Persian Love Cake. With a Coniferous Twist
APHRO CUISINE—APRIL 2015 FEATURE 1
Need I say more than the title proclaims? Well, I’m going to anyhow. Legend has it that there was a French woman who fell in love with a Persian prince. Like any good French damsel, she thought: what better way to win his heart than to bake the ultimate cake teeming with flavors from his homeland with the exquisite touch of French gastronomy? I would have to think long and hard to come up with a better love spell. This cake is ludicrously easy—if you are not a French gastronome, don’t fret. And for all y’all gluten haters, you can celebrate too. Everyone is welcome on this delectable territory.
3 cups almond flour
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup raw sugar
1 cup plain full fat yoghurt
120g butter, warmed
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tsps cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, sugars, butter, salt & nutmeg with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Butter and parchment (greaseproof paper) your baking dish (preferably spring form), then butter the parchment once more for good measure. Press half of the mixture into your dish to form the crust—make sure it is firmly packed, and high enough up the sides so that the rest of the mix will fit. It should be about 1.5 inches for a 10-inch pan. Add the yoghurt, eggs, cardamom and cinnamon to the other half of the almond mix and stir to combine thoroughly. Pour into the crust and bake for 30 minutes. When you take it out of the oven it should jiggle just a bit when you provoke it.
Now for the topping
You might usually encounter this homage to love topped with pistachios, rose petals and a rose syrup. This would befit such a delicacy, but I had some fresh-foraged Douglas fir shoots burning a hole in my knapsack, and blueberries had made their way into the market. So let’s play with some deep forest flavors atop this fairly earthy, nutty and caramel-like cake. First, I made a sweet pesto of sorts in a mortar and pestle with:
½ cup Douglas fir shoots
2 tbsp almond oil
1 tbsp rose water
1 tsp raw sugar
a dash of cardamom
a dash of cinnamon
Then I tossed together the blueberries, pine pesto and some roasty-toasty pine nuts.
It was wild like the wind through the trees on a crisp spring morning …
Recipe and photography by Megan McCulloch
APHRO CUISINE Eating is a ritual. It enriches our daily lives, enlivens our body and mind, and when we savour and indulge, evokes our sensuality. Aphro Cuisine is not only a seductive culinary and sensory project, but a way of life. A way to benefit and enjoy more deeply the vital potent energy that food brings us every day, and I’m here to share this food philosophy with you!