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)
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!).