A beautiful Persian Love Cake (gluten free) made with semolina and almond meal soaked with a lemon syrup with a touch of optional rosewater.
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4.73 from 22 votes

Persian Love Cake

Recipe video above. A beautiful Persian cake with a lovely subtle citrus flavour and hint of spice. For an authentic Persian flavour, don't skip the rosewater! They differ in strength so start with a small amount and adjust to your taste - too much can be overpowering. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Cakes
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Persian Love Cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 423kcal
Author: Nagi


  • 2 cups (200g) almond meal (almond flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups (165g) semolina
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 120g / 8 tbsp unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar , packed
  • 3/4 cup (150g) white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (250g) plain yoghurt
  • Zest of one orange
  • 50g / 2 oz raw pistachios , chopped or slivered (or almonds)


  • 1/3 cup (85 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (70g) white sugar
  • 1 tsp+ rosewater (adjust to taste, start with less)


  • Preheat oven 180C/350F (standard) or 160C/320F (fan). Grease and line a 22cm/9" cake pan.
  • Mix almond meal, semolina, baking powder, nutmeg and cardamon in bowl.
  • Beat butter and both sugars with an electric beater until incorporated. Add eggs, beat until smooth. Then add yoghurt and orange zest, beat until smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients. Stir until mixed through.
  • Pour into pan, smooth surface. Scatter over pistachios.
  • Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Poke 30 - 40 holes all over the cake using a skewer (poke all the way through). Pour warm syrup over while cake still hot. Leave to soak for 1 hour+ before removing from pan. Cool then slice to serve.
  • Pictured decorated with dried rose petals. Alternative: no decorations (pistachios alone look great!), dust with icing / confectionary sugar, of a Lemon Glaze (use this one)


  • Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer and stir to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes. Keep warm (or reheat) for pouring.


  • General note:┬ácakes made without flour like this can tend to be a bit crumbly and dry. This cake is not - the moisture comes from the syrup poured over the cake while it's hot!
  • Nutrition per serving.
Nutrition Facts
Persian Love Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 423 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 51mg17%
Sodium 26mg1%
Potassium 250mg7%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 325IU7%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 134mg13%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 2.1mg