Three ways with coconut + Spicy Persian Love Cake

Remember when coconut oil was going to save us all? I’m not sure it’s happened yet, given that the world needs saving more now than ever before. If you’ve doubted that coconut oil is a miracle product, this podcast will be music to your ears. If you’re like me, and love coconut purely for reasons of greed and culinary usefulness, you might be interested in this week’s Three Ways With… column, which features three delectable recipes for coconut in various forms (including oil, though it is most definitely not a recipe with any health claims).

I make no health claims for the following recipe either, except to say that making – and eating – it makes me extremely happy. Since happiness is closely related to wellness, I think I can justifiably say that a slice of this is very good for you.

Spicy Persian Love Cake
This recipe is an adaptation of Sam Mannering’s Persian Love Cake, which seems itself to be adapted from an internet-famous recipe by Australian chef Gerard Yaxley. I was inspired to make this version after Karen Dennison of Coyo sent me some of her wares to try. While Coyo’s chocolate coconut yoghurt is outrageously good (rich, yet with a tangy finish) and the passionfruit one is lovely, I was most taken with the chai version, which is made with Hakanoa ginger syrup. To stop myself from eating through a tub in one go, I turned the rest into this just-as-addictive cake.

1/2 cup dried dates
1/2 cup walnut halves (about 40g)
1 1/2 cups whole almonds (about 200g)
1 scant cup lightly packed brown sugar
80g soft unsalted butter
1 egg
3/4 cup Coyo Chai coconut yoghurt
finely grated zest of two oranges

Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm tart tin (or springform cake tin).
Soak the dates in boiling water for five minutes, then drain.
Put the nuts in a food processor and whiz to fine crumbs. Add the dates, sugar and butter and whiz again until well combined. Press half of this mixture evenly into the prepared tin, creating a 1cm-ish rim at the sides.
Add the egg, yoghurt and orange zest to the remaining mixture in the food processor and whiz again until smooth. Carefully pour this mixture into the tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the top is dark golden and the middle is just set (it will continue to firm up as it cools). Cool on a rack, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into thin wedges – a little goes a long way – and serve with more yoghurt or whipped cream. Any leftovers keep well in the fridge.

How do you feel about the so-called healing powers of coconut?



  1. June 7, 2017 / 9:16 am

    I love your style of writing Lucy. As woman of South Asian heritage coconut is part of my life, not just a trend. However this cake sounds amazing, its new to me – so I am bookmarking to make it and also to try the yogurt too, that is if i find it here.

    • June 7, 2017 / 8:09 pm

      Thank you so much Shaheen, that's very kind. This cake really is beautiful. As for the yoghurt, I'm not sure you'll be able to find it as it's a New Zealand-only thing. However, you could mimic it by using coconut yoghurt plus some chai syrup, or perhaps diced stem ginger in a little syrup plus a dash of cinnamon?

  2. June 8, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    That's a really nice cake. To be honest, anything called a Persian Love Cake has to be good. There are many coconut yoghurts available here but chai is a new one on me. But really Lucy, coconut oil is just SOOO 2016. I'd say more but I must pop down the shops and get more fermented yak milk with added amaranth and pickled gravel.

  3. June 11, 2017 / 11:25 am

    this looks pretty damn fine. I've gone back to coconut oil recently and coconut sugar too. Not sure i'm savin the world but I will try, one glorious cake at a time!

  4. Anonymous
    June 12, 2017 / 1:14 am

    Is there a sugar free version?

    • June 12, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      No… I think removing the sugar would affect the texture, but you could reduce it possibly, or try it with coconut sugar?

  5. June 20, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    This sounds (and most definitely looks) so good Lucy! I love how easy it is to make, I'm definitely going to be giving it a go!
    Angela x

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