Persian love cake is moist, spongy and will enchant you with its exotic flavors of rose, cardamom and saffron. Luxuriously packed with almonds and sprinkled with pistachios, it is so easy to make!
Enchanting like our Baklava and Maamoul.
What is Persian Love Cake?
This Persian love cake is an aromatic cake that combines fragrant flavors such as rose, cardamom, saffron and almond.
There are many versions of the cake. Some that are like a simple cake, others that have a cream based frosting or a fragrant glaze. But all of them have the same aromatic elements - Rose, Cardamom, Saffron.
Legend has it that this cake was baked to enchant a Persian prince. Whatever may be the story, this rose-scented cake is stunningly delicious and amazingly simple to make. So easy to please your loved one with this recipe!
I must add that this cake by its name will not be typically found in a traditional Persian cookbook. However, it is quite similar in flavor and taste to other Persian cakes and desserts.
Step By Step Overview
Combine ghee, oil and sugar. Whisk in eggs and yogurt. Stir in flavors.
Whisk in almond flour, all purpose flour, semolina flour, one by one. Stir in baking powder and pinch of salt.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pan, top with almond slices and bake. Poke fine holes in baked cake. Prepare syrup with honey and orange juice while cake is baking.
Add rose water, saffron and pistachios. Pour warm syrup on warm cake.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- The flavors of rose water and cardamom can be pretty intense so use them judiciously. The recipe uses traditional amounts of these flavors but feel free to experiment with less quantities and scale it up.
- The cake is pretty sweet. But if you wish to make the cake less sweet, try using half the syrup and scale it up.
- I prefer to make a thin syrup as it permeates the cake well and makes it moist. If the syrup is made thicker, it gives a stickier glaze so the cake is a bit more sweeter on the exterior.
- The cake can also be served with a rose water flavored whipped cream that is lightly sweetened with some powdered sugar.
- Alternatively you may drizzle a rose water glaze prepared by mixing 1 to 2 tablespoon rose water with ½ cup fine powdered sugar.
- If using the rose water whipped cream or glaze, then try to use less syrup.
- Make sure to use only "light" olive oil or any oil that is not strongly flavored.
- I personally prefer the cake with its full flavor. But if you want to tone down the exotic flavors then you can skip the saffron and you may also use some grated lemon or orange zest instead.
- You can make the cake with only oil or only ghee or butter.
- This cake recipe is pretty forgiving. I have found success even with simply combining all the ingredients in one single step. Make sure to mix well. A whisk is helpful.
- The cake is best after allowing the syrup to soak through for several hours or overnight.
- It is best to eat the cake in a day or two. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator. Keep the refrigerated leftovers at room temperature for one hour before serving.
If you have loved ones who have specific dietary preferences, here are some suggestions.
Gluten Free: Use gluten-free flour and substitute semolina with GF flour or almond flour. You may also make the cake with only almond flour by replacing flour and semolina with almond flour.
Nut Free: Use only flour and semolina. Replace the almond flour with regular flour or semolina. Skip the pistachios and almond slices. You may top the cake with pumpkin seeds instead of pistachios.
Dairy free: I haven't tried this, but try coconut yogurt instead of dairy yogurt and use oil instead of ghee.
More Tasty Cake Recipes:
- Fresh Cream Pineapple Cupcakes
- Moist Maple Sweet Potato Cake
- German Apple Cake
- Tahini Chocolate Marble Cake
- Blueberry Kuchen
- Mango Cake with Whipped Cream
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Persian Love Cake
- 6 tablespoon ghee or butter
- 6 tablespoon olive oil light
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs large
- 1 cup yogurt thick, Greek style, reduced fat
- 2 tablespoon rose water
- 2 teaspoon green cardamom ground
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup semolina flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 tablespoon almonds sliced
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoon rose water
- ½ teaspoon saffron ground
- 2 tablespoon pistachios slivered
Persian Love Cake
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine oil and ghee together. Add the sugar and whisk it all together until creamy.
- Then add eggs, one at a time and whisk it very well.
- Next add the thick yogurt and whisk it all together into a fluffy mixture.
- Add rose water, ground cardamom and stir it in.
- Sift the almond flour, all purpose flour and semolina flour, one by one and lightly whisk it in.
- Sprinkle baking powder all over, add pinch salt and incorporate it very well into the mixture.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased 10 inch springform cake pan that has been lined with parchment paper in the bottom.
- Tap the bottom of the cake pan on the kitchen counter to even out the cake batter. Scatter the almond slices all over the cake batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes until it is golden on the top and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup.
- Combine honey and orange juice and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Then stir in the rose water and ground saffron into the syrup. Turn off the heat and add the pistachios.
- Using a thin wooden skewer or a sharp pointed kitchen knife/utensil poke fine holes all over the cake.
- Pour the warm syrup over the warm cake and let the syrup soak in for several hours or overnight.
- Decorate with fresh or dried edible rose petals and more slivered nuts. Serve with rose water cream if you like (see blog post).
- You may adjust the amounts of rose water and cardamom as per taste.
- To make the cake less sweet, try using half the syrup and scale it up.
- The cake can also be served with a rose water flavored whipped cream or a rose water glaze (check blog post).
- If using this rose water cream or the glaze, then try to use less syrup.
- Make sure to use only oil that is not strongly flavored.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.
- Grind the saffron threads using a mortar and pestle into a fine powder. Tip: Adding a pinch of sugar to the saffron is helpful to grind it fine.
- Culinary grade dried rose petals are available online.
- Check the full blog post above for more tips and variations.
This post was first published on September 10th 2018 and has been updated with improvements in formatting, process shots, video and additional enhancements.
Can you use full fat Greek yoghurt rather than reduced fat?
I have not tried that, so would not know for sure. But it may work because the batter is not too thick and has enough moisture to be able to handle the thickness of greek yogurt. Let me know if you try.