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Holiday Sweets: Persian Baklava Cake with Almonds and Rosewater

This Persian Baklava Cake gives you all the flavor you love without the fuss of phyllo: almonds, pistachios and rosewater.

Persian Baklava Cake with Almonds and Rosewater by Familyspice.com

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. Every year, my goal is to have my holiday cards mailed out by the first week of December. And every year, the reality is that I pray the cards are mailed any time in the month of December. Yes, while I could have prepared my cookie dough in November and frozen it for baking in December, I did not. This weekend will begin my two-week baking bonanza where I prepare gift baskets and presents for friends, teachers and family. I could start this week, but I’m too busy doing the gift shopping that I procrastinated all year long.

I used to be on top of things… before kids.

I used to be organized… before kids.

I used to know where everything was… before kids.

I used to have a decent body… before kids.

I used to sleep all night… before kids.

Don’t get me wrong: I love being a mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world! But, as I discussed this with another mom over the weekend, it’s like I’m moving in slow motion while the world is spinning at full speed around me. I just can’t keep up with all of the craziness that surrounds this family of five.

So forgive my random posts, my unconventional ramblings and my general quirkiness. I blame the kids – even though they are the cutest things around.

Persian Baklava Cake with Almonds and Rosewater by Familyspice.com

And to follow my sugar-holic foodie friends in the blogosphere, 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. And even though it is technically a cake, it’s super sweet and you cut and serve them as small pieces, like a bar or a cookie.

Baklava Cake (Almond Cake)


Laura Bashar

Enjoy all the flavors of baklava without fussing over phyllo dough. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 6 eggs, large
  • 2 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 3 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • 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 pistachios, shelled & finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray an 8" x 8" baking pan and a 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Separate yolks and whites into two medium-sized bowls from:
    • 6 eggs, large
  4. In the bowl with the egg yolks add and whisk together until white in color:
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. Whisk in:
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
  7. In a food processor grind until fine powder:
    • 3 cup almond slivers
  8. Make sure it measures out to 2 1/2 cups and add to egg yolk mixture.
  9. Using the reserved egg whites, whisk until glossy.
  10. Add to egg yolk mixture and combine.
  11. Gradually whisk in:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
  12. 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.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted to center of brownie comes out clean.
  14. In a small saucepan combine and bring to boil for 5 minutes:
    • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 cup water
    • 2 TBS lemon juice
  15. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in:
    • 1/2 cup rose water
  16. Cut the cake into desired shapes.
  17. Pour the syrup on it while the cake is hot.
  18. Garnish cake with:
    • 1/4 cup almond slivers
    • 1/4 cup pistachios , shelled & finely chopped
  19. Let cake cool to room temperature and then serve.


Cooking Tips: Rose water 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.

Prep Time:

Yield: 48 servings

Cook Time:

Baklava Cake (Almond Cake) Detail

If you need more sweet inspiration, or are too lazy to bake, please visit my friend Stephanie at Life Tastes Like Food. She is hosting a bake sale to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and her friend who is sick with cancer. I have donated a 5-gram pack of Persian Saffron, valued at $40, so get in on the bidding before everyone finds out!