|Sri Lankan Love Cake|
I love paklava, boorma, and the usual Armenian desserts. In my previous post, I shared my traditional paklava recipe. But I wanted to see if there was another dessert recipe – something I hadn’t made before – that was easy to make, still taste ‘Armenian’, and still complement our Easter menu.
I came across a unique recipe, Sri Lankan Love Cake, on a website called ‘The Traveler’s Lunchbox”. The name of the recipe sounded so romantic, I was intrigued and kept on reading. The ingredient list had a very Armenian ring to it with key ingredients of semolina, honey, rose water, cardamom and candied pumpkin.
I was anxious to get in the kitchen and start baking. (If the ‘Love Cake’ passes our ‘taste test’, it could end up on our Easter table this year.)
I happened to have the necessary ingredients on hand, including some rachal (candied pumpkin) from my autumn pumpkin experiment.
Note: If you don’t have candied pumpkin, leaving it out shouldn’t be a problem. But the next time it’s pumpkin season, try making our rachal recipe and save some for this ‘Love Cake’.
Sri Lankan Love Cake
from “The Traveler’s Lunchbox” website
Yield: 16 2-inch squares
3 large eggs
1 1/4 (250g) cups sugar
5 tablespoons (75g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rose water
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground cardamom
1 cup (125g) raw cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup (125g) coarse semolina
2 oz. (60g) candied squash/pumpkin, winter melon or pineapple, coarsely chopped (optional)
Robyn’s Note #1: I decided to toast the cashews using the following directions: Place cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in a preheated 400°F oven for about 5 minutes; allow to cool, coarsely chop, and set aside until ready to use.
1. Lightly spray an 8-inch (20cm) square baking pan with vegetable spray. Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and light. Add the melted butter, honey, rose water, lemon zest, nutmeg and cardamom. Beat well.
3. Stir in the cashews together with the semolina and candied fruit, if using.
Robyn’s Note #2: I left out the candied pumpkin, but chose to serve it on the side.
4. Pour cake batter into the prepared pan; bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top is golden and puffed. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, cover it loosely with foil. When done, a skewer inserted two inches (5cm) from the edge of the pan should come out clean, but the middle should still be moist. Let cool completely in the pan before removing.
5. Dust with powdered sugar if you like, and cut into small squares or diamonds to serve.
Our evaluation: pretty darn good! We loved the essence of rose water, the crunch of the cashews, the texture from the semolina, and the not-overly-sweet flavor. Serving the rachal on the side worked out well, too. FYI: I baked it for 45 minutes. Baking time could vary since all ovens are not created equal!