Sri Lanka holds a very special place in my heart. I fell in love there, not only with the food, the people and the place but also with my boyfriend of 7 years (yes 7 years, put a ring on it already would ya?!) So I thought it only appropriate that this Valentines Day I make a Sri Lankan Love Cake. This is a legitimate cake, I’m not making it up. It’s made in Sri Lanka on special occasions like birthdays and family celebrations, but I think its a perfect cake to just bake, keep in a sealed container and enjoy with a cup of tea when friends pop around as it keeps quite well.
The cake itself tastes more like an Eastern Mediterranean / Middle Eastern cake than Sri Lankan as its contains honey, rose water and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg as well as citrus zest and ground cashew. In fact the ingredients are similar to baklava! I’m sure the recipe was passed on and adapted when the Dutch or Portuguese colonised Sri Lanka, but anywho it’s a lovely cake and if you’re feeling extra indulgent this Valentines Day serve with a dollop of double cream or ice cream. Enjoy!
Sri Lankan Love Cake
What Do You Need?
200g unsalted butter, diced
1 cup caster sugar
10 egg yolks
1 cup semolina
150g cashews, ground / blitzed in a food processor to a fine powder
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons rose water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamon and nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract paste
1 orange, zest only
1 lemon, zest only
100g crystalized pineapple pieces, finely diced (you can get these in the dried fruit section of your supermarket)
4 egg whites
Icing sugar, to serve
1 cup of LOVE (Sorry, I had to!)
How to make it…
1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 150 degrees. Place butter and sugar into an electric mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and cream butter and sugar on a medium speed till soft and fluffy, this might take around 3 minutes.
2. Add egg yolks one at a time, don’t add the next egg yolk until the previous yolk is fully incorporated.
3. Turn down mixer speed to low, add semolina and ground cashews, a little at a time until mixture is fully incorporated.
4. Add honey, rosewater, spices, zest, vanilla paste and dried pineapple and mix until fully incorporated. Turn off mixer.
5. Whisk egg whites until firm peaks form, you can do this by hand or use a clean bowl and a balloon whisk attachment to beat egg whites. Fold this into the batter mixture.
6. Pour into prepared baking tin – I used a love heart tin I found at an op-shop but you can use a regular 22 – 25cm cake tin, lined with baking paper. Bake at 150 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes before cooling on a cake rake. Sieve a little icing sugar over the top of the cake to serve. Keep cake in sealed container, it will become more moist over time. This cake should keep for at least one week.