Ispahan is one of my favourite flavour combinations, it’s a blend of rose, raspberry and lychee that is attributed to Pierre Herme, he’s even dedicated an entire recipe book to ispahan. It’s so exotic and floral, but at the same time light and not at all overpowering. These ispahan yoghurt cakes are a little more dense than usual sponge cakes, but they are so moist from the fresh raspberries that are baked inside as well as the lychee icing.
I’ve baked with ispahan before, it’s so refreshing and these ispahan yoghurt cakes are dangerously moreish. I decorated them with rose petals and icing that I dyed a light pink colour, to make these a little bit romantic, perhaps if you’re feeling really motivated you could make these for Valentine’s Day. I made them just because I wanted to eat them, but I think someone would appreciate these as a gift, or they would be a lovely addition to an afternoon tea.
I really struggled to find lychees in fresh or canned form. Ideally I wanted them canned as I don’t really like peeling lychees, as much as I like the flavour they remind too much of eyeballs ever since I watched We Need To Talk About Kevin. I wont link to the part of the film I’m referring to, but if you’ve seen the film, you know what I mean.
I managed to get canned lychees from my local oriental supermarket and I just blended the fruit without their syrup and sifted it to create a puree to use in the cake mix and the icing. The syrup is delicious though so you could always reserve this and use it in cocktails. My visit to the Oriental supermarket was pretty much in and out as I was in a rush (as usual), but I am definitely going back to see what other interesting ingredients they have, I spied some bottles of Mountain Dew, I didn’t know you could still buy that!
- The Cake:
- 125g Unsalted Butter, softened
- 225g Caster Sugar
- 4 Drops Holy Lama Rose Extract
- 4 Tbsp Lychee Puree
- 2 Medium Eggs
- 300g Plain Flour, sifted
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 115g Natural Yoghurt
- 150g Fresh Raspberries
- To decorate:
- 200g Icing Sugar
- 4-5 Tbsp Lychee Puree
- Red Food Colouring
- Rose Petals
- Preheat the oven to 160C Fan/180C and lightly grease a muffin tin that has 12 cavities. I used a silicone muffin pan as this makes turning out the cakes easier when you haven't used a cake case.
- Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream them together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one and a time and beat them in fully.
- Add the rose extract and lychee puree to the mixture, then add the plain flour and baking powder and mix gently, add the yoghurt and combine everything together ensuring it's evenly mixed.
- Put a big teaspoonful of batter into the bottom of each muffin hole. Place 2-3 raspberries on top of the mix and press them in slightly. Make sure you use up all the raspberries.
- Cover the raspberries with the remaining cake batter and place in the oven to cook for 25-30 mins or until golden and a cocktail stick comes out clean.
- To make the icing mix the icing sugar and lychee puree together, you might not need all of it, it depends how runny you want your icing. Add a few drops of colouring until you get your desired colour.
- Turn the cakes out of their tins and place them on a rack or a plate with the bottom facing upwards. You may need to trim the tops to make the cakes flat, you can eat this as the cook's share.
- Drizzle the icing over the cake and then decorate with the rose petals.
I bought my rose petals from Waitrose and I used Dr Oetker red gel food colouring.
This is quite a close textured cake because of the yoghurt which is why the raspberries and icing work so well, this is not a really light sponge.
Take a look at these other links covering ispahan or some of the ispahan flavours:
Pistachio Biscuits with Rose and Almonds
Rose, Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn Macarons
Rose, Raspberry and Lychee Shortbread Cookies
Raspberry and Lychee Curd Tartlets with Crystallised Rose Petals
Thanks for reading.