Alright guys, this Persian love cake is a dream! The batter is made with deliciously delicate ground almonds and ground pistachios, making for a light sponge that requires no additional moisture from cream or crème fraîche. Equally, it’s fragranced with beautiful zesty citrus fruits like lemon and oranges and laced with delicate rosewater and piney, fruity cardamom. This is a cake that keeps considerably well and is perfect for serving cold – meaning it’s easy to make in advance for summer soirées and BBQs.

Persian Love Cake

How to make Persian Love Cake:

  • Cream the butter and the sugar. You want your mixture to be really pale and light, as well as creamy in texture. Most people don’t cream butter and sugar for long enough. I recommend at least 5 minutes, then add your eggs.
  • Mix in the citrus fruit and rosewater. Get these mixed in early so the zest soaks up the sugars.
  • Add your dry ingredients. Once your mixture is light and fluffy, add in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds and ground pistachios, along with the soured cream. Beat until everything is just combined. Don’t overman or this’ll activate the gluten, making the cake dense.
  • Bake the cake. Around 40-50 minutes should be perfect. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the glaze. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze from icing sugar (sifted), rosewater and the citrus juices. It should be thick, but spreadable. If it’s too runny, it’ll soak into the cake and make it soggy!
  • Assemble the cake. Pour over the glaze and scatter rose petals and roughly chopped pistachios on top.
Persian Love Cake

Tips for making Persian Love Cake:

Go easy on the rose water 

Rose water has a very distinct and strong flavour, which can be overpowering when used in abundance.

Make sure your cake is cool before icing

Let your cake cool completely before adding the glaze on top. If you try to glaze this when it’s still hot, the icing will tend to run off the cake and seep into the sponge making for a huge mess and a soggy cake. You want the inside to have a good bite. The moisture comes from the ground almonds and pistachios in the batter itself.

Can I substitute the ground nuts?

The beauty of Persian love cake is that it’s made with ground pistachios and ground almonds – which are part of its unique flavour. Swapping a flour into the cake instead won’t yield the same flavour, texture or results so it’s best to stick to 100% pure ground nuts.

Persian Love Cake

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Persian Love Cake

Persian Love Cake

This Persian Love Cake is made with ground almonds, ground pistachios, beautiful rose water and zesty citrus fruits. Perfect for summer!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 slices


For the cake

  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g golden caster sugar
  • 4 free-range large eggs beaten
  • 1/2 unwaxed lemon zested and juiced
  • 1/2 orange zested and juiced
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 100 g ground pistachios
  • 3 tbsp sour cream or natural yoghurt

To decorate

  • 150 g icing sugar sifted
  • 1/2 lemon juice only
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • Few drops rosewater
  • Edible dried rose petals to scatter
  • 25 g pistachios roughly chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 170C / 340F. Grease and line a loose-bottomed cake tin with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric whisk or a stand mixer fitted with a beater attachment, cream the butter and sugar together for 5-7 minutes until pale and light.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is well-incorporated. Add the lemon and orange zests, juices and rosewater and mix again. 
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cardamom into the bowl, then add the ground almonds, pistachios and soured cream. Beat briefly, until combined, but be careful not to overmix.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and use an offset palette knife to even out the top of the cake.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon and orange juice to make a smooth, thick and pourable icing.
    N.B. Add the juices slowly, until you get the right consistency. You might not need all of it!
  • Add a few drops of rosewater to taste, going easy as this is a strong ingredient and can be overpowering. Once the cake is cool, drizzle the icing over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Leave for 3–5 minutes for the icing to set slightly and then scatter with rose petals and pistachios. Leave to set completely before slicing and serving.
Keyword almond, cake, dessert, persian love cake, pistachio, rosewater, summer

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May 22, 2023