Vegan Persian love cake - This fragrant cake is beautifully moist and delicately flavoured with lemon, rose, cardamom, pistachios and almonds.
It is a simple cake to make, but with it's lemon glaze and topping of pistachios and rose petals it looks so sophisticated; and it tastes as good as it looks too!
What Is Persian Love Cake?:
The story behind this cake goes that there was a Persian woman who was madly in love with a prince so she baked him a cake to make him fall in love with her; because what better way is there to win someone over than with cake?!
There are multiple versions of the story floating around, some ending happily, some definitely not. It is extremely unlikely to actually be true and is most likely a fairly modern invention; but I do like food with a story!
There are about as many versions of the cake as there are stories, but it is always perfumed and lightly spiced. It commonly includes some or all of the following ingredients: rosewater, pistachios, cardamom, almonds, saffron and orange or lemon.
In this case I made a moist cake with ground almonds and flavored it with rosewater, cardamom, nutmeg and orange. It is flecked with chopped pistachios and soaked in a lemon syrup before being topped with a lemon icing and a scattering of extra pistachios and edible dried rose petals for a perfectly romantic look.
This is a lovely cake for Valentine's day, but it would also be great for a dinner party, afternoon tea or special occasion as it is so pretty and classy looking.
Rose water: A little goes a long way when it comes to rose water so don't be tempted to add extra.
Ground almonds: Also known as almond flour, this forms the bulk of the cake.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour is best. I have not tried making this cake gluten-free but I suspect that it would work ok with a plain GF flour blend plus ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum.
Yogurt: Vegan yogurt helps to make the cake moist and flavourful. Use a plain one, unsweetened if possible. I use soya yogurt but coconut yogurt will also work.
Vegan butter: Use a block style vegan butter for the best results.
Milk: Any kind of unsweetened non-dairy milk (except tinned coconut) should be fine, but I always prefer to use soya milk for baking.
Orange and lemon: While bottled lemon juice will work, I recommend using fresh for the best flavour.
Cardamom: Use whole cardamom pods and grind the seeds yourself using a pestle and mortar. Pre-ground cardamom does not have as good a flavour as freshly ground.
Edible dried rose petals: Many larger supermarkets sell these alongside the spices, or you can get them online. They make a beautiful decoration for cakes.
Pistachios: I add chopped pistachios to the cake batter, which is optional, and I also scatter them on top of the baked and iced cake to decorate it. Combined with the dried rose petals the green and pink together really make the cake look stunning.
How To Make Vegan Persian Love Cake:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Step 1: Whisk together the vegan butter, sugar, milk, yogurt, orange zest and juice and rose water in a large bowl.
Step 2: Whisk in the ground almonds, flour, cardamom, nutmeg, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Step 3: Fold in the chopped pistachios.
Step 4: Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake tin and spread it level.
Step 5: Bake for 35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Step 6: To make the syrup, heat the sugar and lemon juice together in a pan.
Step 7: Pour the syrup over the baked cake and leave to cool.
USE SCALES. As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scales rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
If you don't like the flavour of rose then orange blossom water would be delicious instead!
The cake is ready when it is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter.
The cake will keep for around four days in an airtight container at room temperature.
More Vegan Valentine's Desserts:
- Chocolate cupcakes for two
- Chocolate raspberry skillet cookie for two
- Small batch vegan brownies
- Vegan self-saucing chocolate pudding
- Vegan chocolate orange pots
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Vegan Persian Love Cake
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) vegan butter melted
- 150 g (⅔ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 120 ml (½ cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- 120 g (½ cup) plain non-dairy yoghurt
- finely grated zest of 1 large orange and juice of half (40-50ml juice)
- 1 Tablespoon rose water
- 12 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 200 g (2 cups) ground almonds
- 200 g (1 + ⅔ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 50 g (5 Tablespoons) chopped pistachios
- 4 Tablespoons caster or granulated sugar
- 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 200 g (1 + ⅓ cups) icing (powdered) sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- chopped pistachios and edible dried rose petals to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170℃ fan/375°F/gas mark 5. Grease a deep, 23 cm/9 inch round cake tin with a removable base and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, milk, yogurt, orange zest and juice and rose water in a large bowl.
- Place the cardamom pods in a mortar and bash with a pestle until the seeds come away from the pods. Discard the pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder.
- Sift together the ground cardamom, nutmeg, almonds, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet annd stir with a balloon whisk until no dry lumps remain. Fold in the chopped pistachios.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for about 35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- When the cake has nearly finished baking make the syrup. Place the caster sugar and lemon juice in a small pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, bring up to the boil then remove from the heat.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick. Drizzle the syrup all over the top of the cake making sure that it soaks all of it up. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes then carefully turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in the lemon juice until it reaches a thick but pour-able consistency. Spoon the icing all over the top of the cake and gently coax it towards the edges with the back of a spoon.
- Sprinkle the cake with chopped pistachios and edible dried rose petals and serve.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- USE SCALES. As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scales rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- If you don't like the flavour of rose then orange blossom water would be delicious instead!