Saffron & Rose Water Cake AKA Persian Love Cake

A couple of years ago I saw by a chance the picture of this beautiful cake. As soon as I read the ingredients (rose water, rose petals, saffron and pistachios) I fell in love with it and I made it for the first time on Valentine’s Day 2014.
A huge THANK YOU to my daughter Angelica , my dear friend Kim and her adorable daughter Lexi for helping me to realize one of the most exotic, charming and delicate cake. I’ve never tasted anything so light, balanced, floral, scented and elegant in my whole life. The PERFECT CAKE for lovers.
This is my version adapted from the original one published on Bon Appetit – June 2005.
Buon Appetito!!!


For candied rose petals
1 egg white
1/4 cup caster sugar
petals from 1 organic rose

For the cake
1 cup cake flour
14 tbsp caster sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
6 tbsp water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the frosting
2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1/8 tsp saffron powder
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp rose water

unsalted pistachios, for garnish


For candied rose petals:
Wash the petals gently under slow running cool water,
Place the petals on paper towel and blot carefully until completely dry.
With a hand mixer whip the egg white until foamy.
With a pastry brush, brush the rose petals on both sides with egg white, then sprinkle on both sides with sugar.
Let dry on cooling rack at room temperature for at least 6 hours.

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease with baking spray two 9 inch cake pans.
Sift flour, 7 tablespoons caster sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
In a small bowl whisk egg yolks, water, canola oil and lemon zest until smooth.
Add yolks mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
In a medium bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add the remaining 7 tablespoons of caster sugar and whip until fluff.
Fold egg whites into cake batter in 3 additions.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.
Cool in pans on racks for 15 minutes.
Turn out onto racks and allow to cool completely.

For the frosting:
Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron powder in a small saucepan.
Bring to simmer.
Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Chill until cold.
Beat remaining 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form.
Strain in saffron cream.
Beat until stiff peaks form.
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over.
Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
Garnish cake with rose petals and pistachios.

Photos by Ale Gambini

2 thoughts on “Saffron & Rose Water Cake AKA Persian Love Cake

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