Those who are close to me have a complaint to raise with me.
Well, to be fair, they probably have many complaints – I make them come kill spiders for me, I’m perennially late and I steal blankets. But the Big Thing – I never bake for them.
People comment to my parents, close friends, my boyfriend what ‘Gee, you’re so lucky! Bri must bake for you ALL THE TIME.’ The reality is the opposite, they’re lucky if they get to lick the spoon. Rob often looks at me hopefully as I pull out my KitchenAid, ‘Is that for me?’. Nope, it’s probably an office birthday, or a bribe of some kind. Most importantly, none for Rob.
So when this recipe hit my inbox, I couldn’t hold out on him any longer. In fact, I like it so much, I’ve made it a bunch of times. It’s a great cake to keep up your sleeve when you just really need chocolate cake, and it’s lightning fast to throw together.
I adapted it to include my current favourite Persian flavours, rose and pistachio. There’s something about them that makes everything feel a little more deliberate and decadent, that perhaps you definitely planned to make this cake ALL ALONG, and you’re not desperately scrambling to throw something together to stop the complaining. Nope, not here.
Persian Sheet Cake
Adapted from Lady and Pups
1 1/2 stick (170 grams) unsalted butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup freshly brewed strong coffee (instant is fine)
1 1/2 cup (205 grams)plain flour
1 1/4 cup (195 grams) dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 tsp rose water
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
200g bittersweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup thickened cream
Edible rose petals
Preheat the oven on 190 C.
Brown the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. You’ll know it’s ready when it takes on a sweet, almost nutty smell (but be careful not to burn it!). Add the cocoa and coffee to the pot, whisking together until combined. Bring this mixture to a boil, then remover from the heat.
Whisk in the flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda until it forms almost a smooth, shiny paste. Leave for a couple of minutes to cool, then add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix together until incorporated. Stir in the rosewater (add more if you think it’s necessary).
Pour the mixture into a brownie or lamington sized tin that has been lined with baking paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
While the cake is in the oven, place the chocolate and a pinch of sea salt in a heatproof bowl. Gently bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over the chocolate. Leave the chocolate to stand for 10 minutes, covered, then stir until smooth.
Spread the ganache over the cake once cooled, then sprinkle with the pistachios, rose petals and another pinch of salt. Devour.