This Persian Baklava Cake gives you all the flavor you love in small cake-like bars and without the fuss of phyllo: almonds, pistachios and rosewater. Find more olive oil cake recipes here.
Despite my protests, it appears that the holidays are coming as scheduled. Christmas is still December 25th. The kids’ break from school will still begin December 21st. And so on, and so forth.
So instead of working on my Christmas cards, wrapping gifts or even cleaning house, I’m baking! I am sharing with you one of my favorite Persian treats: Baklava Cake.
It’s easier to make than traditional baklava, with it’s layers of fragile phyllo. This is an almond cake with the sweet syrup you love of baklava, the scent of rosewater and the crunch of pistachios.
Persian baklava versus Greek baklava
Traditional baklava (pronounced baghlava in Farsi) is a sweet dessert made with layers of phyllo (or filo), filled with nuts and drenched in a sweet syrup. Depending on which country of origin, they come in a variety of different forms and flavors.
Greeks use chopped walnuts and drizzle their baklava with a honey syrup. Persian baklava uses chopped pistachios and almonds with a rosewater sweet syrup drizzled all over it. Both are incredibly delicious.
What is Persian baklava cake?
This is not a recipe for a traditional cake, you know two layers of fluffy cake covered in frosting. This recipe for Persian baklava cake falls somewhere between a dense cake and a bar.
The baklava cake is made with a combination of almond meal and all purpose flour. The cake is not super fine like a traditional cake, but a denser, coarser nuttier texture. It is also spiced with one of my favorite Persian spices, cardamom.
While the cake is hot and fresh out of the oven is when you drizzle the sweet syrup all over it. A more delicate cake would not be able to handle this, but the almond cake absorbs the syrup beautifully.
Almond meal versus almond flour
If you are familiar with low carb baking, you are probably familiar with almond flour. Almond flour is super finely grounded blanched almonds. It has a delicate flour consistency.
Almond meal is grounded almonds, with or without the brown skin. It is not as finely grounded as almond powder. For example, you could chew on a small bit of almonds with almond meal.
As this is not a delicate cake, you can use almond meal for this Persian baklava cake. You can also use the finely ground almond flour, too. I have repeatedly used both options and the baklava cake still turns out beautifully.
You can also make your own almond meal for this recipe. Just use a food processor to pulverize and grind up 3 cups slivered almonds. I have done this as well and the again and it works very well for this baklava cake recipe.
How to serve Persian baklava cake
Traditional baklava is served as diamond shaped bites of deliciousness. Once out of the oven, you can similarly cut the baklava cake into squares or diamonds. And don’t worry about the diamonds not being perfect, as you can see from my video!
You prepare the rose water sweet syrup while the baklava cake is baking. Then you drizzle the syrup over it after the cake has been cut and still warm. Only a warm cake will absorb it all, so be sure to do this right after you take it from the oven.
The top of the baklava cake is garnished with almond slivers or slices, ground pistachios and some dried rose petals. The rose petals aren’t necessary, but they sure do make the cake pretty! Once the cake is completely cooled, I like to remove the individual pieces of Persian baklava cake and place them on a serving platter for guests.
- 6 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 1/2 cup rose water
- 1/4 cup almond slivers
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp crushed dried rose petals
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Spray an 8" x 8" baking pan and a 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray.
- Separate yolks and whites from eggs into two medium-sized bowls.
- In the bowl with the egg yolks add and whisk together 1 cup sugar until white in color.
- Whisk in olive oil and cardamom.
- Mix almond meal into egg batter.
- Clean egg beaters and whisk reserved egg whites until glossy.
- Add to egg yolk mixture and combine.
- Gradually whisk in flour and baking powder.
- Pour batter into prepared pans. You do not want a thick cake so make sure batter is 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch deep in pans.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted to center of cake comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking make the rose water syrup. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove syrup from heat and stir in rose water.
- When cakes come out of the oven, cut into desired shapes.
- Pour the syrup over entire cake while it is still hot.
- Garnish cake with almond slivers, chopped pistachios and crushed rose petals.
- Let cake cool to room temperature and then serve.
Rosewater can be found at middle eastern stores. If you don't have rose water, substitute with 1 1/2 cups of honey and a shot (1.5 fl oz) of brandy.
You can also make your own almond meal by grinding in a food processor grind 3 cups almond slivers until fine powder.
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Serving Size:1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 17mg Sodium: 19mg Carbohydrates: 11g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 8g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g