Recently two of our friends got married, and they held a vegan potluck reception. We are enthusiastic potluckers under any conditions, and a wedding celebration predictably set us into overdrive. We brought a double batch of sausage rolls with barbecue sauce, mango & coconut rice salad, mango & coconut splice jellies, and finally, this cake. I'd seen it earlier in the week on Around the World Vegan - I liked that it was already vegan and gluten-free, and I had a stash of rose petals in the pantry that I was keen to make use of. Best of all, a dessert named Persian Love Cake would be perfect for the occasion.
The cake, even though it has two layers, comes together in one bowl without need of an electric mixer. Based on almond meal and polenta, it has a sandy texture but none of the chalkiness that I often notice with commercial gluten-free flour mixes. I'd consider trading some of the polenta for more almond meal if I baked this again, aiming for a softer and probably denser crumb. Keira made both a syrup and an icing for her cake, but instead I tried to combine their best elements into a single glaze flavoured with lime juice and rosewater. It tasted fabulous but its consistency was a bit too thin, and I used up all the icing sugar I had on hand.
It's the pistachios and rose petals that elevate a quite plain-looking cake to an absolute stunner, but they provide complementary flavour as well as good looks. This is a cake that demands it be seen and shared and celebrated, and we did just that.
Persian love cake
(a recipe from Around The World Vegan,
which itself was adapted from CERES)
1 1/3 cups almond meal
1 1/3 cups polenta
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
1/3 cup water
250g soy yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon rosewater
1/3 cup pistachios
2 tablespoons rose petals
Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a cake tin with paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, polenta and sugar. Add the margarine and combine it all, using pressing motions with a fork. Press half of this mixture into the base of the cake tin.
Whisk together the cornflour and water in a mug. Pour it into the remaining mixture in the bowl, along with the yoghurt and the spices. Stir everything together until well combined, then pour it into the cake tin. Bake until set and golden, 30-35 minutes. Cool the cake completely to room temperature.
Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and whisk in the lime juice and rosewater. Spoon the icing over the cooled cake and sprinkle it with pistachios and rose petals.