Persian love cake | کیک عشق ایرانی
Let's taste some Persian love!
Once upon a time, a Persian girl baked a cake filled with magical love powder to enchant a prince. But did she really?
The legend has it that this is the story behind this cake. Also, the ending is not clear. Did the prince eat the cake and fall in love with the baker?
This is the prettiest cake I have ever baked and the prettiest picture I have ever taken!
If hereafter, they ask my gain from this world's harvest,
I'll say "that day, that day I spent speaking with my love." (Saa'di Shirazi)
Well, everything about this cake and story is completely unknown to Iranian inside Iran. I only came across it on books and blogs of Iranian abroad last year and found out that this is a big hit!
It is probably only a cute fairy tale, as I tried to trace it back in our history, literature and culture, but I wasn't successful. But who cares! This cake sounds delicious; a holy combination of fragrant and exotic Persian ingredients: cardamom, saffron, rosewater and pistachios! All these familiar aromatic ingredients are used in different Persian desserts and confectionery, and the result is amazing!
Love the colors!
Never dieth that one , whose heart is alive with true love (Hafez)
We have passed both valentine's day and SepandarMazgan (Persian day of love and friendship, celebrated on 23th of Feb). But I wanted to bake it for so long that I just grabbed the hand mixer and did it regardless of the date!
Let's do this:
There are many different recipes out there by both Iranian and none - Iranian chefs, but I like this one from Broma bakery simply because I had all the ingredients! I just changed one crucial thing! If this cake's Persian, it must have saffron instead of vanilla, and that's what I did!
When I was mixing the ingredients, I was going on about how these recipes don't include all the information you need and are not for beginners. And that you can't possibly know if you're doing it right. But as it turned out later, it was absolutely enough. There's really not much to the process. It was business as usual with this cake: just beating wet ingredients plus sugar and then adding the dry ingredients.
Don't check the cake every minute!
I didn't have almond meal, so I added ground almond. Also as I said earlier, I substituted vanilla with saffron liquid.
The batter was denser than my recent cakes, which I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit worried about. But I decided to just trust the recipe. So I put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.
As usual, I checked at 35 minutes, and it needed more time as the fork came out with a bit of batter from the middle of the cake. But the rest of the cake was completely baked. I checked again after 5 minutes, and it was still wet. I checked a few times, and that's why the middle of the cake looks like this! However, this was probably the best looking and smelling cake I have baked in a long time! It easily came out of the pan smelling like one of my most favourite Persian confectionery, called Souhan. That yum smell of cardamom, Rose and saffron!
In almost all of the recipes, they used powdered sugar glaze. I have done this before, and it's a bit too sweet for my liking. So I decided to change it to something that most Iranians like: whipped cream! I prepared it and then garnished the cake with dried Roses, pistachios and some very pretty Blossoms because it is already Spring in here!
The cake with some of the ingridients
How does it taste?
Well, let me tell you, it is absolutely yummy! It looks good, it smells good, and it tastes good! This cake is wonderful, and it is now on our top three cake list along with date and walnut and orange cake! It totally was worth the 1-year wait!
Dried roses and blossoms!
Without Thee , to the soul , my heart hath come .
This the time when thou shouldst come back (Hafez)
I would use less cardamom next time because it overpowers other ingredients. And it was a bit too sweet. I try to work out the sugar if possible because changing ingredients in baking is not easy; if you change something, the whole texture will change. So I would like less sugar, but I need to see if I can do it.
The only missing Persian ingredient I can think of is pomegranate! However, this can be solved by adding its juice to the frosting!
More pleasant than the sound of love's speech, nought I heard! (Hafez)
Now that we are on the subject of love, I want to talk about love in Persian poems. I absolutely adore Persian poetry, and coming from a city with two of the most favourite and celebrated Persian poet of all time - Hafez and Sa’adi - love is pretty much in every corner of my city.
From the famous tale of Leyli and Majnoon to Khosrow and Shirin, love is the main subject of Persian poems; whether it is love between two human or between human and God in Sufism poetries, all Persian Poets have said something about it. I have selected a few of my favourite verses and shared them in this article. Obviously, these are translations, so they can not possibly be as beautiful and meaningful as Farsi versions, but I thought you might enjoy them as well!