What could be better than a Love Cake? Not much if you ask me!
I have been playing and experimenting with my Love Cake recipe for around six years. I first fell for this wonderful moist, sweet delicacy at the beginning of a new relationship – the cake may have even sealed the deal at the time, it’s that good!
My now ex-partner’s mum made a Love Cake every Christmas and I first learnt from her recipe. Unfortunately now I don’t have access to that recipe and given there are so many types of Love Cake there has been a lot of hits and misses over the years!
I find cooking remarkably similar to creating art – a lot about problem solving skills and trialling what works and what doesn’t! Whether it’s a recipe or an artwork, it’s all about having an idea about what you want to create and then having to find ways to bring your vision into reality.
While that relationship may not have lasted, my love for this cake still burns strong so I continue to search for the perfect recipe. There are a bunch of different versions out there: Sri Lankan, Persian and Indian Love Cake to name just a few. My current favourite recipe has been adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, which was gifted to me by my sister.
My adjusted recipe is gluten free, perfectly spiced, deliciously fragrant and never lasts long!
Jo’s Indian Love Cake
(makes 12 squares)
125g unsalted butter at room temperature (plus some extra for lining the cake tin)
325g raw caster sugar or coconut sugar (I do half of each)
200g almond meal
100g ground cashews
5 ½ tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (or finely ground seeds from 12 pods)
2 tablespoons rose water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a rectangular tin (30cmx20cm) with baking paper and a fine layer of butter.
Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl beat the eggs until pale and smooth, then slowly whisk them into the sugar and butter mixture. Fold in the almond meal, ground cashews, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, rose water, vanilla and lemon and orange zest.
Fold the mixture together and spoon into your cake tin. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes at 180(not sure how to do the degrees symbol)C, then turn oven down to 140C and bake for 25 minutes. I like to have the cake ‘just’ undercooked when you remove it from the oven to keep the moist deliciousness intake. Leave to cool before cutting into squares or taking out of the tin.
Serving suggestion: Pomegranate and cardamom shrikhand (natural yoghurt with cardamon powder and a sprinkling of icing sugar) are the perfect accompaniment for this Indian Love Cake!