Persian love cake

Once upon a time, there was a Persian woman madly in love with a prince. To make him fall in love with her, she baked him this cake, filled with magical love powers. So the legend goes for this nightingale of all cakes.
If I had to imagine a cake representing love, this would be close to the real thing. With enchanting ingredients like cardamom, rose water, rose petals, saffron and whipped cream, how can anyone resist this sweet temptation? Cardamom is the queen of all spices – Cleopatra burnt cardamom incense when Mark Antony visited, and the ‘Arabian Nights’ often refers to cardamom’s aphrodisiac properties. The rose and saffron cream icing gives this cake a beautiful golden glow, and when you add the candied rose petals mixed with pistachio nuts, that’s when the magic begins.


140 grs plain flour
60 grs sugar
9 grs baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, separated
60 grs canola oil
80 ml water
1 tsp lemon peel
¼ tsp ground cardamom
8 strawberries or raspberries (sliced and optional)

Cream icing:
25 cl whipping cream
60 grs fine sugar
A good pinch of saffron
1 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp pistachios (unsalted)

Candied petal roses
Untreated organic rose petals
1 egg white (whisked until foamy)
30 grs crystal sugar

Clean delicately the rose petals, and brush each rose petal gently with the frothy egg white. Sprinkle each rose petal with sugar and dry on a small wire rack or parchment paper covered plate for half a day, or even overnight. I put mine in the fridge because the weather is getting warm.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare two cake tins of approx 20 cm with parchment paper and butter on the sides. Mix all the dry ingredients together: Flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Whisk egg yolks with the water and oil until double in size and fluffy then add the lemon rind. Add to the dry mixture. Whisk the egg white until stiff then fold in very gently to the batter. The key is to have an angel light fluffy chiffon cake so this part is very important. Pour equal parts in both cake tins and bake for approx. 15-20 minutes or until test-knife comes out clean. Leave to rest and remove from pans to cool on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool so you can spread the icing.
For the cream frosting:
Whisk the cream to ‘stiff’ peaks, gradually add the sugar, rose essence and saffron.
When cakes are cooled, spread the first cake with the cream frosting, add the sliced strawberries (optional) all over. Add the second cake (like a sandwich) and continue spreading the cream frosting. Sprinkle with pistachio nuts and candied rose petals. I like to add some additional fresh rose petals (cleaned and rinsed) on and around the cake for maximum ‘beauty’ effect.

Now you can fall in love (or vice-versa!).

39 thoughts on “Persian love cake

      1. Thank you, yes it does help quite a bit. I live in the US so I will convert for inches 😉 Happy New Year to you and your family as well, Havivah

  1. Hello,

    One more question! :)) How tall approximately does the cake rise after baking? My sank considerably while cooling, and I don’t know why… I measured perfectly for the baking powder & am seriously considering getting a scale for the precise measurement… The baking powder itself is also not expired, so I have no idea what went wrong. Unless of course it is supposed to be a little “low” in the height department, which honestly is fine because is was the best cake 😉 Is there a specific brand of baking powder which you used and if so would you be so kind to share? Also, my pans were 22cm (not 22in don’t worry, haha!!) could this have also been the culprit?

    Thank you again for sharing this wonderful recipe =)


    1. P.S. I felt like this, hahaha…

      But do not worry almost all of the cake was eaten, everyone marveled at the delicious taste, and the largest consumer of course was a Persian man 😉

      (the photo above is from a very old American TV series, “I Love Lucy” and in the episode, the husband and wives switch roles…it’s very funny!!)

    2. Hi Havivah! Sorry for responding a bit late. The cakes usually rises about 3-4 cm each. I use a classic baking powder sold at all supermarkets in France from the brand Alsa. The egg and butter should be at room temperature. It’s always better:) So happy to hear you enjoyed the cake! Bonne soirée, Mimix

      1. No problem, the cake was long-since consumed 😉 I will make it again and follow your advice to include room temperature eggs…the canola oil was already at room temp 🙂 However, our fridge is rather cold 😉

        Just to clarify, I should NOT try the double-acting baking powder? One of my friends suggested this.

        Thank you also for the tip on Alsa baking powder, I’m pretty sure I can find in some supermarkets here.

