Just as good-looking as it is delicious, Persian love cake is flavorful, moist, and unique. Made with almond flour, rose water, and cardamom and served with syrup or glaze — it’s topped with pistachios and edible rose petals!
It’s no secret that I love cooking and sharing my creations with my friends, family, and loved ones. Whenever I get invited somewhere, I always ask if I can bring something — sweet, savory, you name it.
Chocolate babka, halva (a Middle Eastern confection), and Egyptian basbousa (a semolina cake) are just a few of my go-to’s when asked for a dessert. When I get invited to a birthday party and want to bring something really special, I typically bring along today’s dessert recipe: Persian love cake!
You may have seen images of this sweet treat on your Instagram feed — it’s so beautiful, especially with the addition of rose petals on top. This almond flour cake can be topped two different ways as well. A orange and saffron syrup soaks into a warm cake or a scented icing poured over a cooled cake. Keep reading, and I’ll show you!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Butter – You can also use ghee instead — find at most supermarkets or online!
- Sugar – Like many other sweet desserts, this cake recipe features quite a bit of sugar.
- Orange Zest – This cake batter is so flavorful, thanks to the addition of aromatics like this one.
- Ground Cardamom – A must in Persian love cake! You’ll need it for the batter.
- Eggs – Make sure to take the eggs out of the fridge well before you start this recipe. They need to be at room temperature.
- Buttermilk – I like to use buttermilk instead of regular milk for an even richer flavor. If you don’t have any, simply mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of regular milk and let it sit until curdled.
- Rose Water – This ingredient is needed for the batter, syrup, and glaze. I typically buy mine online.
- Almond Flour – This type of flour adds extra texture and flavor when paired with all-purpose.
- All-Purpose Flour – You’ll need a bit in addition to the almond flour for structure.
- Baking Powder & Soda – Both are necessary to give your cake a fluffy texture.
- Salt – Just a dash!
- Sliced Almonds – This ingredient is optional (only use it if you plan to add a syrup), but I love the added flavor and crunch!
- Optional Syrup – Refer to the recipe card below for the ingredients for the honey-based syrup. If you do opt to use the syrup, make sure to pour it over a warm cake.
- Optional Icing – The icing is optional as well, but I think it adds so much to the final results. Discover everything you’ll need to make it on the recipe card below. Remember: if using the icing, add it to a cooled cake.
Don’t substitute almond meal — Almond flour and almond meal are two different almond products. Almond meal still has partial almond skins mixed in, and it will change the texture and color of this cake.
HOW TO MAKE PERSIAN LOVE CAKE
1. Recipe Prep. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place some parchment paper on the bottom of a 10-inch springform cake pan, then grease the sides so nothing sticks.
2. Mix The Wet Ingredients. Place the butter, oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, rose water, and cardamom in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or whisk to combine.
3. Combine With The Dry Ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center and gently add half of the wet ingredients. Fold with a rubber spatula or spoon to mix. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and combine until smooth. Don’t over-mix!
4. Bake. Transfer the cake batter to the springform cake pan. Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to smooth out the batter and remove any air bubbles. Sprinkle the almond slivers on top (only if you plan on adding the syrup – skip it if adding the glaze) and bake for 50 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Add The Syrup or Icing. Follow the instructions on the recipe card below to add either the syrup (on a warm cake), or scented icing (on a cooled cake), or leave it as is and serve!
Why Is It Called Persian Love Cake?
Legend has it that an Iranian princess wanted to make a prince fall in love with her, so she baked a magic love potion into a cake and gave it to him. And so, the Persian love cake was born!
While my version doesn’t include any potion, it could make whoever you give it to fall in love — it’s that tasty!
Are Rose Petals Edible?
Yes! You may be hesitant to add a sprinkle of rose petals to the top of your cake, but never fear — they are edible. Varieties with a very sweet fragrance are typically the most flavorful. All types of rose petals can be eaten, so it’s up to you to decide how much rose flavor you’d like to add.
Is Persian Love Cake Gluten-Free?
If you replace the all-purpose flour with more almond flour, this recipe is deliciously gluten-free!
Persian Love Cake
Syrup (pour over warm cake)
- Preheat the oven at 350°F.
- Grease a 10-inch springform cake pan that has been lined with parchment paper in the bottom (See Note 1).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat or whisk the butter (or ghee), oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, rose water and cardamom together until creamy.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Make a well in the center and slowly add half the wet ingredients, folding with rubber spatula or spoon to incorporate. Add remaining wet ingredients, mix until you have a smooth batter. Don’t over mix.
- Pour the cake batter into prepared springform cake pan. Tap the bottom of the cake pan on counter to smooth cake batter and any air bubbles. Sprinkle the almond slices over the top of the cake batter (if making the syrup version).
- Bake for 50 minutes or until it is golden on the top and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Zest the orange, then slice and juice it. In a mortar and pestle grind the saffron threads with a pinch of sugar and add the rose water, mixing to combine.
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey, orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Stir the ground saffron and rose water into the syrup. Turn off the heat and add the pistachios. To stir to combine.
- Assembly for Syrup Version (pour over warm cake)
- Using a thin skewer or wooden toothpick, poke holes all over the cake. Spoon the warm syrup and pistachios over the warm cake and let the syrup soak in for 2-3 hours. Decorate with fresh or dried edible rose petals and more slivered nuts.
- Combine powdered sugar, whole milk, zest and rose water in a small bowl and whisk to combine (See Note 2).
- Assembly for Icing Version (pour over cool cake)
- Let the cake cool completely. Remove from springform pan, flip onto plate and remove the parchment paper. Pour icing over cooled cake. Decorate with fresh or dried edible rose petals and more slivered nuts.
- I lay the bottom of the springform cake pan on the counter, place a parchment square on top to cover and top with the springform cake pan. Close and secure it, then using scissors, cut excess parchment paper and discard.
- Microwave for 10 seconds if too thick, then pour/spread over cooled cake.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.