I’m a fan of Pierre Hermé‘s range of Ispahan desserts. There’s just something magical about the flavour of rose, lychee, and raspberry. As much as I like, I can’t eat a macaron for breakfast, so I have to find a way to incorporate these flavour into a more breakfast-y loaf cake. So this is it – my version of Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan loaf cake.
The Ispahan macaron is proabably Pierre Hermé’s best selling flavour amongst the macarons. When I was in Paris last year, the boutique has a entire range dedicated to the Ispahan flavour. Clearly, I’m not the only one enamoured of the Ispahan flavour.
I thought it’s fitting that I would make this cake and blog about it right before my Paris trip. I’m so psyched that I’ll be there again soon.
I’ve been testing and tweaking this recipe for a while now, hopefully this would make Monsieur Hermé proud.
The flavour of rose comes through in the most delicate manner and you get a burst of tartness from the raspberry and the unique sweetness of the lychee. Ispahan in a single bite.
I’ve incorporated almond meal (ground almonds) in the cake because I love the flavour and the moistness it gives to the cake. This cake needs quite a bit of baking because of all the moist contents so don’t be afraid to bake it for a longer time if it is not done – best way to test it is to see if it springs back upon touch.
I made a simple raspberry royal icing glaze, it stains the icing a perfect shade of pink, in my opinion. It seems like the right way to usher in spring. You can most certainly do without the glaze/icing. The cake is still pretty and perfect without it.
With that, I shall leave you with my recipe that I foresee will end up as one of my favourites – you know the kind that you will bake over and over again.
Recipe: Ispahan loaf cake (Almond loaf cake with rose, raspberry and lychee)
Makes one 8″ x 4″ loaf tin
135g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g granulated sugar
2 tsp rosewater
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
145g eggs, room temperature (approximately 2 -2.5 large eggs)
150g plain flour
50g ground almonds (almond meal)
1 heap tsp/ 5g double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 + additional 2 tbsp dried rose petals
70g lychee (some of you may know of it as litchi), drain off excess liquid (I used those from a can)
80g raspberry (fresh/frozen is fine)
extra softened unsalted butter for piping
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line your loaf tin with baking parchment and butter the sides of the tin.
2. Infuse the buttermilk: heat the buttermilk gently until just slightly above body temperature (feels warm to touch). Place the 6 tbsp rose petals into the buttermilk to allow flavours to infuse for about 30 minutes.
3. Prepare the lychee, drain it and pat dry of excess liquid then roughly chop them up.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt. Then add the ground almonds and additional 2 tbsp rose petals (if using, for a more pronounced rose flavour) then set aside. Cream butter until pale, light. Add in the sugar and cream until pale and fluffy and well-incorporated.
5. Add in eggs, one at a time and mix until well-incorporated. Add in the rosewater and vanilla extract.
6. Start by adding 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients. Alternate between the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk (with the rose petals) in 2 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients on low speed until just combined. Fold in the raspberry and lychee.
7. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the cake batter into your lined loaf tin. Knock the tin against the kitchen counter top to remove any large air bubbles in the batter.
7. Creamed the softened butter and transfer it into a piping bag. Pipe a thin line across the center of the loaf. This helps the loaf cake crack very nicely. But you can omit this step if you wish.
8. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for about 60 – 65 minutes. When the cake is done, it should also shrink away from the sides of the pan. A cake tester should come out clean and it should also spring back immediately upon touch. If the cake starts to brown to much, you can cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil in the last 10- 15 minutes of baking.
9. Allow cake to cool in tin for about 15 minutes before using a palette knife to run along the sides of the tin and removing the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before storing.
Raspberry royal icing (optional):
200g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
juice from half a lemon
a few tsp of water
1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add in the juice of half a lemon and use a spatula to combine. Add in as much water as you need to bring the mixture to a thick enough consistency yet still pourable.
2. Add in the raspberries and mix it in. You can pass this through a sieve to remove the seeds so you only get the juice and colour in the icing. As you can tell, I was too lazy to do this so you still can see some of the seeds in the icing. The raspberries will give the icing a nice and natural colour. You wouldn’t have to add any pink colouring.
1. When the cake is cooled completely, place it on a wire rack with a tray beneath it. Pour the icing over the top of the cake and allow it to flow naturally. Collect the excess glaze from the tray and pour it along the sides of the cake if you wish.
2. Sprinkle some dried rose petals over it.