36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes

Perfect for tea, these mini Persian Love Cakes are beautiful, delicate, floral in flavor and in shape, but any ol’ muffin pan will do. 

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Just The Food Stuff: Mini Persian Love Cakes

For thematic purposes, I baked these Mini Persian Love Cakes in a silicone rose mold, but the capacity is equivalent to a muffin pan, so you can bake these as cupcakes. The rose is a prominent flavor, so if you don’t like floral flavors, you won’t like these. 

Adapted from Broma Bakery

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Cake Ingredients

Coconut oil or butter for greasing cupcake pan/cake mold

1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
6 Tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups coconut sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
4 teaspoons lemon juice (also about 2 lemons)
4 Tablespoons rose water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (try homemade)

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup finely ground almond flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine)
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Glaze Ingredients

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tbs coconut milk
1 Tbs rose water
1 Tbs vanilla

Garnish (optional)

chopped pistachios
dried rose petals

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.

In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, oil, eggs, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, rose water, and vanilla extract.

Turn speed to low and add in flour, almond flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt until just mixed.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is lightly brown on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before making the glaze.

For the Glaze:

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the glazed cakes with chopped pistachios and rose petals. Serve & enjoy!

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
The skate-themed floral centerpieces from my birthday party.

Just The Personal Stuff:

A rose dreams of enjoying the company of bees, but none appears. The sun asks: “Aren’t you tired of waiting?”

Yes,” answers the rose, “but if I close my petals, I will wither and die.”

And yet, even when Love does not appear, we remain open to its presence. Sometimes, when loneliness seems about to crush everything, the only way to resist is to keep on loving.  -from Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

I made these roses, these mini Persian Love Cakes, to gather with friends, to share something sweet, to celebrate my birthday, and to attempt to relive childhood joys (check out my roller skating party!).

Since that party, the whole world changed, in a way we’ve never experienced. At a time when I was so focused on connections, on re-establishing myself after the end of a five-year relationship, we were called to social distance for the good of all.

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

In these moments of solitude, I’ve found lost pieces of myself. I’ve found ways to nurture my mind, body and soul. I’ve also found loneliness, but Coelho’s quote puts beautifully crafted words to how I try to sit with and steer through that feeling.

Social distancing has stripped me of habits and the typical labels I carry. I am not “a stylist” right now. Though I could be, I am not “busy.” I am choosing not to be. I am not distracted by noise. I am, however, still Quelcy. I’m a woman in pursuit of love, of treating herself with compassion and care, of knowing her worth when no one else is there to reflect it.

Coelho may have been referring to holding out for romantic love, but his words work, perhaps work even better, for choosing to love ourselves and simply, to choose love. I’ve read about major injustices, felt deep anxiety from the news, and yet, I’ve also seen some bright spots. I want to cling to them. 

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’ve also seen the way love has blossomed through the cracks in the concrete:

  • Healthcare workers have established themselves as everyday heroes, as have grocery store workers, delivery people and more. 
  • Neighbors are volunteering to bring groceries to higher-risk neighbors.
  • Dogs are getting more of the attention they deserve. 
  • A neighbor wrote “You are essential” in sidewalk chalk for the sanitation workers. 
  • One of my favorite restaurants, The Vandal, served nutrition-packed lunches to the teams at UPMC Mercy and St. Clair Hospital.
  • Makers have turned their handiwork to making masks for the community.

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

What if we somehow continued to find ways to come together, to support and uplift each other when we emerge from this? 

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

I received this prayer in an email, and regardless of your religious beliefs, there is so much power in these intentions…

Prayer for a Pandemic
By Cameron Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
Amen.

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Side Note: I paired the 18 Mini Persian Love Cakes with 18 of these Gluten Free Chocolate Cakes with Espresso Glaze to total 36 cakes in celebration of my 36 years on earth. 

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Mini Persian Love Cakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

What about you? How are you holding up? What acts of love have you seen?

Sincerely,

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