Ottolenghi’s Persian Love Cakes

From the book

Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh


240gground almonds
135gdemerara sugar
135gsoft light brown sugar
50gbuckwheat flour
80gunsalted butter, fridge-cold, cubed
¾ tspsalt
160gGreek-style natural yoghurt
90geggs (roughly 1½ large eggs)
1 tbspmahleb (or ¼ tsp almond extract)
¾ tspground nutmeg
To serve (at room temperature):
1½ tsppistachio kernels, slivered or finely crushed
12pomegranate seeds (optional)
icing sugar, for dusting

Essential kit

You will need: 12 financier (or muffin tin) moulds.


1 Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.

2 Place the ground almonds, both sugars, flour, butter and salt in a food processor and blitz a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Transfer two-thirds of the mix – about 430g – to a large bowl along with the yoghurt, eggs, mahleb and nutmeg. Mix to combine and set aside.

3 Line the base of 12 financier (or muffin tin) moulds with the remaining third of the crumb mix: it should come about a third of the way up the sides of the moulds. Use your fingers or a teaspoon to press the mix into the base of the moulds, as you would a cheesecake, so that it is compact.

4 Using two teaspoons, fill each mould to the top with the yoghurt mix, and level off with a palette knife for an even finish. Place the moulds on a baking tray and cook for 30–35 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through, until the cakes are dark golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cakes will look slightly uncooked and damp inside, but this is the way they should be and is part of their charm. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 15–30 minutes before unmoulding them. Serve as they are, slightly warm, or leave to cool before spooning a little mascarpone on top of each cake and topping with the crushed pistachios and 1 pomegranate seed, if using. Sprinkle a little icing sugar on one half of each cake, at a diagonal (see introduction), and serve.

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