Persian Love Cake

persian love cake, originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.

This is my favorite cake to make. I highly doubt this an “authentic” Persian cake, but it does contain flavors reminiscent of Persian dishes: saffron, rosewater, pistachios all combine into a distinct and delicious chiffon cake. Taking a bite of this cake is like a piece of rosy cloud.

I’ve made Persian Love Cake before–blogging about this cake on my personal blog before the incarnation of Muffin Top. I found the recipe originally on epicurious, and have since become a fan of this cake, as have multiple guests who’ve eaten this cake.

The cake is light and flavored with cardamom (and if you use cardamom pods, they are little explosions of flavor in your mouth). The whipped cream frosting has the golden hint of saffron and smells and tastes like roses. Like love!

persian love cake

Technical insights: I am liberal with the rosewater in the whipped cream frosting. Also liberal with the saffron. Super liberal with the cardamom! I tried candying rose petals, and was overwhelmed–I bought candied rose petals instead (I’m fortunate to live close to The Pasta Shop in Berkeley which sells candied rose petals by the pound).

Recipe follows after the jump…


Candied rose petals
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Petals from 2 organic roses

1 cup cake flour
14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds (removed from about 5 green cardamom pods–and I also added 1/4 tsp ground cardamom to boost the cardamom flavor)

2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
Pinch of saffron threads

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rose water (I upped this to 3 tsp rose water)

2 tablespoons natural unsalted pistachios (more like a handful than 2 tablespoons)

For candied rose petals:
Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1
1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter
parchment. Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl.

Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth.

persian love cake

Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff. Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)

persian love cake

For frosting:
Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer.

Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes. Chill until cold.

Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over.
Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Garnish cake with rose petals and pistachios.

Here’s one last look at the finished product:
persian love cake

and p.s…a couple years later (this is still a favorite cake!) I tried making cupcakes. This is a chiffon cake, and so the cupcakes are VERY light but they are WONDERFUL if you’re not up for the cake format.

cardamom-rose cupcakes with saffron-rosewater whipped cream frosting

My dog loves them too:

cardamom-rose cupcakes with saffron-rosewater whipped cream frosting

Of course he loves the cake:

Persian Love Cake

13 responses to “Persian Love Cake

  1. OOOh Christine, this is lovely. Hubby is back on low carb and I’m fussing about my weight so I won’t make it … this month … but it sure is tempting.

    And I followed the link to the old post about it. Love the story about your flavor progression through life. I especially like that mysterious Hong Kong guy. Short story, perchance? It sounds like something out of Colette, or maybe Mavis Gallant. Seriously.

  2. While some of the food you have on here does appeal to me, I’d say this site really makes you take notice of your photography skills. Or whoever is taking those pictures? The use of color and light is pretty amazing.

  3. thank you shelbycockrell! i had fun taking the pictures of this cake. plus, i’m blessed with a terrific camera to boot. it’s very meditative to pause a moment to take pictures of food before digging in and eating it.

    in general, each writer takes his/her own pictures here on Muffin Top.

    leila: thanks for the compliment on the old post! i often think about “mysterious Hong Kong guy” and wonder how he’s doing now. and yes, more than once (nay more than ten times) i have comtemplated writing a short story about him. but it’s a very special story to me and i am waiting for the right time to tackle it!

    you have inspired me to consider it again–and just in time for winter break where I have some spare time!

  4. This cakes looks and sounds divine! I am definitely going to try this out as soon as I find all the ingredients.

  5. what a wonderful combo of flavors and a beautiful picture too! 🙂

  6. this cake is not only gorgeous, but totally delicious, too. (thanks for the slice, Christine!)

  7. I’m not very good at baking but I am willing to try this delicious cake.

    Can you tell me what this mean?
    “Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes.

    Please email me for the answer to my question. Thanks in advance.

  8. by Your notes you can smell the cardemen
    and taste the rose water whip cream
    it should be Yummy

  9. Here is quite a different recipe for Persian Love Cake than yours, but it’s truly delicious!

  10. Your creation tastes great as it looks ! Can you tell me what this means?

    “let steep 20 minutes”.


    Welcome to my website!



  11. steep 20 minutes==put the saffron in the warm/hot milk and let it sit until the milk is infused with the saffron (like when you put tea in hot water and let it “steep”/sit in the hot water until the water becomes…”tea”).

  12. Doubt that I’d ever make it myself, but if you ever need somebody to sample a cupcake or two, you know who to call…!

  13. hey! it’s good to read your blog and it’s meaningful not to mention that we share the simillar blog name

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