Vegan Persian Pistachio-Rose Love Cake

The story behind this classic pistachio-rose confection tells of a Persian woman who wanted to make a prince fall in love with her, so she created a cake laced with a love spell, and thus, this delicate, mesmerizing bake was born. Get the veganized version in this recipe from The Vegan Cake Bible cookbook.

What you need:

½ cup vegan butter
¾ cup superfine sugar  
¼ cup rosewater, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon lemon extract 
Zest of 1 lemon 
⅓ cup plain soy milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
½ cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Chopped pistachios and dried rose petals, for garnish

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 8-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper, then grease again and dust with flour, tipping to dump out excess.
  2. In a heat-proof bowl, melt butter in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between. To a small bowl, transfer melted butter, add sugar, and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add 3 tablespoons of rosewater, vanilla bean paste, lemon extract, and lemon zest, and stir until completely combined.
  3. In a separate small bowl, stir soy milk and vinegar until mixture thickens, then add to melted butter mixture, stirring to combine.
  4. Into a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and ground cardamom, then stir in almond flour. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Pour in wet mixture and stir until just combined. 
  5. Into prepared cake pan, pour batter, then transfer to middle rack of oven and bake 35 minutes, or until golden brown and top springs back when gently pressed. Allow cake to cool in pan for at least 15 minutes, then turn onto a cake rack to cool completely.
  6. Into a small bowl, place powdered sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon of rosewater and stir until combined. Pour glaze over cooled cake and decorate with pistachios and dried rose petals.
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