Persian Love Cakes

Now that we are living close to family, I find that I am baking much more than I used to. My husband and I do not often eat sweets ourselves, but having grandkids living just down the street from us gives me an excuse to bake whenever the mood strikes.

My grandchildren are more than happy to be my taste testers, and any dessert doesn’t last too long in their house. I have had this recipe in my “to do” files for over a year and finally decided to make it last week.

Various different versions of this cake can be found across the internet, although most of them all include pistachios, almonds, and rose water in the list of ingredients. I decided to use Ottolenghi’s recipe because every recipe that I have made from their cookbooks have turned out really well.

I knew this recipe would be a keeper, but it turned out even better than I hoped it would. If you are not familiar with it, rose water is a flavored water made by steeping rose petals in water, and it is an ingredient often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. I ordered my rose water from, but it can be found at many specialty food stores or Middle Eastern groceries.

This recipe can be made in a 9-inch springform pan, although I decided to bake mine in my mini Bundt cake pan, which makes six small cakes. I didn’t have cardamom pods, so I used ground cardamon, and I made my own almond meal by grinding blanched almonds until I had a fine flour texture.

The combination of lemon, orange, and rose water gives this cake a lovely floral and citrus flavor. Even though only ground nuts and fine semolina flour are used, I found the texture of the cakes to be quite moist and light. Ottolenghi tops their cake with rosewater cream, but I decided to make a glaze using a little rose water and lemon juice, which turned out really well. I didn’t have any on hand, but food-grade rose petals look lovely when used to decorate this cake.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Persian Love Cakes

Persian Love Cakes

Yield: 1 (9-inch) Cake or 6 Mini Bundt Cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

A moist, nutty cake flavored with citrus and rose water.


  • 1 Cup Finely Ground Pistachios
  • 1 Cup Finely Ground Blanched Almonds
  • 1 1/4 Cup Semolina Flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cardamom
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/3 Cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, At Room Temperature, Lightly Beaten
  • Finely Grated Zest From 1 Orange and 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Rose Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For The Glaze:

  • 1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Rose Water
  • 1 Teaspoon+ Lemon Juice
  • Finely Chopped Pistachios


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a 9-inch springform pan or a mini Bundt cake pan liberally with baking spray.
    2. In one bowl, stir together the almonds, pistachios, semolina flour, cardamom, and baking powder.
    3. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light, about 3 to 4 minutes.
    4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon and orange zest, juice, rose water, and vanilla just until blended.
    5. Add the dry ingredients, and stir just until well mixed.
    6. Spoon the batter into your prepared pan, then bake for about 50 minutes for large pan, or 25 minutes for mini Bundt pan or until a cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out cleanly.
    7. Cool for 15 minutes, then carefully remove cake from the pan and cool completely.
    8. To make the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar and rose water with just enough lemon juice to make a semi-thick icing.
    9. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle over the sides.
    10. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top.


Adapted from Ottolenghi's Pistachio & Almond Cake

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 733Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 311mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 6gSugar: 48gProtein: 14g

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