Recipe: Hamed’s Persian Love Cake




Here’s a fabulous recipe for Persian Love Cake by Hamed Allahyari.  In his colourful new book, Salamati (Murdoch Books)  Hamed shows us a wonderful range of dishes from his homeland. ‘Salamati’ is Persian for ‘health’ and ‘cheers’ around the table. A restaurateur in Iran, Hamed, naturally  gravitated to food after his long and perilous journey to start a new life in Melbourne, where he opened the delightful SalamaTea restaurant. He teamed up with Dani Valent to produce this must-have book.

Funnily enough, I only discovered Persian love cake when I came to Australia, but I think that since it’s taken the world by storm it’s also become more popular in Iran. For me, the key flavour combination is nutmeg and yoghurt. There’s something about it that is pure dessert alchemy.

Why ‘love cake’? The story goes that a village woman tried to woo a prince with this cake. He swooned over the cake but rejected the girl and she ended up eating it all herself. I hope your romantic cake adventures are more successful, though I have to say that eating the cake is also winning!

SERVES: 8–10


3 cups (300 g) almond meal
180 g (6½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 cup lightly packed (185 g) light brown sugar
½ cup (125 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 eggs
1 cup (260 g) Greek-style yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
½ cup (50 g) flaked almonds
¼ cup (35 g) slivered pistachio kernels
Edible dried rose petals, to serve (optional)


Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) conventional. Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin.

Combine the almond meal, sugars and butter in a large bowl and mix with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Press half the crumb mixture into the cake tin, creating an even base.

Add the eggs, yoghurt, salt and spices to the remaining crumb mixture and, using a wooden spoon, mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the tin and smooth the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and pistachios over the top.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Start checking after the 50 minute mark to ensure it’s not colouring too quickly and cover the cake with foil if necessary.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with dried rose petals (if using) and serve.

The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.



Images and text from Salamati by Hamed Allahyari with Dani Valent, photography by Armelle Habib. Murdoch Books RRP $45.00.