Persian Love Cake
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/160⁰C fan oven/gas mark 4. Grease and line 2 x 18cm (6inch) round cake tins. In a large bowl, sift together the plain flour, caster sugar, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cardamom and salt.
In a jug, whisk together the buttermilk, aquafaba, apple cider vinegar, vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Set aside for 10 minutes. Once the mixture has curdled a little, add the oil. Whisk well. Pour the wet ingredients into the sifted dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 90 seconds. Try not to overmix the batter.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake tins and tap the tins on a worktop to encourage any air bubbles to surface and pop. This will promote even baking. Bake the cakes in the centre of the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the icing, beat together the butter, half of the cream cheese, icing sugar, rosewater, saffron soaked in milk and optional yellow food colour. Once it’s light and fluffy, add the remaining cream cheese and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.
To make the sugar rose, ensure the rose is thoroughly clean and dry. Trim excess leaves but keep around 2cm of the stem intact. Wrap the stem in aluminium foil. Mix together the liquid glucose and water. Use a clean paintbrush to paint the sticky glucose mixture onto the petals. Sprinkle the rose with sugar and allow to air dry.
When the cakes are cooled, remove the baking parchment from the cakes. Place one layer of cake on an 8inch cake board or cake plate and cover with some of the icing. Place the second layer of cake on top and press very gently. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining icing. Decorate with the sugar rose, pistachios, white chocolate chunks and Pashmak. For an Eid feel, arrange the decorations in a crescent moon shape.