Monday, February 9, 2015

Persian love cakes for Valentine's Day

A more romantic, shmooshy recipe for Valentine's Day you will not find. Blessed with pistachios, a gorgeous drizzling of rose water-yoghurt icing and a story as beautiful as their looks, these little baby cakes have everything going for them. 

While the internet seems to be failing me on the story behind this recipe - there are numerous versions of the recipe itself as well as how it got it's name, So I'm going to pick my favourite. In the name of Valentine's Day... 

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful woman who's heart yearned for the love of a handsome Persian prince. And because we all know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, she baked him a spiced, fragrant cake in the hopes that at the first taste, he would fall hopelessly in love with her...

Whether or not he did indeed fall in love with her, is a mystery, but if it were up to my tastebuds, I'd have married that woman on the spot. 
So if you are in need of a little baked magic to make your prince fall in love with you, give this recipe a try. 
But if the cake doesn't work, remember... Forget love, and rather fall in chocolate. 

Persian love cakes
If you're not a fan of rose water, these cakes would be equally delicious with a glaze made from orange blossom water or lemon zest. 
Makes 14

100g blanched almonds
100g pistachios
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
150g butter, cubed
225g self-raising flour
185g castor sugar
3 eggs
225ml full cream plain yoghurt

100ml full cream plain yoghurt
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
Squeeze of lemon juice
Few drops of rose water, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour 14 small cannele or mini bundt molds (alternatively make a 20cm cake). 
Place the almonds and pistachios in a food processor and process until fine. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, butter, flour and sugar and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
Transfer to a bowl and combine with the eggs and yoghurt. 
Spoon into the prepared molds and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
Allow to cool slightly then turn out and cool completely. 
Trim the tops off the cakes so they can stand straight. 
For the icing, combine the yoghurt, icing sugar and rose water to form a glaze then drizzle over the cakes. 
Decorate with crushed pistachios and crystallized rose petals, if desired. 

Because there is only one thing better than cake, and that's cake with a glass of a little something, I'll be posting my suggestions on what you should be drinking while tucking into that slice. 

DRINK THIS Lanique and Bubbles
Lanique is a fragrant spirit made from distilled rose petals and who's history and story is as romantic as the cake which I have paired it with. It's delicious in a gin and tonic, but a dry bubbly brings out it's floral characteristics and is just plain yummy with the pistachios and cardamom in the cake. 


Chocolate fondant (liquid-centred chocolate pudding)
One-cup yoghurt cake with passionfruit frosting
Red velvet raspberry sweetie pies

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