These pretty Persian Love Cupcakes will enchant you with their looks and flavour. Simply, yet effectively decorated, these little cakes are bursting with flavour. Rosewater, orange blossom, lemon & almond feature in the sponge which is topped with both a lemon saffron drizzle and lemon icing.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and whilst I’m not one to really celebrate it, I don’t want to be a party pooper for anybody that does. Each year I try to come up with something that has a romantic twist to it, but is still perfectly acceptable to serve any time the mood suits. So far I’ve covered Prosecco Truffle Pots, Orange Caramel Linzer Cookies and Chocolate Dipped Raspberry Marzipan. The latter two recipes can be turned into suitable Valentine’s treats by using heart shaped cutters. And all are perfectly acceptable to serve throughout the year – with or without hearts. Not bad for a sideline effort.
This year, I’ve gone a step further and made some Persian Love Cupcakes. These little cakes are about as romantic as a cupcake could be since they feature rosewater and edible rose petals. They also taste deliciously & delicately floral. But they are not specifically linked to Valentine’s Day.
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What are Persian Love Cupcakes?
Persian Love Cupcakes are my twist on the popular Persian Love Cake. Have you heard the story behind the love cake?
Rumour has it that a young lady, desperate to win the heart of a Persian Prince, baked a cake for him and filled it with magical flavours & love power. And so, the Persian Love Cake came to be. But the conclusion of the tale is murky – so far I’ve come across three different ending:
- the prince ate the cake and fell madly in love with her
- he rudely rebuffed her romantic gesture
- the prince ate the cake but died shortly afterwards as he was allergic to saffron – drama
If I still believed in fairy tales, I wouldn’t know which ending to accept. But at least cake features in all versions.
Just like the story, there are many version of the love cake floating around. Most feature rosewater, lemon, edible rose petals and pistachios. But there are a handful of other goodies that may or may not make an appearance too:
- saffron (though I’m sure purists would say this ingredient is essential)
- orange blossom water
I’ve included most of these ingredients in My Persian Love Cupcakes:
- the sponge is flavoured with lemon zest, rosewater, orange blossom, cardamom and almonds
- drizzled on top is a lemon and saffron glaze
- lemon icing, scattered with edible rose petals & pistachio nuts completes the package
Just a word of warning – not all rosewaters are equal. Some are much stronger in flavour than other. I have quite a strong bottle on the go at the moment, but if you know yours is on the mild side, feel free to add a little more to my recipe.
All in all, these Persian Love Cupcakes manage to combine complex flavours and create a cake that is as striking to look at as it is to eat. I left a few without icing on to cater to the taste preferences of my husband. These were just as delicious (if slightly less sweet) as the iced cakes. My husband commented that un-iced, these cakes reminded him of Turkish delight. That can only be a good thing.
If you’re feeling extravagant, I suggest using a smidge of edible gold leaf to add a little extra sparkle and excitement to these Persian Love Cupcakes. They have royal heritage after all.
Persian Love Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 120 g/ 1 stick Butter - room temperature
- 120 g/ 5/8 cup Caster sugar
- 2 Eggs (large, free range)
- 100 g/ 3/4 cup Plain (all purpose) flour
- 40 g/ 1/3 cup Ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Rosewater (see notes)
- 1 tsp Orange blossom water
- 2 tsp Lemon zest (grated finely)
For the Lemon & Saffron Drizzle
- 1 Large pinch saffron threads
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Water
- 2 tbsp Caster sugar
For the Lemon Icing
- 160 g/ 1 1/4 cup Icing (confectioners) sugar
- 1 tbsp Water
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
Decoration: edible rose petals, finely chopped pistachio nuts, edible gold leaf
Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325°F/ GM3 and line a cupcake/muffin pan with 10 cupcake liners
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a small bowl. Add the ground almonds and stir briefly to combine
- In a large bowl beat the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition
- Beat in the rosewater, orange blossom water and lemon zest
- Mix in the flour mix until just combined - do not overbeat
- Divide between 10 baking cases and bake for 18-20 minutes until well risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. As soon as the cakes go into the oven begin making the lemon & saffron drizzle
Make the Lemon & Saffron Drizzle
- Put the saffron threads into a small saucepan with the lemon juice and water - set aside to 'bloom' until 3 minutes before the cakes come out of the oven
- When the cakes are nearly ready, add the sugar to the saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil and remove from the heat
- As soon as the cakes come out of the oven poke holes in them using a cocktail stick and spoon the lemon & saffron drizzle over them (approx 3/4 tsp per cake)
- If not using the lemon icing, scatter crushed rose petals and pistachio nuts over the top. Finish with a small piece of edible gold leaf
Make the Lemon Icing & Decorate the Cupcakes
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing
- Mix the lemon juice and water together in a small jug
- Sieve the icing sugar into a small mixing bowl, add 1/2 the liquid and stir until smooth. Keep adding more liquid, bit by bit, until a thick but slightly spreadable consistency is achieved - it should just fall off the spoon.
- Top each cupcake with a generous teaspoon of icing. Use a small palette knife to gently guide the icing to the edges of the cake
- Scatter crushed rose petals and pistachio nuts over the top. Finish with a small piece of edible gold leaf
- Best eaten within 2 days. Store in an airtight container.