Persian love cake

Very occasionally the stars align to allow me a quiet weekday morning in the kitchen. People were off to school and work, and I was home with my youngest small person. It was cold and rainy, the kitchen was tidy, and there was produce lurking about – perfect baking conditions. But what to bake….I have a list a mile long of recipes I need to try in my life. One recipe that’s been stuck in my head (I think I’ve dreamt about it too), is a Persian love cake. It was sent to me recently by a reader (thanks!) and I’ve been dying to try it.

If you google persian love cake, your results will be quite varied. There’s a pink and fluffy and candied roses version (nothing wrong with that). And there’s this version, which is not pink and fluffy looking. In fact it’s quite a serious looking cake, but it tastes as you’d expect a love cake to taste – divinely sweet and lovely.

Recipe

This recipe was published in Gourmet Traveller, and it’s by Gerard Yaxley of Qom (Peregian Beach, Queensland). I’ve never been to Qom, but interestingly one site mentions the menu has been based around gluten-free needs. (Not sure how recent that is – you’d need to check).

Serves about 8 people. Takes around 15 minutes to prepare, and 30 – 40 minutes (plus cooling time) to cook. Depends on your oven – I would check it at the 30 minute mark. I actually burnt mine a bit by mistake, so my edges were more burnt than caramelised – but thought the charred edges actually enhanced the cake. Let your personal char preferences be the guide here. Apparently the cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week, but mine got devoured within 12 hours.

Ingredients

360g (3 cups) almond meal
220g (1 cup) raw sugar
220g (1 cup) brown sugar
1 tsp salt
120g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g Greek-style yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
45g (¼ cup) pistachios, coarsely chopped (I used more like half a cup, but I like pistachios)

What to do

Firstly, think about love. Preheat the oven to 180C. Combine the almond meal, sugars, butter and salt in a bowl, then rub with your fingertips until it turns into sort of big breadcrumbs. You’re ready to make the base. Find a 26cm diameter springform pan. Rub it with butter, and line with baking paper (I only just learnt how to do this). Lightly butter. Get half of the breadcrumb mixture, and gently press it into the pan to evenly cover the base. Use a spoon to smooth it all out.

Keep feeling the love. Get the other half of the breadcrumb mixture, and add the eggs, yoghurt and nutmeg to it. Beat it with a wooden spoon until creamy and smooth. Pour this over the base, then scatter pistachios around the edges of the cake.

Persian love cake Bakin’ time: cook until it looks golden (30-45 minutes depending on your oven and how caramelised/burnt you like the edges.) Let it cool completely in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, then serve with yoghurt. With your loved ones of course.

Persian love cake Persian love cake