To Iranians Yazdi cakes (cake yazdi) are what Madeleine are to the French. When I was baking these beauties the aroma of roses and cardamom wafted through the kitchen and filled the house with so much sweetness.
Like the aroma of Marcel Proust’s madeleines the lovely scent of roses and cardamoms evoked memories of many things in my past, my life in Iran, love, friends and family. My Almond Rosewater Baklava Cake evokes similar memories.
Every bakery and confectionery in Iran is sure to have large trays filled with these little cakes. I always wanted to recreate the delicate scent and flavour of cake yazdi. I tried many recipes. Most of them called for lots of oil and sugar. Now when it comes to these two ingredients I can’t but skimp and when I did, the results weren’t as good as I expected.
So I set out on a mission to make a lower fat and sugar version that was also easier to make and didn’t involve lots of batter-beating. I finally came up with this recipe which is unbelievably easy to make and lower in fat and sugar. The texture may not be as fine as the original but as long as flavour goes, my version is really true to the real thing. Critics No.1 & 2 both approved of the flavour and even liked the texture.
There is a lot of flavour going on here. As could be expected, I used Persian rosewater – It’s really delicate. I also used ground seeds from whole cardamom pods rather than using ground cardamom.
The trick I used to compensate for cutting oil – oh, and I used olive oil – to make the cakes moister and healthier was to add grated apples. It really worked without affecting the flavour at all.
These muffins keep well for a few days, if you can resist eating them all on the first day, and taste even better after sitting in an airtight container for at least half a day.
To make 12 muffins you need the following ingredients: