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ffwd: ispahan loaf cake

Ispahan Loaf Cake

Photo from David Austin Roses

Photo from David Austin Roses

This week for French Fridays with Dorie, we made a mysterious cake: Ispahan Loaf Cake. The name itself is exotic. Ispahan is both the name of a city in Iran, formerly the Persian from 1598 to 1722 and an old Damask rose.

Photo from Pierre Hermé

Photo from Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé created a macaron combining the flavors of rose, raspberry, and litchi and named it Ispahan. For a mere 6.90 Euros, you can purchase an individual macaron to try for yourself!

This week’s cake recipe uses mostly almond flour lightened with beaten egg whites in tribute to its macaron inspiration. The batter is flavored with roses (syrup and extract) and layered in the pan with berries. The syrup gives the cake its shocking pink color!

Rose syrup and rose extract introduced an element of “the hunt” to the game. I set out to the Middle Eastern neighborhood in nearby Watertown, hoping to locate the rose syrup. I found many brands of rosewater and many other flavors of syrup, but in the three well-stocked groceries, there was no rose syrup to be found. My next excursion to a well-stocked Indian grocery in Waltham resulted in success! The rose extract was slightly easier to come by. I found it at Sur La Table which is in the nearest shopping mall.

For the fruit layers, I was hoping to use raspberries that we froze last summer, but I seem to have used them up. I found frozen strawberries from last summer, so used those instead of fresh raspberries.

On to the actual cake… I might be in the minority on this one, but this is far and away my least favorite recipe in the book to date. I knew Howard wouldn’t even try it after he took one whiff of the rose syrup still in the bottle. I was so intrigued by it, but I found the taste too flowery and the texture too moist. I even had to bake the cake for an extra 10 minutes before my tester came out clean. As with all doubtful baking, I brought the cake to the office. It got eaten, but no one seemed overly impressed with this one.

I’m eager to know what the other Doristas think. You can find links to their posts here. The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Happy Spring! First day of spring in Lexington gave us light snow after an 8-inch snowfall earlier in the week. Ugh! In January, I’d be delighted. In March, I’m annoyed.

You might not be able to see it, but there is snow falling...

You might not be able to see it, but there is snow falling… on March 21!