        Have a lovely week, Havivah

  2. Love your blog I’ve just discovered through “French Essence”.

    I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful cake
    to celebrate Valentine’s day.
    So much taste…
    Warm embrace from Portugal

  3. Just found your site. I really appreciate the artistry and grace with which you present your recipes. The photos and commentary give a lovely context; food to be shared and celebrated! Thank you!

  4. Hi Mimi,

    I just discovered your blog via Saveur Magazine. It is beautiful! I’m looking forward to trying some of your recipes.

    I have a quick question for you regarding this cake — it may also help Havivah. What brand of flour do you use for this cake? When I lived in France, I had the most difficult time converting my american pastries due to differences in the protein, gluten, and ash contents of US vs. French flours — just try baking american chocolate chip cookies :S . The same holds true for French pastries in the US. I think French type 45 and type 55 flour is closer to US cake flour and type 65 is the closest to US AP flour. Do you think that in this case subbing cake flour for AP flour would yield a lighter cake?

    Thank you,


  5. Hi Mimi,

    I love your blog, Its beautiful . It makes me feel good 🙂 . Do you have a way I could translate the measurements in US cup sizes. Do let me know.


  6. 🙁 tried this and cakes never really rose much, not more then a centimetre and it was rather dense…

  7. My persian heart is melting! What a great story, and recipe. Can’t wait to try it out.

    Thank you for sharing, Mimi.

  8. Hi, I live in France and I would like what kind of whipping cream do you use? Creme fraiche classique ou creme liquide?? thxxx

  9. Dear Mimi,

    I found your blog via Pinterest .Since then I’ve subscribed and absolutely love your posts and your recipes . Would you be OK with me linking this Persian Love cake post to my blog ( I’m planing about writing about the amazing use of roses in culinary among other things.

  10. Opps.One too many “about”s in there:)Writing and multitasking was never a good idea.
    Should have spell checked before posting.

  11. Hi Mimi,

    I am an avid reader of your posts. It is such a treat to see someone with such a nice writing style, not overcomplicated. Sometimes it seems like you are having a chat with your readers, other times it feels we are reading an intriguing short-story. Plus, the photos taken by your husband are divine!

    I can’t wait for you to start hosting your cooking classes.

    I have a question I would like to ask you about this particular recipe. I’d like to bake the cake tomorrow for my boyfriend, but I only have one 20 cm cake tin. I live in Sweden and unfortunately it is too late to buy another at a store. Do you think I could cook the cake in the one tin and then wait til’ cool and split it? Or perhaps measure equal parts of the mixture and bake one at a time. I am not sure how the rising agent will impact this though.

    If you have time to write back it would be great to hear your thoughts.

    Best/ Claire

    1. Hi Claire,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Regarding your question (sorry I am probably responding a bit late), you can cook it in one go in your cake tin, it will take a bit longer as the dough will be thicker. Cheers, Mimi x

      1. Thanks so much for your response Mimi. It turned out okay but was a little dense, I think it was due to my not mixing enough before adding the egg whites though. Thankfully the icing was a saviour for my mishap in the baking department!

        Good luck for the coming weeks, hopefully you are able to put your feet up before the latest addition to your family arrives. Thanks again. Claire

  12. This cake is absolutely gorgeous! I am persian and want to make this for some of my friends, but I live in the us and do not own a kitchen scale. Do you have the ingredient measurements in cups/tablespoons? Thanks!

  13. I’m from Mexico and I love your TV show.
    It’s a lovely cake. I will make for Mother’s Day.Thanks
    Thanks for sharing all those recipes and your live style.

  14. Bonjour Mimi,
    Thank you so much for all those great recipes ! I would like to make this fantastic Persian Love cake for a diner…is it possible to make it in advance (in the morning), and to store it in fridge till the evening?
    Sorry for my English (I’m French;) !)

  15. Can someone help me please! I am baking this magical cake for my mother’s birthday tomorrow and I am so confused – what are grs? Is it grains? Am I really suppose to use only that much? Or is it grams? Of course I checked on the net, conversion and all, but still…
    Thanks so much!
    Obviously I never bake, or cook… x

  16. I find your blog today. I’m Persian and it is surprising for me to see a Persian recipe in your blog. We call this cake “village cake” in Iran. Thanks for your good recipe.

Leave a Reply