesmaids dress fittings (and no, I will not be sharing the photos of those chiffon pastel dresses with the pouffy 80’s hairstyles!) making endless bonbonniere and spray painting all those wishbones, and there was a fair bit of wedding action in those days.
These days weddings are a much rarer social event in our lives. So I was thrilled to receive an invitation to my friend Mary Jane’s daughter’s Bridal Shower. The fact that I don’t really know the bride very well did not slow the affirmative response to that invitation one bit! But upon reflection, I did think that perhaps I should “make myself useful” by contributing to the afternoon. And so to the cake. Just before I went on holidays I saw a Persian fruit cake being made on a TV show and it captured my imagination, so I finally had a reason to experiment. And I just want to thank all those who happily answered the call to taste test and give feedback. I will give you a warning; EVERY initial feedback about this cake began with an audible moan! Just saying.The story behind this cake is that (allegedly) a French woman fell in love with a Persian Prince. As a way of showing her great regard for him, she made a Persian Love Cake. He took two bites, and dropped dead – sadly allergic to saffron. Tragic rather than romantic story really, and no great surprise that I opted to omit saffron from my version! I also opted to be subtle with the spices and orange blossom water. This results in delicate flavours that expose themselves at different times, rather than a flavour explosion. If you would like more, go right ahead!
Start by preheating the oven to 180°C and line and grease a 25cm springform tin. Place the almond meal, brown sugar and raw sugar in a large bowl with the butter, and rub through until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Divide the mixture in half, and gently press into the base of the springform tin.
Add the yoghurt, eggs, salt, spices and orange blossom water to the “crumbs” and mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour the filling on top of the base and pop into the oven for 30-35 minutes. The cake will firm up and become lightly golden. Don’t worry if it still seems a little unset, the cake will firm up as it cools in the tin. Place on a rack in the tin and cool thoroughly before removing tin. I highly recommend running a knife around the edge before you do this as well. I served scattered with edible freeze dried rose petals (well, it was a special occasion!) and if I was serving at home I would put some whipped cream flavoured with just a little orange blossom water or orange zest on the side. Mmmmmm…
Look how beautiful and moist this cake is! It will last for up to a week and retain all that moist goodness, but good luck with saving it that long!
Congratulations Portia and Ryan – may your future be full of happiness and reasons to celebrate with cake!
- 3 cups almond meal
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 120g butter, cubed and softened slightly
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp orange blossom water
- ¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios
- Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line a 25cm springform tin.
- Place almond meal and sugars in a large bowl and add butter, rubbing through until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Halve mixture.
- Place half mixture in the base of the prepared tin and press down gently with fingers.
- To the remaining mixture, add the eggs, yoghurt, spices, salt, orange blossom water and stir until combined. Pour onto base and sprinkle outer edge of the cake with the pistachios.
- Cook in the moderate oven for 30-35 minutes. Mixture will become slightly golden but may appear uncooked - this will firm upon resting.
- Cool completely in the tin before running a knife around the edge and releasing the springform.
- Serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream