persian love cakes

I've been slowly baking my way through Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. These persian love cakes looked so pretty in the book I thought I'd try out the recipe. 

I had all the ingredients at hand except for the buckwheat flour. I wasn't keen to return to the shops and with some rye flour in the pantry I decided to use that instead.

These cakes are made in a food processor. The dry ingredients and butter are whizzed up in the food processor. Some of the mixture forms the crunchy base and with the addition of the eggs and yoghurt, the moist topping. The little cakes have an intriguing taste and texture.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 small cakes. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Persian Love Cakes - adapted from Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, © 2017. The cakes can be served warm, without the pistachio topping, or at room temperature with all the toppings.

240 g almond meal
135 g raw sugar
135 g light brown sugar
50 g rye flour
80 g unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cubed
½ tsp salt
160 g plain Greek yoghurt
90 g eggs (about 1 and ½ large eggs)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg

To serve
60 g labne or mascarpone
1½ tsp shelled pistachio kernels, slivered or finely crushed
icing sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Well grease and flour a 12 cup muffin pan. I used the Le Creuset 12 muffin tray from Everten.

Place the almond meal, the sugars, flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Transfer two-thirds of the mix (about 340g) to a large bowl along with the yoghurt, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix to combine and set aside.

Evenly spoon the remaining third of the crumb mix into the base of the 12 muffin pans; it should come about a third of the way up the sides of the tins. Use your fingers or a teaspoon to press the mix into the base of the tin, as you would a cheesecake, so that it is compact.

Fill each mould with the yoghurt mix and firmly tap the muffin tin to level the top of the cakes. Place the muffin tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cakes will look slightly uncooked and damp inside, but this is the way they should be and is part of their charm. Allow the cakes to cool for 15–30 minutes before unmoulding them. (They are delicious as is, slightly warm.)

To serve, cool completely before sprinkling with icing sugar. Presentation-wise, it’s a nice little trick to lay a piece of baking paper on top of each cake, on the diagonal, hold it down flat, and sprinkle the icing sugar over the exposed side of the cake. Spoon a little of the labne or mascarpone on top of each cake before topping with the chopped pistachios.

These cakes are at their best the day after they are made. They can be eaten on the day or kept for up to 2 days in a sealed container (without the topping) but they don’t keep for much longer than this. Once the cakes have been topped with the labne or mascarpone, they can be stored in the fridge and brought back to room temperature before serving.

These little cakes were very popular and disappeared in a trice. Every-one loved the 2 textures in the cakes - the crunchy bottom and the moist interior. This is definitely a recipe to try.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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