True Love Cake

Another extraordinary pairing to get excited about (the first being you and your groom, naturally): sugar and cardamom. Both are key ingredients in the appropriately named True Love Cake, a traditional confection at many Sri Lankan weddings. Baker Samantha Seneviratne offers her own version in her book, "The New Sugar and Spice" (Ten Speed Press), and describes the result rhapsodically. "The dense crumb and chewy edges remind me of something that would happen if a butter cake and blondie had a baby," she writes, "a pleasingly crunchy, tender, and sweet love child." For one more great pairing, serve it post-dinner with bourbon-spiked Ceylon tea. (Reprinted with permission from "The New Sugar and Spice," by Samantha Seneviratne, © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.)

  • Servings: 16

Photography: Raymond Hom

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, August/December Fall 2015


  • 3⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) coarse semolina
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (4 1⁄2 ounces) finely chopped raw cashews


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-square baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides; butter the parchment. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the semolina and cook, stirring, until it is very lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the semolina mixture out onto a large plate to cool to room temperature.

  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the 6 egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until pale and thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the honey, rose water, almond extract, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest, and salt. Beat in the cooled semolina mixture and fold in the cashews.

  3. With clean beaters, whip the 4 egg whites to medium-stiff, but not dry, peaks on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the semolina mixture, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. To serve, cut along the edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Using the parchment, transfer the cake to a cutting board and cut into diamonds. Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


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