Persian Love Cake

When something is described as Persian, I generally like it, and this cake is no exception. It only makes sense, as Persia (modern-day Iran) is renowned for producing delicious foods. And anything made purely from nuts, sugar, dairy and spices has to be amazing.

It’s so packed full of yumminess, there’s not even any room for gluten. Coeliacs rejoice!

The texture is rich and almost cheesecake-like, with a deliciously short and salty crumb base. Instead of the more common nutmeg, I like to use cardamom and rosewater to impart an exotic fragrance. If you can get a hold of some dried rose petals they make this smell even more sensuous; plus, they look stunning!


• 3 cups almond meal
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup raw sugar
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 120g softened butter
• 2 eggs
• 250g full-fat pot-set yoghurt
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 2 teaspoons rosewater
• 4 tablespoons lightly crushed pistachios
• dried rose petals (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper and grease well. (Make sure the paper covers the entire surface of the tin as this cake tends to stick.)
3. Combine the almond meal, salt and both sugars.
4. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs.
5. Pour half of the mixture into your baking tin and press down firmly. Refrigerate.
6. To the remaining half of the crumb mixture, add the eggs, yoghurt, cardamom and rosewater and mix well.
7. Pour this over the chilled base and scatter the nuts.
8. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
10. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.
11. Sprinkle with dried rose petals and serve with crème fraiche or yoghurt.