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!
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…
PERSIAN LOVE CAKE
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
My dog loves them too:
Of course he loves the cake: