Persian love cake recipe

Exotic, fragrant, beautiful – what’s not to love about this luxurious cake? Topped with icing and baked in a bundt tin, it’s a cake for when you’re out to impress.

For this recipe, you will need a 23–25cm/9–10in bundt tin and a freestanding mixer or a hand-held electric mixer.


  • 200g/7oz unsalted butter softened, plus extra melted for greasing
  • 225g/8oz golden caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs, beaten
  • ½ unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest, and juice
  • ½ orange, finely grated zest and juice
  • 2 tsp rosewater or orange blossom water
  • 150g/5½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon
  • 100g/3½oz ground almonds
  • 100g/3½oz ground pistachios
  • 3 tbsp soured cream or natural yogurt

To decorate

  • 150–175g/5½–6oz icing sugar
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • a few drops of rosewater
  • 1 tbsp edible dried rose petals, or fresh if available (optional)
  • 25g/1oz nibbed pistachios 


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/160C Fan/Gas 3½. Brush the bundt tin with melted butter, being careful to get into every corner, and dust with flour, shaking to coat the tin, then turn it upside-down and tap to remove excess flour.
  2. In a freestanding mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until really pale and light (alternatively use a large mixing bowl and a hand-held electric mixer). Gradually add the eggs, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula between each addition. Add the lemon and orange zest, juices, and rosewater and mix again.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and cardamom into the bowl. Add the ground almonds, pistachios and soured cream and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly using the back of the spoon.
  4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the cake well rises and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 1–2 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To decorate, beat the icing sugar with enough lemon and orange juice to make a smooth, thick but pourable icing. Add a few drops of rosewater to taste. Carefully spoon 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 serving.
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