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Cayk-e Golabi ba zaferoon

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Persian pear and saffron cake with Seville orange and pistachios frosting
4.43 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Persian
Servings 8 slices


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil, (sunflower or safflower)
  • 1 medium pear, grated (about a cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Seville orange juice (other varieties of orange will work too)
  • 1/4 cup water. (plus/minus 1 tablespoon)


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Seville orange juice (other varieties of orange will work too)
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, slivered or roughly chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Select an 8 inch round cake pan and using a small amount of oil thoroughly grease the bottom and the edges of the cake pan.
  • Lightly dust the pan with a tablespoon of flour and shake and tilt to have the flour spread out to every nook and cranny of the pan. Turn the pan upside down and tap out any extra flour. (I prefer this method to using a parchment paper.)
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl, combine the sugar, oil, pear, saffron water and orange juice and water and mix well.
  • Using a whisk, gently incorporate 1/3 of the flour mixture into the liquid mixture and stir into a batter in which no flour is visible.
  • Switching to a spatula, gently combine another 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter.
  • Finally add the remainder of the flour to the batter and mix until all the flour has been incorporated. Do not over mix!
  • The consistency of the batter should resemble a thick pancake batter. Adjust by adding a tablespoon of water at a time, if needed.
  • Immediately place the pan in the oven on a center rack. Remember this is a vegan cake and once you have mixed the wet and the dry ingredients and activated the leavening agents, it needs to go into the oven straight away!
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, do NOT open the oven door, and do not perform jumping jacks or burpees in front of your oven - they will make your cake collapse!
  • After the initial 10 minutes, drop the temperature to 350 F and continue to bake for 25-30 additional minutes. Still no opening the oven door or vigorous exercise!
  • The cake should have risen, formed some cracks on top and edges slightly pulled away from the pan.
  • Test with a toothpick into the center of the cake and assess whether the cake is still wet in the center or completely baked. If still wet, continue to bake for 5-8 additional minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack until cool enough to handle with a light towel.
  • Firmly tap the edges and bottom of the cake pan, and lightly shake it to begin loosening up the cake. Use a knife to go around the edges to help with the process.
  • When you are certain that the cake is loosened, swiftly and carefully invert the cake onto a plate. Place another plate on top of the upside-down cake and repeat so that the cake is standing right side up.
  • While the cake cools, combine the sifted powdered sugar with orange juice and orange blossom water and mix well to ensure the frosting is smooth and not lumpy.
  • Using a pastry spatula pour/spread the frosting on top of the cake. You can have the frosting drizzled over the top or have it look tidy and smooth.
  • Sprinkle the pistachios on top and serve with a hot cup of Persian tea.


Keep the cake covered for storage as vegan cakes can dry out faster than traditional cakes. 
I always prefer to use whole wheat pastry flour rather than all-purpose.  Doing so makes the cake slightly denser.  Also keep in mind that whole wheat pastry flour (spring wheat) is different than whole wheat flour (winter wheat).  If you prefer to use all-purpose flour, you will simply need to reduce the water by a tiny amount.
When it comes to sugar, I always use less-refined sugars such as evaporated cane juice.  
I used Seville orange juice as I prefer its unique and tart flavor to the regular variety, however, any variety of orange will work. 
For the frosting, you can adjust the liquid added to create a different texture.  Add more juice to have a drizzly type of frosting or add more powdered sugar to have a denser and thicker frosting layer.
Keyword cake, pear, pistachio, saffron, vegan
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