Despite its ingredients, which are popular in Persian cuisine, this cake is unique and stands out from the regular Persian sweets and desserts, as they are mainly made of rice or chickpea flour, fruit or caramelized nuts and sweets that resemble nougat or Turkish delight (Rahat Lokum). “We never had any cakes at home, apart from the Love Cake,” says Rottem Lieberson, author of cookbooks, blogger and a proud offspring to a Persian family. “We would eat the Love Cake at Jewish New Year and Nowruz, the Persian New Year, celebrated in spring. This was the holiday cake in many homes since the glazing contains pomegranate, one of the symbols of Rosh Hashanah.” For some Jews, the cake baked in Iran in spring for the Persian New Year became the typical dessert of Passover when the all-purpose flour was replaced with almond flour.
Ingredients for Persian Love Cake
- 2.5 oz. softened butter a bit for greasing
- 4.5 oz. (2/3 cup) Sugar
- 4 medium sized eggs
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 8 oz. (2+1/3 cups) almond flour
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 4 oz. (3/4 cup) sifted all-purpose flour or a similar amount of almond flour
- 0.10 oz. (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 8.5 oz. (2 cups) confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon rosewater
- 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
- A handful of raw pistachio nuts lightly toasted in an oil-free pan, finely chopped
- A few rose petals
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and grease with butter.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl of a mixer until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time (wait until the first egg is incorporated before adding another one, and so on.)
3. Add cardamom, almond flour, lemon juice, zest and rose water and whisk until smooth. Add flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth.
4. Transfer to the greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until light-golden (no need to brown it, since it will be glazed and overbaking will result in a dry cake), when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs. Cool for about 10 minutes and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
When the cake has cooled, glaze it:
5. Mix sugar powder, lemon juice, rose water and pomegranate concentrate in a saucepan until smooth. You may add sugar water, lemon juice and pomegranate concentrate to reach the desired consistency, color and taste.
6. Pour over the center of the cake and allow it to run down the sides.
7. Garnish with pistachios and rose petals.
pastry that has started to vanish, to ensure they remain with us for years to come. We initiated research and location of bakers of different Jewish communities that prepare extinct traditional pastries, paired them with 9 selected patisseries throughout the country and launched the Lost Pastry Festival, ten days in which each patisserie bakes and offers one unique pastry.
The Baker:“I’ve been dying to try Rottem’s cuisine for quite some time,” says Keren Kadosh from the Kadosh coffeehouse in Jerusalem, “and this was my opportunity. Since its first days, the Kadosh patisserie – established by my father-in-law Meir Kadosh and operated today by my husband Itzik – relied on nostalgic pastries, in our case, it was the Austro-Hungarian traditional pastries. Until today, many people arrive to enjoy the hard-to-find taste of home. For me, the importance and value of connecting to a recipe with such a glorious tradition were obvious and I enjoyed making it available to as many people as possible.”