Persian Love Cake
"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach". Yeah, right. I reckon that's kind of an outdated, sexist thing to say, because it implies they're only focused on one thing in a woman. Well, maybe that's true of some men.
But I also think it can be true of women too. Just ask the unsuspecting guests on whom I unleashed this decadent delight at lunch recently, whose eyes glazed over in lustful rapture after the first bite.
According to legend, a Persian prince created it to charm a special (and lucky) woman. With hints of rose and cardamom, and studded with pistachios and almonds, there's a piece of love in every bite.
OK so this isn't a particularly Parisian gâteau. But Paris is the city of love, and it's all about the love you put into the food you make, isn't it? Which is very easy to do with this very easy cake.
PERSIAN LOVE CAKE
- 360g ground almonds ("almond meal")
- 220g (1 cup) raw sugar
- 220g (1 cup) brown sugar, firmly packed
- 120g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 tbl cardamom (or nutmeg), freshly ground if possible
- 2 tbl rosewater (optional)
- 250g Greek-style thick yogurt
- 100g pistachios and/or flaked almonds, roughly chopped
- extra yogurt or crème fraîche, to serve
- Mix almond meal, sugars and butter together until crumbly, resembling sand.
- Press half the mixture into the base of a 26cm lined cake tin, or buttered and floured spring-form cake tin.
- Add cardamom or nutmeg, rosewater, yogurt and eggs to remaining mixture.
- Beat very well with a wooden spoon until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Pour on top of base, then arrange nuts in a thick ring around the edge.
- Bake in a 180 degree Celsius oven for 40-50 minutes or until set in the centre.
- Cool in tin before lifting out. Decorate with roses, fresh figs, berries or whatever you like.
- Devour slowly with eyes closed, with extra yogurt or crème fraîche.