«Aimer ce n’est pas se regarder l’un à l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.» Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Easily 80% of the posts I’ve seen on social media this week have been about Valentine’s Day. Among these posts, my favourites have been of the “suggested recipes to cook for your loved one” variety. I’ve enjoyed seeing what different bloggers have come up with for their Valentine’s Day menus, so I figured I should probably contribute something to this trend. I don’t want to miss out on all the fun, now do I?
When it comes to edible gifts, you can’t really go wrong with cake. Cake = love, and a mini layer cake like this is the perfect treat to share with your Valentine.
I came across a recipe for Persian Love Cake on Pinterest a while ago and have been impatiently waiting for an excuse to make it. Made with a pistachio-lemon sponge and swathes of rosewater buttercream, it is delicate in flavour yet still rich and luxurious.
You’re probably looking at this little cake, cloaked in buttercream, and thinking that its really bad for you. I’m not going to lie; it’s not healthy. But, knowing that this cake was destined to be enrobed in a thick layer of icing, I made the sponge without butter. So, while it may not be good for your health, it’s not quite as bad as it could have been. So that’s something.
I hope some of you will make this for your loved ones, because it really is delicious. Although there are numerous steps involved, overall this cake is surprisingly simple to make. With its soft pink buttercream and delicate balance of flavours, it’s sure to win hearts, no matter who you’re serving it to.
Happy baking! (And Happy Valentine’s Day, too!)
Persian Love Cake
makes 2x10cm cakes or 1x20cm cake
For the Pistachio Lemon Sponge:
1.25 cups gluten-free self-raising flour
1/4 cup ground pistachios
1/2 cup brown sugar
3tsp lemon zest
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup + 1tbsp milk
1/2 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 160ºC. Grease and line two 10cm round baking tins (or one 20cm round tin).
- Combine flour, sugar, ground pistachios and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add egg, milk and oil, and beat to combine.
- Divide mixture evenly between the two tins, and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cakes rest in their tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cook completely.
For the Rosewater Buttercream:
50g butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
a drop of red food colouring
pistachios, for decorating
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat softened butter until pale in colour. Add half of the icing sugar, and beat on low speed until creamy.
- Add the remaining icing sugar, and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add rosewater, and beat for a further two minutes. At this point, take a spoon and test the buttercream; if the rose flavour is not yet strong enough for your liking, add an additional teaspoon and beat again.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and add a single drop of red food colouring to the buttercream – you only want a pale pink colour, so don’t overdo it. Beat for a further 2 minutes until the buttercream is smooth and uniform in colour.
- To assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to cut the top off one of the sponges, leaving a flat surface. Spread two tablespoons of the buttercream onto the cut surface, and place the other sponge on top to form two layers. (That little bit of cake that you cut off the bottom sponge? You can eat that. Go ahead.)
- Use a spatula or palette knife to spread the remaining buttercream on top of the cake and around the sides, using short strokes to give the icing a textured look. (If there’s any buttercream left over, you can eat that too. Waste not, want not, eh?). Decorate the top of the cake with pistachios and/or rose petals.
Keeping time: 3 days.